Higher Education and Emerging Technologies: Student Usage, Preferences, and Lessons for Library Services
This study examines the utilization and preference of popular Internet and communication technologies among students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), a Carnegie Research Doctoral university in East Texas. The researchers wished to study the local relevance of various technology trends reported in librarianship literature and then to use the survey data to inform decisions regarding library service development. A survey was conducted to investigate student ownership of electronic devices and student usage of technologies such as text messaging, Twitter, RSS, podcasts, social networks, SecondLife, and others. Survey results indicated that, while students do not wish to experience an overwhelming library presence on all social networking and Internet media, most do wish to have basic library services easily accessible through a few of the most popular social networking and Internet technologies. The investigators did identify some unique trends in usage among their local population and have adjusted certain library services and plans in accordance with their findings. Other libraries are encouraged to study their own users and develop new services based on those users' needs rather than popular trends or surveys which may be based on radically different user groups.