for Creating Effective Library Assignments
us a copy of the assignment with recommended sources in advance and tell us
a few other things:
many students are in the class?
is the purpose of this assignment?
much should we help?
they expected to use specific books for the assignment? If
so, what are they?
will need to put the books in an area where everyone can use them, and where
they will be free from theft, misplacement, and vandalism.
Avoid sending entire classes to use a single volume or find a single journal
Students will be frustrated with the item's constant absence.
The item will be hidden, vandalized, or lost.
When feasible, place copies of the item on Reserve
the assignment so that students can use of a variety of similar resources
to complete it.
sure what you ask for is in the Library.
are sometimes discontinued, lost, vandalized, stolen, hidden, or misshelved.
before the project is assigned.
or email us--we will be happy to check for you.
the correct terminology and exact titles:
between magazines and journals.
by name the reference book, database, or index that students should use.
with students that a database is not the same thing as the Internet or the
For example, to your students, the phrase "library computer" could mean the
Library's online catalog, a CD-ROM standalone computer, any computer connected
to the Internet, InfoTrac, a computer in the Instructional Media Center or
the library webpage accessed at home.
If you were to refer to the "chemical handbook," to a librarian you could
mean Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, Chemical Technicians'
Ready Reference Handbook, Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, or the
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. To a student the possibilities
Be mindful of the fact that the Library's resources are continually changing.
databases arrive monthly
databases change contents and search methods
New electronic resources may require specialized instruction and substantial
practice for effective use.
not assume that students have had prior experience in using the Library.
tend to overestimate their understanding of the library
freshmen, transfer students, international students, or new graduate students
may have had no experience with our library system.
Basic library skills may be inadequate for complicated research assignments
the assignment to the educational level of the students.
do "scavenger hunts" that ask students to locate random facts.
They lack a clear purpose and teach little
- They require
the same sources for numerous hunters
are often very frustrating for students AND librarians.
it is the librarians who end up locating the information for self-preservation.
take the students through the steps of locating the literature
how research is done in the profession
an integration of knowledge
ask for critical thinking and evaluation of resources
that the typical undergraduate's approach to research is not as:
as a graduate student's or a professor's.
students pace the assignment so they don't procrastinate.
the assignment is an extended project, establish deadlines for different stages
of the assignment
research to focus a topic
for ever increasing number of sources
a formatted bibiliography before the paper is due
respect for library materials.
Ripping pages out of a journal is selfish and vile
increases university expenses, therefore increases tuition
is against the whole University Community, not just the librarians
Be sure that students know why and how to cite information they find in the
information with them about the documentation style required
some relevant resources available in the Library to get students started.
the Library often to familiarize yourself with the changes, improvements, and
To make comments or suggestions, or to get more information, call (334) 460-6045
or e-mail Jan Sauer.
Last updated: 03/27/01. js
This page: http://www.usouthal.edu/univlib/sauer/faculty/assign.html