Wednesday, 23 January 2008

"Google generation" - implications for libraries

First up, the recent BL/JISC Google Generation report - this was announced last week and I've been a bit slow getting round to reading it. It makes for very interesting reading with some difficult reading for librarians and resource providers.

One of the key messages is that library users need much more guidance to find useful resources - they don't find digital libraries intuitive and may not rank such sources as highly as we would hope! The report suggests digital libraries are often organised in the way a librarian might think and could be improved by organising content in a way that makes more sense to the user.

Worryingly, the "Google Generation" doesn't seem as aware of information quality issues as they need to be, relying more on brand (such as Google) and less on systematic critical appraisal.

One point which is made is that the term "Google generation" is probably unhelpful and that the age differences are not as significant as we may believe.

Librarians get a bit of a hammering which isn't totally deserved - I accept that libraries need to think more from the users' perspectives but this is a wider issue than just design of library systems - it's a lack of information skills which as the report suggests, needs addressing at school age.

On a more positive note, the latest Free Pint has a feature interviewing Lynne Brindley and Janice Lachance. I particularly like Lynne Brindley's quote : "Have a kind of beta test mind. It's always going to be in beta test, it's never going to be perfect, and you do learn just by engaging with it" encouraging librarians to be more experimental.

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