I’d like to share eight noteworthy reads that I discovered in the wee small hours of the morning today that have relevance for librarians in all settings as well as classroom teachers.   These three resources are especially meaningful to me as the ideas relate to my daily work, my conceptualization of embedded librarianship, information literacy, new media literacies,  the participation gap, and scholarly research.

Find 1:

“John Palfrey: Rethinking Plagiarism in the Digital Age“:  this interview with John Palfrey co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, popped up on my iGoogle desktop via RSS feed from the blog Information Literacy Meets Library 2.0. In this “Smart Talk” from the University of Washington iSchool’s Project Information Literacy, Palfrey discusses students’ conceptualization of plagiarism, what teachers and librarians should consider in addressing the challenges of helping students better understand concepts of plagiarism, and what Palfrey considers the three most important competencies for 21st century learners right now.

In addition, Palfrey addresses the needs for us to continue to find better and new ways of creating effective portals of information (and I would add, helping students ultimately learn how to craft their own):

I think we need to be in the business of using these new rivers of information, adding to them, sharing what we know, and coding – developing, in the sense of writing computer code – new ones that work even better. There’s so much that we know about in libraries and in communities that we are not sharing with other people. The amount of metadata – data about the data – that we have and don’t make use of is staggering. (My colleagues in the Library Lab at Harvard Law School are working on a beta application of this sort, online here:http://librarylab.law.harvard.edu/ that makes this point generally.) And then we should be using and imparting these skills at all the touchpoints we have with students, whether in research consultations, in research classes, or in ordinary classes where we are helping students do research in the context of another topic.

Find 2

The interview with Palfrey led me resource 2,  “The Participation Divide: Content Creation and Sharing in the Digital Age”, a research study by Eszter Hargittai and Gina Walejko.   This research study can be downloaded for free as a PDF and is of interest to anyone who is concerned about the participation gap in regards to information, digital, and new media literacies as outlined by the 2009 Knight Foundation Report on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy as well as Henry Jenkins.  You can read this research study as well as other studies that are of significance to educators and librarians in all settings from the Web Use Project by clicking here.

Find 3

Another research report, “Trust Online: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web Content” from the Web Use Project.

Find 4

One more research report, “Digital Na(t)ives? Variation in Internet Skills and Uses among Members of the “Net Generation”” from the Web Use Project.

Find 5

A must read is Henry Jenkins’ post, “Towards a New Civic Ecology: Addressing the Grand Challenges“,  on his keynote speech at the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Conference.  You can watch the video (I so love when conferences record and post these speeches on YouTube) on his blog and listen to him discuss the following challenges and strategies of navigating the current media landscape:

  • Challenge One: Maximize the availability of relevant and credible information
  • Challenge Two: Strengthen the capacity to engage with information
  • Challenge 3: Promote engagement with information

This post and talk is rich in content, but here are some of my favorite take-aways:

“I regularly encourage my own graduate students to start a blog around their research topics. Doing so expands their research networks. ”

“The Digital Divide has to do with access to networked communication technologies — with many still relying on schools and public libraries to provide them with access. The Participation Gap has to do with access to skills and competencies (as well as the experiences through which they are acquired). And the Civic Engagement Gap has to do with access to a sense of empowerment and entitlement which allows one to feel like your voice matters when you tap into the new communication networks to share your thoughts. Unfortunately, we’ve wired the classrooms in this country and then disabled the computers; we’ve blocked young people from participating in the new forms of participatory culture; and we’ve taught them that they are not ready to speak in public by sequestering them to walled gardens rather than allowing them to try their voices through public forums.”

Find 6

Another great interview from the SmartTalks series at Project Information Literacy with respected scholar Andrea Lunsford, “Andrea Lunsford: Writing and the Profound Revolution in Access“.   This interview  speaks to the findings of the Stanford Study of Writing (another research study I’m going to delve into with depth) with a focus on the transaction of research and information literacy skills with writing as well as ways of integrating the services and resources of libraries and librarians into the writing and research experiences of college students.

In this interview, Lunsford asserts, …”the profound revolution in access to research materials is affecting everyone, at all grade levels. The question now is who has access to research materials, not only through search engines like Google but through the kinds of databases that school libraries pay for and make accessible to students.”

Find 7

Through my exploration of the Smart Talks interviews, I learned about the latest research project from the University of Washington iSchool and am eager to see the publication of it in November 2010:

During spring 2010, we conducted PIL’s large-scale student survey at 25 U.S. community colleges and universities. The online survey was sent to 112,800 college students, making it one of the largest information literacy surveys ever conducted. Findings will be released in November 2010.

Find 8

The University of Washington iSchool Project Information Literacy has its own YouTube Channel; the video below definitely speaks to the upcoming workshop I’m doing with my Social Studies teachers on restructuring and rethinking research assignments to prevent plagiarism and promote the creation of content and more original critical thinking.

I hope you enjoy these readings and resources that I discovered as a result of one blog post!  This personal research experience reminds me of how much I love having access to so much relevant and significant content for free via the web and that these resources have led me to additional information sources I’ll want to further explore in these spaces as well as research databases I can access through our state virtual library, GALILEO.