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Digital natives, searching behavior and the library

Martin Zimerman (Brooklyn Campus Library of Long Island University, Long Island University, New York, New York, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 23 March 2012



The purpose of this paper is to show that digital natives are different from older age groups.


The first survey asks questions about general computer searching behaviors. The second survey asks the students to find two items to see if they can find them.


Digital natives are different in their search behavior, preferring to use web‐based search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Research limitations/implications

There are 120 respondents to the first survey and 27 in the second.

Practical implications

More focus needs to be placed on the digital natives' search habits to find out how best to serve this population.

Social implications

Unless digital natives are taught how to search academic databases, they will be done a great disservice.


The two surveys are unique in data content.



Zimerman, M. (2012), "Digital natives, searching behavior and the library", New Library World, Vol. 113 No. 3/4, pp. 174-201.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited