Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, March 23, 2007

How do digital-age scientists find and retrieve info?

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is undertaking a Survey of Information Habits and Preferences of Millennial Scientists.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) 

Abstract:   This study will determine how the next generation of scientists, frequently referred to as the Millennial Generation, will seek scientific information in their research. This generation was born between 1982 and 2000. Having grown up with information technology, general studies show this population has technological preferences for receiving and integrating content, and this study is to learn if this extends to the scientific content among young scientists. It will identify most useful (and most desired) devices and formats, so that the Information Services Division can plan to serve the next generation of scientists. The findings will impact how digital scientific content is harvested, identified using metadata, stored, accessed, and disseminated. The project will identify young scientists' preferences for content format and ease of assimilation into current processes. Specifically the project aims to learn: (1) Which library resources and information services are most valuable and why, and (2) what scientific library resources do not exist that could, or are not yet robust enough to be valuable. Further the study aims to learn: (3) In what specific ways are commercial Internet tools both successful and unsuccessful in helping find answers, (4) which platforms and devices are most helpful and why, and (5) which technologies help support collaboration with peers. The project plans to use Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students who work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology every summer as the test population. The survey is voluntary, and all information gathered will be carefully safeguarded.

NIST is collecting public comments on the project until May 21, 2007.