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Information behaviour of the researcher of the future

  • CIBER Research Ltd., Westwood Farm, Newbury, UK
Information behaviour of the researcher of the future
Search and Report: Two Sides of Information Literacy, Arets NIK-konferens, Stockholm
20 November 2009
Ian Rowlands
CIBER at University College London
| Slide 1
Three eras of human communication
Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his
horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then in the
twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books
cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids.
Everything boils down to the gap, the snap
ending. Classics cut down to fifteen minute radio
shows, then cut again to fill a two-page book
review, winding up as a ten- or twelve-line
dictionary resume. Politics? One column, two
sentences and a headline.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, 1953.
The Google Generation
The research challenge
| Slide 4
Googlegen: Aims
To examine:
Whether or not as a result of the digital transition and the vast range of information being
digitally created , young people, the ‘Google Generation’, are searching for and researching
content in new ways
Whether such ‘new ways’ of researching content will prove to be any different from the
ways that existing researchers and scholars carry out their work?
And to …
To inform and stimulate discussion about the future of libraries in the internet era.
The research problem
We were having some salad for lunch one day …
A virtual longitudinal study
for the virtual age!
Different generations at the same point in their development
Is there a real difference between the Google
and earlier generations at the same point in
their development?
A critical review of published research over the
past 30 years (and several generations of new
This work focused on reported differences with
earlier studies
The same generation at different points in time
How have earlier generations coped with change?
A re-analysis of Tenopir & King longitudinal survey data
Are they catching up with or falling behind with technology?
Different generations at the same point in time
How do people from different
generations use the same content
platforms, now?
Deep log analyses of two live
platforms aimed at a range of age
JISC Intute
British Library Learning
Google Generation
Key findings: the literature
| Slide 11
Assumptions are rife!
Today’s youngsters constitute an homogenous
body (Google Generation).
They are all equipped with the latest gadgetry:
iPod, laptop, mobile phone connected to the
Internet etc.
and ….
| Slide 12
The biggest assumption of them all
“[they] are so different today. I bet every adult says that
about the young people of their time, but kids today really
are different from the kids of any other age.”
Long SA (2005): Digital natives: if you aren't one, get to know one, New Library World, 106, (3-4), pp.
Are they really different from earlier generations??
… and are they different from adults (in terms of IT skills, online
And what does any difference mean for the future??
Google Generation
These assumptions resulted in a series of myths…
| Slide 14
GG are always online (e.g. Windham, 2005, Prenski 2001).
Study by Synovate found:
Only 27% of young people live up to image of IT immersion
For most (57%) ‘technology was not a badge to be worn, but something
that had value’ once its functional usefulness had been demonstrated
20% are ‘digital dissidents’ (Synovate, 2007).
The over-65s spend four hours a week longer online than 18-24s
(Ofcom, 2007).
GG are naturally good at technology
(Gardner & Eng, 2005)
Little empirical evidence that young people are better at technology. And
don’t forget, they have:
Greater exposure
More time
No preconceived ideas
Less concern about monetary value (!)
Also …
It’s in manufacturers’ interests to make us feel inadequate
(Thimbly 1995)
GG are: good at finding information
Baird & Fisher (2005) Hay (2006)
BUT: Research over 15 years consistently shows young people:
Have difficulties formulating appropriate terms, due to use of natural
language (how to build bird’s nests);
Assume search engines understand sentences and questions.
Do not use advanced search facilities or navigation aids.
Have trouble generating alternative search terms / synonyms.
Often repeat the same search several times.
Soloman (1993); Hirsh (1999); Chen (2003); Valenza (2006)
GG are: good at finding information (2)
Baird and Fisher (2005) Hay (2006)
speed of young people’s web searching shows little time is spent in
evaluating information.
information-seeking stops at the point where articles were simply found,
rather than perused,
Little regard is made to the text itself – only the presence/ absence of
words exactly matching search terms or a word in the title
An appropriate accompanying image also enough to confirm relevance.
Schacter et al (1998) Williams (1999) Chen, (2003) Oblinger and Hawkins,
GG Have zero tolerance for delays
Johnson, 2006; Shih and Allen, 2006
Seems to be happening for email. ‘New users’ more likely to say
email should be checked as often as possible
Not appropriate to wait >3 days to respond
Log analyses tell us that EVERYONE – students, professors, lecturers and
practitioners – exhibits ‘instant gratification’ behaviour online:
Promiscuous, bouncing/flicking behaviour, searching horizontally
Leads to findings from other elements of the project ….
