Being a researcher = being a librarian


“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

a holographic Princess Leia on Star Wars

Technology is around us…

I was born in 1970,   I can still see myself playing Atari video games with my brother. Have you ever seen that console?  The games were black & white and you have to insert the cartridge on the game. Also, it has some external devices connected by long wires (so you cannot be too far nor to close from your tv.) to play!. Almost at the same time, we were watching the first video recorded movies Beta (Betamax video cassette recorder) and listening to music on a walkman (I had a blue/grey and later a yellow one)  sold by Sony.  That was technology coming into our house and changing our lives forever.

My first encounter with the future of technology was that scene on Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’. It was the first science-fiction movie that I watched and made me wonder when we will be able to communicate or use holograms. Years have gone,  devices evolved for their wellbeing or their failure. And the Merge cube appeared bringing us a new way to explore and experience learning through VR/AR.

When I was going through the reading ‘Children in a digital world’ by Unicef, it makes me reflect on the way I grew up compare to my youngest daughter’s life. In my days, we use to still play in the park, ride a bicycle, meet friends around the corner and talk by telephone. Now, access to technology is changing the lives of teenagers. They are surrounded by gadgets, connected and interacting with their peers 24/7 (Hanging-out). I see the ‘culture of the bedroom’ and the tendency of more “me” (my time, my life, my friends and my priorities). If being a teenager is challenging, I think now is more complex because they ‘school world’ will be transferred to their ‘online world and identity’. They deal with bullying and can be exposed to other serious problems like exploitation or abuse.  Psychological effects are also present as depression, anxiety, and solitude. The abuse of the internet is affecting the well-being of some teenagers.

Hanging-out, this new way of online socialization is not understood by many parents (including me). Reading ‘Living and learning with new media’ clarified me the feelings of teens when parents judge the time and activities that they develop online.

How all this access to information online affects teens behavior during the inquiry/research process? So much, they want fast results on the hit list in Google and they don’t have time (or the practice) to verify sources. So they are more exposed to believe in fake news. The probabilities of plagiarism are higher and, even higher, if they do not know how to manage their time, organize themselves with the pressure of their studies and their own lives.

Research and me:

As a librarian, research is one of the main focus of my career. We are totally surrounded by technology and every year something new is giving us more opportunities to learn and apply in education. When I was going through the readings, I was thinking about inquiry-based learning. For some time, I’m following Kate Murdoch’s blog Just wondering going deeper in my understanding of the inquiry-based learning and making a connection with the research process of the library. Usually, we are influenced by Guided inquiry design of Carol Kuhlthau and the Big six skills by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. But do we really need to do research? Do I need to look for information?…. Yes. In fact, I’m very curious and I always want to go deeper and understand properly whatever new engagement is in front of me. It’s a new challenge! I use online databases, printed books, blogs, academic journals to find out more information. Other times, I will use social media to read study-cases but rarely I will post on any social media a request of help. I try to increase my opportunities for collaboration and connect with other librarians.



One thought on “Being a researcher = being a librarian

  1. I think I saw the Atari console at the (pop-up) musuem of failures here in Shanghai; boldly holding an E.T. cartridge would you believe. There was even a Sound Burger, from audio-technica, which was a portable vinyl player! How times have changed since then- by the way I still have my Sony MD player.

    I like your point on “being a teenager is challenging”, and I do find myself agreeing with you on how complex this has become; indeed it can affect the well-being of some teenagers. I did a little touch of research and came across “How Does Technology Affect Teen Health and Well-Being?”, which in itself made for some rather depressing reading (initially) – including a quote from the article “Have smartphones destroyed a generation” by Jean Twenge who states that today’s teens may be on a verge of a mental health crisis – p.s. her findings are questioned in the article.

    But here’s the thing, whilst I admit there are many downsides to overuse of technology, and the “culture of the bedroom”, I do believe that this digital universe can open up a lot of options for our youth. Students now have access to information that we could only dream of when we (at least me) were their age. They have endless opportunties to express themselves from and to socialise. For example, when was 13 and I wanted to see my pals, this involved going to someone’s house and either playing football on the street or sitting around a huge CRT TV and playing the original Mario Kart – still the best. Now students can continue socialising without the need to leave this house, through the plethora of apps at their disposal.

    Moving on from memory lane, you make another great point about students wanting information quickly, and being exposed to fake news; a term popularized by DJT. And you go on to talk about inquiry based learning, which provides, certainly in the IB, a way for our students – and ourselves – to do some quality research and find out whether or not Michael Jordan has resigned from the board at Nike, and is taking Air-Jordans with him #fakenews

    How Does Technology Affect Teen Health and Well-Being?

    The Top 10 Fake News Articles on Facebook in 2018 [Infographic]

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