Friday, 13 November 2009

Researchers of Tomorrow (who use Google)

Here is the summary report about the interim findings of the first year of the Researchers of Tomorrow (British Library/JISC) study. A survey went out earlier this year and over 6500 doctoral students replied. Here is are some findings:
  • Time pressures are a significant constraint for most respondents, both full-time and part‐time.
  • More Generation Y than older scholars are likely to be working from officespace, laboratory or studio in their own institution, rather than working from their own home.
  • • About half of the respondents have been usefully trained in, for instance, finding and using subject‐based bibliographical and journal resources, andfinding research resources beyond their own institution.
  • Far fewer respondents, however, have received any training in using more advanced technology‐based research resources and tools such as research methods, finding and using online datasets or working in virtualresearch environments.
  • Only a small proportion of respondents in any age group say they use ‘emergent technology’ (e.g. Web 2.0 applications) in their research, although those that do generally find it valuable.
  • In a snapshot of information‐seeking and research activity, the majority of doctoral students were looking for text‐based and secondary, published research resources, rather than primary research resources (e.g. data to analyse or original manuscript sources).
  • Google and Google Scholar are dominant as the main source used by doctoral students of all ages to find the information they require.
It's an important report and well worth following up. I was disappointed to see the low use of Web 2.0. Here is an opening for librarians to assist - showing that Web 2.0 can assist with result retrieval and saving time.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Information Overload is the Devil

If you haven't seen this great presentation from Librarian in Black then here it is! She believes that we do struggle to keep up and control the amount of stuff that we try to read. As I sit here at home in the evening doing this post I am quite sure that she is so right! Why am I not playing the piano, watching tv or a host of other more healthy things? It's because it's so hard to find the time (no, schedule the time) and be disciplined. Do take a look at this - I will take note myself too!

Google Wave

I'm not one of the lucky ones who have been invited to try this out, so I have an open mind as to its importance.Here is an Educause 7 Things You Should Know About Google Wave.
The abstract says :
"Google Wave is a web-based application that represents a rethinking of electronic communication. Users create online spaces called “waves,” which include multiple discrete messages and components that constitute a running, conversational document. Users access waves through the web, resulting in a model of communication in which rather than sending separate copies of multiple messages to different people, the content resides in a single space. Wave offers a compelling platform for personal learning environments because it provides a single location for collecting information from diverse sources while accommodating a variety of formats, and it makes interactive coursework a possibility for nontechnical students. Wave challenges us to reevaluate how communication is done, stored, and shared between two or more people."

Wikipedia YouTube and Information Literacy

Been meaning to blog about this presentation on Slideshare by Esther Grassian for some time. It's from Sept. 2008 and I even notice that the Powerpoint background and some of the images are some of the same that I have used! So we have a lot in common. The message that Wikipedia YouTube and Google are not enough is of course a common one for us all to be giving out.There are some ideas on how to leverage Wikipedia so that students realise how it is created and the effort involved in doing this. There are examples of other Tubes and titles for use.
I look forward to "speaking" with Esther if all goes according to plan in the Second Life event on Friday that Sheila Webber blooged about earlier this week.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Catalogue of our dreams?

Chronicle of Higher Education contained an article "After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software" showing that some US libraries are spending large sums investing in new catalogues using web scale index searching which could combat Google. Not a field that I have looked into yet, but seems to be a step up from federated searching. Will this help our IL interventions?

Susan L. Gibbons, vice provost and dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, summed up the discussion in an e-mail to The Chronicle:

"The commentary shows the all-too-common divide within libraries about information literacy. Some pine for the good old days when students had no choice but to come to the physical library and be forced to learn the idiosyncrasies of mastering a research tool, such as journal indices and the power of Library of Congress subject headings. Personally, I think libraries have gone from being in a monopolistic to a competitive marketplace for information; and that marketplace shift requires different thinking about services. I am of the opinion that libraries should do everything they can to lower the barrier of entry. Nothing should stand in the way of a student entering some search terms and discovering good resources. Once the student has entered into the (virtually or physically) library, then the rich complexities can be revealed."

ECAR Study 2009

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and IT 2009 has been released.This longitudinal study is an important gauge of how student opinion and practice in the US.Based on responses from 115 instututions and 30,616 responses this year it has some credibility! There was an emphasis on handheld devices this year too.
They note that some sets of student beliefs and adoption patterns re. technology remain the same, even as technology races forward. They adopt technology at varying speeds, which means that the technology leaders "can provide a glimpse into what higher education can expect".
Use of Social networking sites (SNS)and texting has surged and instant messaging has declined.
Use of SNS 2006-2009 has trebled for the 30-39s and quadrupled for 40+
Use of Web 2.0 technologies, as in previous years, is not necessarily for academic reasons.
80% rate themselves very confident in their abaility to search the internet effectively and efficiently.Lower figures for evaluating reliability and credibility and ethical and legal issues, but still high. Technology innovators and early adopters rank their IL skills higher than other students.
51.2% had an internet capable handheld device, but 35.4% of these said they never use the feature.
Only 11.3% said they used mobiles for course-related work.
There is evidence of a revolution in progress as a quarter of respondents this year say they are using mobiles weekly or more to access the internet. As access costs come down this could increased dramatically . EDUCAUSE article The revolution no one noticed : mobile phones and multimobile services in HE by Alan Livingstone is well worth reading.
Despite all this there is a clear demand for personal interaction "real books and people" and this supports the agument that librarians should concentrate on personal branding and personal service.

100 ways you should be using Facebook in your classroom

Online College have come up with a great list of 100 ways to use Facebook. They say "Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings. Read on to learn how you can be using Facebook in your classroom, no matter if you are a professor, student, working online, or showing up in person for class."

Sunday, 8 November 2009

9-15 Nov: Information Literacy Week in Second Life

This week is Information Literacy Week in Second Life. You will be able to participate if you have a SL avatar and have the SL browser installed on your computer. The website for the event is at and that is where the full schedule is. There are contributions from the USA, Colombia and the UK. Since it is exactly on the subject of this blog, I will pick out just one event:

Information Literacy Panel: "Web 2.0 Approaches to IL"
Noon SLT (8pm in UK, for other times see
Information Literacy Panel produced by MLIS students at the University of Hawaii. Moderator: (Alexandria Knight) Esther Grassian, UCLA
Panelists: (Sheila Yoshikawa) Sheila Webber, U. Sheffield, Marsha Schnirring (Buk Binder); Robin Ashford, George Fox University (Robin Mochi)