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FEAR AND LOATHING OF IMPLEMENTATION: Examining the Instructional Issues Surrounding the Rise of Federated Searching.
Lynn D. Lampert, MLIS, MACoordinator of Library Instruction & Information LiteracyCalifornia State University Northridgepresented at the California Clearinghouse for Library Instruction’s Spring Workshop: Challenges to Instruction in the Age of Federated Searching and GoogleMay 12th, 2006 - Menlo College
“Paranoia is just another word for ignorance of technology ?;)”Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-crossed Child in theFinal Days of the American Century (2004) “…That's the common delusion of undergraduates everywhere. They think that in using Google, they're getting relevant materials and a sufficiency of relevant materials to write papers and to do research--and it's simply not true.” ALA President Michael Gorman – “One College Librarian Worries About 'Atomizing' Books” ….Source: Chronicle of Higher Education; 6/3/2005, Vol. 51 Issue 39, pA25-A25, 2/3p, 1c
Success of metasearch and federated search is often spoken about as if it is tied to libraries’ collective futures. Federated search is seen as pivotal and with it we are being judged on, “Our ability to meet the expectations and needs of ‘the Google Generation’” (Luther, 2003).Yet the public still largely sees libraries as linked to dusty books…old fashioned and not keeping up.OCLC. (2006). Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membershipRetrieved May 2, 2006, from http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm
Source: OCLC. (2006). Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Retrieved May 2, 2006, from http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm
Some of the opportunities and challenges for traditional librarians are the changing taxonomies we are seeing [higher education]…a massive departure from pre-organized taxonomies & classifications of books & old search engines to the technology getting and giving students the ability to shape information organically into folksonomies (not passive web sites).
Students “tag” information like they tag bands, activities, people(social tags).Accessed from “http://kcrw.com/cgi-bin/ram_wrap.cgi?/tp/tp060412MySpace_and_the_Grow” 5/9/2006.
Googlelizing [our resources] will no doubt satiate the end user's need for an easy, convenient gateway to databases bloated with full text where there are no requirements for critical thinking or search preparation...But these strategies will ultimately fail if our mission is to triumph not over Google and search engines, but over the real obstacle we now confront as a profession--getting our end users to care about the quality of the information they obtain (Bell, 2005, 69-70).
Dr. Ilene Rockman Reference Services Review Vol. 31, No 1, 2003.
“When we examine the “metasearching” behavior of users, we know they prefer intuitive, clearly designed interfaces. Portals that are interactive and instructional are powerful learning tools. More importantly, if designed well, such portals can help the user spend less time searching for information, and more time evaluating its quality…This brings me to the point of reasserting the teachingrole of the librarian….the increasingly confusing roleof the Internet increases the valuable role that we playas information selectors, organizers and teachers. We must continue to firmly, consistently and creatively assert our expertise.”
Digital natives- “perceive technology as their friend and rely on it to study, work, play, relax and communicate” (Culligan 2005).
Digital immigrants- “are those who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later part in our lives become fascinated by and adopted many aspects of the new technologies” (Prensky, 2001).
Today at WILU 35 – Speaker Patrick R. Labelle, Concordia University on Federated searching's potential impact on information literacy ALA 2006 - Federated Search: How Do We Teach It? - a pre-conference workshop with Christopher Cox, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Special Issue of Internet Reference Services Quarterly on Federated Searching. The issue (12 1/2) will tentatively be published 2/07Past Presentations “The Myth, Magic and Reality of Federated Searching: Implications for Reference &Instruction,” – CARL South Mini Conference December 9. 2005. LITA October 2005 (San Jose, CA) "Falling Down the Portal: Undergraduate Adventures in Federated Metasearch Technology at California State University Northridge“ L. Lampert & K. Dabbour.
What do we know already and/or need to think moreabout when it comes to Federated Searching?
Two focused on librarians reactions to metasearch technologies from a reference and information literacy perspective.
