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The Impatience of the Google Generation

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the everything-i-need-to-know-i-learned-from-google dept.

Education 366

profBill writes "As a fifty-something professor who teaches introductory computer science, I am very aware that the twenty-somethings in my class are much more at ease with computers than any other generation. However, does that mean they are more adept at using those computers? Apparently not, according to the researchers at University College London. Their research indicates that while more adept at conducting searches, younger users also show 'impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs'. Moreover, these traits 'are now becoming the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors'. The panel makes two conclusions: That libraries (and I wonder what a library will become in the future, anyway) will have to adapt, and that the information processing skills of todays young people are lacking. Why are those skills lacking and, if they are, what can be done about it?"

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impatient ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091038)

go here: [] :)

Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with it. (5, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091082)

Im an ex. teacher, now working in the industry instead, and I think I have an idea why they are like that - you know - incredibly impatient, demanding and everything has to be here and now! Its because they are used to it, with search engines like Google and others - not to mention modern computers with awesome search facilities gives them the power of instant knowledge, so who wants to wait given alternatives like that? We of the "older" generation are used to doing things by experience and heavy research into just about everything, and we have TRIED what they are doing now - therefor we know the difference between instant knowledge and well thought out and researched knowledge. There is a HUGE difference. But how do we change this? The truth is - we need to "tap into" that generation and show real life advantages, the young generation are far from stupid, they have aquire information differently because we have given them the oportunity to do so, and natural selection comes home.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (5, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091178)

Why is it somehow better to have to go down to a local library and search through books for an answer, than a quick google search?
I'm doing my PhD, and pretty much everything that I need for my research is a google search away. In particular google scholar rocks.

I'd rather spend my time actually reading the info than trying to find it.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091250)

In particular google scholar rocks.

Amen to that, almost all of the bibliography in my thesis was found via Google scholar.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (1)

astrotek (132325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091592)

Yes, Google Scholar is so good it feels like cheating. []

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (5, Insightful)

English French Man (1220122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091312)

Looking for information is a skill in itself, and provides all kind of background information on the subject you are looking for; you may not be directly interested in all the information, but knowledge of it cannot hurt. With a simple Google search, you find much less complete information, because you are targeting way more your searches.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (2, Insightful)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091400)

In other words, Google searches are more efficient that looking it up in a book. Better targeting is a good thing. If you want general information about a topic, you look it up on Wikipedia, if you want specific information about a very precise topic, you Google it (using Google Scholar if appropriate). Books have their purposes, but finding an answer to a question isn't one of them - the net is much better for that.

Extraneous Information (2, Insightful)

oncehour (744756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091612)

You have a good point in that searching through books can help you to learn all sorts of new and slightly related things on the way to your endpoint. However, society is progressing to the point where precise targetting is far preferred to generalization. We've got entire fields that require 4+ years of intense focus on just one or two small spheres of knowledge.

If you're looking to learn all encompassingly about a subject then a book is a great way to do so. However if instead you're looking to research just one particular topic within a subject or get a refresher a book is rather inefficient. Targetting allows very quick knowledge acquisition which allows us to become more efficient to focus on other tasks. Researching being faster just means you can get more work done, in essence.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (5, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091368)

Well, I'm just doing my master, but for my work (International Relations), they both have their value. Let's say that you are writing about the Nixon's establishment of diplomatic relations with China. You can use google and wikipedia to get an overview of opinions on the subject in the initial stages of your research, and then for fact checking later (when did the Ping-Pong team return to the States again?). Indeed, the skill to do this kind of searching is wide both spread and indispensable in modern academia.

However, if you want to go beyond the superficial, the libraries (or more precisely, the slow, deliberate reading of credible sources that we generally associate with libraries) are essential. If you want to understand why things happened instead of establishing a simple chronology, you have to read Kissinger's books and memoirs, you have to read public records, you have to read contemporary journalism. It is also very helpful to read other scholars' interpretations, both in their books and journals.

Obviously, there is no reason that we can't digitize this information and stick on the internet, but simple availability and physical location of the documents is not where the problem here.

The problem this professor is pointing out is that people lack the ability to do this second part and go beyond the superficial because the nature of those works means that interpreting them is long and tedious and requires an attention span longer than 3 seconds. Even if digitized, you can't crtl+f for key words through a 200 page argument and understand it.

So, the GP is right, IMHO, we need both theses skill sets.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091560)

I'm just doing my master
I stopped reading here. Is she hot?

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (3, Insightful)

QuestorTapes (663783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091644)

> Why is it somehow better to have to go down to a local library
> and search through books for an answer, than a quick google search?

> I'm doing my PhD, and pretty much everything that I need for my
> research is a google search away. In particular google scholar rocks.

"Doing your PhD" is still school, which is an artificially protected environment for the student in some ways. In school, the problems you are asked to solve in your classes are almost always problems someone else has solved, and you can -research- the solution.

In the larger scope of the working world, many people find themselves tasked with solving real problems, that -no one has ever solved before-. You find yourself dealing with frustrating unknowns that cannot be dealt with using search engines in 10 minutes, or -ever-. The solutions are not there to find.

Many of us in the working world deal with people who -can't- do anything other than "look it up on Google". Junior programmers, especially, who can't solve a problem unless they can swipe a code snippet from the web. Some of these eventually learn to poke randomly at the code till they find something that "sorta works".

But they lack the patience and the mental disciplines needed to sit down and really work out a problem. And this isn't just in the computer tech fields. It's at all levels of business, management, and science.

I've spoken to nurses and doctors who say the same things about some younger medical professionals; many of them lack the mential disciplines to diagnose problems. They're reduced to trying to look things up on Google and Wikipedia, and eventually give drugs randomly to trusting human patients.

> I'd rather spend my time actually reading the info than trying to find it.

Fine; but what do you do when the information -needs- to be found; not by searching musty stacks of books, but by dissection of the problem and analysis of the elements that compose it?

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091358)

I guess these social scientist types derive their funding from trying to map distinctions upon each generation.
The next generation is still people, at least until the biochemists succeed in making substantial tweaks to the DNA.
OK, they're impatient. OK, they have some motor skill advantage from years of video games. Whoopee. Reality will temper the new generation far more than the generation tempers reality.

They're kids of the new generation - deal with it (3, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091488)

I'm glad those pesky kids are impatient. They'll get off my lawn a little quicker.

