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Digital Natives



Life Among the Digital Natives

Digital Natives, Web 2.0 and Implications for Libraries

(written by Matthew Hong) presented by Ken Breen



  • understanding the "digital native" vs. "digital immigrants"
  • digital natives + Web 2.0
  • how this applies to libraries


  • digital immigrants
    • not born into the digital world, but moved into it of necessity
    • secondary speakers
    • not necessarily any less digitally capable


  • digital natives
    • born into the ditial world
    • native speakers


  • DI
    • linearly access information


  • DN
    • randomly access info
    • collaborative
    • born in 1980's
    • compose brain to keyboard
    • read newspaper online


71% of high school students report using internet as a major resource for their most recent school project


traditional resources may be excluded for the workflow


73% of college students reported using internet for research more than their library


85% students have a profile on Facebook


  • tools digital natives embrace (features)
    • personalization
    • expression
    • collaboration


(list of features, technologies, and websites that are examples of above)


  • worldview of digital immigrants
    • external to info ecostystem
    • limited paths
    • this is the way information provides organized and made info available in the past
    • put intormation online in traditional linear document methods
    • true until about 2002


  • DN world
    • the masses provide, correct, and vote on information
    • users modify, contribute to, and create information
    • user at the center of the info ecosystem
    • multiple paths; not linear


(Woody Evans mentioned Dreanna's Portal to Texas History MySpace profile in his article!)


Thomas Ford Memorial Library -- using Web 2.0 for patrons

  • action-driven sidebar
  • hyperlinks in text blocks
  • imbedded meebo chat box (no software to download)


(man, i wish i'd has time for breakfast!)


U of Penn

  • users can tag their collections
  • tag cloud for frequent tags


Conclusions for Libraries

  • understand
  • participate
  • be findable
  • role of media specialists is evolving
  • innovate by embracing and extending "traditional" reference interfaces and thryu creative use of Web 2.0 applications


more and more patrons will be interacting with us virtually


put pressure on your technoolgy vendors to insert technology into the workflow--be compatible with the tools that patrons are using




  • how receptive are students to presence (on MySpace, Facebook) that aren't their peers?
    • Eastern NY--at ACRL, M. Farkas said that her students were horrified that she was trying to contact them in this way; they seem to not want us in their social space
    • Brownsburg Public Library: MySpacepage in March; reception has been good--no negative comments; have quite a few friends already (a lot of author friends); at least they're seeing our name out there in another place
    • you put yourself out there, but they have to add you as a friend--so they will respond if they want to
    • first speaker was talking about commenting on what they post
    • do they respond to each other?
    • yes--i feel like a lurker because I'm reading their conversations, but do i take the next step and respond?
  • is there a passive assumption that the internet is a homongenous place? it's not like crashing someone's apartment. everyone might love the library if they find out it's in a different space than they expected.
  • how is Gale incorporating Web 2.0?
    • good question. one of our initiatives is Acccess My Library; recognize that students are trying to research Google and Yahoo; trying to capture them with search results and direct them to your library
  • point about wikpedia: maybe librarians have a lot to offer there--digital natives need this (access to lbirarians) as much as we did in their shoes
    • i agree--i didn't want my parents in my physical space, but there came times when i needed them. as i matured, i found myself going to them more and more. maybe in a year or tow, we'll find that more students are comfortable with us in their space.
  • as these techn. evolve, our place may be an academic or librarian equivalent to facebook--conversations centered on research, and more suited an environment for that service, something that we organically grow
    • (my thought: do students really need one more site to log into?)
  • my son's friends that do research come to me--I'm not their parent, so it's "okay"--maybe they will listen if we're in their space
  • we are participants in our own right--i use facebook to communicate with my librarian friends--it's not just them and us; we can use these same tools ourselves,and if patrons happen to be there, we can help them too--it's aboutmaking that connection, whether with peers or patrons
  • how do you go into facebook or myspace? as an institution or an indidual? (facebook = indvidual) --but are you representing your institution, or as yourself? that seems to me to be an interesting issue. how hve people handled it
    • poorly. "yes" to both, but it can be very difficult. i am on the generation borderline, but i am more committed to the profession than my intitution.
    • someone at MPOW suggested our account be deleted, because we were promoting ourselves
    • less library-related than policy-related; there are rules--some are implicit, some are explicit; each community has a slightly different focus
  • a lot of libraries are aready blogging; certainly they have links to myspace
  • did you talk about second life at all? (briefly); information island--there were 8 people oline early yesterday morning
    • (talks briefly about second life); huge implications for distance learning; 500 librarians are participating in this as volunteers (on info island)
    • i've heard librarians complain that when they're on info island that they get more second-life questions than traditional reference. recently, i went to a conference on gaming and social change, and all they talked about how useful info island was.
    • SL info island found out that they are their own public library, not the face of other libraries virtually--the SL quesions are just as valid as any others. maybe making those connections with people will get them to see us as a useful resource of any kind.
    • i work at MLM and have a presence on health info island--no one was there. we're lurking and seeing what's going to happen there.
  • are any of our OPACs developing in the way users can add information and Amazon-like features?
    • aquabrowser as an overlay to the OPAC (tag clouds)
    • aquabrowser is good for inexperienced users, but i can't stand to use it (there is the option of the classic view); harder to advanced search features
    • aquabrowser acquired by Belker
  • widgets that libraries have written that you can insert into your OPAC that will allow tagging; librarians writing their own code and sharing it may be better
    • Bibliocommons project - Otario Library Association; aggregates social info from patrons, sits as a layer above OPAC, works with all major ILSs, provides tagging
    • Casey Bissom's develop of using WordPress merged with their local OPAC (WOPAC)--he's speaking here
    • Google--beta version where you create your own search engine (limit to subjects and hits); can allow contributors
  • is all social informatin on all these things--is that taking away from students doing their own research? maybe students just find information w/o doing their own research
    • there are different aspects of research; undergrad is very different from doing schoarly research with original data and dense papers; the web is very useful for certain kinds of things, but we don't expect everyone to be doing original PhD-level research--so who cares, at that research?
  • we found that a lot of teachers are linking to a number of resrouces fo students, and students are afraid to use them because they think "it's the internet, i can't use that" --wespend a lot of time educating teachers to educate students about our database, etc.
    • that's a challeng at a high school library, when teachers specify format that may not always be appropriate to the topic --delineating the format is no longer valid
    • this is rare, but we get sutdents who have gotten information from someone else, but they need to cite it--they have no idea where the information came from; can be very time-consuming and will probably be mroe and more a problem
    • you'd think in a publishing house, they'd tell us where quotes cam efrom, but it's a problem there, too
  • work with a school district--their students turn in del.icio.us instead of a paper bibliography; they tag information even i databases from the public library; turn somethign in to your teacher while contributing to the Web 2.0 world
    • Lib. SoCal--same thing, and it seems similar to when we wrote a paper and tacke the bib on afterward; now many teachers are saavy and requesting the bib before the paper--have to validate the sources before paper is written
    • independent school in DC -- a lot of the teachers are still developing print-based assignments; we're still copying informatin and just printing it to deal with it; how do you engcourage students to create new, creative assignments?
      • sometimes you just have to wait until they retire
    • you can create workshops for that--sometimes teachers are receptive to that during a time period of teacher planning


end: 8:56am

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