Libraries online tutorial cuts out research confusion: Try Searchpath
Faculty members who want to help their students develop competent college-level research skills
now have an innovative new tool. Students seeking a comfort level with library resources before
the crush of final research assignments now have an ally in their corner.
A new service of the Rutgers University Libraries, Searchpath is an interactive online tutorial
about finding and using worthwhile information sources in the libraries and on the Web. Searchpath
will help students save time, produce higher quality research, and get higher grades.
Many students arriving at Rutgers largely used the Internet to prepare high school assignments.
Now they need a solid grounding in the library services and scholarly resources necessary to
complete college-level assignments successfully. Searchpath provides modules on six discrete areas
of college-level research at Rutgers: starting smart (identifying different types of information
on the Web and in library resources), choosing a topic, using IRIS - the Libraries online catalog,
finding articles, using the Web, and citing sources. Each module takes 15-20 minutes to complete
and can be viewed either alone or as a complete series. Each module ends with a quiz that assesses
the students' understanding of the concepts covered.
Searchpath was originally developed at Western Michigan University, using material from the TILT
tutorial created by the University of Texas Digital Library's Digital Information Literacy Office,
and has been licensed and adapted by a team of Rutgers librarians for use at Rutgers. The tutorial
addresses many of the information literacy competency standards for college students advocated by
national groups, such as the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Faculty members can link to Searchpath in WebCT, in Blackboard, or within other online
instructional materials, referring to specific modules or the entire tutorial. Faculty members may
want to assign specific modules of Searchpath to students as prerequisites before research
assignments. Searchpath sends students' module quiz results to faculty members via email,
documenting their completion of the assignments.
Faculty members can also use Searchpath as a preparatory assignment for in-class library
instruction sessions, allowing librarians to concentrate on scholarly resources of specific
relevance to the class and to spend more time on student questions.
Students can also use Searchpath on their own, to prepare in advance for research assignments by
learning what tools are available to them and how to use them most effectively. As an online
service, Searchpath provides the equivalent of a personal tutor on library resources, available
24/7 and accessible from any dorm room.
Faculty and students can start using Searchpath now, at this location:
http://searchpath.libraries.rutgers.edu Searchpath is also accessible from the gray navigation
bar, located on the left of every page of the Libraries website.
For information about Searchpath contact Jeanne Boyle, Associate University Librarian for Public