from the Library of Maura

What Teens Think

May 20th, 2009 · 3 Comments

I try to keep up with research and news on how teenagers use technology (or not), because of course today’s teens are tomorrow’s undergraduates, and it’s useful for me to have some knowledge of where they come from before they walk through the library doors.

I’m a big fan of danah boyd’s work on teens and social networking — her (Creative Commons-licensed!) dissertation (pdf link) is on my Summer Reading list this year. A couple of weeks ago she tweeted that she was about to head to Atlanta to do some fieldwork, and did anyone have any questions for the kids? I couldn’t resist and fired off an information literacy/media literacy question.

Last weekend boyd posted a few quick reflections on her blog about the questions she asked and how the teens had responded, and I was pleased to find that the question I’d asked made the cut! Apologies for the shameless self-promotion, but the Q&A and comments are really quite interesting (even without my question).

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Open: 1; Closed: 0

May 3rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

Many librarians are big fans of open access publishing. There are lots of reasons for this, but that’s a post for another day.

This morning I added yet another mark to my academic journals scorecard on the open access side (vs. a closed, subscription-based model). You might have heard a story in the news a couple of weeks ago that suggested that the use of Facebook by college students is correlated with lower grades. A PhD student at Ohio State University presented the results of this study at the American Educational Research Association meeting in San Diego, the media picked up on the story, and suddenly it was national news.

This week’s issue of First Monday, a longstanding open access, peer reviewed journal, includes a paper that purports to refute the abovementioned study, a response from the OSU researcher, and a response from the paper’s authors. I highly recommend these articles — they’re a great read.

I know that this is nothing new in science-related fields, in which open access journals facilitate rapid dissemination of research all the time. But this is the first time that I’ve seen it happen in the non-science disciplines with which I’m much more familiar. And while I admit that I find the refuting research to be more plausible, I’m most excited to see the current discussion and debate over these studies, discussion made possible by the open, accessible nature of the publication format.

Score 1 for open!

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