Monday, April 14, 2008
We're all becoming Net-trained info-gatherers
Apparently we're all becoming the rapid-fire, uncritical information hunter-gatherers we had thought only our children were. Yes, they're the digital natives but, according to a new study out of the UK, the Internet is "training" all of us to approach information this way, which may mean we all have to work extra hard now to think more critically and analytically. A just-released longitudinal study from University College London found that, "although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the Web," its press release. Titled "Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future," the study also found that the research behaviors "commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now becoming the norm for all age groups." A longitudinal study tracks its subject over a period of time, and this was a "virtual longitudinal study" - see p. 6 of its pdf version for an explanation. This one was commissioned by the British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee to get a handle on "the changing needs of researchers and other users." Thanks to tech educator Anne Bubnic in for pointing this study out.