Eavesdropping on a conversation:
Everything becomes just something on the web. There’s already plenty of evidence that students do not distinguish the credibility or reliability, or any difference in quality between their textbook, any webpage, or any document they read. So making quite different materials accessible in the same way further confuses the issue for naive users… those who are not ‘information literate’ as we say in library land. (cited from AtWork)
I think the solution to this confusion is more education of students about evaluating and understanding what they find, as opposed simply to the process of finding things. It’s really this sort of teaching that librarians and faculty should be focussing on. and, it’s the emphasis of more and more of my teaching of research. My concern is, that so few students get this sort of education, even in universities. Few students on campus experience library research instruction, and of those that do, few get the evaluative component, because most librarians are focussed on teaching students how to use the search tools: which button to push, in essence. (cited from 30 Hours)
In my last Freshman Comp class, just before doing a module on library research, I did a little test. I had students evaluate the “legitimacy” of two web sites: hitler.org (run by neo-nazis) and nakbainhebrew.org. Without fail, every student declared the Hitler Museum “legitimate” and the Nakbainhebrew site “untrustworthy.” The results scared me a great deal. Almost everyone was willing to entertain the idea that the holocaust was a myth; no one wanted to believe that the Israelis participated in genocide of their own. Everyone in the class was pretty ashamed of the failure of their “bullshit detectors.”
I was amused by the proclamations about RSS in the previous weeks that claimed that it would be “bigger than blogging.” Uh, duh! Readers will always outnumber writers. Unfortunately, readers (and writers) who also use their critical sense are the smallest minority in both cases. That’s what really bothers me about RSS the most, I suppose—without context, the news bits scrolling across the screen are pretty much useless. People confuse “words” with “meanings” all too often. They like pushing buttons; they don’t like thinking about surrounding contexts.