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Check out “Lessons Learned: How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age” (PDF – 3MB), released on Tuesday 12/01/09 by Project Information Literacy.  Karen Schneider says “If you can make time for reading just one professional report over the holidays, please make it [this one].”

With that kind of endorsement from a trusted source like her, I’m sold.  I briefly scanned the report and found it most interesting, looking at how many of our assumptions about student information needs and workflow are outdated.  I also think that while this is geared at academic library situations, I think that the report applies equally to public & school libraries who serve students of any age (all of us).  And the general conclusion that we need to think about the workflow of our users’ information needs is always good advice…and sadly something that we are often 5 years behind in tracking.

I also enjoyed Schneider’s analysis.  From her post:

Librarians design too many services around a workflow where the student receives an assignment, perceives an information need, and comes to the library for assistance; as well as the just-in-case “first-year” instruction where students are bathed in instruction that is divorced from actual research tasks they need to conduct. But obviously, students aren’t following that workflow, and though they do seem to pick up that databases are valuable, frog-marching them into those inevitable biblio-classes isn’t growing the library luv for them–at least not luv as we envision it (which is part of the problem).

So the question is, why don’t we adapt our practices so that we are working with the “proxies” for library services — the faculty themselves, who create the assignments, interact first and most with students, and are the referrals for the tools we offer?

“How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age”

  1. Tweets that mention How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton-Jan -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by marcopolis and CMRLS Ref Center, Becca Johnson. Becca Johnson said: This Just In: How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age – http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2009/12/infolit.html [...]

  2. Fiona Says:

    Thanks for the link – it looks very interesting.

  3. Nita Dickerson Says:

    I really appreciate your posts, I am doing a research paper for the last two credits of my BA (which has been sitting for 20 years). I have to say a lot has changed as to: how to research, what is available and who to ask for information. The research for this paper has been life changing for me. now if I can just get it finished by Friday of next week. Thanks.

  4. Walt Lessun Says:

    why don’t we adapt our practices so that we are working with the “proxies” for library services — the faculty themselves, who create the assignments, interact first and most with students, and are the referrals for the tools we offer?

    Could it be that students are so much nicer to work with? I’m just sayin’

  5. Elisabeth Abarbanel Says:

    Thanks for alerting us to that report. As a librarian at a college prep school, I need to know what comes next for my students. At the high school level we find it very rewarding to work with the teachers as we plan the research components of the classes, then with teachers and students throughout the research process. Sounds like, just from the paragraphs from Karen Schneider, many college librarians would enjoy this relationship too. Often it helps if the administration sees the value of this type of collaboration too.
    Thanks for giving me holiday reading!

  6. Will librarians go the way of Kirkus and E&P if students don’t use them often enough? | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home Says:

    [...] per se as it as about how students seek out information for assignments, and Karen Schneider and Sara Houghton-Jan very smartly see this as a [...]

  7. Will librarians go the way of Kirkus and E&P—and this bird—if students don’t use them often enough? | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home Says:

    [...] per se as it as about how students seek out information for assignments, and Karen Schneider and Sara Houghton-Jan very smartly see this as a [...]

  8. sawsan Says:

    Can anybody help me getting a copy of the questionaire that was distributed for the above survey:“Lessons Learned: How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age”

  9. M. Kopteros Says:

    Here you go -
    http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2009_Year1Report_12_2009.pdf

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