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091578)


Clearly, once information becomes trivial to find, at least two things will arise:

  • More and more stress on how that information is handled.
  • An incredible burden on missing information

To the first: as we read (and know), Google can't really help that; education is irreplaceable. But to the second: it will be assumed that everyone can know everything. But if this is assumed, nothing my work shows ignorance of can be excused. I cannot imagine a PhD defense in the future!

Re:Theyre kids of the new generation - deal with i (2, Funny)

Cossack58 (870191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091642)

The issue is that these kids know what computers are capable of and they've seen and used web apps that exhibit good design. i'm nearly 50 myself and i have the same impatience w/ craptastic programming myself. If i'm using an app and ask it to do a simple 2 dimensional search or other simple task i wanna see an immediate response. no excuse for long delays if i'm not rendering the next 3-D blockbuster. I'm doubly frustrated and angered when i'm using an app to perform a common task and have to click 5, 6, or more times to get to where i need to be. HEY, APP DESIGNERS: one, two clicks tops for common tasks. no more than 3 for everything else. I'm using the app to get somehting done, not to click around my desktop like a f'ing monkey.

The point is, we're constantly reminded that little gadgets we pick up at the 7-11 checkout counters now have more processing power than an Apollo moon mission. It follows then that those big honkin' boxes under the desk should be capable of much more than the crap they give us today. If these kids are impatient w/ crap they have every right to be.

uh, libraries? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091084)

uh, libraries? the only thing libraries are good for is getting articles from journals that aren't freely accessible online. and that'll be unnecessary once the copyright cartels disappear (especially the slap-in-the-face publishers that lock up publicly funded research)

Re:uh, libraries? (2, Interesting)

Djatha (848102) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091370)

There ought to be books too! Yes, I know, modern libraries do not have any books any more but a few. As a historian I can say: that sucks. I often want books from decades past (let alone centuries) and I can not get them myself, no, I have to request them, wait for them and process them. But the time of going through the shelves, browsing the library for nice, interesting and relevant books is over. You have to use a computer connecting to a database which is never ever in order, missing books, information, etc. to find a book in a library.

I do not like libraries any more, if I want to read books, I buy them (second hand, most of the time). Public libraries have become bars, theaters, and what not, and, if you really want to, you can find a book there. Scientific libraries are even worse: only the latest issues of a small collection of journals and the latest books are available hard-copy in the library. The rest: accessable via the internet and on request. It is even impossible to find things in a library if it is not the latest of the latest, and that, of course, you can easily find on-line.

As a 21 year old... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091098)

I feel like I'm more capable of absorbing large amounts of information from diverse sources than the last generation. I grew up with Google, though. Wikipedia has been around since I was about 15. Then there's IRC, Usenet, all of the forums filled with would-be experts and complete logs of conversations about more or less anything you can imagine...

The dewey decimal system is, by comparison, total bullshit. The whole notion of a physical library needs a bit of an overhaul. Integration with some sort of full-text search service (google books with a "reserve this book" feature, and drive-thru pickups at the library) could be cool, privacy implications aside. But still: that requires leaving my house. Let's face it, delivering plain text over the internet is way more efficient.

Re:As a 21 year old... (0, Flamebait)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091356)

Your "feelings" are irrelevant, loserboy. You do not have any capabilities over the previous generation. Your misplaced sense of superiority is fed by the fallacious perception that technical means can make up for lack of intelligence. Real research demands patience, dedication, a capability to sort and discriminate information. You lack all of these. You're nothing but an overgrown kid with an inflated ego, which will soon be burst by reality. Masturbating in your own feces while drinking your urine does not make you special, wankerboy. Bend over backwards and piss up your nostrils while we shit on your face.

Apples & Oranges (2, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091106)

It doesn't make sense to compare libraries to computer searches because the two haven't been around for the same amount of time. Computer searches as a skill has only had maybe a decade or two to develop while the concept of a library has had generations to develop. Kids these days simply give up thinking the result isn't there if the search query they entered wasn't giving the result they expected. This is a very obvious scenario when you realize most people (including the 90's generation) doesn't really know correct search syntax. Western education has also not cought-up with a correct method of teaching this vital skill either. This is the result. It will fix itself with time.

Re:Apples & Oranges (4, Interesting)

novakyu (636495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091396)

Kids these days simply give up thinking the result isn't there if the search query they entered wasn't giving the result they expected.
Er, where do you get that idea? I'm not sure if I qualify as a "kid" (I'm old enough to drink legally), but when the search query does not return the desired result, the standard assumption is that the wrong keywords were specified---unless it was some kind of proper name, in which case it was either misspelled, or the result really doesn't exist, at least not in the index of the search engine being used.

But seriously, I see more older people typing in something for search result and then giving up when they don't get what they want: 1) They haven't internalized the power of Internet search engines as we have, 2) Most of them seem to have lousy keyword-picking skills.

Of course, I'm probably biased, since I haven't been around too many old people (especially not those who blazed the trail for computer science), but I still find your comment unsupported by evidence.

i don't know (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091108)

i'd rtfa but that page is taking forever to load.

Re:i don't know (4, Funny)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091216)

I've got a short attention span you insens...

Ooh, look! Monkeys.

Re:i don't know (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091262)

Ur Post is 2 long

Sorry... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091112)

I'd write an insightful reply but I'm in a hurry.

Systematic literature review (3, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091120)

An good exercise is a systematic literature review [] . You have to make sure that you don't just find some information about the topic you are interested in, but you find all of the available information, then you must critically assess each piece of literature and synthesise them properly. Each stage of the process must be justified and repeatable (so no Googling)

I'm in the middle of one of these and its really shown up my impatience to get answers. In my opinion something like this should be a part of the school curriculum, or at least a part of undergradute courses.

Re:Systematic literature review (1)

snaptography (867263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091328) [] So many people are unaware of how to process information, evaluate it for quality and authority, and then integrate it into their own opinions and other resources to articulate a coherent thought. Great resources posted above (Asking the Right Questions) as well as the systematic literature review that "stranger_to_himself" posted above.

Re:Systematic literature review (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091448)

Processing information has become a lost art... People don't process anymore. I see it so often with analysts, and "documentaries." They just say things and assume it is correct.

Re:Systematic literature review (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091338)

You have to make sure that you don't just find some information about the topic you are interested in, but you find all of the available information

Are you serious? That's pretty much impossible these days.

