Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Students, faculty compete to search the Internet

Students and faculty members will compete for cash prizes by searching for information online March 31 during the Digital Literacy Contest. The event will measure contestants’ speed and accuracy as they use the Internet to answer questions in five categories: local resources, government, technology, humanities and science.

The contest, hosted by the U-M Library, is free and open to all U-M students and faculty. Afterward, the library will provide free food and host a discussion about the future of libraries, knowledge workers, literacy and the Internet.

Daniel Poynter created the contest in 2007 while a student at Purdue University. “This is the first competition in which people wield the Internet as a cognitive prosthetic. It’s a high speed battle of Internet-enabled intelligence,” Poynter says.

“Our age is both unprecedented and pivotal,” Poynter says. “Unparalleled global access to information is accelerating technological and social change. Making sense of our increasingly complex world depends upon becoming better information filters through the help of libraries. This competition is one way to ease ourselves into this exciting future.”

Paul Courant, dean of libraries, says, “In an era where undergraduates have easy access to information of varying degrees of accuracy, it is more important than ever to promote skills that can help students find, select and transform information into knowledge. Participating in the Digital Literacy Contest has provided us a new venue to engage students and expand their understanding of the rich and risky information environment in which they live, work and play.”

Contestants will be given 30 minutes, 30 questions and Internet access. Correct answers earn points, and incorrect answers are penalized. The highest score wins.

The contest will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. March 31 in room 2054 of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.

Those interested in competing must register online at For more information e-mail Poynter at or call (765) 425-6033.