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The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future

Ian Rowlands (CIBER, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
David Nicholas (CIBER, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
Peter Williams (CIBER, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
Paul Huntington (CIBER, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
Maggie Fieldhouse (CIBER, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
Barrie Gunter (Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)
Richard Withey (CIBER Associate, and Independent News & Media Group, London, UK)
Hamid R. Jamali (Department of Educational Technology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Tarbiat Moallem University, Tehran, Iran)
Tom Dobrowolski (Institute of Information Science, University of Warsaw, Warszawa, Poland)
Carol Tenopir (School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 6 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This article is an edited version of a report commissioned by the British Library and JISC to identify how the specialist researchers of the future (those born after 1993) are likely to access and interact with digital resources in five to ten years' time. The purpose is to investigate the impact of digital transition on the information behaviour of the Google Generation and to guide library and information services to anticipate and react to any new or emerging behaviours in the most effective way.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was virtually longitudinal and is based on a number of extensive reviews of related literature, survey data mining and a deep log analysis of a British Library and a JISC web site intended for younger people.

Findings

The study shows that much of the impact of ICTs on the young has been overestimated. The study claims that although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.

Originality/value

The paper reports on a study that overturns the common assumption that the “Google generation” is the most web‐literate.

Keywords

Citation

Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B., Withey, R., Jamali, H.R., Dobrowolski, T. and Tenopir, C. (2008), "The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60 No. 4, pp. 290-310. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530810887953

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited