Library Related Objectives for EH 101

What the students should know by the end of the semester:

1. The difference between library sources and Internet sources:

  • organized vs chaotic
  • formally copyrighted vs informally copyrighted
  • $$$ vs free
  • evaluated for purchase by experts vs student wholly responsible for evaluating
  • the library's role in the world of information
  • that many library sources are delivered "over" the Internet, but aren't "from" the Public Internet

2. Information can be found in many different places. Where you look depends on what kind of information you need.

  • quick, easy facts: the Public Internet (Google, Yahoo, etc.)
  • a basic explanation(with reservations): Wikipedia
  • how-to, popular fiction, build/repair manuals, magazines: public library
  • current research, primary sources, scholarly books, quality information: academic library.

3. Reference books can be very useful. Dictionaries and encyclopedias (both general and specialized) aren't just for kids. Every academic uses them to find out basic information, background, issues, vocabulary, people, and to get lists of other books and articles to read. Great places to start research. OED is online under Electronic Reference Books.

4. The difference between primary and secondary sources: explanation and examples on homepage under "Instruction." Primary information isn't always written; it might be an audio recording of an interview; a video of the effects of a hurricane; as well as laws, maps, and artifacts.

5. A working familiarity with the Library Catalog.

6. The difference between a catalog and an index/database.

  • owned, discrete items (books, gov docs) vs items within a periodically received volume/issue (subscribed periodical)
  • locally created(catalog) vs subscribed from a database publisher
  • catalog has minimal "descriptive info" vs indexes often with abstracts and/or fulltext
  • catalog has no fulltext searching vs indexes/databases often with fulltext searching as an option

7. A very basic understanding of the function of general database like Ebsco's Academic Search Premier.

8. The immorality of stealing from the library (community), both physically and intellectually (plagiarism).

9. That libraries ARE difficult. Librarians know how difficult they really are. We don't expect students to know intuitively how to find the information they need. We DO expect them to ask for help at the Reference Desk, by email or by phone when they need it.

10. Libraries ARE fun! Searching for information is an adventure. Curiosity is cool! Browsing the shelves is an education. That YOU use the library all the time. Give them examples of what you looked for and what you found and how you did it.

11. That they need a healthy skepticism about all information sources, especially those retrieved using an Internet "search engine."

12. That simple answers to complex problems are almost always wrong. Without questioning, without exploring alternative answers -- the two or three or four sides or more of an issue--they will not be able to think critically, make good decisions, be good citizens, and consider themselves educated.

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Last updated: 2/5/09. js
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