Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's hard to believe, but our Spring 2018 semester is almost over!  We wanted to take this time to remind faculty that the Research Services Librarians are still available to help students with their final research assignments.  Please encourage your students to reach out to us if they need assistance with database selection, source evaluation, citation management, search strategies, or any other topic related to locating, evaluating, using, and sharing information.  Students can reach us through several channels:



Individual Research Appointments can be easily scheduled with our online appointment calendar.  Students can select a weekday and time that is convenient for them to sit down one-on-one with a Research Services librarian.  They may schedule an appointment a month or a single day in advance!  Appointments typically last 30 minutes, but may be longer or shorter depending on the need.






All first year students have been assigned to a "Personal Librarian" who is available to them on BrightSpace. First year students receive regular announcements and research tips from their Personal Librarian and are encouraged to contact them directly with any research related questions, as well as questions about library services in general.








Online Research Guides are a helpful tool available on the library website.  Students can select a guide based on the academic program, course number, or topic.  Each guide provides direct links to recommended resources, including library databases, websites, video tutorials, informational handouts, and more.  


Students can contact a Research Services librarian through emailphone, or our Online Chat Service.  This helpful chat invitation will appear whenever a person lingers on the library website pages. Students can click the box to chat instantly with a librarian. Generally, the online chat is available during the same hours as our Research Help Desk (see below). Chat boxes also appear in most online Research Guides and a select number of databases.


Students can also visit the Research Help Desk in person, located on the first floor of the library, to get personalized assistance without an appointment.  The desk is staffed six days a week, including weekend and evening hours.  Mondays-Thursdays (11:00am-9:00pm), Fridays (11:00am-3:00pm), and Sundays (1:00pm-9:00pm).


Have a question or a suggestion for other ways to reach our students?  Let Us Know!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Here at the d'Alzon Library, we try to keep up with the latest news related to student learning, information or digital literacy, and resource evaluation.

Each month, we'd like to share with you some of our favorite recent reads. Enjoy!




Applying an Information Literacy Rubric to First-Year Health Sciences Student Research Posters. By Xan Goodman, John Watts, Rogelio Arenas, Rachelle Weigel, and Tony Terrell. The Journal of the Medical Library Association 106(1): 2018. Pages 108-112.
The authors collected 1,253 final poster projects created by first-year health sciences students and found that only 52% of students were proficient at selecting relevant sources for their projects. Additionally, 45% of students showed difficulty in correctly following the APA citation style. 

The Spread of True and False News Online. By Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, and Sinan Aral. Science 359(6380): 2018. Pages 1146-1151.
Researchers studied how news stories were shared on Twitter between 2006-2017 and found that falsehoods were 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth. They also found that robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that humans and not bots are responsible for the spread of false news.

It's All Relative? Post-Truth Rhetoric, Relativism, and Teaching on "Authority as Constructed and Contextual". By Andrea Baer. College & Research Libraries News 79(2): 2018.
"Authority is Constructed and Contextual." This is one of the six core Information Literacy concepts in the Frameworks document developed by the Association of College & Research Libraries. This article discusses the current debate within the library profession regarding whether or not this core concept addresses "post-truth" rhetoric.

The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016. By Kevin Eagan, Ellen Bara Stolzenberg, Hilary B. Zimmerman, Melissa C. Aragon, Hannah Whang Sayson, and Cecilia Rios-Aguilar. UCLA: Higher Education Research Institute, 2017.
This study presents a picture of who our first-years are. Findings include the political polarization of these students (the study was done in the fall of 2016), and the increasing number of students with mental health issues. A summary of the findings may be found at: https://www.heri.ucla.edu/briefs/TFS-Brief-Report-2016.pdf

Setting, Elaborating, and Reflecting on Personal Goals Improves Academic Performance. By Dominique Morisano, Jacob B. Hirsh, Jordan B. Peterson, Robert O. Pihl, and Bruce M. Shore. Journal of Applied Psychology 95(2): 2010. Pages 255-264.
This study found that presenting students with a specific goal-setting intervention improved their academic performance.

How Well Do We Know Our Students? A Comparison of Students' Priorities for Services and Librarians' Perceptions of Those Priorities. By Brian W. Young and Savannah L. Kelly. Journal of Academic Librarianship 44(2): 2018. Pages 173-178.
This study looked at the gaps between what library services students think are important and what librarians think students want.

Focus on User Experience: Moving from a Library-Centric Point of View. By Jean E. Mclaughlin. Internet Reference Services Quarterly 20(1-2): 2015. Pages 33-60.
This article provides some background to support the importance of user-centered design for all types of library services and spaces and suggests ways for libraries to get to know their users.

Amazon Peer Review: Coming To a Preprint Near You. By Phil Davis. The Scholarly Kitchen: What's Hot and Cooking in Scholarly Publishing. April 1, 2018. 
Beginning in April 2018, the public will have the ability to rate and comment on manuscripts of scientific research articles through Amazon Peer Review.  Proponents of open peer review applaud the new service while others are concerned about how it may be manipulated by bots or other malicious groups.

