Monday, January 19, 2009


"Librarians might redouble their efforts to create in students a sophisticated understanding of issues surrounding online research and authority that transcend the question of whether or not to use Google and to provide students with real, helpful research strategies."
(Pg. 487) (Google in the Research and Teaching of Instruction Librarians by Charlene Sorensen and Candice Dahl. Available online 9 October 2008 Journal of Academic Libraries)
Perhaps it was deemed too forceful by the writers but I think the word quote unquote must would have substituted well for quote unquote might in the sentence above. While I am still very new to this process of trying to understand what the process is to teach that area of information strangely dubbed as quote unquote information literacy, I do have a thoughts on where my future sessions are going to go.
1) Helpful research strategies did not die with the Internet. I do not completely understand why using books for information is still called research while using the Internet to find information has been heralded as information literacy. The process of evaluating a site is not that much different than a book. There are actually fewer assumptions to work through and I think that one can afford to be even more critical when applying web site evaluation practices to physical works. As a budding librarian, it is my goal to tie the process of evaluation in properly using books and other written materials and the process of evaluation of the web's written word together. This process is still very much in flux.
2) Google is simply a big encyclopedia. A big, searchable, albeit information-sucking, corporately funded encyclopedia. Use it. Love it. Don't stop with it and do not turn your back on them.
3) Wikipedia. Use it. Love it. Don't stop with it. Help out a brother and add some content.
4) Students are going to use Google and Wikipedia regardless. Banning these tools is not going to help librarians, faculty or students cultivate good research practices. It is better to work towards achieving a working synthesis of these tools with physical media rather than attempting to ban them entirely. This creates an unhealthy view of technology. From my view point it also seems to attempt to divorce the contemplation of books and Web Resources.
"Instruction should be learning-centered and learner-centered. In learning-centered instruction, planning instruction begins by determining what should be learned, not what should be taught.” (Tessmer 1985, 28) When students leave, they leave behind syllabi and professors who attempted to ban Google. Google is still there. Shouldn't we teach them how to use it properly rather than forcefully burying our students' collective heads in the sand?
If we, as librarians and faculty, can understand the importance of being able to effectively read and successfully evaluate any text, regardless of its context or medium, critically analyze this text while utilizing it in conversation and writing as well as being able to clearly pass this understanding on to our students, then I believe we will succeed and create life-long students.

1 comment:

Heidi Sexton said...

Just wanted you to know that, thanks to your mom, you now have another reader. Looking forward to reading your thoughts, etc.