When students need to conduct academic research for school assignments, they traditionally have headed straight to Google, with perhaps a quick detour via Wikipedia. While this may be the quickest way to find the closest coffee shop, it is NOT the most effective way to find dependable information from trusted sources for educational purposes. We live in a world of information abundance and instant access. The problem is no longer in accessing obscure pieces of information, but in filtering out the noise in our information search.
With the launch of Smart Search on the Digital Library at St Andrew’s, we are one step closer to exposing students to the kind of library research tool they will encounter at universities around the world. With Smart Search, students can access digital content from school or home. Print items and digital collections can be discovered with one search box and one list of results. Students are already used to Google searches with all the results on one page — articles, images, all types of sources – and Smart Search allows them to do the same search, but from reliable, authorial sources. Just as the Learning Hub has brought knowledge, research and collaboration into one space, Smart Search brings all the library’s resources together under one search, available at home and at school.
Mirroring Google’s clean interface, Smart Search ranges across more than 141 000 magazine/journal/newspaper and eBook titles, providing the most relevant results in the library’s print and digital collections. Students and staff are also able to impose limiters on their searches – a Junior Search limiter ensures our primary students can search for sources that are relevant and age-appropriate. Automatic links to sites such as Google Scholar and ClickView mean that students only need to search once, and not roam in and out of websites, databases, and library catalogues, contributing to information overload and indecision.
Please don’t hesitate to contact any of the library staff if you would like to know more. Students and staff over the next few months will be involved in a roll out of this exciting innovation in the College, as they learn to ‘search smarter’. As one of a handful of schools in Queensland to provide this ‘one search’ research service, we are confident that students at St Andrew’s will lead the way in developing their digital literacy, ensuring their place in a world that continues to change, often before their very eyes.
ACTING DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SERVICES