Knowledge Handler

Information Sources & Information Sifting Techniques

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Location: Independence, Ohio, United States

Librarian at Indiana Wesleyan University's Cleveland Education Center.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Google Does Not Index Everything

Dr. Robert Basalla, former Ohio Chess Champion and a long-time friend, published the book Chess In The Movies and had a website made for its promotion. After a year, the website is still not indexed in Google!

Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve

The Academic Library Association of Ohio met for its 2006 meeting at Quaker Square in Akron with about 350 librarians and vendors present.   The Keynote speaker was Dr. J. Richard Madaus, Executive Director of the College Center for Library Automation (CCLS - in Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Madaus made a number of points during his PowerPoint presentation (which was an updated version of "Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve" presented in March, 2006 to SoliNet:

  1. The printed book is not "going away" - the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) reports that sales values continue to climb, reaching $40 billion in 2005.   Books form one of the three foundations of current library service:
    1. Print materials (books and periodicals)

    2. Proprietary online databases (EBSCO, ProQuest, Gale, etc.)

    3. Free Web (Access, assistance and information mining)   NOTEWORTHY: "Teaching the effective use of free web resources is an opportunity that academic libraries have generally avoided." Dr. Madaus

  2. What people expect from libraries is changing as a student base that has been raised with the Internet arrives at college:
    • According to OCLC's Marketplace Trends 2003, "Information seekers feel there is not 'The Answer' but just a 'Good Enough Answer'."   Librarians have been trained to provide "The Answer" that is verifiable, accurate and correct, while the millenial generation is more often comfortable with quick approximations with some error.

    • Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) reports that libraries are trusted as archives.

  3. The preferred method of communication is different for young people:
    • Cell phones are becoming the major communication medium (yet few libraries have developed a website with .MP3 or .WMA files for cellphone use)

    • Digital immigrants (most librarians) use applications on PCs, while X-gen students use devices like PDA/phones.   A Florida academic library closed its walk-up reference desk when they found people in the room were text-messaging the librarians their reference questions.

    • Flashdrives and IPods are putting vast amounts of data into peoples' pockets.   The entire 24 gigabytes of MARC records that comprise the Worldcat database has been successfully transported and loaded on another computer using an iPod.   The is working to fit a terabyte of infomration on a removeable disk.

    • The generation that grew-up on Gameboy may prefer to read books on a cell phone.   Dr. Madaus recently noted a kiosk in the Atlanta airport vending ebooks.

    • New videophones like the "Zen" products from Creative Labs can be linked to Dish Network

    • 89% of US kids have used the Internet by the time they reach kindergarten.

  4. New services are being developed, such as:

  5. Observations and recommendations:
    • Purchasing 'gizmos' is an operating expense, not a capital expense, because their lifespan is so short.

    • Librarians need to move past the illusion of site-bound management.

    • The rapid development of new services and the fading of old services/media requires librarians to have both a 'to do' and a 'stop doing' list (example: stop maintaining vertical files).

    • Are you making Project Gutenberg materials available to your patrons? They are available on DVD or online at the Open Library Project.

    • Catablog is an important website for systems librarians.

    • Pew Internet and the American Life Project is vital reading. One Pew survey reports both that "73% of college students use the [free] Internet more than the library" and that "college students are trusting and naive about Internet information sources".

    • Current slang term "TMI" means "Too Much Information" - librarians are often guilty of offering more facts than students want to hear.   Information needs to be packaged in several ways, so differing generations can harvest in their accustomed manner.

  6. Presentation concluded with a quote from Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those that are most responsive."

How College Students Obtain Information

From Whom Do Our Students Learn About Information Resources

The 2005 OCLC report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resourcesindicates that college students primarily learn about information resources from friends, web sites, and teachers -- librarians were not highly influential. (p. 1-20) [ ]. Ensuring that the faculty and brightest students are aware of library resources is probably the most cost-effective thing librarians can do.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cell Phone Technology

At the ALAO meeting November 3, the speaker said that cell phones were going to be the way students in the future received most of their information.

- DD