For librarian Kelsey Ockert, the catchphrase, “Just Google it,” may be a bit misleading. The popular search engine is indeed the quickest way to obtain information about anyone or anything you want to know; however, when it’s fully utilized, Google can be even more pervasive and revealing. “It’s the best search engine on the Internet,” she says.
Ockert should know, she has been a technology librarian at Princeton Public Library for two years. She is immersed daily in a sea of books, newspapers, magazines, videos, and other digital minutiae. “I love reading, and I’m an advocate of digital literacy,” she says.
Ockert will share her affinity and expertise on one of the core values of librarianship — intellectual freedom — at a seminar titled, “Tips for Power Searching.” The event will be held at Princeton Public Library on Monday, August 6, from 1 to 2 p.m. The class is one in a series of technology and computer-related courses being offered at the library throughout the summer. Visit www.princetonlibrary.org to learn more.
Ockert is a native of Oregon. As a child, Ockert says she used to spend hours at the local library. Her parents instilled the mantra of “reading is fundamental” to her and her twin sister, Ingrid, at an early age. “My mother would read a book to us every week,” she says. “My sister and I would paint pictures of the characters from some of the stories she read aloud to us.”
Ockert earned a master of library & information science (MLIS) degree from the University of British Columbia in 2015. She relocated to Princeton from Beaverton, Oregon, in 2016 after making several visits to her sister, who is a PhD student at Princeton University. “I thought Princeton was beautiful and decided to move here,” she says.
Her background in library science and more specifically IT started back in 2003 when she provided instructional and technical assistance as a volunteer and intern to patrons at the Lake Oswego Public Library in Oregon. Fast forward 15 years and Ockert provides similar services on a much larger scale to patrons of the Princeton Public Library — including professors and students at Princeton University. She provides patrons with comprehensive tips on how to fully utilize the Internet and Google.
According to Lifewire, a technology and advice web site, Google was named the best search engine for 2018, with more than a billion monthly active users across the world. But, Ockert says, “The search engine has many new features that people don’t know about.”
Pick your words. For example, wider search capabilities can be accessed by using enhanced or unique word searches or phrases in the search field. “During the workshop, I will show students how to structure words or phrases in order to generate more information about a specific topic,” she says.
Find a job. Google also offers its users an expanded tool for job seekers. For example, prior to applying for a job online, users can access the salary of a position. In a media release in November, 2017, the company touted the new job and salary search engine feature:
“Salary is an important factor in finding the right job — but by our estimate, this information is missing from over 85 percent of job postings in the U.S. today. To provide this essential information, we’re showing estimated salary ranges right alongside many jobs, based on the specific job title, location, and employer.”
Beyond web pages. “Filter searches that link key words with Google images is another way users can expand their Internet search,” she says. “Information provided on a desktop and a mobile application can differ significantly.”
She adds that Google is business-friendly and is designed to be a permanent repository of a user’s searches.
Keeping track. Some other tips she will offer for effective power searching include number searching. “You can track packages sent by a carrier,” she says. Other tips include entering a stock symbol to get a current stock or mutual fund quote; and checking to see if a telephone number is a legitimate land line or mobile phone. You can also personalize your Google page.
Lastly, Ockert says, she hopes students leave her seminar feeling empowered and a bit savvier about maximizing the services offered by the local library. “I believe in using community connections, creative programming, and diverse materials to create a lifelong library passion for the community,” she says.