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College Librarians Urged To Play Video Games 218

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the use-more-buzzwords dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At meeting of college librarians, experts tell them they need to start thinking the way video game producers think and provide library services that will make sense to those who play computer games. 'In an era when most students would have to go to a museum to see an old-fashioned card catalog, there's no doubt that libraries have embraced technology. But speakers said that there was a larger split between students -- who are "digital natives," in one popular way of classifying people based on their experience with technology -- and librarians, who are more likely to be "digital immigrants." They may have learned the language, but it's a second language.'"
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College Librarians Urged To Play Video Games

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  • by Excelcia (906188) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:43PM (#19638221) Homepage Journal

    But speakers said that there was a larger split between students -- who are "digital natives," in one popular way of classifying people based on their experience with technology -- and librarians, who are more likely to be "digital immigrants." They may have learned the language, but it's a second language.'
    In my experience, it's just the opposite. The librarians are more likely to be English natives, and the students are more likely to approach English as an immigrant. They may have grown up with the language, but it's still like a second language.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      In my experience, it's just the opposite. The librarians are more likely to be English natives

      You obviously did not pay attention and have no idea what we are talking about.

      What we are talking about is that librarians frequently know jack diddly shit about computers. This is not restricted to librarians, but it is more a cause for concern with them than many others because they are tasked with making it easier (or possible) to find information. The internet is the greatest information-gathering tool on the

      • by richdun (672214) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:12PM (#19638633)
        You also are completely wrong, mostly because you have dismissed GP's comment out of hand, and being an ass is never A Good Thing.

        We aren't talking about people who don't "know jack diddly shit about computers," we're talking about those who know how to use computers, perhaps rather efficiently and at a higher than novice level, but don't necessarily live the immersed in digital technology life that many of us do now. That was the whole key point of the article when it mentioned that today you'd have to go to a museum to see a card catalog, since most all libraries use technology. They know how to use computers, but that isn't the same as being "native" to them. There is a huge divide between those that can use computers, but don't necessarily do so outside of work, email, etc., and those that are literally on a digital device of some sort nearly 24/7 (except for sleeping of course, but the iPod alarm clock will make sure you don't sleep too long).

        It really is the classic case of knowing the difference between knowing a language and being native to it. A lot of younger (30 and younger, let's say, to be diplomatic) think in digital terms (I catch myself all the time telling someone to click on the buttons in an elevator), much like native speakers of a language think it that language, regardless of whatever other languages they know. And it's not really something you can teach - you just have to try and immerse yourself, much like learning a culture by living in its native country. I don't think playing video games is really going to be that much of a help, but the core idea is somewhat solid.
        • by Excelcia (906188) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:34PM (#19639781) Homepage Journal
          Indeed, I have dismissed the original poster's comments out of hand. Just as the poster seems to dismiss out of hand the competency of librarians. Librarians need to go out and play Halo 2 so, what, they can understand what book a client wants? So they can work out a gamepad interface into catalogues? Perhaps it's so they can develop a first person shooter where the books zip around and you have to shoot the one you want. Or maybe so we can get one of those nifty glove interfaces that clueless Hollywood producers put into theoretically "futuristic" movies that show information retrieval as some sort of 3-d experience zipping around holographic Tron-like landscapes. The librarians will probably have to add some sort of recognizer-like opponent with a little electro-shock feedback into the interface to make it realistic. "Careful of the search viruses."

          If a game player wants to find some sort of information out and doesn't know how, perhaps that person can simply do what everyone else does, and translate the request into proper English and simply speak it to a librarian. This is a skill that has worked well for several hundred years Oh, right, this is new technology so that obviously means all existing paradigms are invalid.

          Most librarians that I have interacted with are extremely competent, know how to find what you want to know, and are helpful to a fault. Which is sort of a job requirement for them because (as the article I'm commenting on illustrates so clearly) some people have this sense of entitlement when they speak to one. They figure the librarian owes them on a personal level the information they want in the format that best suits them. That somehow it's the library's job to reach out proactively and bestow needed information on everyone like a fairy godmother. Wrong. The student is the supplicant (as much as the article seems to want to mock this), and the student that wants to know can jolly well learn how to learn. This is the greatest skill that any university can teach, and simply plopping it in a student's lap does that student no good.

      • What we are talking about is that librarians frequently know jack diddly shit about computers.

        Seeing as how the subset of "Librarians" is selected from the set of "everyone", why would they know any less, on average, than the average person?

        In fact, in my experience they have a deeper understanding of how to SEARCH for information than the average person. It comes from getting requests like "it's that book that was on Oprah a while ago".

        The internet is the greatest information-gathering tool on the planet,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OldeTimeGeek (725417)
        You're confusing tools with methods.

