Friday, January 27, 2012

An Information Landscape Problem: "Teaching Web-Scale Discovery in the Context of Google"

Convenience and its Discontents: Teaching Web-Scale Discovery in the Context of Google

This post by Pete Coco on ACRLog basically raises the question of what do we teach when we don't need to teach the clicks. And his answer aligns with mine: Teach "the concepts and conventions underneath all the clicking."

Part of our struggle as librarians is to fully understand and fully show our students that research is not what happens on a two-dimensional screen with a search box in the middle. Research happens in us as we learn and then share what we know. It's not a matter of objects that fit an assignment. It's a matter of finding our ways into the information landscapes where our fellow learners (sources) share what they know and carry on with their own learning in their own communities of practice.

Granted, the multi-dimensional and dynamic world of human knowledge, even in a single discipline, is a huge thing for our students to comprehend. They can't do it all at once. But as library educators we have to keep pointing them to what's next. One citation can always lead to another. One question always leads to the next question. And you will get lost if you don't start thinking about the landscape you are exploring, and the context that gives you the sources you are discovering.