Tag Archives: information literacy

Learning about Tor and the Dark Web

I participated in DLINQ’s Crypto Party for Activists and Allies and learned a lot about Tor. Of course I’d heard of Tor beforehand, but I didn’t know how it worked and I only associated it with criminal activity and spy stuff. Turns out it is also an important resource for reporters needing to communicate privately with sources and for activists who also need privacy and may need to thwart a home country’s censorship of the internet. I prepared for the session I was part of by reading about Tor from the resources about web browsers we were given. After the Crypto party, some things were still a little, well, cryptic for me, so I wanted to learn even more. There’s an hour long course on Linked In’s Lynda.com that is very clear and explained Tor and encryption in more detail. The instructor is really good and explained it in plain English (with graphics) for the non-specialist. Here’s the link for the Lynda course Learning Tor and the Dark Web (you’ll need to login with your Midd credentials – we are subscribers).

If you want to know about the other topics from the Crypto party and see all of the resources that were provided, visit the Crypto Party page.

ERIAL Project

There was an succint write-up about the ERIAL Project (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) in Inside Higher Ed recently.  Although I’m sure many of you have already heard about this project — an attempt to use ethnographic research techniques to look at how students use (or don’t use) libraries for their academic research needs — it’s worth taking a look at this summary of some of ERIAL’s findings.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Google reigns supreme among resources most commonly used (JSTOR ranks 2nd), but…
  • Students often do not know how to search effectively using Google.
  • Students do not view librarians as potential research partners
  • Faculty have an important role to play in “brokering” interactions between students and librarians.
  • Faculty also tend to view the library primarily as a purchasing agent, while librarians view the library as partners in the teaching & research processes.
  • Both librarians and faculty overestimate the research skills that students possess, assuming that these “digital natives” will have already developed sophisticated searching techniques by the time they arrive at college

What should we as librarians (and library/technology staff) be doing to overcome these problems?