        Google, Yahoo, et al, are good tools for locating information - if you know what you're looking for. Most people that I know - even "computer literate" ones, have almost no idea how to pick search terms in a way that will get them the information that they need quickly. Yes, they know how to use boolean operators, quotes and the other ways that you can tune queries, but if they don't know exactly what they're looking for to start with, they're pretty much lost. They under

      • by rishistar (662278)
        From a recent cartoon thread [unshelved.com].
      • Re:Just the opposite (Score:5, Informative)

        by sgilti (668665) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:01PM (#19639295)
        My wife is a librarian, and she got her undergrad in Information Systems (librarians are required to have a masters in Library Science, fyi). She is not the most knowledgeable computer user out there, but she is far more capable than the rest of her staff.

        The divide is likely caused in part by the age rift.. librarians are paid very low wages for a required masters degree (admittedly, more in college than in the public domain), so the job is still typically held by financially comfortable older women, just like the stereotype.

        If the salaries of libraries was adjusted to be more in line with the knowledge they are expected to have, and the degree they are required to earn, then the technology initiatives that libraries are pushing these days would likely be more effective, as more "digital natives" would be attracted to library positions.
    • "Language" as it's used here is a metaphor for the whole digital/computer culture that modern people are steeped in. Basically, they're saying that librarians aren't tech savvy enough, and they need to find some way of participating in the tech culture at a higher level than just "I know what a web page is." Video games might be an example of this, and while I don't necessarily think they're the "best" way to go about it, it will get you more computer facility than taking a bunch of training courses that yo
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by topherhenk (998915)
        You are right in that librarians need to know where the information is stored, and that is a part of what they learn in their master's program. And if you get a decent librarian they will be able to get the information you are looking for if you ask. At least any university librarian who would be at a reference desk can usually find what you need.

        However what happens at many universities is that these same librarians are tasked with creating and managing the interface to access the information. This is

  • by DarthTeufel (751532) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:44PM (#19638233)
    100 - Uncommon Loot
    200 - Rare Loot
    300 - Epic Loot
    400 - Instances
    500 - World Zones
    600 - Creatures of Azeroth
    700 - Biographies of Alliance and Horde Leaders
    800 - History of Azeroth
    900 - Addictions
    • First you have to define or pick the quest.

      Then you have to learn how to use tools and weapons, and earn your way to them.

      Then you either get the librarian on your side to battle who knows what to get the information (or maybe just pick it up incidentally along the way), or you have to fight the librarian, and if you win, you get the information; if you lose, they stand over you beating you with a velver covered Webster's Unabridged, going, "Shhhh!!!!!!"
  • by mulvane (692631) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:44PM (#19638237)
    I have never had a problem with the Dewey Decimal system. Could it be that most digital natives are of a younger generation who feel the world should be handed to them and they also feel they have no need to learn anything except that which is of interest to them forcing the rest of the world to conform to their lack of motivation?
    • I'd mod you insightful if I had points. It has little to do with growing up with digital technology, and everything to do with the 'me want it NOW' mentality that a large number of today's youth have.

      I'm 40 and started messing with home computers and BBS's when I was around ten. I guess that makes me a naturalized digital citizen and not a digital native, but still...
      • by mulvane (692631)
        I started with a tandy color computer II (CoCo2) when I was 6 and was learning to program in basic when I was 7. Before that, I learned how to set the time on my VCR. I'm 30 next month (God I feel old).
      • by GreggBz (777373)

        It has little to do with growing up with digital technology, and everything to do with the 'me want it NOW' mentality that a large number of today's youth have.

        Well that's completely stupid. Why do you think they have this mentality? Maybe because they grew up with an instant access to information?

        And the grandparent gets +5 insightful? Every generation says the same thing. Kids these days blah blah blah.

        Times change and people adapt different skills to suit their environment. Frankly, I'm sure the men

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bazer (760541)
      David Weinberger [everything...aneous.com] gave a talk [google.com] about how humans sort knowledge in general. He specifically addressed the Dewey Decimal system in his talk. I highly recommend viewing it.
    • I would like to point out that most college libraries don't use the Dewey Decimal system. I'm not entirely certain but I think Boston Public Library also uses it. They use the Library of Congress method of classifying books.
      • by mulvane (692631)
        I'm aware of the system but have never been in a situation to where I had to learn it. At this time though, I feel obligated to see how it is handled.
        • I'm aware of the system but have never been in a situation to where I had to learn it. At this time though, I feel obligated to see how it is handled.

          It's really not the problem. The problem is the organizational issues. There is so much information that almost everyone would become confused at one point or another. Usually, most of the questions I've asked involve directing people where to go. People would logically expect periodicals to be located with the periodicals but depending on how old they ma

          • by mulvane (692631)
            I have never been to a university library. Funny I guess since I am nearly completed with a Bachelors in Computer Science, and working on a Criminal Justice degree as well. I have always been able to suffice with just the books provided by the course, public libraries, what I could borrow, or could order online.
            I'm my own hypocrite I guess on this topic. I agree that libraries could use better search mechanisms in some cases. But once you get down aisle, row, shelf of where a book is located as some of the
    • by bahwi (43111)
      No, they see that technology can do great things and it blows them away when an out of date system is in place when it would be easier for everyone to implement some early 1990's technology. There are things to learn, but if we aren't going to use technology why even both to keep making new/better or even use a computer now?

