Great Database Debate


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In a debate between Jenny Robins, professor, and Floyd Pentlin, LMS retired and madman, these slides present the side of the debate questioning an over reliance on database information as the source of vetted, edited information without considering some of the weaknesses of pre-digested information which isn't always as accurate as we would like to believe.

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  • INTRODUCTION OF THE ISSUE Why is it a debate? Discussion about general databases
  • Changing from reliance on the authority of a single individual Example from a study recently where children were asked to find the answer to a complex question - one boy gave up and said since he couldn’t find it, the information wasn’t important enough for someone to put it on the Web. Have we not contributed to this by accepting “anonymous” as an acceptable author? It is easy to find encyclopedia articles that are unsigned. Web sites from respected entities such as the American Cancer Society have articles that are unsigned No wonder students are willing to accept Wikipedia articles as authoritative
  • Users don’t care where the information comes from -- they just want it to be quick and easily accessible.
  • A decision-making that is a hybrid of satisfying and sufficing - in a recent study by Head and Eisenberg, this was a dominant thread in the results We know our students use Google as their first choice of research We also know they don’t look beyond the first 10/20 choices We have to do a better job of teaching them to do a better job of searching This does not necessarily mean that we need to do a better job of teaching them to use databases.
  • This article by Christopher Dawson discusses his joy at the fact that the Encarta Encyclopedia is no longer going to be published. “ Be utterly critical of the vas amounts of information online ….read, understand, and synthesize…” Might we also enlarge upon this statement -- the database is dead -- or dying?
  • WHAT IS CREDITABLE INFORMATION? One of the most important selling points for databases is that they contain creditable information. After looking at several minutes of this segment from John Stewart’s “The Daily Show” Jenny will discuss why we need databases to focus our student’s on the best quality information in the quickest manner. Play excerpt
  • Is this a big deal? No? Is it indicative that just because information appears in a database that it is necessarily correct? Perhaps. Inherent danger in telling students that if it is in a database, they can depend on it being accurate. What we don’t need is to encourage students to turn off their critical thinking skills and that is what we do when we tell them -- use this information because you can depend on it.
  • Look at this aggregated database. On one hand, there is a lot of information here. Look at the different kinds of information - journals / magazines / books / news; etc. The information looks the same whether it comes from “ People Weekly” or “Teacher Librarian.” Since it all looks the same - viewer tends to treat the information as of equal value -- partially because it is coming from a database Posting of corrections do not get nearly the same press Everyone knows that the editing process is very different from books versus a newspaper More errors creep in the faster the publishing turn around time is
  • So, it's a bit of a surprise to find out that one Wikipedia hoax, perpetrated by a sociology student, managed to appear in a variety of news reports, and has stayed there even after the hoax was revealed. Student at Ireland’s University College Dublin who inserted a fictitious quote into a “Wikipedia” biography of Maurice Jarre. It was picked up and repeated by journalists all over the world. Interesting to note that so many journalists used the quote without identifying the source as being Wikipedia Also interesting to note how many journalists use Wikipedia for background information Also interesting to note how many publications retracted that quote in subsequent editions. It was deleted from the Wikipedia entry.
  • We tend to give information in books higher credibility - which is true in many respects Doesn’t mean that we get to turn off our critical thinking skills and just accept what someone writes If a student is looking for information about the Afghan War or government spending we are going to get one opinion from Bill O’Reilley and a very different one fromJohn Kerry, for example Have to evaluate information always - not depend on the format in which it comes Tend to be more on guard with Web sources -- are we so much so with a database?
  • Here is a sample of what one finds on a Web page Free information is intermixed with subscription information Does it make the free information less valid? If databases are superior repositories of information then why are they not listed first or presented in some format that draws students to those resources first?
  • You’re a student who has put off working on the assignment until 7:43 pm. Guess what -- the library isn’t open. Neither are the databases because the student didn’t plan ahead to pick up the passwords that s/he needed for the assignment Also -- guess what? There are different passwords for each or most of the databases. Just one password isn’t enough For a digital environment, not being able to get to the passwords when you need them means that you are going to …. Google!
  • .
  • Many of these databases are names that don’t mean anything to students. In this example if you click on the link you will be brought to an even more daunting list In order to help students make sense of which databases to begin with, we need to organize them into meaningful categories Database names are often meaningless because they try to be all things to the researcher Also confusing because there are so many types of resources in a single database -- even if the database name is repeated, the separation into categories will be helpful. Does Academic OneFile vs. Academic Search Complete vs. Academic Universe mean anything to anybody?
  • Attended training sessions as well as state-level meetings. The comment that comes back year after year is that although our tax dollars are paying for these state-wide databases, they are used only in select areas of the states. There are numerous examples where entire school districts don’t access the databases at all. Is it because they are too hard? Is it because there is no LMS to do the training? Is it because DBs are not really self service?
