My Library Has the Most Craptastic Catalog Search on the Planet

There are a lot of things I love about my local library but the computerized catalog system is definitely not one of them. It has, without a doubt, the absolute worst search function. Ever.

Take this example for instance. I was looking for A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, the next selection for my book club. I type the words single man in the search box and hit return.

Top 10 Results:

  1. Happy-Go-Lucky (DVD)
  2. Dune Road, Jane Green
  3. Single Mama’s Got More Drama, Kayla Perrin
  4. The New Valley: Novellas, Josh Weil
  5. La Caza, Clive Cussler
  6. The Lost Origin of the Essay
  7. Deep Dish, Mary Kay Andrews
  8. Guilty, Karen Robards
  9. Guilty, Karen Robards (large print ed.)
  10. I Shall Not Want (CD, Julia Spencer-Flemming)

Scrolling down the entire page, the title I’m looking for AND TYPED IN EXACTLY, does not appear.

Okay, I figure, knowing this is a hinky system that requires a lot more finesse than your usual computer search, I type in single man again, but this time rather than hitting return, I select the Title button.

Top 10 Results:

  1. The Lost Origin of the Essay
  2. Jackpot! The Best of Bette (CD)
  3. Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem! A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom
  4. 2033: the Future of Misbehavior: Interplanetary Dating, Madame President, Socialized Plastic Surgery and other Good News from the Future
  5. A Walk Through My Garden
  6. Song Man: A Melodic Adventure, or, My Single-Minded Approach to Songwriting, Will Hodgkinson
  7. Mom, There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe, Ellie Slott Fisher
  8. The Single Girl’s Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife, Sally Bjornsen
  9. With or Without a Man: Single Women Taking Control of Their Lives, Karen Gail Lewis
  10. Wingspan, Paul McCartney (CD)

Frankly, this title list scares me.

One final search, using the author’s name, pulled up this Top 10:

  1. Living with a Writer (no other info)
  2. Isherwood: A Life Revealed
  3. Twentieth-Century Attitudes: Literary Powers in Uncertain Times
  4. Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time
  5. Lost Years: A Memoir, 1945-1951 (Christopher Isherwood)
  6. The Isherwood Century
  7. Cabaret (CD)
  8. Auden and Isherwood: The Berlin Years
  9. Cabaret (DVD)
  10. Jacob’s Hands (Aldous Huxley)

Thanks for nothing.

At home, I typed single man into Amazon’s search and, you guessed it, it pulled up the book I was looking for, number one on the results page.


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