User Education: Why we still need it in the 21st Century

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Gillian Dawson, Information Consultant at the University of Aberdeen Library discusses the need to educate users even with the easy availability of information online.

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User Education: Why we still need it in the 21st Century

  1. 1. Gilian Dawson Information Consultant University of Aberdeen Library
  2. 2.  Higher education ◦ Undergraduates to researchers  Secondary schools ◦ S4 to S6  Age range for 16 to 70  Information to support the learning process  & gain the bit of paper
  3. 3.  Physical collections unnecessary say users  More open access information not buried in databases  Print groups fighting back in some disciplines  Google generation is older than 25 ◦ Our teachers and professors rely on it
  4. 4. Source; AU LibQual survey 2009
  5. 5. Source: AU LibQual survey 2009
  6. 6. 17 70 58 72 20 53 24 70 68 62 30 58 Staff % Students % Source: AU Library survey 2010
  7. 7.  Search engines used by 89% of students at start ◦ Don’t even use advanced search  Databases have to be found and then learned  Catalogues no longer fit for purpose  New generation of resource discovery systems ◦ Encourages refining of searches
  8. 8.  Changing the way people communicate and access information  Information is changing from books to blogs
  9. 9. MEEBO Twitter Facebook Smart phone download app 88 94 93 23 60 88 94 93 24 75 Staff % Students % Source: AU Library survey 2010
  10. 10. Staff top 3 Students top 3 OPAC 34 Library databases 18 Metalib for e- journals 15 OPAC 56 Library databases 35 Google Scholar 27 Source: Aberdeen University Library survey 2010
  11. 11.  Information overload doesn’t exist  Evaluation unnecessary ◦ Take the easiest to find  Ethical use only if caught ◦ Plagiarism is rife from primary school onwards ◦ Spend 20% of my time instructing on avoiding plagiarism to schools and PGs  Role of information is changing in education ◦ Learning by discovery/ active learning rather than learning by absorption
  12. 12.  Huge market for librarians to write about  LISTA subject search ◦ IL = 3000 hits ◦ User education = 270 hits  Obama’s IL declaration in 2009  Yet IL has failed to make an impact outside libraries  CoE barely acknowledges it ◦ Survey of teachers in E & S did not link IL to learning process ◦ Separate skills process  HE strategic plans rarely mention libraries or IL  Where is Obama now?
  13. 13.  Big industry  Spend time and staff salaries  Some of us do it for a living  Librarians & teachers/academics see its value  Must demonstrate value for money  Are we failing?  Will next generation of search tools make us redundant?
  14. 14.  Librarians are optimists  Librarians are adaptable
  15. 15. Printed guides are useful e-guides are useful Library instruction is useful 37 39 25 44 36 45 Staff Students Source: AU Library survey 2010
  16. 16.  Information gathering is still complex  3 systems of finding are in use  Browsing print as a technique is only as recent as the open shelves  Database searching built on traditional catalogue/keyword techniques  Web type discovery systems/Google searching the invisible
  17. 17.  Our role in a shinking market  Show them how to use the things they use better even if it is Google Scholar  Spending less time on databases means more time to talk about…..  Evaluation  Ethical use  Tie search results to the library
  18. 18.  “It’s time to stop boring our users with conducted tours of libraries, earnest library guides, and endless demonstrations of those arcane databases that we love so much”. (Godwin, 2008)  Peter Godwin, (2008). Conclusion. In Information literacy meets library 2.0, ed. P. Godwin and J. Parker, 165–81. London: Facet.

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