      My neighbor is a grandmother, artist, from new orleans, who just got a computer after katrina. She's been able to apply for grants and residencies and she's been asking why it took her s
    • by megaditto (982598) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:04PM (#19638511)
      You may be correct in your premises, but not in your conclusions.

      The problem is that most of today's smart youth are indeed videogame junkies with a lack of patience, but we need them to develop into tomorrow's politicians, scientists, programmers, doctors, businessmen, and engineers. This will require different tools for teachers at schools and libraries.

      The truth is, most kids just aren't going to spend several hours going to the library, finding the right book, and reading some 10-20 pages to find the relevant info when they belive they can find that same info via google in 10 minutes.

      Mind you, digitalizing the libraries is a far easier task than reaching the other 50%+ of kids whose parents don't value education or give a fuck that their kids are sucked into the ghetto/gang culture.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:06PM (#19638549) Homepage Journal

      I have never had a problem with the Dewey Decimal system. Could it be that most digital natives are of a younger generation who feel the world should be handed to them and they also feel they have no need to learn anything except that which is of interest to them forcing the rest of the world to conform to their lack of motivation?

      I think rather that the young of this generation, like every other generation before and probably every one to come, would simply like to see the old discarded. A lot of the time that is based on the rational belief that when you have a better way to do things, you should do them that way, and not stick with the old because of tradition. I would further state that tradition is never a justification for doing something immoral, unethical, or just plain dumb.

      Frankly I don't know or want to know or plan to use the dewey decimal system, aside from it putting books in some kind of sequential order so you can find them on the shelf. This is because they have been kind enough to organize the catalog information on the computer, and I can simply go look for books on a subject, or by an author, or by title. And I will unintentionally "use" (rather, "benefit from") the system because books tend to be grouped near like books.

      Regardless, the article (while occasionally wrongheaded) makes some excellent points. While I disagree that a digital native (like myself) would never read the instruction manual before playing a new game (I do this just to find out the controls so I'm not flailing, even if there is a tutorial) it is eminently reasonable to expect the information-finding tools to not require any training, introductory documentation, et cetera. There is no reason why every interface should be as intuitive as possible.

      Some of the suggestions are ridiculous (why should a librarian have to try to help me via a series of ~150-character text messages? that's not an effective use of their time) but some of them are good sense in any educational setting, like "Avoid implying to students that there is a single, correct way of doing things" (I wish more teachers would try that one) or "Look for ways to involve digital natives in designing library services and even providing them" which only makes sense - the students should be involved in the process, as they are the intended end users. But some of it is kind of ridiculous, like "Schedule support services on a 24/7/365 basis" which would require money, or "Play more video games" which is frankly not necessary for any thinking individual to be able to absorb, comprehend, and implement the more intelligent suggestions made in the article.

      • by Echnin (607099) <p3s46f102 AT sneakemail DOT com> on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:15PM (#19638661) Homepage
        Well, it's easier to find several books on one subject when they're all in the same area, isn't it? I worked for half a year at the university library, and while the Dewey system wasn't used (except for reference literature and archeology for some reason), we had a homebrewed system that grouped similar books together. It's nice when you go looking for one book, and then find others that look interesting. In my experience, by the way, the youth are very able to find the books they're looking for; for the most part the people who come asking for help to find a book have grey or no hair. So that's that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          Well, it's easier to find several books on one subject when they're all in the same area, isn't it?

          Sure, but my point is that you don't have to know anything whatsoever about the Dewey Decimal system (or any other library ordering scheme) to benefit from it. Once you find a book similar to the kind you want through the use of the computer or card catalog, you will necessarily find other, similar books (assuming the library has any) near the book that you know is applicable. So as I said, I would benefit fr

      • There is no reason why every interface should be as intuitive as possible.

        I meant to say there's no reason why every interface should NOT be as intuitive as possible.

        Kind of changes the meaning of the sentence there, eh? Pesky booleans.

      • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:50PM (#19639171) Homepage Journal
        This reminds me of a story passed around my previous employer which I call "The Monkey and Banana story".

        Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

        Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a ladder under it. Before long, one of the monkeys will spot the banana and start to climb the ladder. As soon as he does, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

        Replace the banana.

        After a while another of the monkeys will probably go for the banana. Again, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. Monkeys are fairly smart, so pretty soon whenever one of the monkeys tries to climb the ladder all the other monkeys will try and prevent him doing it. When this happens, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. Then put another banana at the top of the ladder.

