Google, knowledge-monger number 1, may actually be making students worse at researching say researchers involved in the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project. The study, Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, soon to be published by the American Library Association, voices worries that Google is keeping students from learning about other databases and library services. Unfortunately, unless that study shows up on Google, few students will know what they're missing, apparently.
The study deals chiefly with addressing two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, it appears that students are becoming less and likely to ask librarians for help navigating databases. Perhaps they are afraid librarians will roll their eyes, scoff and think they are stupid for not being able to navigate academic
labyrinths databases. As a result, students are losing out on the opportunity to learn the important skill that is digging up articles from JSTOR, as well as losing out on the quality JSTOR articles they might find. On the other hand, the study may be confirming that Google's interface, in all its user-friendliness, is making academic database searches look as archaic as they are. Perhaps the lack of student interest in traditional academic detective work is because it is an inefficient alternative.