- Why work with me?
- What can I do for you?
- What I bring to the work:
Why work with me?
My secret superpower is getting things out of Google. (Or other search engines, for that matter.)
But besides that superpower – which is great, don’t get me wrong – I’m a trained and highly experienced librarian.
My whole life (professional and otherwise) basically revolves around finding information, and figuring out how to help people get access to it so they can do things that matter with it.
I want to do that for you.
What can I do for you?
Stuck on a research problem? Let me be your personal librarian. I can provide research assistance and support and help you find resources, materials, or new directions to take your research. Check out the page for examples and samples of the kind of reports I can provide.
I also offer an inexpensive quick question service (currently $10) for those times where you just need a few links or resources to move you forward.
If you’re looking to improve your research skills, manage information better, organise a home library, or other related topics, I can help. This consulting is highly dependent on your needs and situation, so if you’re interested, read the page, fill out the form, and let me know you’re interested.
I am particularly open to consulting about accessibility issues and information, or helping authors who want to make sure their research, magic or ritual systems, or related worldbuilding makes sense, as well as the topics above.
On-site research and note-taking:
Would information from a Boston-area resource move your research project along? I can do that for you (assuming we can make the logistics work out.)
What I bring to the work:
1) I know about a lot of things.
Knowing at least a little about a lot of things helps me do very efficient and effective searches.
When it comes to Pagan, esoteric, occult, and other related material, this is a big bonus. I already know a lot of the spelling and name variations and other things that can affect how well searches work. I know some reliable sources to start with and I also know some sites that aren’t good sources by themselves, but can point me at the really great stuff.
I also read widely about other topics. (Someone once said I’ll read anything that sits still long enough. That is totally true.) That means I’m also particularly good at questions that connect two different topics. I’m a well-read generalist who loves making bridges between useful material.
2) My undivided attention finds lots of information very quickly.
I have a running thing with friends where they’ll struggle with finding information for hours. I turn up in chat, and someone asks me to find the thing. Three minutes later, I’m dropping links into our conversation, and usually several other things to think about. (I try to do this only when asked.)
If you hire me as your research consultant and personal librarian, I’ll work with your specific question. I ask you what you’ve already looked at, so I can find new information and resources if they’re available. If they’re not, I’ll tell you where I looked, other places it might be worth investigating, and whatever additional information I can share with you.
(And when I’m working for someone like this, they get my undivided attention. A little background music, but that’s it.)
3) We decide together how much time your question needs.
Sometimes I’ve had questions, and not wanted to take up lots of time with a librarian or someone else. Or the library’s closing.
When you work with me, we’re not limited by those things. You don’t have to finish up for their schedule. You don’t have to get to a particular location. I help you through email, so we don’t even have to coordinate schedules. Instead, you let me know what you need, I figure out how to look for it, and you get the results. (And then you can spend your time on reading and enjoying what we’ve found.)
If we have extra time, we can go a bit deeper on a topic, or find another question to tackle.
4) Access issues are lousy things.
And there can be a lot of them in research. Some of them are logistical (an unusual book you can’t get your hands on, or maybe you can’t get to a large library). Some of them are social (asking for help is really hard if you’ve got anxiety). Some of them are technical (it can be really hard to figure out how to find things in a catalogue or be sure you’re finding the best sources.)
I think about everything from privacy concerns to limited access to some kinds of resources to format and content access needs. I have experience working with people with a wide range of educational backgrounds, research skills, and technology comfort levels. I want to find the solutions that will work for you, as much as the resources for your question allow.
I’m also kink-, poly-, and queer/LGBTA-friendly. Sincere questions are very unlikely to faze me.
5) I have lots of practice sharing information in text
A lot of library jobs rely on face to face contact or classroom settings. In my current job, we handle about 75% of our questions by email, including complex and unique historical research. I know a lot about how to explain resources clearly in writing, and how to figure out someone’s main question from an email or two. And I’ve got lots of practice figuring out how long a question will likely take me.
Conciseness is not one of my better virtues, but I write quickly and fluidly, organise my material clearly, and I’m used to structuring things so other people can read and refer back to them easily.