        The new monkey will spot the banana and make for the ladder. To his surprise all of the other monkeys attack him. After a couple more attempts result in further beatings the new monkey will not make any attempt to go for the banana.

        Remove another of the original monkeys and replace it with another new one. Then replace the banana. Again, the new monkey will make a grab for it. Like his predecessor he will be amazed to find that all the other monkeys attack him. The previous newcomer will take part in his punishment with some enthusiasm.

        One at a time, gradually replace all of the original monkeys with new ones. Each of the newcomers will go for the banana. Each one will be attacked by the other four. Most of the new monkeys have absolutely no idea why they were not allowed to climb the ladder, or why they are participating in the assault on the newest monkey.



        When all of the original monkeys have been replaced, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless no monkey ever approaches the ladder. Why not? Because as far as they are concerned that's the way it has always been done around here.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nine-times (778537)

          That's a good story about how traditions can become out-of-date, but it doesn't follow that therefore traditions in general are bad. In fact, if you continued to harm the monkeys whenever one of them reached for a banana, they'd be pretty smart to continue to prevent other monkeys from taking the banana.

          I'lll give you my own story:

          A man lives in a village where his parents always told him "never eat blue berries, because they're bad luck!" They tell him, "Never walk under ladders, or you might drop dead

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      Take "product of your environment", then add "generation gap", and there you have it, an explanation!
    • by jgrahn (181062)

      Could it be that most digital natives are of a younger generation who feel the world should be handed to them and they also feel they have no need to learn anything except that which is of interest to them forcing the rest of the world to conform to their lack of motivation?

      That, and the bizarre inferiority complex librarians seem to have. It's as if they don't know how important their mission is.

      And it's not really new. My local public library started doing weird things circa ten years ago -- like plac

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steveo777 (183629)
      I grew up with the card catalog. For the first six years of my educational career (85-91), I was fed information about how to find information in a library. I never had a clue how to use the Dewey Decimal System. It was simple memorization, really. I just never cared. It was a boring, dismal, library and I wanted to play outside.

      Now... I can honestly not recall the last time I was in a library. Probably the one time I had to go there for a college report in which I couldn't use a single internet-based

    • by aztektum (170569)
      I dunno it seems a little silly to me that you'd pay to use DDC (at least I seem to remember it being "owned" by someone). I don't have much problem finding a book I want at a book store without it. Is this really that big a deal, I would expect the actual book you want to be more important than a 100+ year old catalog method.
    • The article doesn't say anything about the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress system. There is more to research than the system of cataloging the books. Nor does the article talk about people who aren't motivated to learn. It talks about how to talk to people so that they don't get irritated and how to better serve the public which is what libraries are supposed to do.
  • Oh, yeah. (Score:4, Funny)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:46PM (#19638267)

    A digital native would never read an instruction manual with a new game before simply trying the game out, Gee said.

    And that is different from anyone else ... how?

    Haven't us guys ALWAYS been accused of skipping the instructions? Be it stereo or bicycle or whatever.

    Apparently everything old is now new.
    • by mulvane (692631) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:49PM (#19638313)
      I broke down one time when putting up a crib for my first born and used the instructions. My god that thing was a woman's invention if I EVER saw one. I was glad when we transferred and I could plausibly lose the damnable thing. I still cringe at the thought though. I was so weak! I feel like a lesser man! They need to have a "I used the instructions anonymous' support group or something.
    • I must be a deviant or something because I usually read the instructions. Actually, I read the manual for my parents' car long before I would be able to drive.
      • by Angostura (703910)
        You're not the only one - I'm a bit of a manual junky too. But I think that comes from many years in the library when I was a kid reading heaps of 'how things work' books.
    • by Achoi77 (669484)

      It appears that you've read the article, so obviously the rule doesn't apply to you.

      Unlike me, who didn't read the article at all, going straight for the comments and finding a post to reply to where I can go ahead and voice my opinion on something whether or not the topic I'm talking about actually has any relevance to the article in question.

      Isn't this how slashdot is supposed to work anyway? I'll read the manual once my karma goes down.

  • i had to RTFA to see what it is they really mean by that:

    A digital native would never read an instruction manual with a new game before simply trying the game out, Gee said.
    yup.
  • Nooo! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kiracatgirl (791797)
    I don't want my library to be digitalized for the masses! I like to go to the library as a place to go find real books. Yeah, doing research in a library is totally different from doing it online. Isn't that the point? And you definitely don't need to do lots of reading about how to use a library. You want to get information on a subject, you ask a librarian where you can find information about it, they tell you, you go there and you read the books. It's that simple.

    And what was with that religion
    • by mulvane (692631)
      The smell of the book as you open it..The wonder of who before you has opened and delved into its depths. The ability to touch a tangible object.



      The paper cuts!! Yeouch!! Gotta love low tech :-P
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      And what was with that religion analogy? Someone seems a little biased, on multiple levels.

