10 comments on “An analogy for undergrads

  1. Bad analogy: you are thinking like a librarian, or someone who already enjoys 5-star restaurants and has no clue why anyone would choose otherwise.

    I know many students 16-18 who would rather have McDonald’s if given the choice, regardless whether either was free or not.

    The trick is trying to get people to try Brie when all they want is processed cheese.

  2. in addition, if i’m in a hurry, i’m taking mcdonalds for its speed and ease of use. with a 5-star, it’s something i’m not used to on a librarian salary, and it’ll take forever to get a table and service.

    and in my experience, ‘in a hurry’ is not an unfamiliar experience for students.

  3. What some of your commenters said was what I thought when I saw that analogy. If they do not even know what a 5 star restaurant is (and yes, I had students who would never know), then it is outside their experience, so it would not work.

    As for myself, would not work either since I am not a 5 star restaurant sort of person. However, I don’t like Mickey D’s either, so I would want something down the middle.

    Best, and keep on blogging

  4. I agree with Steven on this, the analogy doesn’t seem to fit to me either. I think that many of us would like to think the library is the 5-star eatery, but in reality most are probably 3-star at best.

    As was echoed in the other comments, many students prefer McDonald’s for fast service, familiarity, and comfortable food. Libraries often force the student to read the menu in a “foreign” language (library jargon), feel pressured into choosing the “chef’s choice” (reference interview assumptions), and “free” just isn’t true.

    When I think of eating for free or at a lower cost, I factor in the inconvenience of coercing the library catalog, determining availability, public computer problems, library hours, and citation confusions. So if those are all part of the information retrieval costs, then Google (McDonald’s) starts to look much more appealing to a student with a busy schedule to juggle.

    Though I think the statement is a great “attention grabber.”


  5. Certainly undergrads should not just rely on Google in doing their research. But it is a useful search engine tool which should not be ignored. It can be used in supplement to other forms of research, including online access to Lexis-Nexis and academic journals, as well as searching through printed books and periodicals and any primary source material available.

  6. I love analogies! I think analogies combined with a bit of humor, can help teach research skills. I tend to use the analogy: Google is like the swap meet. You can sometimes come up with a good deal, but not always. Subscription databases are like Nordstrom’s /Macys/fill in an upscale shop. They are well organized, and provide quality, reliable information.

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