Friday, 8 April 2011

Nicholas Carr : the age of perpetual distraction

Nicholas Carr (author of The Shallows, what the internet is doing to our brains) features in the latest Project Information Literacy (PIL) "Smart Talks" here. It's both interesting and provocative. Makes me want to read the above book. As it mentions the report mentiuoned in the previous post about the latest research by Head and Eisenberg, this is a useful follow-on.

This excerpt is the most interesting for me ;

"I don’t think anyone is “born digital” (at least not yet). We’re all born with human bodies and human minds, and those bodies and minds are influenced in similar ways by the ways we use them and the environment in which we use them. I’ve never subscribed to the fear that people wouldn’t be able to figure out how to navigate online information. People are generally pretty good at learning how to use new media, to separate the wheat from the chaff—and that goes for older people as well as younger ones. I’m 52, and I don’t take anything I find online at face value, either. What concerns me is the mode of thinking that the online world encourages, with its emphasis on speed, multitasking, skimming, and scanning. The web provides little encouragement or opportunity for quieter, more attentive ways of thinking, such as contemplation, reflection, introspection. Those ways of thinking used to be considered the essence of the human intellect. Now they’re seen as dispensable."

So, following from this does this mean that our information literacy interventions should pay more attention to this need to encourage reflection?

BTW this is the 400th post on this blog!!! Somehow I dont think we will make 500...

Latest Head and Eisenberg research

How college students use the Web to conduct everyday life research in First Monday, is the latest piece of research by Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg. (Project Information Literacy PIL).
Here is the abstract
"This paper reports on college students’ everyday life information–seeking behavior and is based on findings from 8,353 survey respondents on 25 U.S. college campuses. A large majority of respondents had looked for news and, to a slightly lesser extent, decision–making information about purchases and health and wellness within the previous six mont
Publish Post
hs. Almost all the respondents used search engines, though students planning to purchase something were more likely to use search engines, and those looking for spiritual information were least likely to use search engines. Despite the widespread use of search engines, the process of filtering relevant from non–relevant search results was reportedly the most difficult part of everyday life research. As a whole, these students used a hybrid information–seeking strategy for meeting their everyday life information needs, turning to search engines almost as much as they did to friends and family. A preliminary theory is introduced that describes the relationship between students’ evaluation practices and their risk–associated searches."