      Actually, it's a completely reasonable way to look at the world, if what you're trying to do is put yourself into someone else's shoes. While the same tendency has declined in the world of computing, it very much used to be a sort of "priest class" of computing; you would go to the men in the white lab coats and they would broker your dialogue with the computer in much the same way that an oracle operates as your in

  • by flanksteak (69032) * on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:49PM (#19638323) Homepage

    So where is the companion article titled:

    Video game players encouraged to learn to use libraries

    ?

    This is just depressing. More dumbing down.

    We should never read before we play, Gee said.

    OK fine, but I never thought of research as play.

    Likewise, tools students will use should be designed with this in mind, Gee said, just the way video games are designed. With video games, you can play while you are inept, he said.

    True, I do this every day. But again, we're not talking about play. It's a little harder (but not impossible) to graduate from college and hold a job while inept. And of course, the best quote from the article:

    Lowered consequences of failure is a key value to embrace, he said.

    Because we don't want failure to hold anybody back, teach people to learn from their mistakes, or encourage them to work harder.

    • by bahwi (43111)
      "Because we don't want failure to hold anybody back, teach people to learn from their mistakes, or encourage them to work harder."

      It's a damned library, you shouldn't be expected to be a 100% expert on it to use it. You're taking a quote, out of context, and applying it to the world. We're talking a library here and making it easier let's people learn quicker and more effectively. Learning to use the library expires after college, what you learn at the library should not. It's a temporary tool, a great tool
      • by flanksteak (69032) *

        We're not asking them to become experts, we're asking them to adapt to a tool that works well but has certain expectations of its users. Telling the tool to be like a toy isn't much use to either party. Libraries have done plenty to move into the digital age, but that doesn't mean they have to suck up to the youngin's.

        One thing about the article I found interesting was the suggestions:

        • Offer online services not just through e-mail, but through instant messaging and text messaging, which many students p

    • by Casca (4032)

      Likewise, tools students will use should be designed with this in mind, Gee said, just the way video games are designed. With video games, you can play while you are inept, he said.

      True, I do this every day. But again, we're not talking about play. It's a little harder (but not impossible) to graduate from college and hold a job while inept.

      You sir have clearly never worked with government employees. I can tell you with great confidence and firsthand experience that there are a significant number of inep

  • A second language, indeed. The blurb has too many articles and other needless words left in. I hope this helps:

    "At meeting of college librarians, experts tell they need start thinking way video game producers think and provide library services make sense to those play computer games. 'In era when most students go museum see old-fashioned card catalog, there no doubt libraries have embraced technology. But speakers said larger split between students -- "digital natives," popular way classifying people expe

  • by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:51PM (#19638347)
    What about the elderly or other computer illiterates who also will need to use the system? They need to balance the needs of both groups - and not replace the standard catalog search with a FPS because it'll be easier for the youngin's to understand.
  • When the power goes out? Card catalogs.

    I come from the generation who can actually do math without
    a calculator. We used slide rules and log tables. We could
    interpolate.

    Todays digital kids would be lost in a society with no gizmo's.
    Surely this is not a survival trait.
    • I come from the generation who can actually do math without a calculator. We used slide rules and log tables. We could interpolate.
      You could never get more than 3 or 4 digit accuracy when it's needed.
      • by quanticle (843097)
        And when, pray tell, have you needed more than 4 digits of accuracy? Unless you're designing to *very* close tolerances, being accurate to 1 part in 10,000 is fine.
    • Yes, because slide rules and log tables are essential to survival.
    • by brunascle (994197)
      that's a pretty extreme scenario. if the power goes out, you leave the building. same is true pretty much anywhere except your own home. i dont see libraries having an adequate supply of candles lying around.

      and if you RTFA, all they're really saying is that libraries should be easier to use, even if you've never set foot in one. it's not about digitizing them.
      • i dont see libraries having an adequate supply of candles lying around.
        Well of course not. You kids today and your new-fangled candles, you don't know you're born! In the event of a power outage a library shelf should be broken up into kindling and used to create a fire. Relying on candles only means you'll never survive should there be a long-term wax shortage, like back in '69.
    • Over a decade ago, we were cleaning out a science classroom and found some. It is amazing how far you can sling that part in the middle with a simple flick of the wrist!

      Guess what we did with the 8-tracks we found? Hint, it involved a bicycle...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      When the power goes out? Card catalogs.

      When the power goes out, in most cases, you can't read the card catalogs. Most libraries' windows do not provide sufficient sunlight for clear vision.

      I come from the generation who can actually do math without a calculator. We used slide rules and log tables.

      Dude. I mean, DUDE. "We could do it without a calculator. We were still fucked without our slide rules and log tables, though." That's all I have to say about that.

      Todays digital kids would be lost in a society

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PhysicsPhil (880677)

      I come from the generation who can actually do math without a calculator. We used slide rules and log tables. We could interpolate.

