Sunday, June 15, 2008

How the Internet is changing reading habits of researchers

An article in the July/August issue of The Atlantic Monthly entitled, "Is Google making us stupid?" was based in part on a UK study prepared primarily for academic librarians and issued in January 2008. One of the stated goals of the study was to determine whether scholarly research methods for content are changing and, if so, its impact on libraries and publishers.
"The report Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future (PDF format; 1.67MB) shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now becoming the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors."
Based on longitudinal studies in the UK and the US, the CIBER research team at University College London reported on the need for a new library model due to changes in the way users research material, collaborations with publishers, open-sourcing and the excellent prospects for e-books.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Atlantic article, cautioned that online research may negatively impact the ability to evaluate content:
"The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To write or not to write

Perhaps it's back to the drawing board on these long-term forecasts, eh?

" The AP contacted the emergency management agency in every coastal state from Texas to Maine and asked whether these [six-month] seasonal forecasts play any role in their preparations for the hurricane season. Their response was unanimous: They're a great way to get people thinking about the upcoming season, but that's about it."