Search Smarter: becoming an information detective using advanced job searches

by Sarah Porter, former Head Editor, INALJ California
previously published 5/15/13

Search Smarter: becoming an information detective using advanced job searches

sarahporterOne exciting aspect of volunteering as a head editor for INALJ is being an “information detective”: solving the mystery of where some of the hidden non-traditional LIS (Library and Information Science) jobs are and making them more accessible to other LIS job seekers.

Last month, my co-head editor and I assigned keyword searches for our assistants to find more LIS-related jobs in California on and Craigslist. Overall, searching many of these keywords was a success, nevertheless some search terms brought up way too many jobs, while others not enough. In an effort to increase efficiency and find more relevant results, I chose to formulate more advanced searches using Boolean logic and advanced search settings.

Provided that many of you have a background in Library Science, I assume that many of you know what Boolean searching is, even if you do not know it by name. In short, Boolean logic is combining words and phrases into search statements using the Boolean operators OR, AND, NOT to narrow or broaden a search. If you are not familiar with Boolean searching I recommend reading Boolean Searching on the Internet. has an advanced search that makes narrowing or broadening your search easy. Rather than developing your own formula with Boolean operators, creates the search formula for you based on the specifications you type into search boxes, such as “with these words in title” or “with none of these words”. For more information, here are tips on advanced searching with

Craigslist lists some paraprofessional library positions and information professional-related tech jobs. Unlike searching, you have to use a little more brainpower to create advanced searches on Craigslist. The Boolean logic operators are slightly different from what you may be used to. For instance, use “- ” in place of OR, and “|” in place of AND. Craigslist provides instructions on how to create an advanced search.

Developing and refining advanced searches for my assistants has been an ongoing process. So far, the biggest improvement has been searching for “data” or “database” jobs. I created a lot of NOT terms, as there were way too many irrelevant results before. I am determined to continue developing better search formulas. I encourage feedback and ideas from my assistants, and anyone who has tips on how to find these elusive library-ish jobs.  Paste in the comments below.



reposted from 5/13/13

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


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