This week in brief

Monday, February 11
No events scheduled.

Tuesday, February 12
11:30 – 11:50 AM – Reflections
Andrew Walter '08
Ascension Chapel
Founders Hall

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Book Discussion of The Sunflower
Tredway Library
PBK Seminar Room – 2nd floor

8:00 PM – Student Recital
Various student musicians
Wallenberg Hall

Wednesday, February 13
3:45 – 5:00 PM – Teaching Circle
Classroom Assessment
(Rescheduled from 2/6/06 snow day)
Wilson Center

Thursday, February 14
10:30 AM – Teaching Circle
Classroom Assesment
Dahl Room

11:30 AM – Faculty Meeting
Olin Auditorium

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Guest Artist (ER) Christina Jennings, visiting flute artist

Ensemble Room

3:45 – 5:00 PM – Year of the Book
"Book Studies" lecture series
Dr. Catherine Goebel
Tredway Library
2nd Floor – south end

7:30 PM – Winter Musical:
The Fantasticks
Potter Theatre
Bergendoff Fine Arts Building

Friday, February 15
9:30 – 10:30 AM – Dean's Office
Walk-In Hours with Jeff
Founders Hall 116

3:30 PM – Friday Conversations
Amanda Baugous – Sabbatical
Wilson Center

7:30 PM – Winter Musical: The Fantasticks
Potter Theatre
Bergendoff Fine Arts Building

8:00 PM – Augustana Jazz Ensemble
Joseph Ott, Director

Centennial Hall

Saturday, February 16
4:00 PM – Augustana Three
Choirs Concert
Centennial Hall

7:30 PM – Winter Musical: The
Potter Theatre
Bergendoff Fine Arts Building

Sunday, February 17

10:30 – 11:30 AM – Sunday
Morning Worship
Ascension Chapel

2:00 PM – Augustana Choir
Winter Concert
John Hurty, Director
Centennial Hall

5:00 – 6:00 PM – Sunday
Catholic Mass
Ascension Chapel





Volume 5, Issue 19• February 11, 2008

A Message From Academic Affairs

Libraries, Faculty and the “Google Generation”

Just a few days ago, I learned about two recent publications that address major challenges for higher education in the 21 st century. Both give special attention to information literacy. These reports:

AACU’s National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)

Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the United Kingdom

deserve to be read in their entirety. But at the moment, I want to focus on a particular challenge they present for academic librarians and, by extension, for all college faculty.

The LEAP report states that information literacy should be one of six “intellectual and practical skills” that are part of “essential learning outcomes” for a liberal education. This and other aspects of that report mirror our efforts here at Augustana to create a culture of inquiry and to help our students become responsible leaders in a global environment.

The authors of the JISC report assert that “[young people’s] apparent facility with computers disguises some worrying problems.” Their search strategies and ability to evaluate websites are poor because they lack a “mental map” of the information universe. The report urges educators to work harder to increase students’ information literacy. At the same time, students “do not find library-sponsored resources intuitive” and prefer to use search engines such as Google, which provide “a familiar, if simplistic, solution for their study needs”. The authors call for librarians to work with commercial search engines to make library resources easy to use. Otherwise, they warn, libraries and the scholarly literature they provide will be completely marginalized.

Together these reports paint a picture of the complex landscape that academic librarians—and the faculty with whom they collaborate—must navigate. In order to lure young people beyond the siren song of Google, librarians and computer programmers must make scholarly databases easier to use, and we are making some modest progress in that area. But the truth is that high quality research— with the critical thinking and information literacy it requires — is not easy and cannot be made easy. A computer can search multiple databases and bring back some of the relevant results complete with book jacket art, numerous user reviews and suggested additional search terms. It may become better at interpreting natural language. However, a computer cannot set the results in context nor help students to make an informed evaluation. Only faculty and librarians together can show students why simple web searches are not enough, help them develop that “mental map” and require them to produce bibliographies that reflect a journey toward quality research.

– Carla Tracy, Thomas Tredway Library


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