Digital Natives in the Library
To edit a phrase: the medium changes the message. Accessing information through different types of technologies has a profound impact on how that information is internalized and used. The ways in which students access information are changing at a rapid pace (fueled by mobile technologies and social online tools) and as information providers, it's important for us to keep up. A good source for learning more about how students use technology is a series of studies from Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR). Every year, ECAR surveys tens of thousands of college students at dozens of institutions to learn more about what technology they own, how they use it, and how it affects their learning activities. The most recent report is freely available here: 2008 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.
Here in the MINITEX Reference Services unit, we spend quite a bit of time talking about ELM databases. A note from one of these database providers, EBSCO, caught my eye the other day (in the Nov/Dec issue of Reference Notes, no less). EBSCO's new design version, called EBSCOhost 2.0, is apparently fully compatible with mobile devices. And, according to the update, "a brand new product for accessing EBSCOhost using handheld devices is currently in development and targeted for release in the spring." Could you see your high school or college students using a library database on their iPhone? Would you use one this way? Drop a note in the comments to let us know what you think.
And in case you're not quite convinced that new technologies are ubiquitous and are changing how students live their everyday lives, try to guess which day was Facebook's busiest day ever. Christmas eve.