      All due respect, but every generation makes this kind of argument about their kids. My grandfather was a blacksmith, making horseshoes and metal tools. He knew how to pluck chicken and how to gut and clean a deer. He knew how to treat a turkey's wing so that it was rough enough to use as a scouring pad. My parents don't know how to do this, and I don't either.

      My father

    • by timeOday (582209)

      So what will they use when the power goes out? Card catalogs.

      No they won't. I worked at a public library and one the tasks I was assigned was to throw away the card catalog. It had grown out of date to the point of being worthles, as nobody had been wasting the effort necessary to type up new cards for it in years. And this was 15 years ago.

      Dewey Decimal is already irrelevant. Nobody has bothered imposing a taxonomy on Web content (except Yahoo which started out that way and gave up a few years late

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maddskillz (207500)
      If the power goes out, I can wait till it comes back on. I guess I am lucky that I have never been in a situation where finding a book had to be done.
      Do you have your slide rules and log tables handy? If not, they will be no more useful then a calculator without batteries.
      You call them gizmo's, I call them tools. You just have to make the most out of what you are given. Why bother learning some historic tool that you will never use. You have to look at how much time/energy it will take to learn vs the
  • by everphilski (877346) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:54PM (#19638373) Journal
    "Don't you know the Dewey Decimal System?"

    sigh. Gotta pull out that UHF DVD and watch it sometime...
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
      Its a trip when you're casually scrolling along and you think to yourself the exact same thing you just scroll over.
  • Here's some digital natives [digitalnative.org] information and to quote Wikipedia:

    The term digital native is being applied to individuals who have grown up immersed [wikipedia.org] in technology.

    There is also an interesting page re: libraries in science fiction [ku.edu]:

    That introduces the concept of the ultimate library, the computer. So far, at least, librarians know the computer largely as a replacement for the card catalog, but the computer as a library in itself sits in the future like the Sphinx demanding the answer to its riddle. And if you d

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      From video game interfaces, perhaps information scientists and librarians will get some clues and help make fast-paced content retrieval, just as quickly as we can run our virtual spaceships over virtual terrains.

      In order for that to happen, we need the books in digital format. And as long as publishers insist on utilizing DRM even though it is ultimately doomed to fail in every case and only one person needs to upload an unprotected copy to foil the DRM's utility completely, it will be a damned sight more

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:58PM (#19638431) Journal
    Two suggestions from TFA:

    # Hold LAN parties, after hours, in libraries. (These are parties where many people bring their computers to play computer games, especially those involving teams, together.)
    # Schedule support services on a 24/7/365 basis, not the hours currently in use at many college libraries, which were "set in 1963."
    Maybe it's just my age showing, but I think it's absolutely ridiculous to think that a library would offer anything other than the most rudimentary support 24-7, or that they would allow students to use their facilities for recreation.

    I feel that the suggestion to have college libraries host LAN parties is just ridiculous, unless the purpose is to drive up user traffic (which a lot of the time affects funding). It seems to me that hosting LAN parties for gaming is antithetical to the purpose of a library, and would be distracting to people using the library for work (even if it's in a separate, sound-proofed area -- the temptation would be distracting to me, I'm sure). If the library has resources to host parties after hours, then I believe those resources would be much better used keeping the library open for study longer.

    As for 24-7 support services, wouldn't that be expensive? And why should a college library offer full services 24-7 other than making life easier for students? I know for certain that when I work late, I don't have full support from staff at my company. I think students should get used to the fact that not all resources at at our fingertips 24-7, and we should not expect them to be. Students need to learn to manage resources well, and that includes dealing with part-time access to them.

    I don't ant to sound like I'm going off on a get-off-my-lawn tirade, but I truly feel that libraries should stick to their base functions as information repositories and access points. Does this mean that library use may drop, since the internet has become the prime access point for information among younger people? Sure. But rather than expand the scope of libraries, I'd rather see reduced expenditures (like shared acquisitions {when licensing permits}, more efficient use of technology (why keep all those little-used dead trees around when digital versions are both more useful and cheaper to deal with?).
    • I would love a 24/7 library. I can't tell you how many times I've stopped by the library and it's been closed. So annoying. It would be expensive, but I'd love to see it.

      As for LAN parties, most libraries have conference rooms that different groups can rent out. Why can't they rent them for LAN parties?
    • by quanticle (843097)
      [quote]I know for certain that when I work late, I don't have full support from staff at my company.[/quote]

      Your company doesn't expect you to work on company issues beyond the hours that you've committed to. Students, on the other hand, *are* expected to work outside of class. Moreover, now professors have taken into account the 24/7 availability of the internet, and so have compressed assignment schedules to take that into account. Assignments which previously would be given 1 to 1.5 weeks in advance a
    • "And why should a college library offer full services 24-7 other than making life easier for students?"

      Isn't that one of the purposes of a library?

