Friend or Foe? Students' Experience of Using Technology for Information Research

Dr. K. Alix Hayden
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The computer is the defining technology for libraries and has become inextricably intertwined with information seeking. Computers link students to information beyond the four walls of their university's library. The days of card catalogues have gone the way of the 8-track tape cassette and the betamax video machine. This paper focuses on uncovering the nature and meaning of experiences students face when they seek information, specifically their lived experience of computer use for information seeking. In this hermeneutic phenomenological study, 11 senior undergraduate students participated in conversational interviews about their experiences of searching for information. Thematic analysis revealed that students frequently experience "breakdown" when using computers. Breakdowns forced students to move from the intellectual process of information seeking to the more subordinate task of the mechanics of navigation. The cause of the breakdown was often blamed on the students' own lack of knowledge and skill, rather than on the computer, search interface, or system. This paper will explore, from a phenomenological perspective, the meaning of breakdown in undergraduate students' information seeking.

Keywords: Information Literacy, Undergraduate Students, Lived Experience, Phenomenology
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Friend or Foe?

Dr. K. Alix Hayden

Associate Librarian, Information Resources, University of Calgary

Dr K. Alix Hayden has over 13 years experience as a liaison librarian in academic libraries and is currently the Liaison Librarian for Nursing and Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. She received her MLIS and MSc from the University of Alberta, and completed her PhD in 2003 from the University of Calgary. Her doctoral work, supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, investigated undergraduate students' lived experience of information seeking. Her current research interests focus on merging the theoretical aspects of information seeking into the every day practice of academic librarianship.

Ref: T05P0125