  • Naama Tal in her article comparing three database aggregators said, “Because face-to-faces teaching by a school librarian diminishes in an ubiquitous computer environment, students must develop skill in distinguishing between nonauthoritative, anonymous Web pages and peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles.” And yet we spend all this time trying to teach to the specifics of a database Confusion, annyoance that comes from a constant “improvement” of a database interface Lots of bells and whistles If we have to “teach” how to use a database, is it not too complicated? Chris Harris asks the question, “Why are database vendors reinventing the wheel? Each one wants to come up with its own interface? Own bookmarking system? What not partner with someone who is doing it well -- Diigo or delicious?
  • One of the issues with emphasizing databases is that this is not the environment where students live now and particularly where they will live in the future. find relationships between tagged information using information embedded in Web pages They will live in a future where the semantic Web where searches will return multimedia reports rather than a list of hits. Results will “draw from any sources, including Websites, articles from scientific repositories, chapters in textbooks, blog dialogue, speeches posted on YouTube, information stores on cell phones, gaming scenarios played out in virtual realities.
  • Traditional learning environments convey knowledge via overwhelmingly copyright-protected publications. Networked learning, contrastingly, is an “open source” culture that seeks to share openly and freely in both creating and distributing knowledge and products. (Jonathan Tarr) Will databases harness the power of open source and semantic Web? Databases have traditionally lagged behind in adapting to new technologies.
  • Aside from the philosophical issues discussed with this topic, there is the very real issues of being able to afford the databases. Cost is an issue…… More than one state has been threatened with the loss of state-wide consortia --
  • The simple exploding growth of information available on the free Web threatens to overwhelm us. One of the advantages of the databases is that the information is digested for us. The disadvantage is that there is so much that is not included that our ability to ferret out what is good will remain one of our fundamental information skills.
  • Do we use databases?
  • In Adobe Acrobat File > Document Security >Acrobat Standard Security > Password Required to Open Document > Enter password Post the document to your library Web site.
  • Joyce Valenza’s use of Pageflakes as pathfinders which incorporate a variety of information sources in one place -- including database widgets.
  • INTRODUCTION OF THE ISSUE Why is it a debate? Discussion about general databases
  • Great Database Debate

    1. 1. <ul><li>Jennifer Robins, Ed. D </li></ul><ul><li>Floyd Pentlin, Ed. S. </li></ul><ul><li>University of Central Missouri </li></ul><ul><li>School Library and Information Science </li></ul><ul><li>Warrensburg, Missouri </li></ul>Certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use
    2. 2. THE GREAT DATABASE DEBATE <ul><li>The Professor and the Madman </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li> </li></ul>
    4. 4.
    5. 5. <ul><li>“ From presumed authority to collective credibility. Reliance on the knowledge authorities or certified experts is no longer tenable amid the growing complexities of collaborative and interdisciplinary learning. A key challenge in collaborative environments will be fostering and managing levels of trust.” </li></ul>quoted by Jonathan Tarr
    6. 6. “ Your world is different from ours. We are taught to share information and collaborate. We do it all the time. No one really cares where is came from.” quoted: Jacqueline Hicks Grazette: Wikiality in my classroom
    7. 7. <ul><li>“ satisfice” </li></ul>quoted by Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg
    8. 8. Good Riddance, Encarta! Christopher Dawson, ZDNet Education, 31 Mar. 2009 “ The encyclopedia is dead. Long live critical thinking.” - Dawson
    9. 9. Credibility of information
    10. 10. / Credibility of information
    11. 11. From Searchisaurus John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, was active all of his life. This was to a great extent because of his politician father, John Adams. They are the only father-son Presidents in the history of the country. Monkeyshines on the United States Presidents: Games, Puzzles & Trivia: 1990, p. 15-16, 2p. 1bw
    12. 12. Database Tabs Search Results Academic Journals (190) Magazines (798) Books (2) News (798) Multimedia (2)
    13. 13. Chinese ‘World Book’ Omits Tianamen Square Massacre, Says Taiwan Belongs to China Debra Lau Whelen, School Library Journal , 5/23/2007
    14. 14. Wikipedia Hoax Points to Limits of Journalists’ Research John Timmer, Ars Technica, May 7, 2009
    15. 15. A Call to Service John Kerry Just because it is in a book… A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity Bill O’Reilly
    16. 16. Do we contribute to the problem?
    17. 17. Is Information Equal? Encyclopedias, Almanacs, Atases Reference Resources States and Capitals Dictionary Post Dispatch World Book Encyclopedia Quotations Page NewsBank Fact Monster CREDO Referencce Dogpile Wikipedia SIRS Researcher CNN
    18. 18. Are DBs 24/7?
