Students of the internet generation have come to view the search engine, rather than the library, as their entry point into information-seeking. This dependence on search engines has led to the coining of the term 'Google Generation' to define a generation of individuals who, born after 1993, were brought up in the age of the internet and its most popular search engine, Google. Research suggests that, much like the Net Generation who preceded them - defined as being born after 1985 - the Google generation will conduct much of their life on the internet - emailing, instant messaging, gaming, social networking, and homework/research. The reliance on Google and other search engines is the manifestation of the need to find a way to cope with the vast amounts of information at their disposal. Moreover, certain characteristics in 'digital natives' that have been attributed to increased exposure to the internet are noted in older generations too, suggesting that the 'Google effect' is having an impact not just on younger generations, but right across the spectrum of information seekers.
The first part of this essay is concerned with how information overload has affected the information-seeking behaviour of students and researchers. I will then outline a few of the challenges and opportunities presented by this new information-seeking landscape for information professionals, teaching staff and libraries.