Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wikipedia Research (no, really...)

I saw a very interesting article in the online journal First Monday concerning the use of Wikipedia by college students:

The article

As you may have heard, Wikipedia bashing is a very popular sport among librarians and academics at large. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the authority of the people writing entries to the chageable nature of the information to, well, fill in the blank - there are approximately as many reasons as mouths to voice them. The most interesting thing about this new study is that, from this librarian's perspective, most people are using Wikipedia just the way that we would advise them to use any general encyclopedia - as a starting point for research and to get a general overview of a topic before launching into more in-depth research. OMG - they really WERE listening...

It is also interesting to note that while 95% of college students reported using Google as a tool in their research past what they found in Wikipedia, 93% report using library databases. Now, anyone with any sense knows that folks will use Google, and that wasn't the purpose of this research. It was, however, very encouraging that students are reporting that they are using library resources only slightly less frequently than Google.

If you have an interest in how students conduct research, I really recommend that you read this article.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Librarians Gone Wild - well, maybe not...

Now, before you think you are going to see pictures of drunken librarians in various states of dishabille, check this out. Besides, if you want to see that, show up at the next ALA Conference - further deponent sayeth not...

A new book about librarians and libraries is out there. This Book Is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson.

A friend of mine recently purchased this book for my wife and I to read, and I have to admit that I have not yet gotten started on it. Librarians usually have more reading material on hand than time allows them to cope with, and I'm certainly guilty of it. But I think that I need to move this one up the reading list, if only to see how accurate the various reviews are.

There are lots of librarian blogs, web sites, etc. out there, and you will certainly be able to find lots of examples of weird patron (and even librarian) behavior out there if you look for it. I am actually kind of hoping that there will be be some image-changing content in the book. Marian the Librarian is still a fairly pervasive stereotype, despite the best efforts of some folks to bust that one up once and for all.

Oh, and to not make this post completely off the topic of the Lake Land College Library (for the 2-3 of you who look at this - maybe we do need to start featuring those kind of pictures...): the library renovation project is officially on schedule. Work will be continuing for a while yet on removing the nasty asbestos from the place, and then the actual renovation work can begin. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the new steeped roof and the group study/project rooms that will be on the top floor - we have always waned to offer these, and now we will be able to.

Of course, what I'd REALLY like to see is 1) the Reference Desk much nearer to the Circulation Desk than it will be and 2) another librarian on staff. The chances of both are pretty much equivalent :-(