I was fortunate enough to see an advanced draft of The New Digital Scholar: Exploring and Enriching the Research and Writing Practices of Nextgen Students, a terrific new collection of insights into how our students approach research tasks and what we can do to improve their learning. (Reader, I blurbed it.) Now that I have a print copy in my hands, I’m reading it all over again, and I expect it will become one of those books I pull off the shelf frequently, until the pages are dog-eared and rumpled. Most of the authors are in the field of composition, though librarians and technical writers also contributed. It does a fascinating job of examining how students become information literate—and what barriers get in the way.
What interesting times we live in. I just got a panicked call from a professor who asked her students to find reviews of YA books that had appeared at the time they were originally published. She suddenly realized she didn’t know how to find a review of a now-classic Judy Blume novel that she planned to use as an example. She couldn’t find any reviews from 1970 on the web. She couldn’t find any in our databases, which often don’t have full text that far back. The Publisher’s Weekly review posted at Amazon is not from the time of the original publication, but refers to a later reissue. The author’s website didn’t include reviews from 1970. And here she’d thought it was a simple assignment.
Project Information Literacy’s new report, Learning Curve: How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace is a fascinating look at what information skills employers want from recent graduates and what our graduates will encounter when they go to work. I’m excited that this is the first in a series of “passage studies” looking closely at periods of transition as early adults negotiate information. Librarians will find this report worth discussing in the library and sharing with department chairs, the career center, and anyone else who has a stake in graduates’ future.
David Weinberger, currently a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, has written widely about the impact of the Internet on knowledge and culture. After co-authoring the influential Cluetrain Manifesto, he went on to explore the social nature of the web [...]