Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Technology and Aging

At Ed Webb's request, I've been running some trial searches with different resources to see if I could cut through the loads of anecdotal evidence and actually find some substantial information on the topic of older adults and information technology. Here are a few databases that have yielded results:

PsycInfo - This is an excellent psychology database the Library subscribes to. Try entering "older adults" as a keyword and then, in another search box, use the drop down menu to select a "Subjects" search and type "technology". If you want to explore some more, another keyword that works is "aging" and another good subject phrase is "human computer interaction". If there's no full text available, scroll down and click the "Get It" button. Our Interlibrary Loan department can often retrieve PDFs of articles from other libraries within as little as 24 hours.

Social Sciences Full Text - The social scientists have also spilled some ink on this topic and you can find their work with this database. Before starting, make sure the box for "Social Sciences Full Text" is selected and then try entering subjects (again, use the drop down menu), such as "aged" and "information technology" or "aged" and "computers".

ProQuest - This is a very general resource, but some of the results looked pretty promising. Try searching on "older people" and "techology" and then clicking the "Scholarly" tab.

ERIC - If you're interested in educational issues, there is some material in this database. I searched "older adults" as a "descriptor" and "computer*" (the asterisk is a wild card) as a keyword.

CiteSeerX - This is an open access science database and tends toward the highly technical. Enter this in the search box: "older adults" AND computers. If you see something you like, click on the title, and then click on the download icon on the right-hand side.

You may want to also look at some of the other psychology and sociology databases the Library subscribes to.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Logbook of Sorts

Often, when consulting with faculty and students in the library, particularly those working within the same discipline or even the same class, I find myself not just returning to the same key resources to answer their research questions, but even the same groups of resources, sets of tools that, when used in a certain combination, can return many relevant results. To locate and navigate these resources, I've compiled several ad hoc databases of links, emails, and notes. Some of these are later incorporated into departmental research guides; many, because of their specificity, have remained tucked away in hard drives or notebooks.

When Ed Webb mentioned to me that his Communication, Media, & Identity in MENA students would be maintaining blogs and asked me if I wanted to do likewise, I thought that, since I won't be contributing to the class in the same way that they will, I would use this as an opportunity to publicly log some of the research questions posed throughout the semester and the courses we pursued in our attempts to answer them. By exposing this data, perhaps others with similar (or even dissimilar) questions may also benefit.

Will a blog be the best platform for this endeavor? Will there be enough questions to keep it interesting? Will I expand or narrow its scope? These are the questions I'll try to answer in the next few months.