16 Nov 2016
Scientific Research Assistance
Infobesity in the Google Era: Maximizing Research Skills
Who among us has not experienced getting thousands of results related to our research topic when doing a simple Google search? With the advent of the Internet, we now have access to a multitude of information sources from all over the world. This abundance of information, sometimes described as infobesity, complicates the search, selection and use of credible and relevant information. This excess of information, from which the fields of science and engineering are certainly not exempt, can become problematic at the university level. Here, in order to submit credible academic work, students must be able to distinguish reliable sources of information from the mass of results obtained.
As a student and as a researcher, it is essential to know how to navigate cautiously in this sea of information, by acquiring skills in information research and evaluation in order to make the best use of existing resources.
These skills—known as information literacy—combine abilities that can be developed throughout the academic journey. They make it possible to determine the information needs and then to respond to them by finding, evaluating and using the information gathered properly. In engineering, the rapid evolution of technologies and information sources requires a strong ability to adapt to digital technologies and research tools in order to present high-quality work. By developing your information literacy skills, you will be able to detect and use tools appropriate to your research topic from the selection offered by the ÉTS community through library subscriptions.
Infocompetence at Your Fingertips
The library is a support tool for students and researchers who must navigate in this sea of information. Librarians can guide you in the research process and use of information during your academic journey by offering workshops on information retrieval focused on specialized engineering tools. They will advise you on the organization of information and provide you with reliable and ethical methods for using it in your work. These information experts can offer personalized assistance, by appointment or in person at the library user help desk, to facilitate your successful academic journey.
Over the next few weeks, the ÉTS Library will be presenting a series of articles on the different skills that need to be developed in order to become infocompetent and to build your engineering expertise.
We will discuss the following concepts:
- Information Search, a Strategic Exploration.
- Experts are Made, not Born.
- The Process of Creating Information.
- The True Cost of Information
- Investigating a Research Topic or how to Ask the Right Questions.
- Knowledge Production, a Conversation Between Researchers.
The skills and abilities required to become infocompetent are described in the Association of College and Research Libraries’ “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education” available at http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework .
Julie Dionne-Lefebvre is a Librarian at the École de technologie supérieure de Montréal (ÉTS) and holds a Master's degree in Information Sciences from the Université de Montréal. Some of her tasks include student training.