2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


BERQUIST, Karen A.1, HAUSMAN, Patricia R.1, MACDONALD, R. Heather2 and OWENS, Brent E.2, (1)Swem Library, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, (2)Department of Geology, College of William & Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, kaberq@wm.edu

The ability to identify appropriate resources to answer a geologic question or problem is an important skill, but one that generally is not addressed explicitly in the undergraduate curriculum. Mastering this skill, however, is necessary as students progress through the geology program and later become involved in graduate study and/or professional work. Geoscientists and librarians, working together, have developed complementary assignments that introduce undergraduate students to searching the geologic literature. In these assignments, students must decide which resources are best suited to their needs and how to most effectively search each resource. In our curriculum, Mineralogy and Earth History are commonly the first "major" courses taken by students, and thus offer a good opportunity to develop students' information literacy skills early in their undergraduate career. Each course assigns a poster project requiring students to search the geologic literature by using GeoRef and other electronic databases, our library's on-line catalog, and web resources. In Mineralogy, each student investigates a relatively obscure mineral; in Earth History, each student investigates a place, process, or event related to historical geology that interests him or her. The Earth History assignment also includes a short reflective paper describing the search process; this refines critical thinking skills by asking students to consider whether resources found are relevant to their topic. Collaboration with librarians has been a key aspect of these projects. Librarians give formal presentations on the search process, design on-line course resource pages (which include resources in the following categories: Books and Journals, Indexes and Abstracts, Full Text Journals, World-Wide-Web Links, and Other Information (citation and evaluation guides), and assist individual students. The collaborative approach allows instructors and librarians to monitor student progress and revise instructional strategies as appropriate.