2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

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


BERQUIST, Karen K., Science Libraries, Earl Gregg SwemLibrary, College of William and Mary, College of William & Mary, P.O. 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, OWENS, Brent E., College William & Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, LOCKWOOD, R., College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23185, HANCOCK, Gregory S., Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187 and BAILEY, Christopher M., Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23186, kaberq@wm.edu

In our department, faculty and the department library liaison work together to build students' information literacy skills through assignments that give students repeated opportunities to develop these skills in a geoscience context. Geology majors need to be able to effectively search the literature, evaluate the relevance, quality, and availability of resources, and analyze and synthesize material from various sources. Faculty design assignments that require students to search, evaluate, and use appropriate resources; they also review student search results in individual meetings or through written comments. The library liaison prepares webpages with links to course-appropriate resources, conducts class sessions on resources and searching techniques, and offers individual consultations. Our experience reveals that while some students are proficient at searching, some struggle to identify possible search terms, may quickly declare a lack of references, are generally unfamiliar with GeoRef, rely heavily on online rather than print sources, have trouble distinguishing between scholarly and popular sources or between articles and abstracts, may not carefully evaluate the relevance of their results for the assignment, and may not know when they have done enough. Poster or paper assignments in lower-level courses require students to conduct searches using our library's on-line catalog, GeoRef and other databases, and the world wide web. Majors further develop their information literacy skills through library-based assignments in upper-level courses and their independent senior research. Our evolving collaboration is built on faculty willing to adapt assignments based on student performance, a department library liaison, and a library liaison training and support program hosted by the main library. Our experiences suggest that individual assistance from instructors and librarians is critical in developing students' search strategies and skills, observations and reflective papers provide insight into students' search strategies, geoscientist-library collaborations are valuable, and repeated opportunities for searching should be built systematically into the geology curriculum to develop proficiency as described by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards.