Suggestions for Effective Library Assignments
Our librarians are great at doing research. To enable your students to do their own research rather than our ending up doing it, we suggest the following:
- Put your assignment in writing. By the time students reach the library, they each have a different account of what the assignment includes.
- Work through the assignment yourself, even if you're just revising an old assignment, making sure that the assignment does what you want it to and that the library has the resources you're requiring students to use. Students become frustrated when an assignment that they are told will be easy takes hours.
- Check to see if the library has already created a research aid for your subject area. These aids include commonly used reference materials, research databases, and World Wide Web resources. If we don't have a research guide prepared, we can probably create one with sufficient notice.
- Put materials on reserve if students have to use the same resource. (This is not necessary for reference books since they do not circulate.) Remember that we may need time to recall a book from circulation.
- Schedule a course-related instructional session for your class. Our librarians tailor them to your specific assignment.
- Discuss the assignment with a reference librarian if your assignment is particularly complex. Another option is to send a copy of your assignment to the reference department or stop by the Reference and Information Desk to drop it off. At the main Reference and Information Desk we keep a notebook to let librarians know about current assignments and suggested resources.
- Remind students to gather their sources early. OhioLINK is a treasure, but useless if students wait to the last day to look for materials.
- Encourage students to stop by the Reference and Information Desk for assistance.
About those Internet and World Wide Web sources...
At the reference desk, we often hear students say that they aren't allowed to use Internet or Web sources. Many scholarly journals are available full-text on the Web. In fact, some scholarly journals are available only on the Web and not in print. The Ralph M. Besse Library subscribes not only to full-text databases like Academic Search Complete
and Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe
, but also to scholarly e-journals. You may need to stress the difference between the resources the Library subscribes to and "free" Web and Internet Sources. Visit the Library Home Page
for access to our subscription resources.
Questions or Comments?
Contact Polly Wilkenfeld, Head of Patron Services and Instruction
Phone: (440) 449-4080, Fax: (440) 449-3180