SoTL in the LIS Classroom: Helping Future Academic Librarians Become More Engaged Teachers. By Lindsay McNiff and Lauren Hays. Communications in Information Literacy 11(2): 2017. 
This article explores the benefits of introducing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to library and information science students, as well as practicing academic librarians.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Introducing Our New Institutional Repository!

The staff of the Emmanuel d'Alzon Library is excited to share its newest resource: Digital Commons @ Assumption College.  This online institutional repository has been established to collect, preserve, and showcase the scholarly and creative works produced by the faculty, staff, and students of Assumption College.  Have questions?  Don't worry, we are here with the answers!

What can I find in Digital Commons @ Assumption College?

Examples of materials that have already been added to the repository include:
We will be continuously growing these collections and hope to have digitized copies of Assumption College yearbooks in the near future!  Each item in the repository is available for download and can be found through search engines like Google.

Who will be using this resource?

We hope that the campus community, including students, faculty, staff, friends, and alumni will consider the institutional repository to be a tool at their disposal.  Additionally, we anticipate that the advanced search engine optimization tools within the repository will attract a global audience.  We have already seen readers accessing our collection from areas of Europe, Asia, and even Australia!  You can see a visual representation of our readers from the last 30 days below:
Why would I want to make my work available on Digital Commons @ Assumption College?
Numerous research studies have shown that open access articles, or articles available for free online, are cited at higher rates than articles locked behind a paywall.  Each item added to our new repository will be easily accessible to a global audience and will be assigned a unique stable URL which can be listed on a CV, grant application, or personal website.  Additionally, authors will have access to an Author Dashboard which provides in-depth readership analytics, including download counts, geographical and institutional readership distribution charts, and online referrers (or the website that directed a viewer to your work).
How can I contribute to Digital Commons @ Assumption College?
The faculty publications currently available in the repository represent only a very small fraction of the works that are being produced by our campus.  If you would be willing to give the library permission to add your own scholarship, please contact us and let us know!  We won't add any of your works unless we have permission from you first. 
Do you have other ideas of digital materials that might be suitable for inclusion in the repository?  Keep in mind that all items will be made publicly accessible for download and will be permanently preserved.  Bring your ideas and suggestions to us by emailing digitalcommons@assumption.edu.
Want to learn more?  Send us an email or check out the FAQ Page on the repository website.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Here at the d'Alzon Library, we try to keep up with the latest news related to student learning, information or digital literacy, and resource evaluation.

Each month, we'd like to share with you some of our favorite recent reads. Enjoy!


The Disinformation Vaccination. By Nina Jankowicz. The Wilson Quarterly. Winter 2018.
This article discusses the possible American responses to Russian disinformation and suggests that updated social media algorithms or governmental regulations will not suffice.  Instead, the U.S. must invest in programs that will enhance media and information literacy skills among all of its citizens.  

Are You a Curator or a Dumper? By Jennifer Gonzalez. Cult of Pedagogy. February 4, 2018.
The author cautions experts not to "dump" large amounts of data on learners; to prevent cognitive overload, "curate" just a few helpful resources.  A good reminder for librarians and educators who find it hard to resist sharing all the good stuff all at once.  Includes suggested easy-to-use tools for digital curation.

What Do Undergraduate Students Know about Scholarly Communication? A Mixed Methods Study. By Catherine Fraser Riehle and Merinda Kaye Hensley. Portal: Libraries and the Academy vol. 17 no. 1 (January 2017): 145-178.
Now that more and more undergraduates are completing projects that constitute participation in scholarly communications, it is important to understand what they are learning about scholarly communications practices within their disciplines. This study aims to evaluate students' understanding and to shed light on how faculty and librarians can work together to educate students in best practices.

In Praise of Adequacy. By Rachel Judith Weil. The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 22, 2018.
The author encourages faculty to "cultivate the adequacy mind-set - the feeling of being proud and grateful to be good enough to continue doing something from which we get pleasure and knowledge" and believes that "articulating what our students can get from mere adequacy in our disciplines is essential if we are to defend the value of a liberal-arts education."

Student Perceptions of Workforce Preparedness and Career Resources. AAC&U News. January/February 2018.
This article summarizes a survey of over 30,000 students by Gallup and Strada Education Network, which found that many students at four-year colleges and universities do not think higher education is preparing them with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their future careers.

Digital Reading: Genre Awareness as a Tool for Reading Comprehension. By Tanya K. Rodrigue. Pedagogy vol. 17 no. 2. April 2017. 
The author discusses the reading habits of current students and identifies tools or strategies that have been developed to help students build digital reading skills.  She concludes that a variety of strategies are needed, and proposes genre awareness as a new tool that can equip students with the ability to engage with digital sources.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Textbooks and Library Course Reserves


It is common knowledge in higher education that textbook affordability is a persistent problem for students. Textbook costs have outpaced inflation, and many students are ill prepared to handle this financial hurdle. In some cases they skip out on registering for a course because they lack the means to purchase the required materials.


