Friday, March 13, 2009

Is there a tool that will change how students find information?

When you look at the findings of Project Information Literacy and related research/literature, it quickly becomes clear that libraries are practically non-existent in the psyche of students wanting to start the research process. There appears to be some confusion about the fact that libraries have reliable, trustworthy sources and the level of difficulty in utilizing those sources. By in large libraries, their websites, are completely absent as starting points for research.

I went to a breakfast this morning sponsored by Serials Solutions where they had Alison J. Head discuss some her findings, so far, with the PIL. This afternoon I've been participating in a webcast called in part "The Web is My Library", both presentations point to the fact that students do not start their research at the library. These and other similar findings could be seen as disconcerting. However, Serials Solutions is looking at the opportunity created by the choice of students to start at Google and Wikipedia, by creating what they are calling Summon (caution: this link launches with audio), a unified discovery service. It is intended to answer the desire of students to have a "clear and compelling starting point" for their research, said Jane Burke, Vice President of Serials Solutions.

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