The Google Generation is an unhelpful concept
| Slide 20
The key messages from our
research are continuity and
complex demographics around the
use of information
"Stereotype means to cast a person
in a preset mold -- to deny them
Google Generation
Findings from log analyses
| Slide 21
The real issue: virtual information behaviour
CIBER’s Virtual Scholar programme
has been looking in detail at
scholarly information behaviour for
five years.
The gap between generations has
closed and their behaviour is not
what many librarians, publishers and
system vendors might expect …
The real issue: virtual information behaviour
Skimming (1-2 pages at a time)
Navigating (looking around the
electronic sweet shop)
Power browsing (reading abstracts
and titles, even indexing terms,
rather than full text)
Squirrelling (downloading material
to `read’ later)
Cross-checking (collecting
information from different sites)
The real issue: virtual information behaviour
I am not thinking the way I used to
think. I can eel it most strongly
when I am reading. Immersing
myself in a book used to be easy
… deep reading that used to come
naturally has become a struggle.
Once I was a scuba diver in a sea
of words. Now I zip along like a
guy on a jet ski.
Nicholas Carr
In summary
Information skills have not improved with widening access to technology
Little time is spent evaluating content for relevance, accuracy or authority
Searching is simple – often one word terms or full phrases
Young people lack mental map of libraries, resources and (possibly)
informational structure of subject disciplines
These problems have always been around, and …
Many of them are not unique to young people!
We are all Google Generation!
Google Generation
Implications for the future
| Slide 26
Implications for libraries
How can we provide users with
clearer mental maps of the digital
How do we make library systems as
convenient, intuitive and predictable
as Google?
Should we re-design library systems
around user behaviour (or re-design
our users?)
How do we avoid becoming un-
coupled from users as publishers
march into our space?
We need to take information literacy more seriously
Information literacy needs to be
inculcated at an early age or coping
strategies (e.g. over-reliance on
Google) become deeply ingrained.
This is a big public policy issue …
... Information literacy in online environments is more complex than in offline environments and includes navigating through vast amounts of information, evaluating the usefulness and integrity of information, and integrating multiple sources of information. Research is challenging the myth of technology-savvy youth and pointing to the pressing need for strategic instruction in these new literacies as well as more effective and meaningful integration of the Internet in learning (Bilal, 2000;Chung & Neumann, 2007;Coiro, 2003;Coiro & Dobler, 2007;Rowlands & Nicholas, 2008). In particular, research shows that today's youth need support in how to effectively search and locate information on the Internet, comprehend hypermediated text, critically evaluate online information, and use information in socially and ethically responsible ways (Coiro, 2003;Rowlands & Nicholson, 2008;Lawless, Shrader & Mayall, 2007;Shenton, 2007). ...
... In their study of post-secondary students' use of digital resources, Rowlands and Nicholas (2008), concluded that there is "a desperate need for . . . educational research and inquiry into the information and digital literacy skills of our young people" (p. ...
... Like that of Lenhart, Madden, and Hitlin (2005) and Lewis and Fabos (2005), our study found that students are using the Internet for a variety of purposes; however, participants still lacked skills in many areas of Internet literacy especially where learning was concerned. These results concur with findings of Coiro and Dobler, 2007;Guinee, Eagleton and Hall, 2003;Henry, 2006;Rowlands and Nicholas, 2008;Shenton, 2007. Students need to know how to effectively and efficiently locate and select information for their purposes. ...
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This study observed adolescents’ Internet practices as they did homework and explored student, parent and teacher views on Internet use for learning the academic disciplines. Findings revealed that instruction of the new literacies of the Internet should address strategic information searching and critical evaluation of online information. Factors of Internet use in schools are teachers’ knowledge of technology, access issues, educational policy, and adult attitudes. Implications include prioritizing instruction of aspects of Internet literacy, implementing district and school initiatives targeted to enabling effective use of the Internet for learning, and transforming pedagogical frameworks of learning from fact finding tasks to inquiry processes.
... Según otros estudios, sin embargo, el uso que los adolescentes y los jóvenes realizan de los dispositivos tecnológicos es meramente instrumental y lúdico, sin poder llevar esta apropiación tecnológica a otros espacios formales. Es decir, se reconoce a los nativos digitales un gran desarrollo de habilidades en torno a las nuevas tecnologías, pero que están vinculadas solamente a la mera actividad lúdica o social, sin que puedan reflejarse en los procesos de aprendizaje ni de construcción del conocimiento(Valtonen et al., 2011).En este sentido, de acuerdo con algunos estudios(Rowlands et al., 2008), se ha evidenciado que mientras los estudiantes universitarios nacidos después de 1984 hacen uso de tecnologías digitales con frecuencia, es muy limitado el uso que hacen de ellas para aprender. En el mismo sentido, Bennett, Maton y Kervin (2008) afirman que aún no se ha podido comprobar que ...
