The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future

Ian Rowlands, David Nicholas, Peter Williams, Paul Huntington, Maggie Fieldhouse, Barrie Gunter, Richard Withey, Hamid Jamali, Tom Dobrowolski, Carol Tenopir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

398 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This article is an edited version of a report commissioned by the British Library and JISC to identify how the specialist researchers of the future (those born after 1993) are likely to access and interact with digital resources in five to ten years' time. The purpose is to investigate the impact of digital transition on the information behaviour of the Google Generation and to guide library and information services to anticipate and react to any new or emerging behaviours in the most effective way. Design/methodology/approach – The study was virtually longitudinal and is based on a number of extensive reviews of related literature, survey data mining and a deep log analysis of a British Library and a JISC web site intended for younger people. Findings – The study shows that much of the impact of ICTs on the young has been overestimated. The study claims that although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web. Originality/value – The paper reports on a study that overturns the common assumption that the “Google generation” is the most web-literate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-310
JournalAslib Proceedings
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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