I was googling myself recently in Google Images and came across a picture of my doppelgänger on the University of Kansas website. The page lists the winners of the 2007 Snyder Book Collecting Contest. Why is the person in the picture of “me” not me?
Elizabeth Morrison Snyder established this contest at KU in 1957, and as one of the participants fifty years later in 2007, I am pleased to say that I did, in fact, receive “2nd place” as “Christopher Mayo, Blue Springs, MO – East Asian Languages and Cultures” for my book collection titled “Art and Etymology of Chinese Characters.” Because I was unable to attend the award ceremony, the photo labeled as “ChrisMayo.jpg” actually shows someone else who kindly read the comments that I prepared. Thanks!
What I found interesting about this, though, was that Google turned up a page about me that I did not even know existed. I am sometimes amazed by how relevant its search results can be, and whatever your research topic is, I think targeted searches like the one I did in Google Images are worth trying. Google provides a complete list of its searches here, and I use the ones listed below on a regular basis.
Books and Alerts
Probably the most helpful targeted search is Google Books, which seems to index just about everything these days, including my M.A. thesis. I thought it would have been walled off and squirreled away inside the ProQuest servers, but here it is for anyone to find.
I also like Google Alerts a lot. You can enter a search query that Google will perform automatically, and then email the results to you. Every day I receive several emails about pages that have been posted on the web relevant to my research topic. This is a pretty amazing service that I think could be especially useful for student papers. Plug keywords related to your coursework into Google at the beginning of a semester, and in no time at all you will have amassed thousands of pages of potentially useful material that will help you in your courses. One really exciting possibility is to have these emails forwarded automatically into your Evernote account using the IFTTT service so that they become part of your external brain.