Searching for Mr. Goodpawn

OK, so this is a little bit Inside Baseball, but if you cannot navel-gaze about pawnshops on a pawnshop blog, where can you do it?


When searching for news to use on the Kamaaina Loan blog, several times a week, I use Bing and Google to search for “pawn shop news.” Curiously, most of the time the first 2 pages of results on the 2 engines have almost no overlap.

Today, for example, both engines return hits for police stories from North Carolina and Michigan involving pawn shops. (In each case, crooks came to a pawn shop with stolen goods — a theme covered at Kamaaina Loan many times — and got caught.)

But those fresh police blotter stories are the only overlap between Bing and Google for that search string. Although I seldom use Yahoo’s search engine, just for kicks, I tried Yahoo as well. Same outcome: Yahoo knows about the N.C. and Michigan police blotter stories, but after that, not much similarity in the search results.

Since “pawn shops” is not one of the hottest topics, the rest of the results pages are filled out with older stories about “Hard Core Pawn” and whatnot, but not the same whatnot.

As far as pawn news goes, this is not too consequential, but students ought to be aware (as too few are, I think), that there is more than one search engine out there, and more than one query is possible.

Some years ago, my brother told me this sad story:

He was filling in for another teacher who had fallen ill, in a college course about technology & culture. He assigned a paper on “the technology of chocolate.m,” thinking that might capture the interest of the students.

The first paper was fairly interesting, as was the second, but as he read the submissions, it became apparent that “research” for these students amounted to typing “technology chocolate” into a search engine and using to top 3 hits.

In my brother’s research courses, when he assigned a topic, he expected his students to make an exhaustive study of what was available. As it happens, chocolate, like most things, involves more than Google’s first 3 hits.