Introduction to Library and Information Science/Annotation of Lazonder, Ard W., Harm J.A. Biemans, and Iwan G.J.H. Wopereis. "Differences Between Novice and Experienced Users in Searching Information on the World Wide Web"

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Lazonder, Ard W., Harm J.A. Biemans, and Iwan G.J.H. Wopereis. "Differences Between Novice and Experienced Users in Searching Information on the World Wide Web." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 51 (2000): 576-581.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is common in school libraries because of its value as an educational tool. Previous research indicates that domain expertise improves online search performance. Other research shows that WWW browsing experience does not play a significant role in achieving a higher efficiency or accuracy level in a search. The authors' study tests fourth-graders' online search performance in relation to how proficient they were in WWW use; the level of domain expertise (Dutch literature) was consistent. The results showed that WWW experts were better than novices at locating Web sites but that WWW experience does not substantially affect how well information is located on a specific Web site. The authors argue that locating Web sites involves more use of search engines, a skill in which the experts are more proficient, but finding information on a Web site generally involves browsing, in which WWW experience is not as important. Although the novices were not true beginners and the experts not professionals, the novices would greatly benefit from courses teaching search skills, such as how to use search engines and Boolean operators. I think that instruction in determining the relevance and validity of search results is just as important as search skills, but the article does not address this. However, judging relevance depends on the user’s knowledge of a subject that school librarians are not often responsible for teaching. A good relationship among teachers, school librarians, and the WWW must emerge for students to receive the best possible education.