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Discovery skills versus evaluation skills

Kathryn Greenhill Wonders Should academic libraries be obsessing so much about teaching the discovery of resources? Should we turn more attention to teaching the evaluation of resources ? Is it encroaching on what academics should be doing as part of their course? Should schools have already taught them this by the time they set foot in our libraries? It’s definitely beyond our traditional brief, but given that we no longer have a monopoly on the best discovery tools, is it time we sold the library as a place that has value because there are smart people who can give you personalised help to evaluate your information needs and the resources you find?


Kathryn and I are thinking the same thing. I have been teaching searching skills for ages and certainly people find out something new - and then they apply it in Google. I used to start with a 'this is the internet and this is what the library has - they are separate entities' spiel; I think I need to go further cos this one is harder and harder to explain and is less often the case than just a few years ago. Search engines are improving to a point where boolean and thesauri are implicit rather than requiring specialised knowledge; functionality is also improving and becoming more intuitive in scholarly resources and library catalogues.
Think not 'I may be encroaching' but think 'how can we collaborate?' Evaluation of resources has always been a part of the academic process and is too closely linked to resource discovery to be separated out. Naming resources for what they are, "index of journal articles", "journal collection", "list of books" etc. rather than the ubiquitous "database" would be a good place to start!

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