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“Why Johnny Can’t Search”

January 3, 2012

In November Wired.com  featured an article discussing the problems that students have searching for information online. To librarians, this is not much of a revalation, but this article is noteworthy because it did not appear in an publishing source primarily focused on education or librarianship. 

The article discusses a study which proves that students are not searching critically or “assessing information sources on their own merit.” Instead “they’re putting too much trust in the machine.” Librarians are also particularly mentioned in the article as champions of information searching: “Librarians are our national leaders in this fight; they’re the main ones trying to teach search skills to kids today.”

This looks like another good article to circulate among faculty or post online to encourage the university to appreciate all that librarians have to offer!!!! Lets use the publicity we are given and market ourselves as the one group of people who can help solve this problem, a concern which more and more people,  people located outside of the library or the world of education, are becomming aware about.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2012 4:55 pm

    Perhaps librarians, or at least the way information literacy is viewed in an institution, is only adding to this idea of “putting too much trust in the machine.” When we teach students to use the library for resources, we’re simply telling them to use these sources because the library says they are trusted sources. We don’t tell them to think about why the library sees these as trusted sources, whether they’re print or electronic sources. So when these same students use Google, they trust the source and think everything is credible because it’s from a source they trust. They seem to see Google as another library rather than as an search engine that just finds articles with similar keywords. And of course the wrong assumption that digital natives understand what Google is and they can search the Internet doesn’t help this any. So instead of instructors bringing their students to the library for lessons on how to evaluate web sources, they’re only bringing them to the library – if they’re bringing them over at all – to learn how to use the library databases. This just adds to the case for information literacy integration in education. And if the popular media has caught on, perhaps this problem is worse than I thought it was.

    -Christina Steffy

  2. January 4, 2012 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up, Larissa! This will be the perfect opening for my spring email to my depts.

    @mylibrarygoddess — you make an excellent point. Info lit is really concerned with teaching students to THINK. Even peer-reviewed resources are not 100% reliable, so it’s important to think and judge for oneself.

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