The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

After reading three interesting articles related to information fluency in a socially connected world by Garfinkel, Lorenzo and Wittenberg, I have identified two messages I can take away with me to make myself a better information professional.

The first message from these articles is how the “net-generation” find information. The majority of students rely heavily on finding information from two main sources other than the library. These are internet searches primarily Google and from social networks.

Relying on Google for results when researching users are most likely to use the first few results that appear and a majority of times the first or second result is likely to be from Wikipedia. While using these results may be a good starting point in research it is important as an information professional to understand the importance of communicating to users that these sources may not be entirely accurate and that cross checking of facts is needed from other more reliable sources. Information professionals need to be able to explain how to verify the legitimacy of information to users in order for them to understand the difference between quality information that has been sourced from reliable sources and information that is not from a reliable source.

The second message I have taken away is that being an information professional I need to adapt to changes in society and culture.

Today’s generation are much more connected through social networking and being engaged with users is much more important. Social networking and Web 2.0 has made people more connected and users expect information professionals to be the same. The “net-generation” are able to multi-task, can easily adapt to change, are willing to take risks while learning instead of carefully finding information, communicating in less traditional methods and are more visual based learners.

Information professionals can no longer expect users to come to them for information, we need to engage with our users more and continue to adapt both ourselves and library systems to changing trends and intuitive design.

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84-86. Retrieved from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=35342513&site=ehost-live 

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf 

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electoronic Publishing, 10(1). Retrieved from: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

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