On Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 12:30 AM, Daniel CannCasciato
I thought his comparison of results from a library database search and doing the same focused search in a NYTimes search site was very misleading – – however it is something I emphasize to students regarding information literacy (and yes, as Joel Hahn’s response indicated, I support the idea of making students learn something): use the proper tool. Don’t go to Costco for specialized [automotive parts, cooking gear or ingredients, etc.]. Don’t go to the grocery store to find musical instruments or sheet music. Don’t go to a general database if something more specific to your topic is available – – except know that the more general database might just bring you results that are useful and help expand your research. (It always helps to know just how far along they are in the process and how much material they need.)
I can remember the days when looking for information meant really using card catalogs, lots of printed book catalogs, printed journal indexes (what a pain that was!), working from bibliographies in back of books, while running back and forth among all of them constantly, using typewriters and physically erasing mistakes when “copy” meant writing out everything by hand and “paste” meant that stuff in a jar. There was no automatic citation software… I confess that I barely knew what I was doing but I do not look back on those days with nostalgia–they were a total pain in the you-know-what–it wasn’t one bit better. And yet there is a part of me that reflects on those times, and I think: THREE CLICKS?! That’s all we can expect today??
The answer is: yes. Things have changed that much, for better or worse. If I had to do research as I did back then, I may do it because I had to, but I would constantly be thoroughly angry because I would know there were better ways. The current generation would choose not to do it at all, but go somewhere else. As the author said, “This isn’t really about to-search-or-not-to search. It’s about the fact that faculty (not just students) are getting fed up with the search tools that we provide and are seeking new solutions.”