Term Papers, Google, and Library Anxiety: How can information literacy improve students’ research skills?


Program Description:

Information overload occurs when information received becomes a hindrance rather than a help, even though the information is potentially useful. Today’s digital natives are Internet-savvy and are usually very adept at juggling not only the myriad of technological gadgets that have become essential to daily existence but also the influx of information received from these devices. They have sharply honed skills at “googling” fast facts and have discovered how to manage social connections through texts and tweets, but research indicates that when it comes to doing college research many students are overwhelmed by the abundance of resources available. How does one cope when a basic Google search results in several million results? Too often students are confused and frustrated, seemingly paralyzed by the amount of information available. This continually increasing trend is called “data deluge,” and the consequences of this flood can be damaging.


Carolyn Gamtso

Carolyn Gamtso is the head of public services at the University of New Hampshire Manchester Library, where she focuses on library instruction and reference services. Her research interests include information literacy, faculty collaboration, and peer tutoring in the library. Professor Gamtso is very interested in the history and civilization of Tibet, and is the secretary and web master of the Monadnock Friends of Tibet, a New Hampshire-based Tibet support group. As a result of this interest, and as a result of her deep concern about the current plight of the Tibetan people and their nation, she pursued a long-held dream by spending her academic sabbatical in the foothills of the Himalayas, teaching English to Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India, home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. While in Dharamsala, she put her library skills to good use as well by reorganizing a volunteer organization’s community reading room. A long-time yoga practitioner, Professor Gamtso is currently working toward her teaching certification in the Classical Yoga tradition. (*M)

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