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Library patrons often approach the reference desk with indirect, incomplete, or misleading questions, known as "ill-formed" questions. Transforming ill-formed questions into well-formed ones is a crucial part of the reference interview, and Google can be an active participant in that process. This paper discusses how Google can help librarians and patrons deal with incomplete citations, incorrect citations, incorrect spellings, tip-of-the-tongue questions, and forgotten searches.


This work was originally published in Library Philosophy and Practice, available at



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