I think one major difference between today and pre-web is that previously, it was easy to believe that you had found "all of the available information", even if in reality you hadn't. These days, we are much more aware of how much information is out there, and how rapidly it is growning. This will become even more apparent when automatic translation finally works properly, and all legacy information is digitised.

Re:Systematic literature review (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091440)

You're being ignorant or silly. It's not possible to find "all of the available" information on any topic, and much less to be -certain- that you've found it all. Not even for tiny, specialised subjects. For larger more complex subjects, you can easily find enough information that you'd spend 10 lifetimes just reading trough it once, nevermind critically assess and synthesise anything whatsoever. Then what ?

There are areas where you can get a reasonable overview -- namely those areas where we know next to nothing or that interest nobody (or both!), but that is by nessecity niche.

You can't collect, read, assess and synthesise "all available information" on Computer-Science, so you migth go more narrow and do Cryptography, but that's equally impossible. So you might go more narrow and do Diffie-Hellman. Even then you could only be certain you've found the most well-known articles and research on it, there's always going to be a risk that some student in India (say) has published a paper that includes information not found anywhere else. There's no way to tell.

Re:Systematic literature review (4, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091610)

You're being ignorant or silly. It's not possible to find "all of the available" information on any topic, and much less to be -certain- that you've found it all. Not even for tiny, specialised subjects. For larger more complex subjects, you can easily find enough information that you'd spend 10 lifetimes just reading trough it once, nevermind critically assess and synthesise anything whatsoever. Then what ?

You're wrong about that. The academic indexes are good enough that you can be certain enough not to have missed anything important. If somebody has done some significant (yes even Indian students), then they will have sent it to a peer reviewed journal, and that journal will be indexed. I'm not saying it's easy, and it can take months to do right. I know the model for publication in Computer Science is different to all other academic subjects so maybe it wouldn't work there, I don't really know.

There are areas where you can get a reasonable overview -- namely those areas where we know next to nothing or that interest nobody (or both!), but that is by nessecity niche.

Well obviously. You only need to do this where there is a significant conflict of evidence and opinion (so you can identify where the conflicts arise), or where there isn't much evidence and it's never been collated. Otherwise Googling will work just fine.

Of course you can't review 'computer science' or 'medicine'. You have to be very specific about the question you are trying to answer. For example, you might look for information on the pattern of occurrence of a particular disease, or the effect of a particular social intervention on crime rates, or the most efficient implemenation of some algorithm. You'd maybe have to read the titles of 10000 articles, the abstracts of 1000, and the text of a hundred just to get to the four or five that will provide the important information.

Re:Systematic literature review (1)

bmartin (1181965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091554)

Who has time for that? Just Google for someone that's done a systematic literature review on the same topic.

Re:Systematic literature review (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091556)

Of course that assumes that all available relevant high-quality information is the formally published literature you are reviewing. This is true for the case mentioned in your wiki link - medical research, clinical studies, etc; and not true for many other subjects that people are interested in.
  But there is an even more important point here - Google generation has obviously decided that it's much more efficient to look at the result of such systematic literature review done by someone else (or by google computers, if possible), than to do it themselves. Are they wrong?

It probably depends on their goal and reasons why they are looking for the information; and i would dare to say that 99% of the time someone wants to ask a question, they would prefer a quick and easy answer now instead of a deeper understanding of all relevant issues that'd require a longer learning process - both for 20-year-olds and 60-year-olds.

HRMF! (1)

beaviz (314065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091134)

Why isn't there any comments to read? I WANT COMMENT NOW!

The google generation is too tech focused (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091136)

I'm concerned about the narrowm view of the world IT people and engineers
have these days. I think the problem starts at college -
There's a culture that somehow science is more rational and usefull
then the humanitities. Lecturers encourage students to joke about arts
students, and humilaite them whenever possible. This encourages
eliteism, and I for one am sick of it.

Let's tell it like it is. 'science' is just as much about opinion as
the humanities. Research simply follows the fad of the day. Take
dieticians for example. These men and woman believe that just because
they have degree in medical science that they are all knowing. Why,
what they recommend one day may kill you the next! (see the DDT story
for more information.) Science is 95% opinion then facts, lets face
it. What about astrology, the most rediculious of the sciences! But I

Another example is music. We know what sounds good. Everyone aggreed
that Valves for instance sound great. But knowitall engineers use
trensastors with inferious sound quality just to save a few bucks.
They argue with numbers. Hey, I don't want to do maths just to listen
to music. I know what I like. You cannot apply objective reasoning to
a subject which is intristically subjective. But try telling those
recent grads with their useless piece of paper that and they go all

The problem with you technical guys are that you are all so eliteist.
Whilst you want to trun collage into a trade school with yore narrow
minded views that collage should be a job training centre, humanities
are focused on making you a well rounded person who is auctually
interesting to be with, not a boring focuesed geek. Really, it makes
me so mad when people say "oh, he's doing a humanities degree, that's
easy". I have to read *3* *books* *a* *week* on average. Not picture
books either I assue you. It is a lot of work, but the upshot is
improved grammer and spelling skills that are lacking in the
technical. As for those that say "you will be working at mcdonalds" ,
I'm going on to so a PhD in socialolgy where I'll be line for tenure
where I have a much more rewarding job then beeing a science freak or
an engineer. Anyways, all I have to do to be a engineer wold be to get
my MSCE and how hard couyld that be? techincal stuff is simply
whatever fad the market thinks is hot at the moment, but all great
things were done by humanities.

You technical types are far to narrow minded and cynsical. You should
learn to enjoy life.

Re:The google generation is too tech focused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091222)


You're trolling, right? (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091228)

You are presenting a caricature with a big target painted on your chest.

But if you come by your lousy spelling honestly, then I certainly applaud your scholastic efforts, and would only add that it takes all types to turn the world --and that none of the types you mention need to be labeled with antagonism. Why on earth should there by any kind of war between the various classes of passion in the halls of learning?


Re: Improved ... (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091326)

Except your post contains none of the improved spelling skills you refer to, so that must be the impatience the article is talking about.

