Friday, May 11, 2012

Oh, the naivete...

This morning, I attended the periodic reference training session held in the library that I work at. They're topical, and today's topic was maps, but we often begin or end with a "scavenger hunt" type reference question, just to keep us all on our toes in Reference Librarian Land. Today's question was:

I need to find 8 online dating sites that had 1 million or more members before 2004.

We're on it.

As a good reference librarian, I remembered to first think about what type of source would contain this type of information. A directory, no?

So away I go. But where would I find such a directory? I work in an academic library, and I'm not thinking that I'll find a print directory of dating sites in our reference collection. Apparently I'm as bad as the students I complain about, because I went right to Google. In I dutifully type: Directory Online Dating Sites.

One wouldn't think this would be a scandalous search query. One wouldn't think. But the following is an honest chronicle of what appeared on my search result screen (minus links, because I don't want any untoward attention on this blog :) ).

Ads for:

"Dating Site for All." Sounds innocent enough. "The most discreet dating site for adults." Hummmm. Ah. the url has the letter "x" in it. Next!

"Casual dating." The words "first affair" appear in the url. Moving on...

"Free dating sites online." Maybe? "Real generous and sexy people always" appears in the description. *sighs*

A site that has the word "sugardaddie" in the title is eliminated without further ado.

And my personal favorite: "Free millionaire dating. Why date losers with no future? Meet rich single men in your area!" Indeed! Who needs losers?

A site that advertised itself as a "directory of dating" is the first link I dared click on. It actually was a directory of dating sites, but it was a .com and it just seemed...I don't know, skeevy. Is that even a word? The dating sites were all categorized and some of the categories, well. I like to think of myself as modest, but I'm no prude, and I had no idea a market even existed for some of these things. Dating sites for married couples? What on earth is a "married single"? Oh. Oh my. I hit my browser back button.

After scrolling past sites for Muslims looking to find other Muslims and women from other countries looking for American men, I decided that maybe I had met my match in this reference question. I tried to revise my search query which only served to make matters worse. I kept my hand firmly off my mouse until the answer was revealed.

After that adventurous outing, I have to say that I'm glad I'm out of the dating scene. I'm not so sure that this is any better than some shady character slithering up to you in a bar. Ugh.


  1. I find googling for "list of x" (sometimes with the quotes but usually without) often leads to a really good Wikipedia page on exactly what I need.

    96 million registered at! Wow!


  2. I'm curious what you tried after Google and how was the answer was eventually found. I'm a librarian too and always find it interesting to see how other approach a question.


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!