Re: teaching research methods
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It can't be emphasized enough: the brick-and-mortar libraries with physical books are super-expensive. Having everything on .pdf on a server that people may access regardless of physical proximity has obvious advantages.
I'm currently in my first teaching job at a for-profit career college (classes are in-person). So, given the nature of the institution, the "library" is more of a study room with a few books, and the actual library a set of databases geared toward the students' majors: criminal justice, business, visual communications, and Academic Search Premier and Opposing Viewpoints. I wish we had more, like CQ Researcher and Project Muse, but we're not a land-grant state college.
So, my case contrasts with your version: "Profs expect students to march into the library and acquaint themselves with the subject’s/discipline’s fiefdom." Instead, I teach research methods where "Googling" skills are applied to finding articles in academic research databases -- by necessity as well as to fit the students' needs and expectations.
The simple sell is that the databases provide MLA citation for the articles -- simple cut and paste for works cited. Although most students follow my directives, a few paraphrase Wikipedia; last week I put a student through the indignity of citing a Wikipedia entry 20+ times in his essay; he admitted that we had been loud and clear about the weakness of sources like Wikipedia, so I had him write about why he took that route.
Also, for finding plagiarism, search engines like Google make it easy: select some text and put it in quotes, and Google will find where the material was lifted from. In the cases where students did this partially, it's a learning experience. When a student presents an entire essay posted on the internet as their own, it's easy and guiltless to fail them.
In other words, Google should not be considered research as you put it; "Googling" skills applied to databases where vetted articles sit should be considered research. We're pretty much in agreement.