The concept of Visitors and Residents was developed by David White and Alison Le Cornu:
• The Resident is an individual who collaborates and contributes online, establishing a permanent online presence.
• The Visitor is an individual who uses the web as a functional tool and leaves little trace behind them.
This is a different vision to Prensky’s concept of ‘natives’ (those who were born into the digital age) and ‘immigrants’ (those who weren’t).
In terms of culture and activities this translates to:
• For the Resident THE INTERNET IS A PLACE – where they interact with others and spend time developing their online persona.
• For the Visitor THE INTERNET IS A TOOL – they do not participate in online culture; instead using the internet to find data, pay bills, make bookings, etc.
The basic concepts can be seen on David White’s YouTube video:
However, people can have different relationships with the internet in their professional and personal lives. White proposed the following matrix for mapping our interactions…
So Facebook is used by Residents in their personal lives, whereas tools like Project Muse are used in a professional (institutional) role by those behaving as a visitor. Interestingly, YouTube can be used by companies, professional and personal interactions, for example, this video shows Malvern Instruments using YouTube to communicate with its customers:
The Visitor / Resident classification is not necessarily linked with age, so the young are not always Residents. Similarly, Residents don’t necessarily know how to effectively use the internet. For instance, one of the concerns that has been expressed is the naive way in which some people place too much trust in what they see online.
Residents ≠ evaluation and critical skills.
Patrick Wilson, in his book Second Hand Knowledge, (Praeger, 1983), p15 notes that:
- Until the end of the twentieth century the primary source of information was published books that were subject to professional review before publication.
- The internet requires no professional review. Instead whether it is ‘liked’ and appears on search engine returns is based on criteria such as appearance and sponsorship, etc.
Many have emphasised the need to establish information’s credibility before accepting its views. “The notion of credibility has two components: competency and trustworthiness” Wilson, 1983. Thus, we need to assess the credibility of what we find on the internet, one approach is shown below.
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Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, I always stick with the first thing that comes upon Google, http://www.slideshare.net/LynnConnaway/connaway-lida-2012-vr-062212
Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, Donna M. Lanclos, and Erin M. Hood, ‘I find Google a lot easier than going to the library website.’ Imagine Ways to Innovate and Inspire Students to Use the Academic Library. Proceedings of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) 2013 conference, April 10-13, 2013, Indianapolis
Fogg, B. J. Web Credibility, Stanford University. http://www.slideshare.net/bjfogg/web-credibility-bj-fogg-stanford-university#
Marc, Prensky. Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 No 5, (2001)
Marc, Prensky. Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 2, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 No 6, (2001)
White, David. Visitors and Residents, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOG3iThmRI
White, David. Visitors and Residents: Credibility, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO569eknM6U
White, David. Visitors and Residents: Mapping activity, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9IMObcyKbo
Wilson, Patrick. Second Hand Knowledge, (Praeger), 1983