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Library Skills Toolkit
Librarians at academic institutions around the world have created hundreds of hours of content intended to help students develop and strengthen basic library and research skills. This toolkit is a carefully-curated collection of interactive tutorials and instructional videos that faculty may use as in-class activities or assign to be completed outside of class time. Likewise, students may consult these materials as reference sources to brush up basic skills or learn new approaches to finding and using information. Most of these materials were developed by librarians at institutions other than SUNY Cobleskill; while they sometimes reference the libraries at other institutions, the bulk of the content covered is applicable to students doing library research and academic writing at any institution.
The majority of links provided here connect users to content offered under Creative Commons licenses. Faculty members interested in embedding this content directly into a Moodle page (rather than merely linking to the original material) are encouraged to carefully follow Creative Commons guidelines for use and attribution.
Picking Your Topic Is Research
This short video from the North Carolina State University Libraries examines the process of selecting a topic for an academic paper and offers tips on how to refine the topic by conducting some preliminary research. Recommended for lower-division students.
Types of Articles
Scholarly vs. Popular vs. Trade Publications
Learn the differences between the three most common types of articles you'll find while searching in library databases. This short video was created by librarians at East Carolina University's Joyner Library.
Using Call Numbers
How to Read a Call Number
This three-minute video from the University of Arkansas Libraries provides a concise overview of how books are organized in most college libraries. It explains how to read and understand the call numbers that appear on books and in the records found in the library's online catalog.
Developing a Research Question
This interactive audio/visual tutorial from Canada's Wilfrid Laurier University discusses how developing a good research question can help refine the focus of an academic paper and lead to the development of a strong thesis. Interactive elements are built in to the tutorial to help assess comprehension of key concepts. The site also includes a link to a downloadable "Research Question Worksheet." Recommended for ENGL 101 and 102 students.
This interactive tutorial developed by the Information Literacy Team at Austin Community College focuses on choosing keywords to use in a database search and addresses ways to broaden or narrow the search results by adjusting the terms used. Highly recommended for first year students.
This detailed tutorial, created by librarians at University of North Carolina--Charlotte, address how to recognize and avoid plagiarism. Interactive features allow students to test their understanding of key concepts. Though the tutorial refers to some features specific to the UNC-Charlotte Library website, the basic information about plagiarism is valuable to students at any institution. Strongly recommended for students in FFCS and First Year Composition courses (i.e. ENGL 099, 101, 102).
(Not) Using Google
Why Can't I Just Search Google?
This short video from the University of Rhode Island libraries discusses why Google isn't always your best option for conducting scholarly research in a college-level course.
This video from the North Carolina State University Libraries discusses how and why to evaluate sources for credibility. It includes a brief discussion of the peer-review process and suggests questions to ask before deciding whether to use a source in an academic paper. Recommended for students whose professors require that they cite credible, academic, scholarly, peer-reviewed, or refereed sources in their papers.