Somewhere within the stacks of a campus library, a librarian sits and waits, longing for someone to seek her help.
She'll be waiting for a while.
According to a recent study by Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project, students are turning more to Internet search engines and less to physical research.
The three-year study consisted of interviews with librarians, students and other campus faculty at five universities. They found that students often don't know where to turn when it comes to doing real research within the library. In fact, students prefer to just enter a few key words into a search engine rather than pour through academic journals and encyclopedias.
The concept of using a librarian for academic assistance is apparently foreign to the modern student, researchers told USA Today.
The researchers said they were surprised by "the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school."
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Apparently, students mentioned Google 115 times during the interviews for the study, more than twice as many times as any other research method.
Students aren't completely to blame, though, for their lack of library prowess. Researchers also point the finger at librarians for overestimating students' knowledge of research techniques, often resulting in conversations that leave students feeling intimidated.