This CIBER briefing paper is the most important read for academic librarians for a long time! Commissioned by JISC and the BL, it is the first attempt at a longitudinal study of how the so-called Google generation are using our libraries and what this might mean in the future. What stands out for me :
The huge choice available for our users to switch between now - from subscription databases to wikis, bookmarked items etc etc.
The research warehouse concept is becoming redundant as the library adapts to becoming a digital environment.
Everyone (staff AND students) are seeing huge changes in how they find information.
Research libraries are still offering huge range of content but often via intuitive interfaces.
E-books are going to become a big success story - sooner than I expected.
We should stop downloading dubious downloaded use stats and get nearer to our users' real search behaviour.
Time taken by users on e sites looking at e books or journals is low with the rise of power browsing.
Information literacy of young people has not improved despite the growth of access.
Young people do not spend enough time on evaluation of web sites.
They have problems with keywords.
They don't understand the structure ofthe web and associate a search engine as their "brand" of web.
They don't find library resources and prefer the ease of the search engines.
We can expect that present younger generations will move markedly toward virtual library by preference.
There is a lot of questionable information about the way young people behave in cyberspace - many myths.
They approach research without regard to library structure and different segments of our web sites, and we dont aggregate subject resources very well.
Social web sites are transforming the web and making formally published and self-published material indistinguishable.
Libraries often pay for the content but dont get the credit.
E-books are more important than social networking issues.
There is a whole list of supposed characteristics of the Google generation : some they agree with, some myths are exploded. Perhaps a common thread would be that some characteristics are not JUST the Web generation but are far more general - e.g. that learners prefer small chunks of information. Indeed as other generation strive to "catch up" there will be common trends.
From a library viewpoint, the report does conclude that young people are unaware of library-sponsored content, and this is the library's problem.
So we are all gradually becoming the Google generation as all generations use the Web and Web 2.0 more widelky for all kinds of purpose.
There is too little emphasis on research into information skills behaviour of young people entering into higher education.The research in the US ( Gross, Melissa and Latham, Don "Attaining information literacy : an investigation of the relationship between skill level, self-estimates of skill, and library anxiety" Library & Information Science Research (2007) 29 332-353, about which I posted recently), if replicated here would suggest that HE is too late to make up for the Googling habits, which will be too deep-seated. This has really serious implications for school librarians, could imply outreach work from HE librarians, or new ways to reach these students once in HE.
Explosion of electronic book content could mean in the future that our library-sponsored content will shrink in relative terms.
We will have to cope with different versions of the same document (pre-publication) and different forms of peer-review.
Users will not put up with barriers to access.
We should integrate content within commercial search engines.
Library users are diverse and we need to study their characteristics and behaviour much more closely.
Power browsing is terribly important.
Our sites need to be more visible on the web.
We won't be a one-stop shop.
Get IL on the agenda because people are finding it hard to navigate and get the best scholarly material.
This is my longest ever post. Do read the original as well!