I recently read a white paper from you entitled "The Sources in Student Writing." In it, you state
"50% of matches lead to sites that are academically suspect, including cheat sites and paper mills,shopping sites, and social and user-generated content (italics mine)." A few paragraphs later, you included a chart, part of which showed more specifically, the social sources you meant.
I didn't know whether to laugh or groan when I read this, because it's so old school, privileging traditional sources and failing to recognize the dynamic shift in research sources and strategies "hip" librarians teach today. You see, we are all curators now, and search-savvy students recognize that and add social sharing sites to their personal search arsenal.
I was talking to a student today who is writing a paper about pollution in China and its effect on other countries. He was having problems finding data, but did know the names of a few people studying the topic. With his science teacher there, I told him: Get on Twitter and Technorati or Google Blog Search to see if your experts keep a blog or Twitter feed. Follow them. Comment on his posts or respond to his tweets. Ask questions. That's called primary source research. Or use this hashtag guide to search specific topics.
Then, dig through Scribd, Scoop,it and Slideshare. Have they uploaded papers or presentations there? Maybe they're on Diigo or Delicious--follow their bookmarks and read what they're reading.
Of course students still need to be careful about authority, but that's true no matter what source they use. The bigger picture, and the one your white paper didn't acknowledge, is that authority no longer lies merely in books or databases. You can find it in blogs, on Facebook, and certainly on Twitter. Smart students create and follow their own PLNs, using a variety of tools not only to expand their learning, but to bring it to them, rather than going out (or online) to find it.
And that's my beef with your article. It didn't acknowledge that social sharing sites potentially great sources; it just lumped them together with Yahoo! Answers.
So pardon the rant, but, please--a little more nuance next time?
HS Teacher Librarian
UPDATE: Aack! It was, indeed, from Turnitin, not Easybib. See grovelling apology here.