The Streaming Library

Lately I’ve been tasked with giving an introduction to library research. This is common enough for instruction librarians, but since I primarily work with graduating students at the point of dissertation or thesis deposit (with instruction on the side), the shift towards orienting new students to library research has been interesting, for a number of reasons. But primarily it’s the emphasis on library research. Because these days merely existing online has become a kind of research exercise. “Just search up burgers in Astoria,” as my kids like to say; the most mundane decisions now rely on one’s research prowess, the ability to “search up” the right answer. Yet library research somehow entails a different way of being, a mode contingent on the understanding that at one point there were discrete objects that contained answers and you had to know how to navigate those objects without seeing inside them. How, then, to begin?

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