Wednesday, January 23, 2008
“Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future” says that although there’s only patchy knowledge about how children and young adults become competent using the Internet, some clear news has emerged. Most notably, the information literacy of young people hasn’t improved with the growing access to technology.
For instance, the speed with which students search the Web means that “little time is spent in evaluating information, either for relevance, accuracy or authority,” says the report, commissioned by the British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) [http://www.jisc.ac.uk]. JISC is an oganization that supports education and research by promoting innovative technologies.
The report goes on to say that young people have a poor understanding of their information needs and, therefore, find it difficult to develop effective search strategies. As a result, when students conduct Web searches, they tend to type in phrases using “natural language rather than analyzing which key words might be more effective.”
Since kids are typically unfamiliar with library databases, they prefer to stick to more familiar search engines, such as Yahoo! and Google, for their research needs “[So] there is little direct evidence that young people’s information literacy is any better or worse than before,” the report says.
The main message of the report is for research libraries to realize “that the future is now, not 10 years away, and that they have no option but to understand and design systems around the actual behavior of today’s virtual scholar.”