Friday, August 5, 2011

PL 34/11: Search: How Libraries Do it Wrong

Filed under: reference, research — Tags: — plinius @ 8:11 am

Nice blog post by Barbara Fister

She writes about three new articles  in College & Research Libraries

The first, by Brett Bodemeris about how we help undergraduates conceptualize the research process.

  • We should stop thinking of search as a relatively simple step that happens before reading and writing. 
  • These activities are recursive and connected processes:
  • Search involves reading (because you have to do at least some reading to make choices and refine terms)
  • Writing should ideally drive a search, not be saved for the final act, when it’s too late to pursue a thought that bubbled up from the pages of your draft.
  • This seems obvious, yet the influential ACRL standards for information literacy that so many librarians draw on implicitly separate searching from doing something with what you’ve found.

We need to do much more than introduce students to tools, but rather help them go from what they know to understanding of how to apply what they know to new and unfamiliar ideas and contexts.

TH: And that is definitely a form of teaching – at a high pedagogical level

  • If we focus too much on how to get some sources to complete a paper, we imply that writing the paper is the purpose of their work.
  • Transferring a digest of some articles into the professor’s briefcase is not the point,
  • Nor is learning how a particular library works.
  • The ultimate purpose is to prepare students to develop a habit of finding evidence and reasoning from it
  • Whivh involves being thoughtful about both the search process and sources encountered as our graduates go forth to think for themselves.

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