    19. 19. Are we teaching in-depth searching? <ul><li>Google - Related Search </li></ul><ul><li>Google - Wonder Wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Google - Timeline </li></ul><ul><li>Google - Scholar </li></ul><ul><li>Google - Books </li></ul>Richard Byrne “Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results (Repost), Free Technology For Teachers. Oct. 26, 2009
    20. 20. How do we present the databases? Tal
    21. 21. It’s free! Why don’t we use it more?
    22. 22. Hitting a moving target
    23. 23.
    24. 24. Where do students live now? Where will they live?
    25. 25. Traditional learning environments: copyright-protected publications Networked learning
    26. 26. Availability? We expect significant and widespread cuts in budget levels for libraries and consortia… It may not be uncommon for library and consortia budgets to decline by double digits year over year. Once funding is withdrawn over multiple years, it will be years before budgets climb back toward pre-crisis levels. International Coalition of Library Consortia January 19, 2009
    27. 27. Explosion of information - Do as I say and not as I do
    28. 28. Professors use databases? <ul><li>74.1% - Use free Web </li></ul><ul><li>43.1% use library databases </li></ul>Nancy H. Dewald, “What do they tell their students?” 78.9% almost never use dbs
    29. 29. Search Engines Print Resources Listservs Online DBs Digital Libraries Websites Anne Perrault, “An exploratory study…” NEVER NEVER ALWAYS
    30. 30. Perceptions <ul><li>84 % </li></ul><ul><li>begin a search with a search engine </li></ul>Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership, 2005
    31. 31. Perceptions <ul><li>1 % </li></ul><ul><li>begin a search with a database </li></ul>Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership, 2005
    32. 32. Where does that leave us?
    33. 33. Critical evaluation of resources
    34. 34. Do a better job of presenting DBs
    35. 35. Categorize databases Databases/ODB-Literature.htm
    36. 36. Easy access to database passwords Use Adobe Acrobat to create a password-protected Word file with all the database IDs and passwords
    37. 37. Federated searches that work
    38. 38. Play better with third party apps
    39. 39. Widgets and Pathfinders <ul><li>Worksheets </li></ul><ul><li>Use widgets on library Web sites </li></ul>
    40. 40. THE GREAT DATABASE DEBATE <ul><li>The Professor and the Madman </li></ul>
    41. 41. <ul><li> </li></ul>
    42. 42. Works Cited <ul><li>Byrne, Richard. “Beyond Google – Improve Your Search Results (Repost).” Free Technology for Teachers. 26 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Dawson, Christopher. “Good Riddance, Encarta!” ZDNet Education. CBS Interactive, 31 Mar. 2009. Web. < >. </li></ul><ul><li>Dewald, Nancy H. “What Do They Tell Their Students? Business Faculty Acceptance of the Web and Library Databases for Research.” Journal of Academic Leadership 31.3 (2005): 209-215. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Nov. 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Druin, Allison et al. How Children Search the Internet with Keyword Interfaces . Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland. n.d. PDF file. </li></ul><ul><li>Foote, Carolyn. “Database Vendors – This One’s for You.” Not So Distant Future. Edublogs. 8 Oct. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. . </li></ul><ul><li>Grazette, Jacqueline Hicks. H. “Wikiality in my Classroom.” Washington Post , p. B01. 25 Mar 2007. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Harris, Christopher. “21 st Century Databases.” Infomancy . N.p. 9 Oct. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. . </li></ul><ul><li>Head, Alison J. and Michael B. Eisenberg. What Today’s College Students Say About Conducting Research in the Digital Age. 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Maney, Jan. “Database Licensing – How Much is Too Much?” School Library Journal . 1 Apr. 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2009. < >. </li></ul><ul><li>Ohler, James. “The Semantic Web in Education.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly 31.4 (2008): n.p. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. < >. </li></ul><ul><li>Perrault, Anne. “An Exploratory Study of Biology Teachers’ Online Information Seeking Practices.” American Association of School Librarians. Web. 5 Nov. 2009. < > </li></ul><ul><li>Reuser, Arno. H. P. “When InterNET is InterNOT.” Online 32.1 (2008): 32-36. Academic Search Complete. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Tal, Naama. “Which One to Choose? A Comparison Between Three Aggregators.” Knowledge Quest 34.3 (2006): 24-9. Library Literature and Information Science Full Text. Web. 22 Oct. 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Tarr, Jonathan. “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age Report Now Available from MIT Press.” HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory . 26 June 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2009 < >, </li></ul><ul><li>Timmer, John. “Wikipedia Hoax Points to Limits of Journalists’ Research.” Ars Technica. 7 May 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2009. < > </li></ul><ul><li>Valenza, Joyce. “On Database 2.0: Reflecting on Our Panel and Developing the PSAs.” Neverendingsearch . School Library Journal. 12 Oct. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. . </li></ul><ul><li>Whelan, Debra Lau. “Chinese ‘World Book’ Omits Tiananmen Square Massacre, Says Taiwan Belongs to China.” School Library Journal . 23 May 2007. Web. 24 Oct. 2009. < </li></ul>