Sunday, February 4, 2018

Use of Digital Technology and Decision Making

This OCLC Research Report examines the use of digital technology and how decisions are made on what types of technology to use. The report continues the work of the Digital Visitors and Residents project, which included the development of a mapping tool to help participants identify which technology they use as visitors (i.e., access to complete a certain task and then leave without a digital trace) or as residents (i.e., express themselves, interact with others, and establish personas that persist beyond active engagement).

Key findings:
·       Humans are a valued source of information.
·       Convenience is a priority when making decisions about what tools and sources to use.
·       Context and situation influence behavior and decision making.
·       Participants report extensive use of search engines, especially Google, and take them for granted.
·       Wikipedia is used by individuals in all educational stages to familiarize themselves with a subject or topic but often not cited or mentioned in references.
·       Library sources are used but not recognized or attributed to the library.

Interestingly, while younger participants reported a high reliance on human sources, faculty, researchers, and scholars reported the highest use of digital sources. Further, participants chose technology based more on convenience and social context than on whether it was the best tool for the job.

Connaway, S., Kitzie, V., Hood, E. M., & Harvey, W. (2017). The Many Faces of Digital Visitors & Residents: Facets of Online Engagement. Dublin, OH: OCLC.

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