Purpose – This paper proposes to present preliminary findings from a larger study which examine and describe five issues of undergraduates' academic information and library behaviors: where students begin their research; how they evaluate online sources; what library resources they use; what formats they prefer for reading academic material; and specific laptop behaviors. Student perspectives on these issues and their impact on libraries and information literacy outreach and instruction are discussed. Design/methodology/approach – Three ethnographic methods were used to triangulate the data: tours of students' work areas in their dormitories, semi‐structured interviews, and free‐write essays about their information management systems. During October and November 2009, 41 participants were interviewed. Findings – Undergraduates displayed a broad diversity of behaviors that reach beyond the stereotypical lifestyles of this age group as presented in popular media. Behavioral tendencies showed more of a hybridity of high‐tech and traditional formats and tools than a rush towards total embracement of the newest gadgets and applications. Students also showed an understanding of the need to create strategies that help them to lessen the ubiquitous distractions when trying to focus on their academic tasks. Originality/value – Listening to students discuss their library and academic information behaviors and preferences can help librarians and educators to become more aware of their unique perspectives as one strives to create more student‐centered services and environments that incorporate the best of emerging technologies and the traditional academic library.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 16, 2010
Keywords: Academic libraries; Interviews; Library users; User studies; Students
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