Search & research

Presentations (Click on the marked titles for more details)

[expand title=”Searching for, finding, and using other people’s words, work and ideas”]

In the age of the internet, anyone can search for – and find – information. Finding good, reliable, authoritative, scholarly information can be much more difficult. Using the information we find honestly and honourably presents a new range of problems and difficulties.

In this short course/ workshop, we look at tools, strategies and techniques for searching deeply, finding quality information, assessing the merits of the information we find, and at acceptable and academic ways to integrate other people’s words and ideas into our own work.

Participants will enjoy hands-on activities, share experience, strategies – and problems!(Qatar Museums Authority, and other professionals, University College London – Qatar, 2014.)[/expand]

[expand title=”Good searching, good finding!”]

Anyone can use a search engine! But not everyone can use a search engine well, and not everyone makes best use of what the search engine helps them find! In this workshop, we look at how to use search engines better. We look also at tools other than search engines which help find those extra-special more-difficult-to-find resources which can be key to informed position papers, resolutions and speeches. (THIMUN Qatar Leadership Conference, Doha, Qatar, 2014).

[expand title=”Social Wisdom, Social Ignorance: Critical Thinking and Evaluation in the Age of the Celebrated Crowd (with Debbie Abilock).”]
“The opposite of critical thinking is uncritical thinking” (Ira Winn). When we stop thinking, we open ourselves to scams and fraudsters. Hype and spin become the new truth – and everyone’s an expert.

Young people need evaluation skills in a participatory digital world. Well-publicized examples of “everyone” as authorities, doctored data and journalistic fabrications remind us that “truth” is complicated. But if it’s taught at all, source evaluation and critical thinking are often presented in a vacuum of artificial situations and hoax web sites which are divorced from our everyday experience or the school curricula. Yet, in their “real” world, students (and teachers) ditch our checklists and forget our mini-lessons in the dizzying stew of click-and-go wikified information. In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll be looking at, discussing, and doing a host of different activities which can be used in lessons on evaluation and critical-thinking. Don’t stop thinking!”

This workshop was presented at the 6th Triennial ECIS Librarians Conference in Istanbul in May 2011.[/expand]

[expand title=”Going Beyond Google And Wikipedia: Finding Quality Information In Databases, E-Libraries And In The Hidden Web (with Christina Nord).”]


Part 1: Desperately Seeking…Effective Search Tools? Start Here and Ye Shall Find Information is easy to find. Information sources which are reliable, verifiable, scientific, subject to peer referencing or editorial control – authoritative – that may not be so easy. They are there and many are free or low-cost. In this session, we look at a range of tools for tracking down sources and resources which students can use to enhance the quality of their work, including parts of Google which most searchers never reach.


Part 2: Finding Better Finds in Better Places Information is easy to find. Finding information sources which are reliable, verifiable, scientific, subject to peer-referencing or editorial control – authoritative – that is not so easy. This is confirmed in Extended Essay Examiners’ reports, year after year, subject after subject. And yet, they are there, any many are free or low-cost. In this session, we look at and compare databases, e-libraries and other sources and resources which will enhance the quality of student work, and delight teachers and examiners.


These sessions, co-authored by and co-presented with Christina Nord, Bibliotekarie : Sannarpsgymnasiet, Halmstad, Sweden, were presented at the 2010 ECIS November Conference in Nice.
An updated version was presented, again with Christina Nord, at the Nordic Network Conference, April 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden.

[expand title=”Wikipedia or perish : the pros and the cons of ‘the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’.”]

Wikipedia is extremely popular with students, but it is dismissed by many teachers. Is it a case of getting what you pay for? Can Wikipedia and its spin-offs be relied upon? We look at how Wikipedia has evolved over the years, see why Wikipedia is controversial, and discuss how Wikipedia can be used to inform knowledge and research activities.

This was first presented at the ECIS November Conference, 2007.[/expand]

[expand title=”Information ‘satisfiction’ : how searchers really search (and how to help them search better).”]

Research reveals paradoxes; for instance, even though most searchers know they should not trust everything they find on the internet, most still accept the first hit they look at, with no attempt to verify findings. Something, anything, “satisfices”.

Presented at the Autumn Teachers’ Conference 2005, and later at the ECIS Conference in The Hague, November 2005.[/expand]

[expand title=”Smart searching, better searching : in a Google Wonderland (a study in relativity).”]

This presentation shows why Google is the best search engine around at this time (although it may not stay the best). We look at lesser-known features of Google, and look at areas where Google may not be quite so successful. We look too at other techniques and strategies for improving our internet reference use.

Presented at the ECIS Annual Conference, Hamburg, November 2003, and at the Autumn Teachers’ Conference in Istanbul, 2003.[/expand]

[expand title=”Between the lines: the holes in the ‘net.”]

This presentation/ workshop deals with the “Invisible Web” – information sources openly available, but which the search engines cannot reach.

This presentation has been revised several times. It was presented at the ECIS Annual Conference, Berlin, November 2002. An earlier version, aimed at an audience of librarians, was presented at the 3rd ECIS Librarians’ Conference and Workshop, Budapest, March 2002, . An even earlier version of this workshop was presented at the Fifth Autumn Teachers’ Conference, Eyüboglu Schools, Istanbul, October 2001, with the title Beyond search engines : unmeshing the invisible web.[/expand]

[expand title=”More than surviving – thriving in the information age : reading as a basis for using information technology efficiently.”]

Reading and basic literacy are vital survival skills. They are essential for dealing with information overload, without them, nothing!

Presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, Ramat-Gan, Israel, July 5 – 9, 1998.[/expand]

My other presentations and workshops:

Academic honesty
Critical thinking
Extended research essay
Technology, effects and issues
Search and research
Reading, literacy and information literacy
The portfolio