Welcome to the summer issue, where, among other topics, we explore the theme of context. Information that may otherwise be taken for granted becomes more complex when you delve into the context of that information. Who created it? Who has access to it? Who is represented by it?
This issue touches on the idea of context in several ways. Evan writes about the digital divide. While online experiences may sometimes seem universal, many still face barriers to important digital resources. It can be difficult to find representation for some groups of people in scholarly sources; Traci shows one of the library’s pilots for addressing that with our population research starters. Emily writes about asking questions; a skill crucial to exploring the context of whatever information we may be seeking. I hope these articles are useful to you as you investigate information either in academic, professional, or personal contexts.
The Library has two new Research Starters. These guides are designed to help you begin research on a specific population.
The Indigenous, Tribal, and Native Peoples Research Starter is designed to serve as a gateway to the Library's resources related to indigenous, tribal, and native peoples, broken down by subject area and resource type. The guide allows you to explore our collections related to these populations and offers search tips.
The People with Disabilities Research Starter explores the Library's resources related to people with disabilities. This guide covers specific resources and provides helpful instructions for searching within the collection.
We welcome your ideas for populations to add as we continue to develop this collection.
Library monthly average statistics:
More people than you may think do not have regular access to the internet. According to a 2018 Pew survey, 15% of Americans have don’t have high speed access to the internet via their own personal computer or smartphone. Five percent only have access via a smartphone. Minorities, older populations, and lower income groups are even less likely to have internet access. (see Pew Research Center Survey, 2018 ). The "digital divide" refers to the disparity between the disadvantaged members of communities, especially the poor, rural, elderly, and people with disabilities, who do not have consistent personal internet access and those who do. If you’ve been in a public library recently, you more than likely witnessed rows of computers and a line of people waiting to use them. In the past 15 years, the mission of public libraries has shifted away from access to physical books and towards providing at least temporary access to the internet.
But once folks achieve access, they still need to know how to use and make sense of all the information and tools the internet provides. The ability to utilize and make sense of the internet is known as “digital literacy.” Digital literacy is fundamental to life in the U.S. and beyond. It’s necessary for core needs, such as applying for jobs and government benefits (see Digital Literacy Fact Sheet). Furthermore, the ability to not just access but also interpret and convey digital information has become increasingly important to fully immerse yourself in the economic, political, and social aspects of not just America, but of the world.
There are many resources available to help increase digital literacy across populations. The Digital Literacy portal is a valuable resource to both those looking to increase their own digital literacy as well as practitioners who are delivering digital literacy training and services in their communities. Begun by a federal interagency working group dedicated to increasing digital literacy, the Digital Literacy portal conveniently provides resources for people across all age groups and stages of learning.
As an online university, Walden, of course, has a particular interest in supporting the digital literacy of its faculty and students. We have a number resources, such as Library Skills Guides, or QuickAnswers, readily available for our worldwide community. The Walden Library can also walk students through the digital research process step-by-step via its Ask a Librarian service. Additionally, Walden’s Customer Care team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone, via online chat, or via e-mail to help with basic technical support and administrative questions.
If you are a doctoral student who is struggling with research, information literacy, or any other library-related skill,you can make an appointment with a librarian to get assistance. Select Doctoral Research Appointment on our Ask a Librarian page to make an appointment with a librarian in your subject area.
Is there a library topic that has you confused? Or an assignment that requires intense and in-depth research? Perhaps there's a resource that is confusing to navigate? Please provide us with some suggestions for topics you'd like to see us cover.
20 Summer Must Reads according to TED speakers
Who doesn’t love a good TED talk? Now, popular TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) speakers have chosen 20 books to read this summer. The diverse selection includes poetry, popular fiction, self-help, memoir, and even a board book for babies.
Find a new read and hit the beach!
Get to know the Walden Library Librarians. A new Librarian will be featured in every newsletter!
Have you ever asked a question and received an answer that didn't answer your question? Or where the answer made you realize that you had asked the wrong question? In the Library, we get a lot of questions. You could even say we specialize in answering questions!
As you're getting ready to ask a question, whether to a librarian or anyone else, here are three things to consider:
People often have the feeling that they don’t want to bother others with their questions. A common outcome of this is that people will ask rather short questions because they don’t want to burden the receiver with too much detail. In the library we will often see variations of, "Can you help me find an article?" The short answer to that question is, "Of course!" However, without more detailed information about the type of article needed, it is very difficult for us to find an article, or articles, that will meet your needs.
A better way to ask this question would be something along the lines of, "I'm doing an assignment where I need a recent, peer-reviewed article on the impact of education on employment. Can you help me find relevant articles?" In this question you are still asking for an article but now we know the topic, date range and type of article needed! In our reply, you'll get a detailed database search that will bring back articles that match your criteria. All you need to do is look through the results and pick one that interests you.
Learning to ask the right question to the right person takes some thought and effort. But getting the answer you need the first time saves you time!
ScholarWorks is Walden University's institutional repository, a digital library of original research and publications by Walden University students, faculty, and staff. The ScholarWorks website is free and open to the public, ensuring that Walden research is both findable and accessible to scholars and researchers across the globe.
There are several ways you can keep up-to-date with new content in your field using ScholarWorks:
Is your own student research focus more specific? If so, you'll appreciate ScholarWorks' Advanced Search options to find exactly what you need. You can then save your search and be notified via email whenever new content matching your search is added to the collection.
There’s more than Walden dissertations and doctoral studies in ScholarWorks. You’ll find a plethora of unique content including journals published by Walden University, book chapters, data sets, technical reports, and even audiovisual materials. To start exploring, visit ScholarWorks today.
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