The search for information and the Net Generation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


International Association of School Librarianship


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Security Science




Combes, B. (2007). The search for information and the Net Generation. Proceedings of International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) 2007 Annual Conference. National Taiwan Normal University. International Association of School Librarianship.Conference proceedings available here.


Supporters of the Net Generation theory claim that children born after 1985 have an in-depth grasp and almost 'intuitive' knowledge of how to use technology, simply because they have never known a world without the Internet and technological change. This theory contradicts traditional information theory which contends that information-seeking behaviour is a complex activity that is affected by cultural, educational and social contexts. Anecdotal evidence from schools and public libraries has long suggested that while young people actively use technology, they do not use it as described by the Net generation theorists. In recent years there has been an emerging body of research on the Net Generation that largely debunks the myth of an intuitive user who is capable of using electronic resources to find information, a fact many teacher librarians have long suspected. This paper explores the initial findings of research into the information-seeking behaviour of young adults and how they use a range of technologies and electronic resources.