Monday, June 6, 2011

Personal Bias Towards Print Resources

Despite what I wrote in my previous post about the losing battle of print versus electronic resources, I still have a print bias when it comes to reference resources for students.  I find them better structured and more readable for my K to 5 patrons than most electronic resources. I find just the tactile experience with the physical book actually focuses students much more readily than reading off a computer screen. There are also many less distractions and opportunities to go off on tangents.  A cross reference link in an electronic resource or a link to an image, video or audio clip is guaranteed to sidetrack a student from getting to the relevant text.

Even though I am biased in favour of print resources, the very act of my attempting to reference a print resource has often had the opposite affect on my students.  I will try to find a print resource and often not be able to locate the information that they seek and then go to the electronic resource as the next step. Students see the time as wasted.  They know that an electronic reference search will alway give a result so why bother with the "wild goose chase." It is difficult to change perceptions that a general search on Google is not the exact equivalent (student believe it is superior) to more specialized reference searches using a print resource or specialized electronic database. In the face of this opposition, I think my energies would be better spent defending and promoting reliable and trustworthy electronic resources and databases as well as teaching website evaluation skills rather than cajoling students to always begin with print resources first.

1 comment:

  1. I love a primary subject book with a great index and table of contents - sometimes organization is everything.