11/16/2006

What Teens Think of Digital Libraries

At the Michigan Library Association's Annual Conference I happened upon Christine Ayar, Dean of Students at the Academy of The Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Christine was presenting a poster session as she is also working on earning her MLIS at Wayne State University where she is part of the 21st Century Librarian Program.

Christine has been researching high school students and what they think of digital libraries. She's polled 26 high school students who rated six websites over a span of three weeks. The students also completed a Technology Usage survey in order to help the researcher better understand their backgrounds with technology. Christine's goals included:

1. Determining if teens are aware of the variety of tools available to them on sites they use everyday, such as Google and Yahoo!
2. Understand if digital libraries meant to research a wide array of users are resonating with teenagers.
3. Gauge satisfaction (or lack thereof) for digital libraries meant specifically for teens.

Interesting results included:
Teens liked Google Options the best due to the brief descriptions. http://www.google.com/options/

  • They also like Everything Yahoo! http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/family/more/

  • They were insulted by North State Cooperative Library System's Teen Scene (in particular the reference to "rad reads"). http://www.teenlibrary.org/

  • They didn't like the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection as they didn't understand its purpose. http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/
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