Re:The google generation is too tech focused (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091526)

I think theres a nugget of truth in what he's saying he just didn't think about what he was typing before he did it and came off as just seeming pissed off, if you know what I mean. I mean I'm in a University studying science and I really do believe its the only type of career that could end up being a reason for living. Everything else is either making money for yourself or someone else. A career in science/medicine has that aspect too but its also an opportunity to contribute to the collective human knowledge rather than just put your own ideas out there, (ie be a writer,etc) or even worse some kind of manager or stock trader. I just always assumed those people got enough fulfillment out of something else like love or being successful in something. And funnily enough I think the opposite of the parent poster in that science is what you need help via schooling for, anything else could be picked up as a hobby along the way then perfected later. My two cents I guess.

I was going to respond first to this thread.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091142)

but the keyboard didn't work fast enough, and I really couldn't be assed....

Too slow (1)

stevie.f (1106777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091148)

I don't have the time or the patience to read this

obligatory quote (1)

Ignatius (6850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091170)

$ man 1 perl | grep -1 virtues

  The three principal virtues of a programmer are Laziness, Impatience,
  and Hubris. See the Camel Book for why.

Academic Sources (5, Insightful)

cheesethegreat (132893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091172)

One of the major problems here is that students are used to being able to Google "mitigating factors in murder" and get a nice website with clean design which provides them with the history and current state of the topic, all in a single easy-to-use package.

In contrast, academic articles are usually much narrower in scope than your average webpage and require much more reading and time before an understanding of the subject can be cultivated. Of course, the benefit of using academic articles is that after having read a dozen of them, a student will have a much better and more balanced understanding of a subject than they would have if they'd just gone to Crazy Bob's Information Hut.

When I peer-review papers (I'm currently in law school), it's very obvious which students started their research with academic sources, and which started on Google. The problem can be quickly solved by professors taking the approach seen at my institution: students failing to have in-depth research on the topic get poor marks.

Re:Academic Sources (5, Insightful)

shadanan (806810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091418)

You seem to prove a rather different point from the one set out at the onset of this discussion. Google is simply a search engine and it allows the user to find information. "Crazy Bob's Information Hut" is a specific web site which may or may not be the result of a Google search. But good and reliable sources of information might also be part of a Google search. Consider Google scholar. While I was writing my thesis, I regularly used Google scholar to find papers relating to my topic. Once I found the papers that seemed relevant, I went out and got those papers - at my university library if no electronic copy could be found. As you can see, it is possible to start with Google search and then narrow your search as you progress.

More than likely, all the students that you peer reviewed started their research with Google. The more intelligent among them however, went the extra mile and found good sources when they wrote their papers. This is not new. Intelligent people will always write good papers by doing the research that is necessary. In our generation however, we have access to more sophisticated tools than previous generations for finding information. We have Google search and the Internet as well as online libraries. The previous generation had references, the Dewey Decimal System and card catalogs.

I am glad though, that your university fails students that don't do in-depth research. I would be quite surprised otherwise.

Re:Academic Sources (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091542)

I'm not sure what you're describing is as much to do with the availability of information in the digital age as it is to do with laziness in certain students. When I read law back in the mid-to-late 90s, the internet was a new and pretty much underused tool in legal academic circles, yet there were still lazy students who relied on the minimum recommended reading list (or even worse, on their lecture notes/information sheets) to get all their information and others who read around the subject, did more in-depth research, used the recommended books and articles as a start-point for their research rather than and end-point.

Of my peers at the time, I was one of the few who utilised the internet as much as possible (admittedly there were far fewer legal resources online back then), but again I would use it to lead me down different avenues of research, to give me a much broader understanding of the subject at hand. I saw it as one more source to add to books, case reports, articles, etc. Now, of course, a lot of the information from those other sources is available online - this is merely a more convenient format to allow research, it doesn't prevent the more studious from doing extensive research.

At the end of the day, if a lazy student only has the option of reading books and articles, he will read the bare minimum he needs. If we give him the option of the internet, he will visit the bare minimum of sites he needs to get the same information. The issue here is with motivating students to _want_ to do the additional research, not with criticising the tools of said research.

Facebook Generation, Google Generation,... (4, Insightful)

Two9A (866100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091182)

I don't feel myself to be a part of whatever generation the journalists want to refer to this week. I use Google, but I also read books. I use Facebook, but I also meet up with friends.

Can't we just use the technology available to us, without being branded with the [Insert Keyword] Generation tag?

Re:Facebook Generation, Google Generation,... (5, Funny)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091442)

Ah, you must be part of the "I'm not part of a generation" generation. A post-hippie, basically.

Re:Facebook Generation, Google Generation,... (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091514)

Well, he reads books and can spell, plus he doesn't want to be a part of something: these are the hallmarks of a Gen Xer....

Re:Facebook Generation, Google Generation,... (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091566)

Reminds me a of a site called 'I hate Gen X'. Basically lists everything he personally hates about Generation X, most of which don't actually apply to anyone I know. Some even apply more to Gen Y (or whatever they're calling it this week) than Gen X.

Generations are just another way to express prejudice.

Personally, I get immense satisfaction out of being prejudiced against prejudiced people.

Re:Facebook Generation, Google Generation,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091618)

Our predecessor generations are just becoming senile and paranoid-conservative - technology scares them and the many long arms of a google search terrifies them like the alien vanguard of "war of the worlds". They no longer possess logic, in their day they walked uphill both ways to school - and now we're going to school in reverse - downhill both ways - and they bothered by the ease of our lives, insisting that their way was in some ethereal sense superior to ours: "uphill is good exercise!" they cry out from their porches.

This is why we medicate old people - they've got nothing to do but show up at polls and elections and that sways politics to their irrational interests.

We need to up their dosage.

Also, they all grew up with cartoons and movies of terrifying robot invasions - where every story somehow emphasized the evil of technological advancement - they're all brainwashed into thinking every toaster with an LED display is going to eat them in the night.

impatience, zen, motorcycle maintenance, bewbz... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091184)

Well, step aside my friend
I've been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears

Put a tree in your butt
Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Put some fleas in your butt
Start to sneeze in your butt
Put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Put a light in your butt
Make it bright in your butt
Put a TV in your butt
Put me in your butt
Everybody say

I, hey, that's, man, I ain't putting no trees in nobody's butt,
no bees in nobody's butt, putting nothing--
You must be out your mind, man,
y'all get paid for doing this?
Cause y'all gotta get some kind of money
Cause this don't sound like the kind of--
I'd rather golf, to be perfectly honest,
than put somethin in somebody's butt
to be truthful

Well step aside my friend and let me
show you how you do it
When big bad E just rock rock to it

Put a metal case in your butt
Put her face in your butt
Put a frown in your butt
Put a clown in your butt
Sit on down in your butt
Put a boat in your butt
Put a moat in your butt
Put a mink coat in your butt
Put everything in your butt
Just start to sing about your butt
Feels real good

Re:impatience, zen, motorcycle maintenance, bewbz. (1)

prescor (204357) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091474)

Holy cow...

