Millenials are: While it is clear the Millennial generation might be comfortable living a life that blurs the lines between the physical and virtual social worlds or the personal and academic research realms, it would be a fallacy to assume that they are blissfully unaware of any shortfalls in an online research environment. Unfortunately, research show that these students are lacking the more advanced or refined skills required to see the larger context for their research projects; further, they are also hesitant to deviate from successful past research strategies, which means they are likely to cherry-pick information or overlook resources key to producing a quality scholarly paper.There are multiple related topics we should take into account before delving into a deeper discussion of our study on undergraduate research queries. In general, we know that the personal and academic use of images by undergraduates is increasing. There are several studies showing patterns of increased use of contemporary and historical image collections in libraries, but also in related disciplines such as museum studies, visual arts, and history; these studies offer a variety of additional avenues for exploring how the undergraduate use of either primary sources or images in their research papers effects the quality of their research or critical thinking skills. However, while there have been many noteworthy studies pertaining to both primary sources and image use, none have examined the connection between online historical image collections, visual literacy proficiency, critical thinking capabilities, and unique changes in user characteristics to support the extraordinary impact our digitized historical content might have on the research strategies and nascent skills of the novice undergraduate. In our roles as librarian, archivist, and instructors, we set out to answer the larger and more general question: “How much do we actually know about the use, intentions, and retrieval success of students using our digital collections for either academic research or course instruction?” As it turns out, we know surprisingly little.
Why Flickr? To quote Heather Champ in a TechSoup article: “Like other photo-sharing sites, you can also create a one-to-one experience where you upload your photos and share them with a known set of people… But the essence of Flickr is more elastic. Flickr creates an environment where people come together to share their interests around photos. Using the Group features, people can share their photos and their thousand words.” What is the Commons: Several museums and archives post images released under a "no known restrictions" license, which was first made available on January 16, 2008, beginning with the Library of Congress. The goal of the license is to "firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.” Anyone may create a regular Flickr account, whether affiliated with a learning institution or not. For The Commons, there is an application and review process involved for interested institutions. The Commons photos generallyhighlights archival, historical content housed at the institution—as opposed to contemporary photos you might find in a regular Flickr account (at least in the author's experience). Although a "regular" Flickr account opened by an institution may have archival, historical content, often it may have other content as well, such as photos of the current facilities, photos of contemporary individuals, photos of new exhibition installations, and so on. Why did Tiah & the OSU Archives staff do it in the first place? Fame & fortune: this site offered us a built in audience for reaching new users that we didn’t reach with our digital collections site or our regular Flickr account. Interaction with the Flickr user community was easier and more public. This meant sharing and informing was simple with and without our input or involvement. We also assumed we’d get lots of information from people. We actually thought that we would get so much that we’d have to change our metadata regularly in CDM and that we were on the verge of changing the entire digitization workflow processWe also investigated ways Flickr Commons might help support or change the way we interacted with our traditional user-base - primarily the faculty and students in the university community and off-site researchers.It would be fun.I talked about Flickr a lot and to a lot of people and institutions interested in joining the Commons, presented in a variety of venues, and wrote a chapter for the Interactive Archivist that analyzed user interactions with our online images, specifically comparing the OSU Archives’ use of CONTENTdm and experiences with Flickr. This case study concluded with several suggested future studies, including looking at how undergraduates and faculty might use social image software management systems in their own research or how social software technologies might change the relationship between users and historical materials.After a presentation to library staff Laurie thought this might make a good opportunity to partner up to study how undergrads might look for images.
