Peep Research: A Study of Small, Fluffy Creatures and Library Usage
by Susan Avery and Jennifer Masciadrelli (Office of Fluffy Research, Staley Library, Millikin University)
Peeple’s Choice Winner! Faculty Peep Show, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Millikin University
April 25, 2003
Although scientific and health research has been conducted on Peeps, most notably that appearing on the Peep Research website, we have noted an absence of research focusing on the ability of Peeps themselves to actually do research. To address this lack, we invited a small group of Peeps to visit Staley Library at Millikin University during the week of March 17-21, 2003 so that we could more closely observe their research practices. This was determined to be an ideal week for the Peeps to visit the library, as Millikin University students were on spring break. The research that follows documents their visit to the library and provides some evaluative commentary on our assessment of Peeps and library usage.
The Peeps Arrive at the Library
The Peeps arrived at the library in a customary manner, as evidenced by the photographs to the left, in a Volkswagen Beetle. It should also be noted that, not unlike college students, they attempted to fit as many passengers into their vehicle as possible.
We quickly observed that Peeps, like college students, immediately began their research by sitting down at the computer terminals and looking for information on the Internet. Our observations of their individual screens indicated that they were most likely looking for information about themselves. This research characteristic was noted in an article that appeared in the March 21, 2003 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education that discussed the tendencies of students to use search engines before library databases.
The first page we observed the Peeps looking at was the official website of marshmallow peeps. We speculate that this page was located via a search engine, as our attempts to replicate this search in several search engines resulted in this page appearing at the top of the hit list of websites.
Further exploration on the part of the peeps shows them at this website featuring Peep Shows. It is not known what the search terms were in this particular search, nor what they expected to find. (This page contains art work featuring canines.) Note, however, how they are all attempting to move closer to the computer screen.
This particular search resulted in a page that surprised both the Peeps and their observers. The focus of the content of the page, Visual Delights: Magic Lanterns, Peep Shows and Phantasmagoria, is unknown.
(Read the rest of this article!)