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Keeping the Conversation Alive: Maintaining Students' Research Skills Throughout Their College Careers

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Information Literacy: Theory and Practice

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.989.1 - 22.989.8



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Paper Authors


Jay J. Bhatt Drexel University

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Jay Bhatt received M.S. in Library and Information Science and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Drexel University. Some of his activities include: collection development in engineering, outreach to faculty and students, and teaching engineering information research skills to faculty and students. He is the the 2010 recipient of the Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service award from ASEE's Engineering Libraries Division and the 2003 recipient of Drexel University's Harold Myers Distinguished Service Award.

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Larry Milliken Drexel University

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Larry Milliken, M.A.., M.L.I.S., is Liaison Librarian for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Drexel University. Prior to becoming a librarian, he earned a Masters Degree in Medieval Studies and was a doctoral student in Medieval European History. He is particularly interested in partnerships between librarians and historians, especially in digital humanities projects.

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Lloyd Ackert Drexel University

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I am an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of History & Politics, and specialize in the history of science. My research focuses on Russian and European ecology and microbiology in the 19th-20th century, and am writing two books: a biography of Sergei Winogradsky, and a history of the concept of the 'cycle of life.' I began my graduate studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, then earned my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, and held a Post-Doc at Yale University. My teaching interests are in History of Technology, History of Science, World Civilization, and Russian History. I am the Director of the Master's Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University.

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Eleanor J. Goldberg Drexel University Library

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Eleanor holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science and works in reference, instruction, and outreach at Drexel University Library. In Fall 2011 she will become a reference and instruction librarian at Delaware County Community College in Media, Pennsylvania.

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Keeping the Conversation Alive: Librarians and Historians teaching information research skills to engineering students in their middle college years.The library’s electronic resources collection is constantly becoming more exhaustive, leading toever increasing challenges in instructing students in information skills. At our university, first-year engineering students get formalized instruction in information research skills, but they donot receive additional library instruction until they become seniors. This gap most often results instudents losing their ability to efficiently use library databases in their middle college years; andthey often need reminders of basic research skills for their senior projects. All engineeringstudents are required to take a course called “Technology in Historical Perspective” during theirsophomore year. This course, offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, examines the causalinterrelations between technological progress and developments in economic, social, intellectual,and political aspects of Western civilization from the 18th century to the present. To help theengineering students refine and enhance their information seeking skills, the university’shumanities and social science librarian, the engineering librarian, other library staff, and historydepartment faculty, will collaborate to design a new library research instruction strategy.This paper outlines a vision for formalized integration of library research instruction into thecurriculum for this course. This vision includes activities promoting engaged student learningand possible methods to assess acquired student information competence during the term of thecourse. Students are required to conduct in-depth research for their term papers using a widevariety of resources including engineering and history databases, primary literature published inpatents, and others. One of the activities envisioned is an interactive session to gauge whetherstudents need additional help in finding sources for their projects. We expect this approach willhelp students to maintain and improve their research skills between their first and final collegeyears and improve their overall information literacy in a range of subjects outside of engineering.Additionally, it will prevent the seemingly inevitable last-minute crunch that students encounterwhen writing research papers, which will result in improved final projects.  

Bhatt, J. J., & Milliken, L., & Ackert, L., & Goldberg, E. J. (2011, June), Keeping the Conversation Alive: Maintaining Students' Research Skills Throughout Their College Careers Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18232

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