Musings, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness

I feel so old

Wow. When I started research, my “search engine” was the card catalog, and sometimes (for deep searching) the <i>Reader’s Guide</i>. Remember those? Good times.

This isn’t an attempt to paraphrase Sondheim, but I’ve been through CompuServe, AOL, AskJeeves, AltaVista, Infoseek (via Netscape Navigator)… and I’m still here. I currently use Duck Duck Go, but occasionally Bing or Yahoo as an alternative to Google. The idea of using TikTok? #OY #KidsTheseDays

Seriously, though, I do wonder about this. Not from the perspective of someone who went from #NeverWikipedia to #SometimesWikipedia but what searches are these people doing? If it’s about products, or what apparently is a huge #BookTok community (I’m sure there is also the same for movies, music, etc.), then yes, absolutely use whatever works best for you. My father swears by Consumer Reports, I’m more apt to look for several sources that might have current information, and if my nieces/nephews use TikTok, great. But if you’re looking for information for academic purposes? My answer is “maybe?”

What worries me is that we know people aren’t great at determining what is credible, accurate information. If I have a health issue, going to Mayo Clinic and NIH (for example) is certain to get me as accurate information as I can get. We know that even credentialled doctors can misstate or give unverifiable information (example? the MMR/autism link, now discredited as a fraud). This applies to any information, not just that on TikTok (or other social media).

As a school librarian, this could be a great new tool… but it will take developing new ways to teach students to verify the information and do lateral reading on their sources. And it reminds me once again how far we’ve come since those Good Old Days with few options.

3 thoughts on “I feel so old”

  1. As a retired librarian, I’ve been frustrated when someone tells me something I find of dubious validity, I ask where they got the info. “Facebook” or “Twitter” “But what is the SOURCE? CBS, Breitbart, WSJ, NYT? BTW, some Wikipedia pieces are quite good, and others… not so much.

    1. Yes, exactly! I know that science articles in Wikipedia tend to be really good, ditto those on Hawai’ian history. But there are a lot that are… less so. My library is solid concrete but there’s a head-shaped dent from me banging my head into the wall when I see “Google” cited as the source of an image, or students not understanding that YouTube is not a content creator. Sigh. On the other hand, a few years ago a senior asked me if what they were holding in their hand was a book so…

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