April 2011 Archives

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, April 11, 2011  

Very interesting, short article about strategies in web searching and its effect on problem solving. How does this apply to library searching? How can we help students search/problem solve better?

Here are a few quotes:

  • the rough estimate from our available data is obvious: users change search strategy only 1% of the time; 99% of the time they plod along a single unwavering path. Whether the true number is 2% or 0.5%, the big-picture conclusion is the same: users have extraordinarily inadequate research skills when it comes to solving problems on the Web.It also highlights a big problem with search today: it doesn't facilitate any conceptual knowledge because it relies on quick in-out dips into websites.
  • In general, we almost never see people use advanced search. And when they do, they typically use it incorrectly -- partly because they use it so rarely that they never really learn how it works.
  • For today's Web design projects, we must design for the way the world is, not the way we wish it were. This means accepting search dominance, and trying to help users with poor research skills.


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I recently decided to create a tutorial to help students in the undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Seminar determine whether the article that they are looking at is from a peer-reviewed journal.

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to accomplish, but thought I'd confer with Paul Zenke to get any instructional design-type insights into my project.

Besides talking me through the objectives I hoped to accomplish, Paul introduced me to a new content creation tool that's freely available on the Internet: Popplet.

Popplet works a lot like Prezi, but instead of the flying graphics, the user directs the flow of information.  This aspect was particularly useful for my project as I wanted to give the students branching options based on the information that they had in front of them.

Popplet also gives you the ability to embed the finished product directly into the LCP:

It probably took me around 20 minutes to put this together.  I then sent it out to some colleagues to review and had a finished product by the end of the day!

A new exhibit will open this Wednesday April, 20th in the 1st floor gallery in Andersen Library. Titled "Headwaters of History," the exhibit showcases facets of Minnesota History from the collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections. A few highlights from the exhibit are the Wangensteen stomach pump, a flurry of artists, authors, and poets, and the Roseau Runestone! Stop in if your passing by and learn about Minnesota history and the amazing collections housed at the University of Minnesota.

The Everywhere Library

presented by the Academic and Research Libraries Division in partnership with the Public Libraries Division of the Minnesota Library Association

Last year, Academic and Research Libraries (ARLD) Day was all about getting users into the library building. This year, we'll look at serving our patrons where they are. We know they work from their computers at home and in their offices, but they're also increasingly accessing our services and information via mobile devices. What do libraries need to be thinking about? What services are successful? What technologies and metadata are required to make access easy and understandable? Join us on April 29 at ARLD Day 2011: The Everywhere Library to find out.

Keynote speaker

Jason GriffeyJason Griffey
Associate Professor and Head of Library Information Technology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The Everywhere Patron
Throughout the world, the majority of people who have access to the Internet are not using a computer. They are relying on their cell phone as their primary interface for listening to music, watching television, reading books, communicating with friends, and finding answers. As phones become more and more capable, fewer and fewer people find that they need their computer on a day to day basis to stay in touch with their infosphere. Libraries need to be at the forefront of these changes, as well as looking forward and preparing for the future of information interaction.

We will examine the upcoming rise of the superphone, the next-generation of mobile phone services, and how the next 3-5 years will reshape everything about information interactions.

Keynote speaker links to check out:

New article from the researchers from Project Information Literacy.

  • So have Facebook and Google become the bibles for college students? 
  • Do young people rely on social media and search engines for all of the answers needed in their daily lives? 
In a new research paper from PIL, we found students use online information for decisions in their personal lives, but rely almost as much on family and friends nearly as much. 

The everyday life research study includes results of a new statistical analysis about what we call "ubiquitous search engine usage"--when search engines are most likely to be used--and not used--during students' everyday life information-seeking activities. 


Read "How College Students Use the Web to Conduct Everyday Life Research" in this month's issue of First Monday, an international journal about Internet research.

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