I am teaching both ENG101 and 102 right now (long story how I wound up with the ENG101 two weeks in, that I won't go into), and I am constantly fascinated by students who seem to think that the databases are not "user-friendly" and they are "hard to use."
Not to tell a "I walked ten miles in the snow with no shoes to go to school story" but in reality, research has changed for the better and worse. When I was a student, both a beginning college student and high school student, I had to literally go to a physical library. In my early days, I would have to do research using the paperback Reader's Guide to Periodicals (that's the picture above) to find articles to use in my high school research papers. When I got to college and quickly changed from Pre-Med to English, I was soon told about the MLA Bibliography. And guess what? It was also found in bound volumes in the library.
While we live in an age where we can find this stuff online with a few clicks, it doesn't make it all happy happy. When we had to go to the library and shuffle through papers, deal with microfiche and so on, we were much more likely to get up to date sources. The number of articles was also not so overwhelming. We didn't have to sort through 500 blog pages on our topic to get to an actual published article.
I guess my point is that while it is amazing that the internet makes such a wealth of material available to us, students are overwhelmed in a new way. They may not be overwhelmed by having to find a ride to campus and hope that the latest Reader's Guide is where it should be, but instead they are overwhelmed in ways we couldn't have imagined back in the 80s and even early 90s (I got my first email account I think back in 1994 or so--it was internal email at Acxiom, and when I was in my first years of PhD study, we still had text based green on black).
So, to my students I say "I get it now"--whereas those of us back in the day were sort of automatically limited to more current articles and didn't have to sort through so much sub-standard stuff, you are bombarded. To my colleagues (and myself) I offer a challenge--let's think about how we can prepare students with tools to help them better distinguish the good stuff from the mediocre. Blogs and other types of internet-only sources have their place, but we need to teach students how to think critically about source material and to better recognize the distinctions. After all, they are in an age where there are 300 news channels, not just 3 broadcast stations with evening news and PBS.