Notes from NELIG 2012

New England Library Instruction Group Annual Meeting
June 1, 2012

Keynote: The ERIAL Project
Andrew Asher, PhD – Lead Research Anthropologist

The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries project provides a rich and detailed look into the behavior habits of academic library patrons.

The study was conducted using a common core of research questions and methods:

  • How do students find and use information to write research papers?
  • How do faculty and librarians work with students?
  • How do students get help and work through the process?

My major takeaways from Andrew’s talk were:

  • user behavior can and should influence space design
  • we should be cognizant of the way that we teach information literacy concepts (teaching skills not tools)
  • libraries play an important role as social spaces, as tools embedded in a web of social relationships


Breakout Session: The Research Tracker Tool
Laura Weber and Jacalyn Kremer, Fairfield University

The Research Tracker Tool began as a “research plan” on paper, and has since developed into a more sophisticated tool.


  • Can be used independently or during in-class instruction
  • Provides a good start to the research process because it is interactive, and gives students the idea of the entire research and writing process as an iterative one
  • When used fully and effectively, students can independently navigate the research process and avoid last-minute panic


  • Difficulty aligning the in-class training with the timing of the assignment
  • The calculation for progress milestones and due dates is helpful but may not be realistic given students’ tendencies to procrastinate

Next steps

  • Customize the tools to specific assignments
  • Add “literature review” and “annotated bibliography” steps to the timeline
  • Develop an open-source (non-branded) version for use at other institutions


Crowd-Sourcing the Librarian Perspective
Pete Coco, Wheaton College and Hazel McClure, Grand Valley State University

The Research Guidance Rubric for Assignment Design is designed to help faculty better integrate information literacy outcomes into research assignments. To develop the document, the creators studied faculty assignments and attempted to schematize well-guided assignments and to understand what makes them successful.  In the process they defined four aspects to the assignment design: clarity, rationale, process, and library involvement.

The project began with a faculty-development workshop, and was well received. The developers asked faculty their opinion of the rubric as it was being developed. When it was completed, the librarians had a document that they could bring to other meetings and conversations with faculty and administrators.

A Creative Commons license makes the rubric available for reuse.


The Rubric for Assignment Design is definitely my biggest take-away from the conference; a tool I can implement in my own practice of working with faculty. I am also looking forward to sharing this with other teaching librarians at my institution.

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