In today’s generation, most everything can be solved with a click of a button. The Internet provides an infinite amount of information in its limitless world of cyber space. Many college students, however, have become too dependent on the Internet’s convenience and have forgotten about the sources at the library, which are generally more credible.
In response, Hodges Library has created the “Research Assist” program to help students find the resources in the library as easily as they might on the Internet.
“We don’t necessarily want our students to rely totally on Google and Wikipedia,” Head of Reference and Instructional Services Rita Smith said. “Those sites are starting to get a little bit of a bad reputation now, and professors don’t necessarily like for students to use them.”
Now starting its third semester, the program focuses specifically on helping students work on research papers by locating reliable sources, be it in Hodges or on the online databases.
“The library spends an incredible amount of money purchasing books, journals and many electronic resources,” Smith said. “We purchased these for our students and faculty to be able to use, and if they don’t know about them … then they are losing out.”
The program is an extension of the Reference Desk and provides students with more one-on-one assistance. Librarians working at the main desk are required to stay close, but the “Research Assist” librarians are free to move about the library with the students.
The “Research Assist” librarians first teach students how to use the database to effectively search for specific titles and subjects. Afterwards, they walk the students directly to the source.
The program is comparable to the Writing Center in Humanities, which helps students properly compose their essays.
“Research Assist” was created by Jeanine Williamson, an engineering reference librarian now in her fifth year at Hodges.
“I got the idea one day when I was just sitting at the Reference Desk,” Williamson said. “I was thinking it would be nice if we had something where we could help people individually with their term papers.”
Hodges Library has more than two million books, according to Williamson, and that can be overwhelming for students who are not familiar with using libraries. “Research Assist” wants students to become comfortable with the many services Hodges provides.
Setting up appointments with “Research Assist” can be accomplished online at the University Libraries’ home page, by simply clicking the “AskUsNow!” link. Students who sign up online will hear back from “Research Assist” within one business day.
The Reference Center is located on the first floor of Hodges Library and can also be contacted by telephone at 974-4171, instant message at “utklib” or by using the reference e-mail located on its Web site.