      Most people that work at a college library are college kids who are getting paid minimum wage. Our library has turned the first floor into a huge computer lab that is open 24-7. While it can be fairly empty at the start of the semester, during the last month of school it is packed 24-7. Holding LAN parties does seem a little silly unless you are just trying to
  • A digital native would never read an instruction manual with a new game before simply trying the game out, Gee said.

    Right. And a library organized by the seat of your pants isn't going to be as useful to natives of either the digital or real world. The reason campus libraries are so useful (and used) is precisely because they have an underlying consistent structure that can handle large collections (one is a requirement of the other). Librarians should certainly be taking cues from any user interface an
    • He's not saying the libraries should be organized by the seat of your pants. He's saying you should be able to start using them by the seat of your pants, rather than having to sit through an orientation presentation or something first, because today's information-seekers are going to be trying to do just that. You don't read a manual on how to use scholar.google.com - you go there and start searching, and figure out how it works as you go. People use libraries the same way, and librarians should be ready t
      • The implication, I think, was that video game players ("digital natives") are more comfortable with technology than librarians ("digital immigrants").

        My point (and yours, I believe) is that this misrepresents the situation, since they need to worry about both designing the system and making it usable. And when a library's organizational system crashes, it crashes hard -- there's no quick reset button.

        Are video game designers digital immigrants too?
  • It's a paradigm shift moment for the storage and cataloguing of information. Google is already exploring new ways of storing, sorting and searching books. Something that until the rise of the computer/database Libraries were pretty much the only entity that did that, and did it well. Libraries are more then just book storage though. They can provide a number of useful community services related to information management, retrieval and knowledge development. Many organizations have been slow to incorporate
    • I'm unsure as to what the modern library will be like, or even if it will have a physical public location - though I hope they maintain that part. My ideal library would have a number of advanced technologies incorporated - from Tagging and print on demand books to Virtual Reality education and highend computer modelling/simulation software.

      My ideal library would be more social and more like an open-access university. Most information is useless unless you can attach some names and people. Many people hid

    • As parodied here [unshelved.com]!
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:09PM (#19638583) Journal
    My university's main library feels plenty like a video game. In particular, it feels like you're trying to navigate the bowels of some weird starship, with lots of circular rooms with books arranged in spoke-like shelves and no signs telling you where the exits are. I get the same feeling of disorientation and slight nausea that I sometimes do trying to navigate 3D games.

    (Bonus points if you can identify the major US university I'm referring to.)

    • by niceone (992278) *
      Sounds like they've got the layout right at your place, but I think in this article they are wanting to add to that. Maybe some FPS stuff would help - the lights flickering on and off and weird alien monsters leaping out and trying to kill you?
    • (Bonus points if you can identify the major US university I'm referring to.)

      Northwestern?

      • Ding ding ding! We have a winner. You can pick up your prize if you can get to the Mitchell Multimedia Center without doing a complete loop around the Forum Room first.
  • The videogame route is going to lead to clunky Secondlife-esque attempts to reproduce the physical library which gives the worst of both the digital and physical worlds. If any concept needs to be applied to renovating library systems for "digital natives" it's the social networking and recommendation systems. Videogames might represent how the current generation of kids relax, but social networking represents how they gather and spread information.

    Being able to see what other people who have taken the sa
    • The tagging idea is interesting, because I kind of feel like the shelving system is almost "old-school tagging." When I go to find a book on a particular topic, I'll often do one of two things: a) Find the book I wanted, and then peruse the other books shelved with it to see if any of them would be useful, or b) Instead of finding a particular book, look at the call #s for several books with relevant titles and find one or two call # sections to look through to find the best match. The Dewey decimal system
      • by jschottm (317343)
        Think in terms of not just tagging books, but individual chapters and sections, being able to drill down directly to the really useful parts based on other people's experiences. Or being able to find completely off the wall matches like finding art books that are surprisingly applicable to an HCI course or whatever.

        Also, student tagging would have the benefit of allowing much harsher commentary than the current standards of professionalism in librarians allows. This would be both a good and bad thing.
        • Projects like Google's digitization could definitely lead to that level of tagging... Assuming the publishing companies don't manage to stop them. There's also something I really like, though, about having books physically near each other for browsing - just as sometimes it's easier to flip through a book for info that to dig through a website or PDF, sometimes having things that are a like physically near each other helps you find things in ways that online tagging wouldn't. Perhaps, though, in the future,
  • by Speare (84249) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:30PM (#19638857) Homepage Journal
    > librarian, where is "war and peace"?
    The librarian coos, "Oh, that's a lovely book. I can point you directly to the shelf where it belongs. It's in the basement, near the new Ancient Egypt exhibits."
    > north
    You are in a twisty maze of Paleology stacks, all alike. > north
    You are in a twisty maze of Bolivian Studies stacks, all alike. There is a staircase leading down. > down
    I don't understand you.
    > go down the stairs
    It is dark. You might be eaten by a grue.
    > light light I don't understand you.
    > turn on flashlight
    You are in a twisty maze of Egyptian stacks, all alike. An archway leads east between two papier mache sphynxes.
    > east
    A janitor yells at you, "Hey! You can't go in there! The exhibit's closed until Monday. But if you fetch me a bottle of whiskey I stashed in the Astronomy stacks on the third floor, I'll let you in."
    > ...
  • They're just lazy and we're letting kids get away with it? God forbid they get off their ass and find a book ... No, we must make it a totally new experience. Despite the fact that libraries didn't really change much in the last 400 years or so