Eddie Murphy flashback!!! That's from, like, the FIRST album that nobody remembers!! /that's yo ass, I guess.

Root cause analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091190)

Actually, i think it's caused by an entire generation mashing F5 to get first post on the next story...

knowledge but not understanding (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091194)

One of the biggest problems of being able to type in a question and have an answer (or sorts) fired back seconds later is that you become very used to dealing facts but are in danger of lacking understanding.
Back when we relied more on books, you'd often go through several books and many pages looking for something and along the way see all manner of peripheral information on the subject which over time builds in to a much broader grasp of the subject and a better basis for joining the dots and developing understanding.
I suspect that in the unlikely event that the web disappeared overnight, we'd have a whole generation or two of apparantly 'smart' people floundering badly.

Re:knowledge but not understanding (2, Insightful)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091388)

I feel just the opposite. I find that knowing facts, or at least being able to acquire a large amount of fact quickly, is critical when you want understanding. The web allows the former to be achieved with much greater ease, so this generation is much better off than the previous generation in understanding the world. (It is not to say that web searching did not help in the understanding: I usually find that web search gives me something much easier to digest than whatever I can find in textbooks.)

It is probably true that many people nowadays are much less tolerant to waiting for information, as compared to a decade ago. But that is not an indication that people now don't want understanding. Instead it is because there are now a lot of different choices, and of course any individual will try to maximize return when making choices. If going to a library let him find a result he needs in a morning, while just searching on Google get him to the same information (or perhaps more) in just 10 minutes, it won't be difficult to see which is the winner.

More and more I see library as something to hold history rather than to hold knowledge (both facts and understanding). The web is being changed in every instant, the search result of Google change every day. In contrast, the collection of books in a library hardly change in a year, much less in a month. The content of any individual book never change, except for the damages by other users. While any particular piece of knowledge doesn't really change, the collection of knowledge the community knows change every minute, something previously unknown is now known, something previously thought to be true is now invalidated. So if you want to know what people think about the world now, it is probably more appropriate to search on the web than in the library, at least to get you started by having the facts and the pointers.

Re:knowledge but not understanding (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091484)

>The web is being changed in every instant, the search result of Google change every day
Which is in itself a problem. What if everyone starts relying on say Wikipedia and then that site goes? There are many areas of study that has one or two really good web resources and a whole bunch of also-rans. Most books exist in hundreds if not thousands of copies around the world. If a major website goes, it's knowledge is potentially lost forever along ( notwithstanding).

Re:knowledge but not understanding (2, Insightful)

shadanan (806810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091494)

I agree that immediate access to information is dangerous in the hands of idiots - or at the very least, very annoying. However, the fact that the current generation has immediate access to information doesn't change the fact that memorizing and understanding are two different things altogether.

You might be able to lookup the value of e on the Internet. You might be able to immediately lookup what the derivative is for a given function. But, regardless of what generation you belong to, knowing the value of e, or knowing that the derivative of x^2 is 2x doesn't change the fact that that doesn't necessarily imply that you know calculus.

However, if you search for the derivative of x^2 on Google and end up on Wikipedia or MathWorks and start reading about what differentiation is, then you will learn how to calculate the derivative of a function. The fact you used a search engine to find that information is irrelevant.

I do not believe that people who lookup facts on the Internet are smart. All intelligent people whom I have had the honor to meet understand what they talk about and don't need access to a computer when I talk to them. Are you impressed when someone can recite some random trivia to you? Do you ever phone them up and ask them for help with something? Probably not - you're smarter than that. But then, why do you consider them smart in the first place?

you still have the other kind of people (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091504)

There still are people who go the long way and read hard science stuff to understand it, and some of these people make posts writing about how they solved thier problem. Sure if we don't have google no one is ever going to read this stuff, but smart people will still exist.

What you are talking about is people who can solve things fast with just some searches on the internet, you can solve highly specialized problem with out almost no prior knowledge and no needs for smarts.

Re:you still have the other kind of people (2, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091576)

I read something recently (online, natch) that put forward the thought that as a species we were in danger of losing the ability to reason/understand because to a large extent, that is a learned skill and if you have a generation or two who are only used to dealing with instant facts, you might not be able to pick up that again easily once that skill is lost.
It discussed if that was actually a problem in itself i.e. as long as you have an answer, does it matter that you don't know how to get it? I'd say yes because understanding helps breed new insights/knowledge more than a collection of facts but perhaps that's just because of the era and way I grew up.

Well.. (2, Funny)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091196)

and I wonder what a library will become in the future, anyway
If Mars University has taught us anything, then the Library of the future will contain two discs, Fiction and Non-fiction.

Qualitative change (1)

unbug (1188963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091198)

Getting information from the internet is qualitatively different than getting it from a library since you get so much more of it so much faster. It shouldn't be surprising that the way people process this information is also qualitatively different. Things like "impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs" are a direct result of this. I don't see why this is necessarily bad; it's just different.

The worst danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091200)

In general this isn't a problem, patience isn't always a virtue and sometimes impatience can lead to progress. However, there is a very serious danger that people will tend more and more to fall pray to something called "satisficing", which is a fancy word for being satisfied with the most quickly reached reasonable answer rather than spending more time and effort (and perhaps creativity) to find a better answer to a problem.

Misconception (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091206)

Kids may be much more at ease with computers than their parents, simply because they grew up with them, but they certainly aren't any more competent when it comes to using them. Most of my younger brother's friends (19-21 age range) struggle to do anything more than use email, Word, IM and MySpace/Facebook with a computer.

They like using computers, they're certainly not afraid of computers (like some people are), but they don't have any desire to learn how to use a computer beyond simple tasks (and they certainly don't have the patience to most of the time).

Re:Misconception (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091268)

Most of my younger brother's friends (19-21 age range) struggle to do anything more than use email, Word, IM and MySpace/Facebook with a computer.
Uhhhh, and most of their parents struggle to do those things, therefore making your younger brother's friends more competent with computers than their parents.

