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Higher Ed, the Google, and the Wikipedia

November 18, 2010

My department had a meeting today on information literacy and source evaluation. A large portion of the discussion focussed on how we as educators could teach our students to evaluate online sources. In the midst of this discussion, one the research librarians present brought the following report from Project Information Literacy to our attention:

How do students evaluate information and use it once they have found it? What difficulties do students encounter with research for courses and for personal use from start to finish? Read PIL’s “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age” with findings from 8,353 college students from 25 colleges and universities in the U.S. Watch the preview video (3:05) and read the report (72 pages, 5.8 MB).

The document is long but worth the read. One graph in particular, however, deserves special attention:

Click to enlargeBasically, students are almost twice as likely to hit Google than talk to an instructor about research and are almost seven times more likely to hit Google than to talk to a librarian. The number concerning Wikipedia are almost the same.

Pretty wild, but important to realize.

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