“… librarians and publishers need to adopt new perspectives on how they do their work. They must see themselves as researchers who play a role in leading innovation by responding to the preferences and needs of younger users. Rather than scolding students for using Myspace and Google for communication with peers and finding information, they should instead try to understand the processes at work, and define their roles more broadly as leaders who integrate an understanding of the user, the learning process, and the value of selectivity and editorial development of digital information. While this does not mean catering to every preference expressed by students, it does mean seeing users as partners who can lead innovation because they understand the new ways in which people engage in research, communicate, and learn.” (Wittenberg 2007)

I know that in an academic environment block quoting is not preferred, but I cannot say the above in a better way than Wittenberg!  This task has asked me to identify two take home messages from my readings. This one from Wittenberg is the first.

Rather than viewing web gathered information as ‘bad’ or ‘lazy’ we need to see it as a way into the learner’s mind. Again, as I have said in other posts, we need to be where the users are and they are online. If they will be using Wikipedia, then we need to use that as a learning opportunity for critical thinking activities. We also need to accept that Wikipedia may not be as inaccurate as some may think (see Giles, 2005).

Further to this is Lorenzo (2007) and the discussion about information fluency. Librarians are in the perfect position to ensure that users can effectively use new technologies, both physically and mentally. We need to be willing and available for those users that ask for help and those that don’t.

REFERENCES

Giles, J. (2005). Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature, 438(7070), 900-1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204565110?accountid=10344

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 10(1). Retrieved from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101 

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