personal librarian

Want your own personal librarian?

Are you stuck with a research question? Know there’s resources out there, but not how to find them? Need help improving your research skills? I can help with all of that. Think of this like going to your local library, but with some differences (and benefits!)

I use my skill and experience to…

  • Review possible sources of material about your topic.
  • Identify and briefly evaluate sites, books, and other materials for relevance and quality of information.
  • Identify search terms, subject headings, and other methods of finding additional information when relevant to your question.
  • Summarise the findings for you in a clear, well-organised report.

I’m not doing your research for you (that’d involve a lot more time!). Plus, you know best exactly what will help you the most.

When you get my report, you’ll be able to make the most of your research time and know how to get around some obvious and not-so-obvious potential dead ends. Plus I’ll provide other resources that can help you when it makes sense for your particular question or project.

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What kinds of questions?

I focus on questions I’ve seen many people in the modern Pagan and magical community struggle with, but I’m open to other topics too. If you have a topic you need help with, I’d be glad to talk about whether I’m the right person to help you. (There are some kinds of questions I don’t answer.)

Here are some ideas and examples:

  • Brief definition and background on a particular Pagan or magical term or concept : Stuck on understanding a term or concept or confused by how a source is using it? Sample term: degrees (available as PDF or GoogleDoc).
  • Making the most of your local resources: Identifying local library options near you, or identifying Pagan groups and events near you. Sample report: Boston, Massachusetts area library resources(available as PDF or GoogleDoc)
  • Finding specific titles or resources: Identifying whether there are copies of a particular (less common title) you can access near your location. Sample report: Finding MS Tanner 407 (available as PDF or GoogleDoc)
  • Resource list: Resources focused on a particular Pagan or magical topic including books, publications, websites, and groups as relevant. Also includes relevant search terms and suggestions for further research.
  • Accessibility information: Resources about adapting particular practices, events, or experiences for accessibility needs drawing from Pagan experience and common accessibility approaches like Universal Design.

Other possibilities:

When time in my schedule allows (i.e. I can answer your question within 1-2 days), I offer a quick question service. More about this option is on its own page, which will say clearly whether I’m currently accepting these questions.

Sometimes you don’t have a question, you want to improve your skills or figure out how to do things for yourself. I can help with that too!

Another page on my site discusses other consulting options, including research plan development, skill tutoring, help finding and learning productivity tools, and organising your home library.

I also provide services to authors who want help with specific aspects of their manuscripts. 

Finally, Boston is home to many great libraries with amazing collections. If I can get access to an item here, I can take notes for you on identified topics. Learn more about note-taking and research services.

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How this works:

  • Please read through the rest of this page so you understand the practical details and what you’re getting.
  • When you’re ready to ask a question, fill out this form with details about your question and goals. It asks for information about any research you’ve already done, so I don’t duplicate your work, and other questions depending on your specific interests.
  • I review your information and ask any clarifying questions in an email (or maybe two.)
  • I send you an agreement for the work. It includes what you can expect as a report, my anticipated timeline, and the charges for the initial work. (A sample agreement can be accessed from the policies page if you want to see how things work.)
  • If the agreement works for you, you sign it, return it, and pay me for the initial work we agree on. This is where the timer starts.
  • Research happens!
  • I write up the report and send it off to you.

If there’s more information than fits in the time we’ve agreed on, I’ll include a summary of options for further exploration at the end of the report and an estimate of the time needed. These might include subject terms, books, or other resources I didn’t have time to explore in depth. You can decide if you want to review them yourself, arrange for additional time, or whatever else makes sense to you." "

Fees:

My base fee is $50 (US) per hour, billed to the quarter hour. I have a few special offers below for topics I know I can research more quickly. Discounts are available for projects over five hours.

Additional information about my rates and payment is available, including some additional options if your finances are limited.

Special offers:

  • Brief definition and background on a particular Pagan or magical term or concept (1-2 pages of information) : $20
  • Identify Pagan groups and events near you : $20
  • Libraries and electronic resource access near you: $20 for one or two nearby library systems plus regional resources
  • Identify possible options for access to a particular book or resource near you, if any : $20

These are designed to provide 1-2 pages or up to about 500 words of information about a topic. Additional restrictions or focus questions may be extra.

In my samples above, the brief definition of degrees is a sample of the length and detail of report you can expect for these special offers. The Boston resources report has several additional questions, and was about 90 minutes of work.

Other practical details

Format:

I normally arrange a project through email (that way we both have a record), and will provide my research in a written summary or report. I offer a PDF or GoogleDoc by preference, but I can provide alternate formats on request.

Text-based and video chat are potentially available, but are subject to my availability. Please contact me to ask about specific fees and considerations.

Time and responses:

Reports and discussion of your topics will be by email – this gives both of us a record of what we’ve discussed and is the easiest way to share links and lengthy material.

Our agreement will include a time frame when I expect to provide the report based on the amount of work and my current availability.

Please give me a day or two to respond to you, though I’m often faster than that. More about communicating with me is on my questions page.

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What you get

You will get a written report listing a number of resources and information sources you can explore further on your own.

These might include (depending on the topic):

  • Useful search terms, subject headings, etc.
  • Specific authors and titles to consider
  • Websites and brief summaries about why they might be relevant
  • Search tips, or information about where to access more resources (such as information about using interlibrary loan, a nearby library system, or other collection.)
  • If your question involves finding groups or teachers, I’ll include some information about evaluating them.

I include recommendations for further research as relevant.

As noted above, our agreement is for my time and experience working on your question, not for any specific results or information. I don’t read materials in detail, but instead identify resources that would be worth further exploration.

Important notes

My policies page has additional important information on all these topics, but here are the key points.

  • I am a librarian. I am not a doctor, lawyer, or any other kind of licensed professional. I can direct you to resources, but not provide advice on medical, legal, or other similar topics.
  • I am a witch and priestess, but not your witch or priestess. I do not provide direct practical advice or training about witchcraft, magic, ritual, or related topics through this service. You will get a list of resources and materials you can use to make your own decisions (which may include information about groups, teachers, events, or other resources near you.)
  • If I direct you to groups or individuals, in most cases, I do not know these people (or only know their general public reputation.) If I have a closer connection with someone I mention, I will let you know. You are responsible for evaluating the individuals or groups yourself. Relevant reports will provide some resources to help you do this.
  • I do not provide instant replies: I have a day job and do not answer questions for this side business while I am at work. You can normally expect a reply within 24 hours (including on weekends). I have times when I may be travelling, dealing with health issues, or otherwise less available. If these come up, I will let you know when you can expect a reply.

I retain copyright of the materials I provide to you. Our agreement will include a license allowing you to share, copy, and otherwise use the report I send to you in whatever way you see fit. This allows me to use the research I’ve done for you for other projects in the future without worrying about copyright issues.

I do not do detailed research for you or provide complete access to print sources. I will identify books and other resources you may want to request and can help with ways you could get access to them. In some cases, I may be able to copy or summarize brief passages from books I already own, if relevant and useful to your answer, but in most cases you will need to get your hands on the materials yourself.

Answers to other questions you may have (and their answers) can be found on my questions page. 

Last updated July 17, 2017

Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom : Jenett Silver : seekknowledgefindwisdom.com

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