InULA Notes recently published a brief write up of some research I’ve been working on with my colleague, Meg Meiman, regarding student learning and engagement using digitized and physical primary source materials. The research presented there is preliminary, brief, and somewhat informal, but interesting nonetheless. We are working on analyzing data from three more classes this fall and hope to be able to publish more formally in the coming year.
This research is an outgrowth of the work I did early on in my time with IU with the Primary Sources Immersion Program participants. One of the cool things about the Primary Sources Literacy Guidelines developed by RBMS/SAA and recently ratified by ALA is that they map well to the Framework. So, although the research uses the PSLG as a starting point for developing the learning rubric, the results can easily be extrapolated to information literacy learning.
One of my side projects during research leave is to do some thinking about where to go next with this line of inquiry. I’ve found very little scientific information (but lots of opinions and feelings) about how and whether students learn or engage differently with digitized versus physical sources of information. In working on the literature review, I’ve explored the fields of archives, digital libraries, education (from a teaching perspective), and, of course, libraries. I feel like there must be someone out there doing this research, but so far I’ve not found it. My next thought is to delve into art (or even, possibly, music?), which are fields that work with facsimile regularly and sometimes even almost exclusively. I’d appreciate any insight you all might have into fields that might be exploring the question of learning in digital versus physical formats from a scientific perspective. What have you heard?