Saturday, 17 November 2012

Advice on the Information Interview

Following this week's team activities in class, we have come up with some advice on interviewing clients in order to assist them with their information needs. Many of the questions we chose to ask our client were compatible with those suggested by Buckley Owen, T. (2012).* For example, we addressed the "six questions" (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) whilst negotiating the query with the client. However, there were some potentially useful details we missed through not being specific enough in clarifying their requirements. We made sure to follow up and ensure that the query had been resolved to the client's satisfaction.

Our key advice would be to communicate clearly and thoroughly with the client in order to establish their needs and respond appropriately.

* Buckley Owen, T. (2012) 'What do you really want?', in Successful enquiry answering every time. (6th Ed.) London, England: Facet. pp. 1-22.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The using of Wikipedia among college students

Last week, we had a seminar about "How today's college students use Wikipedia for course-related research" written by Alison J. Head and Micheal B. Eisenberg.

From the seminar, we learned that 70 percent of students that were interviewed used Wikipedia in the beginning of their course-related researches in order to get general ideas. On the contrary, rare students ended their coursework with Wikipedia because of the lack of academic. These can explain why Wikipedia is a great place to start, but a horrible place to end.

As for me, I haven't used Wikipedia before, but I usually got ideas from BaiduPedia that is similar to Wikipedia. I used BaiduPedia because it provided me many different aspects of the research. Because both Wikipedia and BaiduPedia can be edited by all users, the knowledge mentioned is common and general. To college students, Wikipedia is not good enough to cite in their course-related researches.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

College students use of Wikipedia

Last week we read an article on how students use Wikipedia* in preperation for a seminar on the topic of Wikipedia.

The discussion we had on the subject was interesting. The study itself was, to me, fairly reassuring (in a way) in that it shows young people today do know how to use the internet for research and recognise the importance of verifying facts through use of more than one source. This is, in fact, exactly how I use Wikipedia; indeed, how I have used it since I first came across it about 10 years ago.

However, the question was raised during the session as to whether it is right that students should be told not to cite Wikipedia: is it really as untrustworthy a source as (it is assumed) many lecturers think? Even sources found through 'trustworthy' sites or databases may be suspect: you still have to go through the same process of checking citations and facts for any information you find. So the question is, why should Wikipedia be treated any differently? It's definitely something worth thinking about!

*Head, A. and Eisenberg, M. (2010) How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course-related research. First Monday, 15(3).

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Wikipedia and College students

This entry discusses last week's seminar session and Head and Eisenberg's study on how college student use Wikipedia for course-related research.

The results show that many students who participated in the study use wikipedia in combination with other resources to gather background information on certain subject areas. The article further explains that though Wikipedia meets the needs of many college students because of its varied mix of coverage, currency, convenience and comprehensive , it is not solely relied upon as it only helps at the research phase. It states that students recourse to other reliable sources afterwards including scholarly articles.

Many students who use the tool, are very aware of its many limitations, and as such, have learned not to rely upon it completely. However, it is recognized as a good starting point.

Personally, my wikipedia use is never intentional. Each time I make a general search, I do so via Google search engine. Incidentally, Wikipedia always appears amongst the top 5 results on every search made probably because of the PageRank algorithm used by Google. In any case, this always forces me to subconsciously click on the Wikipedia link.

How I use Wikipedia

A few thoughts reflecting on last week's seminar discussion and Head and Eisenberg's study "How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course–related research":

My own Wikipedia use is probably fairly similar to that identified by Head and Eisenberg amongst college students in the US. I do not get much use from Wikipedia in studying Librarianship or Information Literacy, but I would often turn to it during my undergraduate degree in English Literature to obtain "a summary about a topic [...]  in addition to a small set of other commonly used information resources at the beginning of the research process". These days, I prefer to begin my information search using the recommended reading lists provided by the iSchool, but I may still rely on Wikipedia for providing a concise and (usually) up-to-date background on an unfamiliar subject.

I am more inclined to use Wikipedia outside of academic work, for looking up information on books, authors, musicians, or films (although I used to rely on sites like IMDb and AllMusic.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, articles on "Culture and Arts" make up almost a third of Wikipedia's content:

Wikipedia content by subject as of January 2008
Fair usage rights are detailed at Wikimedia Commons

* Head, A.J.; Eisenberg, M.B. (2010) 'How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course–related research'. First Monday, 15 (3).

Monday, 12 November 2012

Using social media: the iTeam on Twitter

Twitter logo: guidelines on fair usage are detailed here

Following last week's class on using Social Media, we decided to start an iTeam Twitter feed. This will enable us to engage with more readers, connect with new followers, and provides opportunities to communicate with a wider audience via Microblogging. We are able to follow various other existing University of Sheffield-related feeds, and have gained a couple of 'followers' already!

Friday, 2 November 2012

The IL in our careers exhibition (and our poster!)

Seven Wonders of Information Literacy (our poster)

This week we took part in the 'Information Literacy in our Future Careers' poster display at Firth Hall. Along with the other teams on the module, we created and displayed a poster about what we thought would be important information literacy skills to use in our future careers. We decided to focus our poster on the SCONUL 'Seven Pillars' skills model of Information Literacy, choosing the 'Seven Wonders of Information Literacy' as a basis for our design.

Having identified two different future career paths between the four members of our team (Academic Librarian and Information Analyst) we then put our minds to identifying the professional skills we may have in common. This was a useful exercise, as we were given an opportunity to reflect on our own professional aspirations in relation to Information Literacy, and the skills we might be able to bring to the workplace.

It was very impressive to see the kinds of ideas that other team members had come up with; some groups had clearly put in a great deal of effort. It was interesting to see how Information Literacy could be represented through different visual ideas and perspectives (including a superhero, a Monopoly board, a world map, Snow White, and others). It encouraged us to think about our own IL skills in new ways.

 The iTeam