Research study suggests ‘Google Generation’ is, er, not very good at (re)search

Well, well. The British Library is trumpeting the findings of a research survey:

A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate. The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.

That’s precisely why my Relevant Knowledge Programme at the Open University created Beyond Google: working with information online, a ten-week online course that reveals that there’s far more to search than typing words into Google.

The full text of the BL/UCL report is available (in pdf format) from here.

Nicholas Carr is chortling about it:

By breaking the linear print model that has dominated the transmission of information for the past five centuries, the hyperlinked web seems to be instilling a hyperactive approach to gathering and digesting information, an approach that emphasizes speed, scanning, and skimming. In one sense, the process of information retrieval seems to have become more important than the information retrieved. We store lots of information, but like distracted squirrels we rarely go back to examine it in depth. We want more acorns.

Personally, like Piglet, I prefer haycorns.