Library Teaches Web Research Techniques

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Brzozowski

The World Wide Web is here to stay. Internet navigation and research skills are an essential part of most curriculums. In today's everchanging, information-rich society, the Harper College Library provides both academic and community programs to help make cyber-life easier.

For students, one of these programs is Library Instruction. It is a customized training presentation given to a class by a professional librarian and an instructional assistant.

Some of the many topics included in a session are: learning the difference between search engines and web directories, making searches less time-consuming and more effective, and managing sources of information.

Kimberly Heinz, coordinator of circulation, emphasizes that students are taught research methods and information evaluation they will transfer to four-year colleges and rely on in all their life experiences.

Heinz says, "It's easy for students to jump on a search engine and print something off the Web, but scholarly research is much more detailed."

Student reaction to the instructional classes is enthusiastic. Sonia Hernandez attended a session with her speech class during her first semester back at college in eight years.

"For me, it was very informative," Hernandez said. "It taught me how to bring up reliable sources for research articles." Hernandez was also pleased to learn she could access the library's resources from her home or work computer.

Harper 2001 graduate Lisa Jones attended customized sessions for three different courses. The focus was on statistical research indexes for her psychology class, and on literary indexes for her two English classes.

"All the students were impressed to learn new study skills and to be able to look things up from our homes," Jones said.

These optional sessions are requested by the class instructor. They contain the newest databases and technology available. They are designed according to class curriculum, assignment and skill level.

Linda Glover, instruction coordinator, believes the way to instill a love of learning in students is to make the process educational, functional and entertaining. …