Student Attitude to Finding Information

A recent article by Lorenzo et al in the latest Educause Quarterly (vol 30 no 1 2007) provides a summary of the results of a study into “college students’ perceptions of libraries and information resources”:

  • 72 percent of college students ranked search engines as their first choice for finding information;
  • 2 percent use library Web sites as the starting point for an information search;
  • 67 percent learn about electronic information resources from friends (when excluding search engines);
  • 53 percent believe information from search engines is as trustworthy as library information;
  • 36 percent use librarians to cross-reference information for validation; and
  • 80 percent use other Web sites with similar information as a validation tool, slightly more than those who use instructors for validation (78 percent).

Our librarians have been investigating this for some time. I can see why they are worried and starting to take positive steps in training students to gauge the quality of information discovered via search engines.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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