The movement towards Open Education Resources, educational material that can be freely shared or repurposed, or OER, promises a long term solution, and initiatives like the Open Textbook Network are worth keeping up with. Learning Management Systems, like Brightspace, are also helping to alleviate the problem because digital files and links can be posted to a course site if they are licensed or meet fair use requirements under copyright.

In the meantime, college and university libraries continue to provide students with convenient access to textbooks and other required print and multimedia material through course reserves.

We encourage you to bring any additional copies of course textbooks that are available to you to be placed on Course Reserve in the Library. Students appreciate the convenience, and the textbooks that are on reserve get a lot of use. For example, one Human Services text, placed on reserve by Professor Sarai Rivera, was used fifty-five times by students during fall semester 2017.

The availability of a textbook on Library Reserve can offset the stress of not being able to afford the purchase and help promote student success. Accounting professors, Dan Jones and Paul Piwko recently secured copies of a required text, and placed it on reserve. Paul notes, “I know of at least one student - hard working, committed, but without a textbook - for whom access to a text has made a big difference.”

To request materials to be placed on Reserve, submit a Course Reserve Request Form, or contact Robin Maddalena at r.maddalena@assumption.edu or 508.767.7271.  Course Reserves can be found at the Front Desk filed by the professor's last name.  Students can use Reserve materials anywhere in the Library.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Here at the d'Alzon Library, we try to keep up with the latest news related to student learning, information or digital literacy, and resource evaluation.

Each month, we'd like to share with you some of our favorite recent reads. Enjoy!



Information Literacy in the Sciences: Faculty Perception of Undergraduate Student Skill. By Heather Brodie Perry. College & Research Libraries vol. 78 no. 7. 2017. 
Interviews of teaching faculty in the sciences from several Boston-area colleges provide insights into faculty perceptions of student research skills.  Students' inability to effectively evaluate sources was among the most common concerns.

Accessibility for Justice: Accessibility as a Tool for Promoting Justice in Librarianship. By Stephanie Rosen. In the Library With the Lead Pipe: An Open Access, Open Peer Reviewed Journal. November 29, 2017.
A discussion of the limitations of "diversity" initiatives, and suggested use of "accessibility" rhetoric to better describe ongoing efforts to ensure equity in access to information and library services.

Consumers and Curators: Browsing and Voting Patterns on Reddit. By Maria Glenski, Corey Pennycuff, and Tim Weninger. IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems vol. 4 no. 4. December 2017.
Study found Reddit users usually do not view an article before upvoting/downvoting it.  Data supports ongoing need for a critical eye when considering crowd-sourced ratings of information sources.

Prepare for the New Paywall Era. By Alexis C. Madrigal. The Atlantic. November 30, 2017. 
As content distributors (i.e., Google, Facebook) see the majority of ad revenue, content generators (newspapers) take another look at paywalls.

Practicing Digital Literacy in the Liberal Arts: A Qualitative Analysis of Students' Online Research Journals. By Jennifer Jarson and Lora Taub-Pervizpour. Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy. May 24, 2017.
Describes an undergraduate course in which students are required to create an online photo journal to document their research process.  The assignment is intended to help students analyze and synthesize sources, and reflect on their roles as both producers and consumers of information.

The Black Box Problem. By Barbara Fister. Barbara Fister: Librarian, Writer, Friendly Curmudgeon. November 16, 2017. 
Librarian Barbara Fister, long an advocate for teaching information literacy, wonders how to help students decide what is reliable information.  Many of the old formulas no longer work and even trained historians have difficulty evaluating information efficiently.

 Academic Journal Publishing is Headed for a Day of Reckoning. By Patrick Burns. The Conversation: Academic Rigor, Journalistic Flair. November 5, 2017.
Patrick Burns, Dean of Libraries at Colorado State University and author of this article writes: "Access to journals is crucial for how researchers do their work.  But few research libraries can afford all the journal subscriptions needed by all of their faculty for all occasions.  As the dean of libraries at a state school, I contend that the economic model for academic journal publications is broken."


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

During the summer, incoming first-year students were asked to take a survey meant to evaluate their information literacy skills.  This survey was developed by academic librarians and is freely shared with other institutions.  We chose 16 questions from the available question bank to help us measure students’ familiarity with a variety of information literacy skills. The survey was administered through the students’ summer Brightspace course and was promoted by Dean Morrison.  Ultimately, 314 students responded, approximately 64% of the total number of first-year students.

When we compare the results to the learning objectives and assessment rubrics in our Teaching Information Literacy for Faculty guide, we find that most of the results indicate that students’ skills are in the Developing (Level 1) to Competent (Level 2) range. There are few results indicating that students have Strong (Level 3) skills. However, there are often wide variations within a section.  For example, within the Search and Find section, students were surprisingly good at recognizing the best set of keywords to use for a research topic, but fewer understood what kind of results would come up if they put a name in the author field of a database.  














Another area of particular weakness seems to be understanding the elements of a citation.















Interestingly, students scored well (83%) on the two questions related to plagiarism.  However, we know that recognizing the definitions of plagiarism and paraphrasing is different from knowing how and when to cite in order to prevent plagiarism.

For more information about the survey results, see the Teaching Information Literacy for Faculty research guide.