Old generations fighting agains new generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091214)

and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs

I thought we cure such children with Retalin these days...

Is this the byproduct of a decreasing SNR? (3, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091218)

Blogs, google-bombing advertisers, dead sites taken over by domain squatters, broken links, inaccurate wiki's... It's becoming increasingly more difficult to find good information online. Perhaps this is why the tolerance for delay and reliance on search engines is increasing across the board. (not just in them whipper-snappers!) With a lower signal to noise ratio you have to churn through more material to get what you want. That means investing less time in avenues that don't pay off fast and using search engines to avoid tedious mucking about with links that are broken as often as not. The evolution of search engines is about the only thing that is helping to combat the decreasing SNR of the web. Try searching for something specific and imagine what it would be like if you had to go back to using Lycos circa 1998!

That being said, ease of searching is just one of the many reasons why libraries should be digitizing their collections. How many times have you found a book that looked absolutely perfect for what you're doing, only to find that it's loaned out, damaged or defaced, returned but not reshelved, lost, etc.. Also, it's just plain more convenient to be able to pull up some text from the comfort of your couch rather than trekking into the library. That convenience adds up if it's something you access regularly. e.g. Who goes to the library to read paper journals these days?

libraries (5, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091224)

and I wonder what a library will become in the future, anyway

Probably they will change into (back into) the original model provided by the great library of Alexandria. That institution held books (ok, scrolls), but was primarily a place of teaching, effectively its role was what we now see as the role of a university.

Libraries only became dull(yes, dull) with the advent of the new breed of privately funded library in the eighteenth century (I omit centuries of Islamic libraries, I know little of them, other then they were active and very full). Certainly this was the case in England, and I'm pretty sure the US has its share of privately initiated libraries. Those libraries were focused heavily on the collection of knowledge, and did indeed help many people learn new things, but the visitor was expected to remain solemnly quiet, to absorb the information and depart, not disturbing others engaged in the ritual of learning.

Pretty boring stuff for a great proportion of the population (not me, I like libraries, but I'm not talking about myself). Information does not do well sat in books, it needs to be experienced, talked about, it should 'live'. That was Micheal Faraday's idea, and he gave weekly science lectures as well as doing science, inspiring many to seek further knowledge. The Internet brings us some measure of liveness for our information as well, which stimulates interest, but for the most part its short term. You find what you want, or don't, and move on fast.

A library should include the Internet, and books, but also staff who teach, providing some means of focusing people on the knowledge that they have become however fleetingly interested in. Without that you're unlikely to have a library that does anything but collect dust and books.

Re:libraries (1)

urikkiru (801560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091324)

Someone mentioned the obvious choice of libraries digitizing their collections. I think this is inevitable. I mean, really, think about what this article is about.. the speed at which people expect information to be collected. Isn't the ability to search text a beautiful gift of technology? It seems to me that what we're actually talking about is the medium in which the information comes from, as well as the reliability of the source. If libraries *did* digitize their collected works, wouldn't we treat that collection with the same respect of accuracy as we do in book form? Just something to think about.

In Finland: Not dull. (2, Informative)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091362)

Finnish libraries are not dull. You can find a little bit of everything. Books, videos, music, etc. in mostly every category. Including not-so-agreeable stuff like sexology, weird-artsy works and so on. There are also computers for browsing the net and doing other work. Usage stats a pretty decent: "[Finland] has high usage of public libraries: 20,3 loans and 11.98 library visits per inhabitant in 2005" ( [] ). I can get any work sent to my local library for 0.5 €, all trough the net: [] . With a system like this I don't mind paying for it with taxes.

Re:In Finland: Not dull. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091408)

In the UK libraries are not as bad as I thought. I hadn't been in one for 20 years until my daughter needed a book for a project. To my surprise there was web-browsing, kids activities, multimedia, t.v rooms and no dragon-like lady going shhhhhhhhhh!

Re:libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091424)

No doubt it was good for the library of Alexandria to be like a university. But now we have universities which are like universities. (No small number of libraries are IN universities.) I can't really imagine my local library taking on enough teaching staff to compete with a university any time soon. I think you'd need to think carefully about exactly what educational niche you want the library to fill to make this idea sensible.

impatience is a virtue (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091246)

Let us rejoice in the three virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris :) Seriously, I don't want to wait for computers and neither should you. And I don't want to wade through piles of junk to find good information. These are basic things. The only difference now is if people now have a little less tolerance for crap.

Studies like this always start out by assuming things about young people, only to find out they know nothing. How is that a surprise ? Gee, teenagers don't pay attention since when, 4000 BC ? Complaints about this were found on clay tablets from Babylon. I seriously doubt people are going to get a clue.

Mod parent up (1)

stemcel (1074448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091414)

I've read translations of some of those tablets. It's only too true :D

Sounds sensible... (2, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091248)

Being a few years shy of thirty, I can certainly relate to this. When I was a kid the only source of information was the library, and whatever books we had at home. I remember reading about subjects that interested me and having to do a lot of research and work until I finally got results.

These days I find myself being very annoyed if I can't find information that I need. Growing up as the web evolved sort of helps me see how I've changed myself. My work (R&D) depends on finding information quickly. At home I have very little free time (small kids), and I'm very annoyed whenever I fail to find the information I need. Don't even get me started on what happens when I have no internet connection at home...

Oddly, being netless is not much of a problem for me when I go to the summer cottage for example, I still seem to have the ability to detach properly. I suspect people 5-10 years younger than me may not do so well under similar circumstances.

Research Methods (2, Insightful)

stevie.f (1106777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091252)

There is an entirely different method to conducting research that many people are taught in schools these days, It's all about trying to use time as efficiently as possible although there is a definite trade off when it comes to quality and reliability of information.

Find your chosen subject in wikipedia, open all of the sources and briefly scan them while following links to their sources. Within minutes you have a plethora of information at your fingertips. For many students this is enough to provide all they need on their chosen topic. For the more dedicated few it will provide references to books which they will go to the library to browse.

The benefit of this is that assignments take much less time and a wider range of information is available, however there are many disadvantages. Patience is a valuable skill which is being eroded and much less is learned by just searching through a page for relevant words. When having to trawl through books or interviewing people there is much deeper context that it is almost impossible to ignore.

When someone can easily write a 4000 word essay on a subject they previously had almost no knowledge of in one night and still get an A, there is a big problem.

