Tips for Creating Effective Library Assignments
Common Problems with Library Assignments (Things to Avoid!):
- Requiring a source that the library no longer has.
- Using an incomplete name or initials when referring to a source. For example, don't tell your students to use "Gale's," since Gale publishes many well-known reference books. Be more specific by asking them to use Gale's Dictionary of Literary Biography .
- Giving students hard-to-answer trivia questions (librarians usually end up giving students the answers).
- Giving students a generic assignment out of a handbook or textbook without checking first to make sure it can be done using the library's resources.
- Assigning a narrow topic that requires the use of specialized collections or databases, without first introducing students to the resources.
About those Internet and Web Sources ....
At the Reference Desk, we often hear students say that they aren't allowed to use Internet or web sources. Many people don't realize that reputable sources are available full-text on the web. Joyner Library has canceled its print subscriptions to many journals because we have access to them on the web through an aggregator like EBSCOhost's Academic Search Premier. You may want to stress the difference between the resources the library pays for and "free" web sources. The Library's subscription databases can be accessed from the library web page, under "Databases." Incorporating an evaluative component into an assignment may help students differentiate between valuable free web sites, like those produced by think tanks and government agencies, and those of poor quality. The library's web-based tutorial, "How Do I Evaluate Web Sites?" provides further guidance.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Amy Gustavson, Coordinator of Instructional Services, at 252-328-0295.