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Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture

Date: 3:00pm PDT September 19, 2014 Location: Gordon H. Smith Hall, Albany Quadrangle


Gordon H. Smith Hall, Albany Quadrangle

Andrew Asher, Assessment Librarian at Indiana University, will present, “Discovering Information: Investigations Into How Students Search” Friday, September 19 at 3 p.m. in Smith Hall.


In today’s networked information environment, effectively searching for and locating information are critical digital literacy skills. Unfortunately, while university students have a variety of powerful search tools at their disposal, they often lack a sufficient understanding how these tools work, as well as their strengths and limitations. Using qualitative and quantitative data collected from students at several universities, this presentation will examine the practices and processes of students as they locate information across a variety of search platforms, and will critically evaluate the potential for bias to be introduced into these processes. This presentation will describe how students’ expectations engender search behaviors that privilege the role of the search tool itself in evaluating information quality, making students vulnerable to biases embedded within search systems. Working under the assumption that a truly “neutral” search system is a logical and technical impossibility, this presentation will then examine the types of social values tacitly embedded within search tools, and will evaluate how these values affect the experience of student researchers and how they may be subtlety structuring students’ knowledge acquisition.


A reception will follow the lecture. For further information, please visit the Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture page.

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