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Millennials’ Mysterious Search Habits Lucy Holman Virginia Library Association October 30, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Millennials’ Mysterious Search Habits Lucy Holman Virginia Library Association October 30, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Millennials’ Mysterious Search Habits Lucy Holman Virginia Library Association October 30, 2009

2 Millennials Experiential learners Hypertext learners “Satisficers” Judge by visual relevancy Prefer simple interface Value immediacy Search more than browse Think they’re skilled

3 Mental Models Internal cognitive representations of systems and processes that assist in explaining and predicting one’s interaction with such systems (Norman, 1983)

4 Project Observe students in search habits and compare with identified mental models

5 Methodology Observations September – October 2008 Modified Contextual Inquiry – Observed while conducting real research assignment – Recorded sessions with software Morae – audio, video and screen capture Conducted post-observation interviews

6 Participants 21 first-year students at UB 20 in learning communities

7 Participants This study observed 21 students in their first semester at the University of Baltimore (UB). UB’s first-year curriculum revolves around the concept of learning communities with three interrelated courses –one humanities, one social science and either an information literacy or speech communications course. I recruited students from three of the four learning communities in Fall 2008. Although small in number, the 21 students demographically represent the entering class at UB: 52% women and 48% men; 48% white, 43% African American and 9% Asian; 29% 19 years old, 48% 18, 14% 17, and 5% 16 years old. All participants had at least one computer at home; 57% had two or more. Ninety- one percent had a profile on a social networking site. Figure 1 shows their daily Internet use. At least 1 hour/day2+ hours / day Hours of Internet use95%62% Hours of Web surfing71%33% Hours of Social Networking51%24% All had at least one computer at home 57% had two or more 91% had a profile on a social networking site

8 A bit more about the assignments ECON 100 – comparison of political parties’ stand on major issue ARTS 101 – study of artist CMAT 201 – speech on cultural issue IDIS 101 – career search ENTR 100 – midterm exam

9 Results: What they use Search EngineNo. of Searches % of Engines % of Total DatabaseNo. of Searches % of Databases % of Total Google9472.344.8Acad. Search Premier5973.828.1 Alta Vista75.43.3JSTOR67.52.8 Yahoo53.82.4Opposing Viewpoints45.01.9 Ask53.82.4InfoTrac45.01.9 Google Scholar43.11.9LexisNexis33.81.4 Google Gov32.31.4Lib. Catalog11.30.5 Google Images32.31.4Journal Finder11.30.5 PolyCola32.31.4Project Muse11.30.5 MSN21.50.9Gen Business File11.30.5 Wikipedia21.50.9 Clusty10.80.5 Encarta10.80.5 Total13010061.9Total8010038.1

10 Results: How they search MethodNo.Percentage Simple searches7734.4 Topic + focus searches6830.4 Phrase searches3917.4 Boolean searches3113.8 Use of subject headings94.0 Total (includes 210 searches in search engines and 14 searches within individual sites) 224100

11 Results: Techniques Used/ Mistakes Made MethodNo. of AttemptsPercentage of Search Total (224) Broaden/Narrow2410.7 Limits20.9 Truncation52.2 Spelling errors188.0 Boolean mistakes219.3 Unnecessary words62.7 Incorrect punctuation41.8 Total8035.6

12 MisspellMisspell Search w/in siteSearch w/in site What they do….

13 Jkj; And...what they can’t do

14 What they seem to know about search....and what they don’t “None of them [search engines] connect all the words together; they just kind of pull out whatever they feel is the most important word.” “I’m going to try to change the words around because you can get a lot more. You get more hits every time you change it around the words that they find relevant.” “I don't know exactly why they do it, but if you switch, if you're looking for education and virtues and then you switch to virtues and education, for some reason it brings up completely different websites….”

15 How they evaluate Thoughts on reliability of sites, Wikipedia, and other musingsreliability of sitesWikipedia, “The one I usually stay away from is Wikipedia just because it's been so repeated since high school, 'don't use Wikipedia because anyone can say anything they want about that artist, and it doesn't have to be true.'” - MaryAnn

16 How they feel about libraries

17 How they conceptualize search tools

18 Mental Models

19 Implications How we teachHow databases work

20 Questions?

21 References Bilal, D., & Kirby, J. (2002). Differences and similarities in information seeking: Children and adults as Web users. Information Processing and Management, 38 (5), 649-670. DeRosa, C., Cantrell, J. Hawk, J., & Wilson, A. (2006). College students’ perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved April 3, 2008 from: Guinee, K., Eagleton, M. B., & Hall, T. E. (2003). Adolescents’ Internet search strategies: Drawing upon familiar cognitive paradigms when accessing electronic information sources. Journal of Education Computing Research, 29 (3), 363-374. Head, A. J., & Eisenberg, M. B. (2009). Finding context: What today’s college students say about conducting research in the digital age. Project Information Literacy Progress Report, Information School. University of Washington. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from Holliday, W., & Li, Q. (2004). Understanding the millennials: Updating our knowledge about students. Reference Services Review, 32 (4), 356-366. Retrieved February 20, 2007 from Emerald database. Lenhart, A., Rainie, L., & Lewis, O. (2001). Teen life online: The rise of the instant-message generation and the Internet’s impact on friendships and family relationships. Retrieved March 20, 2007 from Lippincott, J. K. (2005). Net generation students and libraries. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the net generation (pp. 13.1-13.15). Boulder, CO: Educause. Retrieved February 11, 2007 from Norman, D. (1983). Some observations on mental models. In D. Genter & A. Stevens (Eds.), Mental models (pp. 7-14). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. L. (2005). It it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the net generation. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the net generation (pp. 2.1- 2.20). Boulder, CO: Educause. Retrieved February 11, 2007 from Online Computer Library Center (2002). OCLC white paper on the information habits of college students: How academic librarians can influence student’s web-based information choices. Retrieved February 28, 2007 from:

22 References Prenksy, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants, part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9 (6), 15-24. Retrieved April 6, 2007 from: Salaway, G., Caruso, J. B., & Nelson, M.R.(2008). The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008 (Research Study, Vol. 8). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Retrieved February 28, 2009 from Stein, J., Bright, A., George, C., Hurlbert, T., Linke, E., and St. Clair, G. (2006). In their own words: A preliminary report on the value of the internet and library in graduate student research. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 7 (2), 107-115. Sullivan, D. (2001). WebTop search rage study. The Search Engine Report. Retrieved March 20, 2007 from: Thomas, C., & McDonald, R. H. (2005). Millennial net value(s): Disconnects between libraries and the information age mindset. Florida State University D-Scholarship Repository, Article #4. Retrieved February 24, 2007 from: University of Baltimore Office of Institutional Research (2009). Enrollment data for first-year students, Fall 2008. Received from Office through personal email. University College London (UCL) CIBER project. (2008). Information behaviour of the researcher of the future: A CIBER briefing paper. Retrieved February 28, 2009 from Williams, P. (1999). The net generation: The experiences, attitudes and behaviour of children using the Internet for their own purposes. Aslib Proceedings, 51 (9), 315-322. Retrieved November 3, 2007 from ABI Inform database. Zhang, Y. (2008). The influence of mental models on undergraduate students’ searching behavior on the Web. Information Processing and Management, 44 (3), 1330 – 1345.

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