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El estudiante universitario se encuentra inmerso en un mundo de tecnologías y redes que modifican sus prácticas cotidianas y académicas, lo que vuelve necesario redefinir la alfabetización en función de las nuevas habilidades o competencias que demanda esta cultura digital. Al mismo tiempo, en el escenario de la educación universitaria en América Latina, los datos registrados por el Banco Mundial indican que en los últimos años se duplicó la matrícula de estudiantes universitarios mientras que la tasa de graduados disminuyó drásticamente, lo que indicaría, entre otras cuestiones, la incapacidad de la institución para retener a sus estudiantes. Argentina no es ajena a esta situación: altas tasas de ingreso combinadas con bajas tasas de graduados universitarios. En este artículo nos proponemos revisar solo dos aspectos de esta problemática, los que podrían contribuir a la discusión para entender, en parte, el contexto: por un lado, la alfabetización digital, que implica la utilización de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación de forma de poder construir y seleccionar críticamente la infinita información que circula en las redes; y por otro, la alfabetización académica, a través de la cual los estudiantes pueden acceder a la cultura universitaria.
... (Duncan-Howell y Lee, 2007), "Generación Instant Message (IM) o SMS" (Lenhart, Rainie y Lewis, 2001), "Homo Zappiens" (Veen, 2003), "Gamer Generation" (Carstens y Beck, 2005), "Google Generation" (Rowlands y Nicholas, 2008), o "i-Generation" (Rosen et al., 2010), para dar cuenta de rasgos característicos de estas generaciones, tales como su marcada alfabetización digital. ...
... Indeed, recent empirical studies of social web use by learners in formal and informal settings suggest a lack of what could be considered as 'authentic' or even 'useful' participative learning activity amongst young people. Ongoing Norwegian research by Brandtzaeg (2008), for example, has identified nearly three-quarters of young social web users as what can be termed 'non-active users', with other UK and Australian studies also highlighting a general lack of 'sophisticated' or 'advanced' use of social web services and applications (Kennedy et al. 2008, Chan and McLoughlin 2008, Luckin et al. 2009, Nicholas et al. 2008 (2008) terms a 'low bandwidth exchange' of information and knowledge, with any potential for socially-situated authentic learning realised more accurately in terms of co-operation or co-ordination rather than collaboration between individuals. Of course, this is not to say that all learners interact with the social web in this manner. ...
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This article is a review of international research on the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary schools. The aim was to provide a credible and clear picture of current research, together with some wellinformed suggestions as to how future research could develop. Two strategies were used: (1) identify themes within current research that indicate important lessons to be learned in relation to the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary schools, and (2) based on these lessons, identify which knowledge-gaps need to be closed and in the light of this suggest directions for further research. It is concluded that a rather complex and fragmented picture of the uptake and use of digital technologies emerges from the literature review. Three specific suggestions for research on the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary school are provided: (1) the outcomes of technology use in relation to different levels in the educational system, e.g. arenas of implementation and realization, (2) digital practices that are longitudinal and information-rich and that go beyond existing knowledge, and (3) initiatives for a renewal of theoretical and methodological approaches when designing and analyzing studies within the field.
... Pudiéramos pensar que los cambios vertiginosos en el plano universitario pueden no serlo tanto para el alumnado, a quienes según Gisbert y Esteve (2011) diferentes autores han denominado de diversas maneras, tales como "Generación NET" (Tapscott, 1998), "Nativos Digitales" (Prensky, 2001), "Aprendices del Nuevo Milenio" (Pedró, 2006), "Generación Y" (Jorgensen, 2003;Weiler, 2005;McCrindle, 2006), "Generación C" (Duncan-Howell y Lee, 2007), "Generación Instant Message (IM) o SMS" (Lenhart, Rainie y Lewis, 2001), "Homo Zappiens" (Veen, 2003), "Gamer Generation" (Carstens y Beck, 2005), "Google Generation" (Rowlands y Nicholas, 2008), o "i-Generation" (Rosen et al., 2010), para dar cuenta de rasgos característicos de estas generaciones, tales como su marcada alfabetización digital. ...