Re:Research Methods (1)

Kenji DRE (1020807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091330)

Most of my college friends just use google and the internet to pligarize (sp?) shit, than fake their references to books and other academic journals. Usually they get away with good grades because most of the professors are too lazy to cross check references OR are computer illiterates.

Re:Research Methods (2, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091386)

There is an entirely different method to conducting research that many people are taught in schools these days,

That's no different from the way it used to be: any reasonably smart person trying to figure out a new domain would first go to simple, easy-to-understand survey articles.

One of the most important resources for serious science used to be Scientific American.

Re:Research Methods (1)

entrigant (233266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091562)

When someone can easily write a 4000 word essay on a subject they previously had almost no knowledge of in one night and still get an A, there is a big problem.

Indeed, information is clearly too hard to come by. We need to restrict it so it is not so easy to find information.... ... and people call me elitist.

That aside, please explain to me how this is a "big problem".

Re:Research Methods (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091626)

When someone can easily write a 4000 word essay on a subject they previously had almost no knowledge of in one night and still get an A, there is a big problem.

I'm not sure that statement is entirely correct. If the person can write a 4000 word essay on a subject they previously had almost no knowledge of and still fail to properly comprehend, then there is a big problem. On the other hand, if access to information has reached a level where a person can get a good grasp of a subject quickly and put that to good use, this has to be a good thing, surely?

It seems the way essays are written and, more importantly, the way they are marked are the key things here. Instead of just checking that the student has included all the relevant keywords, assesment should account for good research and a demonstrably well-rounded understanding of the subject. This is not a new problem - it has been the case for a long time, since well before the advent of the internet. I'm sure we all have anecdotal evidence of people who studied the bare minimum and still got good grades because they included the right keywords and could bluff an understanding - all the internet has done is made this problem more visible, since there are now tools to highlight lazy research and plagiarism.

Cat did get my tongue. Waa. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091264)

To be honest, the elitism of knowledge is falling apart.
Old profs that have taken a long degree, where half the time it wasn't really the understanding of the subject that made it hard - but simply gathering the information in the first place and then processing it; aren't too keen about all of it suddenly being as common knowledge as anything else.

A lot of people love (as an example) wikipedia. A lot of profs love wikipedia. Quite a few hate the fact that it's making knowledge less restricted, and less potentially "streamlined" into one 'channel' that everyone has to go through to get it.

It isn't really an issue.
People aren't learning less, they're learning more. They're not anymore impatient about it than any other generation that was faced with unecessarily increased "downtime" of any sort.

This, what we're seeing now, is essentially an evolutionary step in knowledge, learning and sharing.

The new generation simply isn't stuck with the same crap the elder generations were, and they're gonna be damned if they'll be forced to "slow down" when there is no need to.

Kids today, growing up, can learn pretty much anything about everything without ever having to expend a resource other than their time and their minds attention. /Of course/ this will draw a lot of trash from people who've spent their whole lives learning and studying the "old way".

A note, and the main point: (2, Insightful)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091294)

The first obvious note to make is that this is an article about how the behavior of students doing academic research, which is why the reference to google, besides being trendy, might be a little off the mark. I think a good deal of google searches are for simple pieces of data (the phone number of the nearest Chinese restaurant), not for serious research purpose. Even wikipedia is generally consulted for simple facts (what is the population of Montreal?) rather than research as such.

The main point is, I think that students naturally become impatient when dealing with data, because there is so much out there. I certainly do. But there is a big difference between how data and knowledge are gained. If I am dealing, say, with a glossy pdf full of buzzwords and generalities, I will gloss over it impatiently. If I find something that is full of actual knowledge, and concepts that aren't described in bullet points, I can be very patient while reading it.

Impatience not limited to kids (1)

smithfarm (862287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091306)

My wife is 50 and knows almost nothing about computers, yet she has come to expect near-instant network response. Whenever there's a delay in a web page coming up, she immediately calls out: "The computer isn't working - come fix it!"

Re:Impatience not limited to kids (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091614)

I'm sorry

Its more a matter of contridiction, frustration... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091344)

So much is said about this or that technology and when it gets down to using it, its not what it was promoted to be.

Computer power has greatly increased over the years but the user experience does not parallel that, but instead pretty much stays the same,
More data is being transfered over the internet today and its increasing with the drive towards digital tv access. I recall when I was told that the phone line couldn't handle anything more than 96k baud rate. But today we have far faster dsl and can still make a phone call over teh same two wires.

And a lot of traffic is spam, phishing, advertising, etc.

For Example, Its difficult to find some things through google as you can be flooded with ads for things you are not interested in. I once tried to find specifications for an old laptop only to be presented with battery and power supply links of everybody and their brother selling these things for this laptop. And nothing regarding anything even close to information on this old laptop. The contradiction being....who the hell are they all selling these batteries and power supplies for this old laptop, too? Yet I still waded through that junk to find not what I was looking for.

When you are handed enough contradictions, and you begin to see through all the bull shit you are handed, and you and anyone else dealing with this awareness will begin to lose patience.

Programming is another contradiction, as programming is the act of automating some functionality in a manner that provides easier use and reuse, but programming really doesn't get easier as it
should be. Programming is being held in a state of elitism or at a level of complexity that is just beyond the typical user ability to deal with the idiosyncrasy of any programing language on this particular hardware in this particular use, etc... But it doesn't really need to be that way and people are beginning to see through this babel when they are told something they want can't be done, yet they see it being done elsewhere or a short time later. This tends to expose the source of contradictions, the computer industry itself. And there is a reason for it.

IS it really any wonder people are losing their patiences? When was the last time you told someone how easy it is to do something and failed to realize what base knowledge you must first have for such a thing to be so easy to do?

Lets not forget about the legal battles we all see in the news regarding something to do with computers.

All in all there is a level of frustration the general user, and even more advanced users experience on a regular basis and unlike most any other thing, outside of computing that they may want to do.

Even today there is yet to be an open, user friendly and fully user accessible system. All system today have such built in unnecessary user constraints in one way or another that contributes to unnecessary frustration. The usefulness of these constraints are only useful to those who want to make user need them so to sell more and more. If you give them all they need, teach them to fish, they won't need you to fish for them.

Lack of patience comes from recognizing contradiction, the distraction of junk information, and the failure to reach ones goals (can't get there from here regardless of how many times you are lead to believe you can) and this invariable leads to frustration. Its not the speed of computing but the human injection of trash between point A and target point B.

