The Future of Searching
Session coordinator: Martin Lhoták, Academy of Sciences Library
Time and venue: May 26, 8:30 AM - 12:40 PM, Vencovsky Aula
‘Digital Natives’ and Online Information Resources: How They Search and What We Offer
Heike vom Orde, Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation - International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI), Germany
Documents to download
Nowadays, media are among the most powerful and influential forces in young people’s lives. Quantitative youth media research tells us that over the last five years there has been a huge increase in media use among youth worldwide. When adolescents are asked what media are the most important and indispensable to them, computers and the Internet rank first. For this so-called generation of ‘digital natives’, the web is the most used and appreciated medium because it provides tremendous opportunities for their socialization. The Internet helps define adolescents’ social identities by enabling multiple communication functions and thus transforming their social world by influencing how they communicate, how they establish and maintain relationships.
The way in which young people use computers and the Internet appears to be significantly different from how they use traditional media. According to a representative Germany survey (JIM-Studie 2010), 46 percent of the time that 12– to 19-year-olds spend on the web is dedicated to communication and social networking functions, while only 14 percent is used for information retrieval. If adolescents use the web to search for information, their information seeking behaviour is mainly characterized by routines and effectiveness and not by the thoroughness and information literacy as librarians would prefer it to be.
Several studies in information seeking behaviour support the assumption that the information literacy of ‘digital natives’ has not improved despite the growth in ICT skills and the increased access to the web. Especially in terms of learning support we have to face a widening gap between what librarians consider high quality online information resources and what students regard as appropriate for meeting their information needs in schools or university. While we as information professionals take pride in offering more online resources with even more content, students actively engage in strategies for reducing the search options. When it comes to personal research needs, less than half of ‘digital natives’ use libraries or library databases – alarming results for anybody who thinks that libraries can survive in this digital world as they are.
In my presentation I would like to identify and discuss concepts of online information services that libraries could offer to reach and capture the target group of ‘digital natives’. Focusing on the characteristics of youth information behaviour (e.g. searching and using information ‘just in time’ or preferring multitasking and simultaneous, non-linear access to multiple sources) may give us a clue about which information services are appropriate for this media generation. In our daily work we have to take notice of a new customer group of individuals who are intuitive visual communicators and prefer inductive discovery. After demystifying the search behaviour of ‘digital natives’ in the light of current research findings, we should be able to draw some obvious conclusions for the (re-)design of our information services.
Author's professional CV
Graduate Education: M.A. in Psychology and German Literature, Degree in academic librarianship Present Title: Head of documentation Institution: International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (an international documentation and research centre on children's, youth and educational TV, a department of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation – BR) Selected Presentations: DGI 2003 (Leipzig); International Symposium for Information Science 2004 (Chur); Internet Librarian International 2005 (London); IASL 2006 (Lisbon); GMW 2006 (Zurich); SIDOC 2007 (Palma de Mallorca); ASpB Conference (Berlin); IASA 2008 (Sydney); IFLA 2009 and 2010 (Milan, Gothenburg) Standing committee member IFLA information literacy section