There’s an interesting viewpoint piece by Amy Bruckman in the December issue of Communications of the ACM, “Student Research and the Internet” that looks at teaching students not just how to find sources and recognize differences in format, but to have a better sense of how to evaluate them: “students won’t really learn to navigate the worldwide Internet-based information space until we teach them a bit about the nature and organization of knowledge.”
Even something published online in an extermely informal venue may have a degree of credibility, depending on the source of the idea and the people who have responded to it. The latest meme on Slashdot.org may be highly credible, but something that looks like a formal article but appears on a Web site of a fringe organization may have no credibility at all. These are subtle and complicated judgments.
She asks students to articulate their reasons for their beliefs so that even those with opposing perspectives can understand where they’re coming from. She also requires her students to use at least one book.
It’s an interesting article, but demonstrates something we all know: a lot of faculty don’t think of librarians as partners in this sort of learning. At least in this case, there’s no mention of the author’s library resources, human or in terms of collections – other than books.
By the way, I couldn’t link to this article since it’s not open access. But you can probably find it in your library.