Their are efforts to improve education regarding computers but as long as its being taught, to use an analogy, in the mode of teaching roman numeral based math instead of the simpler and more powerful hindu-arabic decimal system mathematics, there will be frustration and resulting impatience.

This doesn't have to be this way, as there are plenty new markets to be discovered [] by removal of the unnecessary and false user constraints.

Two conclusions (2, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091364)

1) Young people have always been impatient.

2) The acceptable delay depends on expectations, which again depends on what the norm is.

When access to information becomes faster, people also expect access to information to be faster (duh!), and are thus less tolerant of delays, even if the delays are within what used to be the norm.

These changing norms affects younger people faster than older people, as younger people have less mental baggage to carry around.

Oh, and bonus point:

3) Books are technically obsolete for looking stuff up. They are still excellent for a more in depth study of a subject.

Re:Two conclusions (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091472)

1) Young people have always been impatient.
Apparently this "meta study" does claim to compare studies from the 1980s and 1990s to now. However, I'm not sure that I can take seriously any academic document that contains the words "According to Wikipedia".

Re:Two conclusions (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091498)

These changing norms affects younger people faster than older people, as younger people have less mental baggage to carry around.

Yes. Mental inertia. I know it well :)

3) Books are technically obsolete for looking stuff up. They are still excellent for a more in depth study of a subject.

This is true for some subjects, not so much for others.

In the days before the internet, the library was the only place I knew of to get the specs for this chip or that cpu. Sometimes they had it, but whatever books they did have were mostly older than 10 years. They almost certainly didn't have anything about the 80386 when I wanted to know stuff.

Their sci-fi collection was pretty good though. I think I read all the Asimov and Clarke that they had.

The Future of Libraries (1)

esme (17526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091394)

...and I wonder what a library will become in the future, anyway

I see two roles for libraries in the future:

  1. There is a vast amount of content that needs to be digitized. And an even vaster amount of digital content that needs to be organized. Libraries are already working on this. I work at a university library, and this has been designated our top priority for some time. And the fact that the Library of Congress just put a bunch of photos on flickr [] to get help tagging and describing them should give you hope that many librarians are paying attention to recent developments.
  2. Once you've got everything ever created instantly available on your Kindle, it would be good to have a nice place to read some of it, talk about it with your friends, etc. Libraries, especially university libraries, see that as a big part of their reason to exist, too.

So I guess I'm predicting that libraries of the future will be like H. G. Wells' Time Machine: a beautiful utopian book-enjoying experience, where some unsuspecting fool is occasionally dragged down to the grungy basement to help tend the servers.


When you think about it.. (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091412)

The written word itself is probably an out-dated mode of data transfer for the modern human being and I wonder will we see it replaced.

The letters and words that we use in everyday communication were designed or more correctly evolved hundreds or thousands of years ago by people who needed a quick solution to a problem at hand - rather than a well considered and engineered mechanism for communication.

Maybe in the future someone might actually come up with the lettering solution that results in much high reading/comprehension speeds. (And I'm not talking about Esperanto which is just a hotch-potch of the original problem).

I often think that maybe dyslexics, rather than being disabled, are in fact people whose brains are too fast for the written word the rest of us use - and that's why they have problems reading. Every dyslexic person I know has no patience for information at all. (I'm no expert though - I'm not even dyslexic).

Re:When you think about it.. (1)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091568)

That's not what dyslexia is. Dyslexia is when someone has to SLOW DOWN to read because instead of just picking up the words quickly, they basically have to "decode" the letters and combinations of letters that make up words. When a normal person reads, the brain quickly matches image patterns to quickly determine what a word is. That's why we can read so fast. We don't sit there decoding letter by letter and then working out what word it corresponds to, etc. For a dyslexic, it is such a slow and ungainly process.

Jumps to Conclusions Mat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091420)

In what way does impatience correlate directly to a lack of "information processing skills"?

This article makes some pretty ignorant generalizations, and none of the implications seem to be founded on anything but pure supposition. It is a typical older-generation-bashing-younger-generation-over-something-nonsensical piece.

Sorry (1)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091426)


Evolution (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091464)

It's self-imposed evolution. Mankind is capable of greater feats and faster answers now than ever before, and subsequent generations take this as the baseline, not the peak. Forward ever, backward never. Our kids will invent some nifty stuff in their day that will extend our five senses farther than we can imagine.

Who ever wrote the article (5, Funny)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091478)

Who ever wrote the article is obviously jealous of the fact that back in his day he had to hand write his plagiarisms and couldn't copy and paste.

just because... (2, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091518)

just because I am from the Google generation doesn't mean I am impat

TL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22091524)


"The future is now" (3, Informative)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091564)

Dame Lynne Brindley DBE, Chief Executive of the British Library, said of the report findings: "Libraries have to accept that the future is now. At the British Library we have adopted the digital mindset ... Turning the Pages 2.0 and the mass digitisation project to digitise 25 million of pages of 19th century English literature are only two examples of the pioneering work we are doing.

In other news, the CEO of the British Library was found drifting in a tear in the time/space continuum, disoriented and incapable of understanding that digitising shit in 2008 does not make one a pioneer.

Seriously, who writes this stuff? From the headline (Pioneering research shows 'Google Generation' is a myth) to the sponsor's announcement of the study (adopted the digital mindset), the study is so wrapped in hyperbole that I just can't take it seriously.

And reading it is bad enough - I'd rather poke my eye out with a sharpened stick than click on the audio link to the 'Launch Event'.

News at 11 (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091580)

Young people are more impatient than older ones.


skills (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091594)

Skills are lacking because every available method is used to fill our realities with something interesting, which might lead to a purchase. The need for information doesn't diminish from the childhood, because the environment keeps the attention span short. This in turn makes us dependent on the information providers, because they control our perceptions. We become selectors rather than thinkers. If our needs are not met, we ultimately react with hostility... I think one part of the solution is to remember to breath once in a while... There is no need to fill every moment with everything just because it's possible; one ultimately gets lost, and becomes what is perceived rather than what one is.

not getting any search result back (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091648)

It is not a matter of the generation. Searching for something and getting no results back is frustrating. Database search could still learn a lot from Google, whether the search is in news media, online shops, libraries or when searching for a song in iTunes.
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