October Conferences at Dartmouth College

THE WEB: SUPER SEARCHING; SUPER TEACHING

DATE AND TIME

Thursday, October 31, 2002
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

LOCATION

Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College

COST

$60 (includes lunch); parking on your own – approximately $10

DESCRIPTION

As we all suspect and as several studies (e.g., OCLC's June 2002 "White Paper on the Information Habits of College Students" (PDF)) have recently confirmed, "the Web" is often the first place our users look for information. Librarians need to know how to quickly and effectively find what we and our users need — in other words, we must be Web "Super Searchers." And, as we need to teach users to do the same, we must also be Web "Super Teachers." This year's Biomedical Libraries' October Conference will focus on the new "super" roles of librarians, and the various ways we can respond to these new demands in order to continue to be the leaders in finding and managing information.

PROGRAM

8:30-9:00: Registration and coffee

9:00-12:00: Research Techniques of a Super Searcher: A Report From the Trenches
Mary Ellen Bates, principal of Bates Information Services, Inc. (www.BatesInfo.com), and the author of five books about online research, including Super Searchers Cover the World, Mining for Gold on the Internet, and Researching Online for Dummies (with Reva Basch). A lively speaker and writer, she has been online since the 1970s.

Online research has changed dramatically as the information topography shift has shifted. The traditional Boolean searching we learned in school doesn't work when we try to find resources in the invisible Web. Our jobs now require us to evaluate black-box finding tools, un-sourced Web sites, and resources that are here today, 404 tomorrow. This half-day session focuses on fine-tuning the research skills of information professionals as we adjust to a rapidly changing and more competitive information environment.

12:00-1:00: Lunch - included

1:00-2:00: Teaching the Web in Under an Hour
Mary Ellen Bates, principal of Bates Information Services, Inc. (www.BatesInfo.com), and the author of five books about online research, including Super Searchers Cover the World, Mining for Gold on the Internet, and Researching Online for Dummies. A lively speaker and writer, she has been online since the 1970s.

Searching the Web is second nature for info pros. In fact, that's why it's so hard to teach advanced Web searching to our clients — online research is so intuitive for most of us. This session will give some pointers on teaching clients and patrons about the strengths and weaknesses of the Web.

2:00-2:30: Inquiry Activities: Active Learning for Online Searching
Nancy Dennis, Outreach Librarian, Salem State College, Salem, MA

Most students — despite their enthusiasm for the Internet — are not aware of the need to plan search strategies, refine searches, and evaluate results. Further, students' ever-increasing confidence in searching the Internet requires the development of challenging and engaging assignments. This presentation will share a successful technique for teaching online searching: creating search problem sets to teach strategies and sources covered in Mary Ellen Bates and Reva Basch's book Researching Online for Dummies. To find the requested information, students must employ all techniques Bates describes: setting up searching strategies, changing strategies as needed, evaluating results, and knowing when to give up or try alternate approaches. The questions are designed to illustrate different problems one encounters in searching — and ways to try to solve them.

2:30-3:00: Searching Savvy: Teaching Patrons to Evaluate Their Super Searches
Corinne Ebbs, Information Instruction Coordinator, Ely Library, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA

Even super searching techniques can result in a list of pages from the Internet of questionable value. How can you and your students tell the difference? This presentation will review evaluation criteria based on Susan Beck's The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources and will demonstrate a method of teaching people to apply the criteria to Internet search results. Experiences gained from teaching college students in this manner will be shared. Conference attendees will be presented with the criteria, with Web page links to practice sites, and with tips for finding sites to use for demonstration purposes in teaching these concepts.

3:00-3:30: From Surfing to Searching to Researching and Writing: Library/Classroom Collaboration
Susan M. Gilroy, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Lamont Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA and Cynthia L. Butos, Senior Lecturer, A.K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric,Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Our students arrive at college each year with greater and greater degrees of technological savvy and are immersed in a culture of video games, MTV, and advertising. However, their critical, evaluative and argument making skills — essential elements for academic success — are often less well developed. In this workshop, a college librarian and writing teacher will discuss how we collaborate to bridge this gap. We work to move students from their practice of randomly surfing the Web by teaching them how to construct a coherent research question and how to become more efficient and sophisticated Web researchers. We will also provide sample writing assignments that contain a sequence of steps that help students to use both technology and online information to enhance their writing.

3:30: Wrap-Up