Folks at Project Information Literacy claim it is. In their progress report, What Today’s College Students Say about Conducting Research in the Digital Age, the author’s claim (in bold) that “Research seems to be far more difficult to conduct in the digital age than in previous times.”
While this is a compelling argument, and one that many librarians find appealing, it is not a claim that is supported by the Project Information Literacy study. The problem is that they have gathered no data comparing current research struggles to past research struggles. Surely research was difficult before the digital age as well. Whether it is more difficult now is an interesting question, but it is not a question that can be answered from data gathered from today’s students only.
It is a shame that the authors decided to highlight such a speculative conclusion (picked up by others), because the data they gather really do have the potential to tell us quite a bit about how students do research today. I hope the final report sticks to conclusions drawn from their excellent data, and stays away from the speculative sound bites.