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Learning Library Skills

For students, realizing what they don't know may be the first step in developing timesaving information literacy skills, says Trent University's Information Services Librarian Jean Luyben.

Using TOPCAT - the library catalogue and undertaking fruitful keyword and journal article searches will make research go more smoothly and swiftly, but it's too late to learn these techniques a day or two before the paper is due, says Ms. Luyben.

"Students don't know they don't have the skills they need until it's too late. They can't take the time to stop their research and learn the processes when they really need to."

And so in 1996, Ms. Luyben started the Library Orientation Program, which consisted of a workbook, three key topics and a test. Since then, technology has changed the way the library works and the number and nature of resources that are available. Today, the Library Skills Program is offered to students through WebCT. There are three tutorials, opportunities to try searches and a subject-specific test.

The course was created for first-year students and is most often incorporated as a component of one of their courses. Professors are seeing that the result of the program, is better research, says Ms. Luyben. Last year, the program became part of 16 courses, ranging in subject from history to nursing; close to 2,400 students participated.

For further information about the program, please contact extension 1528.

Posted March 31, 2004


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