One user survey that attempted to capture early student experiences with metasearch.
Lampert, L.D. & Dabbour, K.S. “Librarian Perspectives on Teaching MetaSearch and Federated Search Technologies (Working title),”Internet Reference Services Quarterly 12 (January/February 2007). [Expected 2007]
2005 LITA National Forum Data10 open-ended questions
Online Survey distributed to:
34% of the respondents in this survey answered “don’t have” or “stopped using” to the first question about when their libraries first offered federated searching to their patrons.
The second question asked if the librarian taught federated searching in a formal setting, such as during a library instruction session
Federated Searching Taught in Class?
Librarians who do not teach federated searching said that their biggest impediments were:
Some neutral impact responses related to the respondent not being sure yet because they had not thought about it and/or their library had not had federated searching long enough.A few felt the impact neutral because they considered it another tool in the student’s search option toolbox.
For the 10% who felt it had a positive impact, one respondent said that it,“Helped teach the variety of resources available”“A quick and easy way to get students thinking about their results”“If you teach both native and federated interfaces you give students a choice.”
Q5: Are you confident teaching federated searching in instruction sessions and/or at the reference desk?
Why librarians stated that they prefer teaching the native interface:
Sophisticated search options
Distinguish easily between scholarly vs. popular
Most students don’t need a lot of databases
“Federated searching is a path of despair that assumes that either we do not have time or a venue to teach more sophisticated search methods, or our students are incapable or unmotivated to learn how to search with more sophistication. Federated searching produces muddled results that take us only a few baby steps beyond Google.” Anonymous
Lamentation of growth of online databases and stagnation of student research skills.
The limited level of undergraduate subject knowledge and “Lack of analytic selection from the [resulting] citations produced by the search as well as initial error in qualifying limitation placed on the search further exacerbate problems.”
“It remains the responsibility of the librarian to see to it that important steps are not excluded in the assembling of the bibliography – the realization of both expediency and comprehensiveness without the sacrifice of the true exercise in research that the library has always advocated – the careful, conscious discrimination in the student’s selection of…source material.”
Online supplemental learning / tutorials
(Elluminate) synchronous /asynchronous
Student centered learning
Library Specific Changes
New multiple source formats for databases
Built in citation formatting
More information than ever in multiple formats
Personalization – My folders in several databasesContent & Delivery Mechanisms for Higher Education are Being Challenged
C. Cox Federated Search: How Will it Change the Way We Teach? Brick and Click Conference 2005.
The information literate
student accesses needed
1. The information literate
student selects the most
methods or information
retrieval systems for
Accessing the needed
2. The information literate student constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies (problematic due to simplistic search capability).
“It makes no sense to decide how one is going to teach before one has made some study of how people learn.”
(Eric Sotto When Teaching becomes Learning 1994)
Create a rich, problem-solving environment
Present authentic contexts and tasks rather than predetermined (canned) instructional sequences
Reflective practice needed (hands-on)
Focus on knowledge construction not reproduction (deep versus surface learning)Exercises Like These Call for a Shift in Instructional Philosophy
Enhancing the quality of library instruction is not about devising more brief activities or even slicker performances (video, Powerpoint, etc.) but about recognizing the need to build the learners' needs and priorities into induction.
With this focus induction might look quite different: engaging students in discussion about their expectations of the library or about experiences of using libraries, working to meet the information needs that students have at that time, ...or involving them in looking at how they currently find things in libraries.
“Metasearching, also known as integrated searching, simultaneous searching, cross-database searching, parallel searching, broadcast searching, and federated searching, refers to a process in which a user submits a query to numerous information resources. The resources can be heterogeneous in many respects: their location, the format of the information that they offer, the technologies on which they draw, the types of materials that they contain, and more.
Lynn Lampert MLIS, MA
Coordinator of Library Instruction & Information Literacy
Oviatt Library, 8327
California State University Northridge
Phone: (818) 677-7104
Home page: http://library.csun.edu/llampert