    Tom
  • All good books should be stored in big crates strewn around the building.
    To get to a book, a patron should first find the sledgehammer (hidden in a stall in the men's bathroom), and then crush boxes at random until the right book is found.

    It's the only way.
    • by cowscows (103644)
      Exactly. And all that should happen while the librarians run back and forth behind the circulation desk, unable to find the opening three feet behind them that would let them out to stop the patron from destroying everything.
    • Nah, libraries are already like CRPGs. Young adventurers seeking information from wizened (or withered) old sages (or crones) who then send them on tedious fetch quests.

  • To those who lament the younger generations' lack of knowledge of Dewey Decimal or the inability to do math without a calculator: This is progress.

    I don't need to know that 200 is Religion and 300 is Social Sciences. Dewey is for the librarians, not the users. Doing math by calculator is similar. It's kind of like complaining that no one washes dishes by hand anymore because of dishwashers. Or rides horses to work because of cars. Calculators are faster and reduce error. They save time. Move on.

    That
  • And make a lot of car analogies.
  • Video Games? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dj_tla (1048764) <trbekolay&shaw,ca> on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:49PM (#19639155) Homepage Journal
    This article is interesting, despite their wide generalizations of gamers, many of which are not really true. If you take out their focus on mentioning video games and gamers every sentence, the article is really about two things.

    People aren't having a whole lot of fun in libraries. They suggest: Hold LAN parties, after hours, in libraries. In effect, make the library somewhere that people associate with fun, instead of... not. I don't think this will ever work: people come to the library to find books. If people enjoy reading, they'll enjoy the library. If they just come to do work, then they probably won't. Nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, if you want to make libraries seem like a more fun place, they should have more sections that don't stress silence so much. Of course, people who are trying to work or read quietly, perfectly understandable, but if I'm just leisurely reading and I see someone reading an interesting book, I might want to have a chat with that person. If you go to any bookstore, especially one with a cafe attached, you'll see tons of people reading, drinking coffee and chatting. Why? Silence isn't an enforced rule.

    The real substance of the article, though, is about usability. It's not really true that no gamer reads the manual before playing, but the reason that it's not mandatory is because games (especially console games) have a common interface. If you're playing on the 360, you know the controller layout, it's just a matter of pushing a button and seeing what it does. PC games can be a bit more complicated, and I would argue that most people tend to read the readme or look at the Controls option in the game to find out what the controls are. Libraries without a doubt could use a usability overhaul. A requisite link for talking about usability is Don Norman's publications [jnd.org].

    As a sidenote, I really hate the term "Digital Natives". I hope it doesn't catch on.
  • iPhone (Score:2, Funny)

    by mevets (322601)
    How does this relate to the iPhone? I think it will change the way people use libraries.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:10PM (#19640171) Homepage
    Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A (Start)

    Press select before you press start, and you can get 30 free books for your friend, too.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:51PM (#19642519) Homepage
    Frankly, I think this article is somewhat a load of junk. Learning how to use a library isn't exactly difficult, even when resorting to the "traditional" card catalog method. If students aren't able to learn the basics of using a library, there's something else *severely* wrong with the educational system.

    That said, there *ARE* plenty of ways that libraries can be made more accessible to the younger generation.

    For instance, the library at the university I attend requires that their reference staff be accessible by e-mail or Instant Message during their desk hours. With more and more journals and databases being online, this makes perfect sense.

    I've used the Instant Message service countless times, and it's amazingly convenient.

    Last year, I worked on a paper dealing with a somewhat obscure topic. The reference desk librarian wasn't able to find any journals or anthologies off the top of his head that addressed the topic, and told me he'd get back to me in a day. By the next morning, he had e-mailed several professors who he thought might be familiar with the topic, who in turn referred me to two graduate students who had written papers on similar topics, who then happily supplied me with the list of sources they had consulted.

    Libraries don't need to be 'hip'. They need to be accessible.

    Of course, stimulating the intellectual curiosity necessary to get people into libraries is a different ballgame entirely. (We also do have a 'popular reading' section, that in addition to popular books and movies, contains scholarly works that tie in closely to books or films, which can be a fascinating follow-up to books like The DaVinci Code or Freakonomics)

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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