Electronic information resource use: implications for teaching and library staff
Within institutions of higher education, teaching staff and library-based information specialists have tended to occupy separate worlds. Although there has been some contact, in the main this has been partial and intermittent. For first-year students, one consequence of this state of affairs has been the absence of a systematic and co-ordinated strategy for enabling them to acquire, practise and develop information-gathering skills. Teaching staff have seen their role in this respect mainly in terms of issuing students with reading lists containing a mix of books and journal articles, and underlying this approach is the expectation that information specialists will be on hand to provide whatever additional help is needed to access these resources, for example through the provision of introductory talks and one-to-one support sessions. Relatively few teaching staff have incorporated library exercises into their teaching and assessment, or adopted a more creative approach to information gathering by students, such as helping them use bibliographic and other aids to prepare personalized reading lists. Consequently, when students have been required to do this at later stages of their studies, especially in the context of preparing a dissertation, they have not been adequately prepared, and often find it extremely difficult to access and evaluate information resources effectively.