Communications in Information Literacy, Vol 1, No 2 (2007)

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Research Students in the Electronic Age: Impacts of Changing Information Behavior on Information Literacy Needs

Kirsty Williamson, Vivienne Bernath, Steven Wright, Jen Sullivan

Abstract


Because of the rapid uptake of information and communication technology (ICT), understanding the ways in which information seeking has changed over the past decade is crucial to gaining a picture of how information literacy needs may also be changing in the electronic age. This qualitative research took an interpretivist/ constructivist approach in examining the ways in which access to electronic information-seeking affects the information literacy needs of 15 research students in an Australian university setting. An ethnographic technique, the interview, was used for the data collection. Three particular areas, related to information seeking and use, were selected: (1) information source use because of the burgeoning availability of electronic sources; (2) knowing when to stop collecting information because the advent of the Internet has the consequence of greater quantities of information being more easily available than was the case in the past; and 3) managing information following its collection, which has also been affected by the vast amount of information that is now accessible. The conclusion points to enhanced roles for both supervisors and academic librarians, with the need for the latter to become perceived as educators within their university communities.

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