Why we cared about Flickr and why we asked for $$ to study undergrads (they are not yet contaminated or jaded) As I mentioned before, we thought Flickr Commons could present unique ways for interacting with our traditional researchers. We also assumed that everyone would love Flickr and everything we would put there for them to use, we assumed it was a no brainer that scholars throughout our campus would be clamoring to use historical photos for their historical research projects – but more importantly we assumed they would want to form communities around these photos. It didn’t happen. What we failed to take into account is that looking at the users’ projects is really important when looking at their inclination to tag or comment on photographs. Their motivation for visitingthe site seemed to strongly influence how much they wanted to interact with the photos, the other people looking at the photos, or even us. In other words, if they werecasual usersinterested in the community and social aspect of Flickr and social software in general, they were more likely to comment; on the other hand, if they are serious researchers, they are less likely to “waste time” talking to others and more likely to focus on their own project. While failing to get an enthusiastic reception from old-school research scholars wasn’t really a big shock, we really did think that Flickr Commons was perfect place for meeting undergrads where *they* are in their research process, rather than expecting them to visit the Libraries'’ digital collection page directly for finding historical images. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but given our limited research and anecdotal evidence that was not based in sound data gathering, we thought it would be a good research tool for them, as well as a “fun” way for them to interact with us… For those suppressing laughs or avoiding making eye-contact with me, based on informal assessments with students in Archives orientation sessions in the 2009/2010 academic year and conversations with librarians or faculty members from various disciplines on campus, we *did* begin to question whether our online image collections, including *both* CONTENTdm and Flickr Commons, met undergraduate user needs or desires to access historical materials online – anytime, anywhere, right? So this is where Laurie and I started – we knew images provided students something really valuable for their historical research, but we realized there hadn’t been any studies that actually looked at the process by which undergraduates search for images for assignments, historic or otherwise, online. We decided that learning more about image seeking preferences and behaviors was essential if we were going to assess our success providing relevant services to these undergraduates. One thing to note, again, is that we intentionally focused on novices because we assumed that they would have received little, if any, formal instruction on how to effectively search for images from librarians, archivists, or historians at the University level. However, in a larger scale, we are keen to study researchers who are part of the “millennial,” “net” or “next” generation,” a generation is characterized by their frequent use of technology and tendency to turn to parents and peers for authoritative information. Not surprisingly, they are also branded, appropriately or not, for their familiarity and high use of digital communications, mixed media, and online or social technologies. And when they enter the research-heavy world of the university, we can assume that they bring with them experiences and expectations that would challenge even the most tech savvy librarian or archivist, begging the professional question many of us are asking ourselves, “How do we serve a generation of digital natives in a world where we are online immigrants?”
What we read / knew:articles, anecdotal info from profs or students As we talked about a few slides ago, the research skills of college students need to be refined and revised. We began to focus our attention on one aspect of a more comprehensive research experience and an important piece in an inclusive set of literacy skills, and one that is often overlooked by librarians and archivists: visual literacy. The Visual Literacy White Paper: Commissioned by Adobe Systems in Australia, Written by Dr. Anne Bamford, Director of Visual Arts. Senior Lecturer in Interactive Media, Art and Design University of Technology Sydney. “Visual literacy involved developing the set of skills needed to be able to interpret the content of visual images, examine social impact of those images and to discuss purpose, audience and ownership. It includes the ability to visualize internally, communicate visually and read and interpret visual images. In addition, students need to be aware of the manipulative uses and ideological implications of images. Visual literacy also involved making judgments of the accuracy, validity, and worth of images. A visually literate person is able to discriminate and make sense of visual objects and images; create visuals; comprehend and appreciate the visuals created by others; and visualize objects in their mind’s eye. To be an effective communicator in today’s world, a person needs to be able to interpret, create and select images to convey a range of meanings.” http://www.adobe.com/uk/education/pdf/adobe_visual_literacy_paper.pdf In his study "Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning," David Green says that students *need* to be proficient in three areas:Image Literacy: analyzing or reading images, including maps;Digital Literacy: handling and manipulating image files; andImage Composition: creating and communicating through images.He says that when taken together, these three areas of competency in visual literacy actually represent the critical literacy skills for undergraduates.LAURIE TAKE OVER LIT REVIEW DISCUSSION?
Head & Eisenberg: Finding Context: What Today's College Students Say about Conducting Research in the Digital Age, Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age, Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age.Penn State Study: on faculty using images for research and instructionSilipigni, Connaway, Dickey report in February 2010 for OCLC, RIN, & JISC: summary of 12 studies on the behavior of digital image seekers. Matusiak on the information seeking process of digital library users: as we provide more access to digital collections we are doing it without analyzing how users locate images or how we might revamp our own practices to improve retrieval rates. Kathleen Fear on the usefulness of Dublin Core metadata of digitized historical collections from the user perspective. Malkmus & Krause look specifically at undergraduates or archival instruction, specifically how faculty are using online primary sources for instruction, often in absentia of the archivist, concluding with a call for archivists and faculty to communicate and collaborate with each other. Head, A. J., & Eisenberg, M. B. (2009a). Finding Context: What Today's College Students Say about Conducting Research in the Digital Age (Project Information Literacy). Seattle, WA: University of Washington. Retrieved July 1, 2010, from http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_ProgressReport_2_2009.pdf Head, A. J., & Eisenberg, M. B. (2009b). Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age (Project Information Literacy). Seattle, WA: University of Washington. Retrieved July 1, 2010, from http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2009_Year1Report_12_2009.pdf"Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age," Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Progress Report, University of Washington's Information School, November 1, 2010. “Penn State's Visual Image User Study” (with Michael J. Dooris, James Frost, and Michael Halm) portal: Libraries and the Academy, vol 5, #1 (January, 2005) pp. 33-58.Matusiak, K. K. (2006). Information seeking behavior in digital image collections: A cognitive approach. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(5), 479-488.Fear, K. (2010). User understanding of metadata in digital image collections: Or, what exactly do you mean by "coverage"? American Archivist, 73(1), 26-60.Krause, M. G. (2008). Learning in the archives: A report on institutional practices. Journal of Archival Organization, 6(4), 233-268.Malkmus, D. K. (2008). Teaching Undergraduates with Primary Source: Highlights of Survey. Retrieved Aug. 1, 2010, from Society of American Archivists, Chicago, IL. Web site: http://www.archivists.org/publications/proceedings/researchforum/2008/papers/DorisMalkmus-SAA-ResearchPaper-2008.pdf.