Research Proposal
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La situación de pandemia por la COVID19 obligó a replantear la tecnología educativa, concibiéndola de forma transversal en la experiencia vivida durante el proceso dinámico de enseñanza-aprendizaje. La idea central es que mediante el desarrollo de e-competencias, los docentes puedan movilizar conocimientos a través de actividades académicas virtuales interactivas y dinámicas entre estudiantes cursantes de diferentes grados de los mismos programas educativos, así como del mismo grado de estudio, pero de distintas formaciones profesionales. Para la implementación de esta comunidad digital de aprendizaje, autoridades universitarias podrían tomar en consideración planteamientos como el de Díaz (2020), para que sean estructurados y organizados totalmente flexibles en cuanto a la combinación de modalidad de conferencia, foro virtual, conversatorios y webinarios. Se sugiere implementar un sistema de otorgamiento de créditos académicos
... There are also studies on how people seek information on the web 23,24 . For example, studies have examined the gender differences and age differences in information seeking on the web [25][26][27][28] ; other studies have investigated how IT specialists and business managers use the web 24 . However, the studies on researchers' information seeking have not quite been moved from traditional libraries to digital media yet, and researchers' decision making processes using research tools on the web have not been carefully examined yet. ...
... Many research results show that users prefer the internet as the main and most preferred source of information from the library (Kumah, 2015;Alsarar, and Goultepe, 2017;Anindita, 2018;Yebowaah, 2017;Ranaweera,, 2018). Google and the internet are considered as a source of macro information that displays far more information (Zimerman, 2012), while libraries are considered unable to provide information according to their needs (Rowlands,, 2008) where according to Hannabus (2002), libraries will continue to co-exist with the internet. ...
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The library is an organization that continues to grow and develop along with the behavior of its users. Users who will continue to use the library despite the emergence of many other sources of information, such as the internet, are needed for library sustainability. This study aims to determine the relationship between service quality and satisfaction on user loyalty in-state college libraries in Surabaya, Indonesia. The research method used is quantitative by distributing questionnaires through Google form to 500 respondents of state academic library users with the criteria of having used services in the library. The analysis technique is Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) with the aim of testing the model. Data processing software used is SPSS and Smart PLS. The results of the study are as follows: 1) Service quality has a significant effect on user satisfaction, with a contribution of 79.6%; 2) Service quality has a significant effect on user loyalty, with a contribution of 60.7%; 3) User satisfaction has a significant effect on loyalty, with a contribution of 23.8%; 4) Service quality has a significant effect on loyalty by mediating user satisfaction with a contribution of 19%.
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The study aimed to investigate academic scientists, social scientists and humanists' scholarly use of information sources, self-reported digital literacy skills, use patterns of e-journals and differences in scholarly information seeking habits of academics at the University of the Punjab. The design of the study was quantitative, and survey method was employed to achieve objectives of the study. Self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 841 regular and contractual academics. The findings of the study showed that e-journals, discussion with colleagues and e-reports were frequently used by scientists and social scientists and occasionally used by humanists. Scientists and social scientists exhibited good digital literacy skills as compared to academic humanists. Significant variations were found among respondents of three disciplines in their digital literacy skills, scholarly use of information sources and use patterns of e-journals. The findings of the study provide insights into university librarians to plan training programs keeping in view disciplinary differences of academics e-journals use and their self-reported digital literacy skills.
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The present research has as gap how can librarians working in Brazilian BUs promote technological innovations? Regarding the methodological aspects, it is a field research, with qualitative approach, exploratory type. Its general objective is to propose strategic actions for the promotion of technological innovation in BUs in Brazil. The data collection procedures consisted of three instruments: questionnaire, interview and focus group. The survey sample consisted of 138 principals and librarians from 97 different higher education institutions. The interview sample consisted of 27 specialists, mostly doctors and professors of postgraduate programs at Brazilian public and private universities. The focus group sample consisted of 16 professionals, 2 library directors, 1 teacher and 13 librarians. As a result of the research it can be observed that most higher education institutions belong to the public-school system. The samples are represented by all Brazilian regions, especially in the Southeast and South. The existence and relevance of the main technologies and services considered trends in BUs were identified. As well as sought to identify which of these are unknown by the research participants. We sought to verify the existence and intensity of the main facilitators and barriers to innovation. The main future perspectives of the Brazilian BUs were presented in the expert view. Experts gave an opinion on how the librarian should act to effect innovations. In addition, they made predictions about future demands for services and technologies and identified the most innovative BUs in Brazil. In addition, the main priority actions for the promotion of innovation in BUs in Brazil were presented through the strategic debate. As a result of the research, strategic actions were proposed to promote innovation in BUs in Brazil. It is concluded that the change process is relevant and innovation management can assist the Brazilian BUs in this function. It is noteworthy that in future the BUs should assume the role of learning spaces. In addition, we suggest the critical thinking of the necessary strategic actions aimed at meeting the users' expectations needs, the competencies necessary to meet these demands, the services proposed to meet these needs and the spaces intended to implement such actions. Keywords: Innovation in academic libraries. Trends in academic libraries. Academic library of the future. Strategic actions in academic libraries.
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