Reading on Research in the Digital Age
April 28, 2011 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Summer short course filter: Fun readings on the internet, the future, and research in the digital age for high school teachers. Help a librarian plan a syllabus!

I'm a an academic librarian who will be teaching a week-long course entitled "Research in the Digitial Age" to a group of high school English and Writing Students this semeseter. I'm hoping to provide the teachers with the tools they need to use both library and web resources in their teaching (and encourage their students to do so responsibly), but I also want to talk about information behavior, using the web for discovery and evaluation of sources, and the history and future of the internet (mostly as it pertains to "research").

There will be a lot of time for discussion, and I want a range of readings that brings in voices from all over and will give us a lot to explore. Some of the things (or types of things) I have in mind are: You can see, it's pretty loose, and of course some of those are mutually exclusive (I'm not gonna make them read 3 JASIST articles!). I want to use the readings and discussions to launch into practical tools and strategies for dealing with information overload and students' use of technology (two things that are often intimidating to this audience). I'd really like a mix of academic, historical, and short fiction that perhaps don't answer the questions we'll consider, but help to drive discussion around them. I'd prefer the academic articles not to be too boring or statistics-y for the audience, but I want to reveal some of the complexity of information behavior. Also, documentaries or short films on the same topics would be welcomed as well-- both those available online or just DVD.

It's also probably more of a stretch, but I'd love to know there are any other types of work -- shorter stuff like poetry or comics especially-- that approach these topics. Bonus for free, CC, or open access stuff.

posted by activitystory to Education (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How about Where Am I by Daniel Dennett? It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Plus, it's awesome.
posted by entropone at 1:13 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might want to talk about scholars using social media services like Mendeley, Twitter, and CiteULike to track references and share sources with colleagues as well. The approach is known as alt-metrics and it's basically what it sounds like -- an alternative way to measure scholarly impact.

The alt-metrics manifesto might be of interest to you and your audience; it's a nice primer to the topic. (Disclaimer: this was co-authored by a colleague of mine at UNC's School of Information and Library Science.)
posted by k8lin at 1:16 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Neil Postman, Informing Ourselves to Death
Neil Postman, Technopoly - the surrender of culture to technology (1993)
Jamais Cascio, "Get Smarter"
Matt Richtel, "Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime"
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:57 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Parts of/the whole Cluetrain Manifesto? I thought it was a very prescient book. Maybe this is a little too nit-picky, but the tone of the book occasionally grated on me. However, I liked a lot of what it said about communication over the Internet.
posted by lillygog at 3:25 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks y'all, these are all great suggestions. I like the Cascio counterpoint to Carr's article, especially.

k8lin, the altmetrics site is also a great suggestion-- not just as an example of how texts circulate, but also to bring up the topic of how research is measured and assessed in different areas. I've actually come across that site before in some of my library-hat work.

Lillygog, I thought about the cluetrain manifesto, but looking through it again it seems a little off-target, but it reminded me of Weinberger's newer book, Everything is Miscellaneous which might work too.

Short-story-wise, I found the following, in case anyone else is interested.
"The Machine Stops," by EM Forster
Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon,” The New Yorker, April 16, 1966
& The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, 1956
And, of course, The Library of Babel by Borges.
posted by activitystory at 11:42 AM on May 5, 2011

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