Friday, February 28, 2014

Cornerstone Library Instruction

We've been busy bees here at Lewis Library!

     Last semester, our librarians gave our Cornerstone students a library instruction session to help our freshman with library and research skills, which will come in handy for their studies over the next four years. The topics we covered included:

  • Library geography (Wait, so the 1st floor is really the 2nd floor?)
  • Database navigation (How do I search for articles on "global engagement"?)
  • How to identify a scholarly source (Is The Economist a scholarly source?)
  • LibGuides (You mean there is a webpage for help with research?)
  • How do I navigate around the GALILEO Discovery Service? (Is there a manual for this?)
  • How to perform a good search (What do I type in to get the results I am looking for?)
Fast Forward to Spring!    

This semester, as our freshman finish up Cornerstone, professors assigned a library learning worksheet for the students to complete. The worksheet was designed by our librarians, and it quizzes the students on the information they learned in the fall semester library instruction session. 

We chose 5 key points and created 6 questions to assess what skills they have learned. So far, our Cornerstone students seem to have really hit the ground running with this assignment.

Dr. Arthur Robinson helping a Cornerstone student with our library skills worksheet

Learning library and research skills is not just for freshman!

      No matter if you are a freshman, a senior, or a Graduate student, finding what you need in the library and in the library's databases can sometimes feel like rocket science (I mean, there are graduate degrees dedicated to mastering the art of information retrieval!).  However, just a solid foundation of knowledge of what Lewis Library has to offer and how best to use our resources will help you out tremendously with any projects you may be assigned at any level. No Master's Degree in Library Science needed!

(For those complicated research questions (or even just a refresher on something), ask a librarian. After all, we went to school for this! Finding stuff is our forte!)

Charlene Baxter and a Cornerstone student working diligently on the library skills worksheet

Perhaps one of the most complicated concepts we covered in our fall semester library instruction was how to identify a scholarly source.

It can get very tricky, but here are a few things to keep in mind when determining if the item you are looking at is or is not a scholarly source:

Non-Scholarly Sources (or popular sources):

  1. Include magazines and newspapers
  2. Covers are typically glossy and eye-catching
  3. Typically contain advertisements and pictures
  4. Geared toward a general audience
  5. Written by journalists and revised by editors
  6. Examples:  National Geographic, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time
Scholarly Sources:

  1. Are published in academic journals or books from university presses
  2. Examples of research which prove new theories about academic disciplines(such as Science, Literature, Medicine and History)
  3. Includes graphs, charts and diagrams; very few illustrations or photos
  4. Geared towards scholars and experts in a particular subject
  5. Written by people with advanced degrees in that field
  6. Research is reviewed by scholars in that field, a.k.a. "Peer-reviewed"
  7. Includes a list of references or notes at the end

Check out the Cornerstone LibGuide Evaluating Sources page to find out more on how to differentiate between a popular source and a scholarly source as well as for citation help and information on copyright and plagiarism.

Another tricky topic that we covered in our library instruction was how to navigate to a specific database in GALILEO. 

Here is how it's done!

After navigating to the Library's homepage ( click on the GALILEO Discovery Service and you will see the screen below.

Then click on the "Databases A-Z" link (we highlighted it for you with the big arrow) that you see above and search for the database of your choice.

We have asked our Cornerstone students to navigate to a database called Academic Search Complete, which is a very comprehensive database that contains articles on a wide range of topics. In order to navigate to Academic Search Complete, simply click on "Databases A-Z" as we have shown above, and then either search for Academic Search Complete in the search box or click on the letter "A" which displays all databases that begin with that letter.

Here we clicked on the letter "A" to show us all of the databases that begin with that letter.

And that's all you have to do! Once you have successfully navigated to Academic Search Complete, remember to put quotation marks around phrases in order to search for the whole phrase. Also, make sure to put the word AND (all capitals) in between two different search terms. (i.e. "global engagement" AND sustainability)

Thanks for joining us! And as always, ask a librarian for any help with these or other research skills!

Here is the video we showed to our freshman during their first few weeks in Cornerstone! It has a lot of good information about what the library has to offer and how to access all of it, including our databases, our GALILEO Discovery Service, and LibGuides (especially the Cornerstone LibGuide). Check it out if you need a refresher on how to navigate through all of the resources we have to offer!

*This post was written by Lindsey Lowry

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