Hey folks, give the kid a break!
So she wants to do a good job and is using the internet mildly
inappropriately. The request was not entirely unreasonable; she was
asking for information on recent releases, not the field as a whole.
These are harder for an undergrad to find; not all of us have a nose for
what's great and what isn't. I haven't noticed CD-ROM's listing papers
with a rating system and we all know there's some serious trash out there,
and some obscure gems.
The request is probably mildly inappropriate, but does that mean we have
to accuse her of all manner of malingering, opportunism and and political
expediency. I imagine most successful scientists got good reccomendations
by doing good work. Some did it conciously to impress and others did it
purely for the sake of the science. In either case, it was still good