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2015 OLIS Multi-Type Reference Group Program: Patrons and Their Preferences: Enhancing the User Experience: Research Habits in the Age of Google

Notes and slides from the OLIS Multi-Type Reference Group Program, held at Cumberland Public Library, April 27, 2015.

Session 1

How has technology changed reference services?

  • Young adults are good at using computers, but not good at finding information.
  • They need strategies and skill sets.
  • We assume they know how things they don't actually know
  • Many patrons are unaware of the database resources available at the library
  • Patrons need more awareness of additional resources available to them - example: RI residents can check out materials from many of the academic libraries

Search strategies / problems / challenges

  • Keywords - students have trouble determining keywords


  • Collaboration with school & public librarians
  • Workshops for older adults - encourage them to share what they've learned with their children and grandchildren!
  • Orientations for freshmen on databases
  • With kids: keep showing them how to evaluate sources

Repetition - helps reinforces the information conveyed.

Session 2

What has the Google Age done to change the library profession?...As a college librarian, students think they can write their paper from a Google search! Lack of HS prep?

In RI - Grade 6 is last "library" curriculum?
Evaluation as problem--wiki--use REFs? Use domains?

Everything LOOKS like a website when they are ONLINE - .edu; .gov; .org - but it's Joe Schmoe's blog!!; Google results look like DB results

Museums/PBS have amazing websites to go with the original productions; less scary stuff but still overwhelming
One man's treasure/trash - if it's old it may be great (Crimea War - then, now?--similar?)

Teachers that assign inappropriate topics for materials at their students levels; Glendale quarries - Burrillville; Stephen Hopkins for 4th graders; Catholic saint namesakes

What to do??? Talk to faculty/teachers about their assignments. - Labor intensive; constant; was here before the Internet and will still be here after; but everything is a one-off and needs to be done over and over because its not systemic.

More instruction--be great if it were mandatory!


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