What we are writing about: discussion of articlehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/gb_fotos/250133728/in/photostream/
Image-seeking preferences & behavior of undegraduates
Image-seeking preferences & behavior of undergraduates: a study to understand what they want, how they do it, & how we can help<br />Laurie Bridges<br />Tiah Edmunson-Morton<br />Oregon State University Libraries<br />
What’s on the agenda?<br />The Millennial Generation: facts, figures, and misconceptions<br />History of OSU Archives’ Flickr projects<br />Visual literacy: why it matters<br />Survey discussion<br />Our research<br />
Laurie and Tiah learn about visual literacy<br />Visual literacy is what is seen with the eye and what is “seen” with the mind. A visually literate person should be able to read and write visual language. This includes the ability to successfully decode and interpret visual messages and to encode and compose meaningful visual communications. <br />The Visual Literacy White Paper: Commissioned by Adobe Systems in Australia, Dr. Anne Bamford, Director of Visual Arts<br />
Noteworthy studies <br />Head & Eisenberg’s Project Information Literacy studies<br />Henry Pisciotta’s 2005 “Penn State's Visual Image User Study”<br />Silipigni, Connaway, Dickey report in February 2010 for OCLC, RIN, & JISC<br />KrystynaMatusiak’s 2006 study <br />Kathleen Fear’s 2010 study<br />Malkmus (2008) & Krause (2008)<br />
Reviewing the literature:<br />“…very little research on the use of digital image collections, particularly on user behavior or the process of seeking images” (Matusiak, 2006).<br />
Undergraduates and Class Research<br />Head and Eisenberg<br />Students use methods that brought luck in the past.<br />Students use course readings, library resources, and public internet sites: Google and Wikipedia.<br />Might consult library resources, but if not immediately successful turn to an online search engine.<br />
Laurie & Tiah Hire the Best<br />Flickr: stopnlook<br />
Survey Research Center<br />OSU Libraries Lundeen Award<br />Hired the OSU Survey Research Center<br />Developed survey instrument<br />IRB application<br />Administered quantitative/qualitative survey to 1,000 randomly chosen freshmen<br />Analyzed the results (frequency analysis)<br />
What did we ask them?<br />For this question we’d like you to imagine you are doing a project or writing a paper for a class. Your instructor has asked you to include a picture of people logging in Oregon forests in the 1930s or 1940s. Please explain your search process for finding a picture. You might start your explanation with the phrase, “I would begin my search for the picture by…”<br />
Your Survey<br />Pair or small group and discuss your responses to the survey for 5 minutes.<br />Note, this is not the same survey we administered to participants in our study.<br />
41 of 61 students mentioned Google.<br />…I only ever use Google.<br />I would look for a picture first on the internet. Using Google images, most likely. See what I can find. And I would probably find something there. So my search would end.<br />21 of those ONLY mentioned Google.<br />
16 students indicated they would look in books.<br />I would begin my search for the picture by looking on the internet. If I didn’t find it there I might try and find a picture from a book.<br />Usually the last step of a multi-step process.<br />
19 students mention the library, librarians, or archives in their search process.<br />I would begin my search for the picture by looking for images online. Failing this I would look in books pertinent to the subject. If that didn’t work I would ask friends for help or ask library staff.<br />Again, usually the last step of a multi-step process, but…<br />
5 students started their search with the library, librarian, or archives.<br />I would begin my search for the picture by asking the librarian because I have no idea where to find that.<br />I would begin my search for the picture by searching the OSU database and archives for photos of people logging in Oregon forests in the 1930’s or 1940’s.<br />
What did we learn?<br />Google <br />Copyright?<br />Evaluating images?<br />What about Wikipedia?<br />
Conclusion<br />Librarians should consider adding visual literacy instruction to standard information literacy. This could include finding images, citing images, copyright, etc.<br />Computer programmers and analysts should work to raise the rankings of library collection images in Google and Google Images. <br />
Writings & presentations<br />Article “Image-searching preferences” to be published in Evidence Based Library and Information Practice in March 2011.<br />Presenting at Online Northwest (presently, of course)<br />Using archives-specific content and expanding study to experienced researchers for an archives-specific journal <br />
What do we want to know next?<br />How often do students use images in assignments (across all disciplines)?<br />How often do faculty members ask students to include images in assignments (across all disciplines)?<br />Who is teaching students about copyright, if anyone?<br />How many librarians teach visual literacy skills?<br />