LILAC report: Teacher-Librarian Collaboration in Supporting the First Research Process lilac11

The next session I choose was Together We Are Strong: Teacher-Librarian Collaboration in Supporting the First Research Process of Undergraduate Students, presented by Anne Kakkonen and Antti Virrankoski (Helsinki University Library). This was given in the main British Library conference room: the picture shows the view through a window in the conference hall over the British Library piazza.
The presenters started by talking about what they were developing - referring to the ACRL standards of information literacy. The next issue is how to develop it. Here they presented a pyramid model, from basic studies, through bachelors, masters and finally doctoral studies at the pinnacle. In basic studies they taught students basics of information seeking and an ICT driving licence. After the first year they focus more on skills needed to become experts in their subject field, embedded into teaching of different disciplines.
The first serious research experience is seen as being the Bachelor's thesis. They described its progress in the Department of Geosciences and Geography. Firstly, there are meetings with students deciding the broad topic area of the thesis. A week after that is the first librarian intervention; a lecture on searching and sources in the subject field. This is to support the starting process of defining the thesis topic. In the following three weeks the students do independent searching, with the aim of exploring and defining their research topic. Then there is another library intervention, with hand-on tutoring about information seeking. The librarian acts as session chair and expert searcher, and each student has to present what they have found and how they found it, defining their thesis topic. The subject teacher is also involved, evaluating the research results as a subject expert, and intervening to help refine the students' research questions. One to three weeks afterwards, students have to give presentations of their first research paper and ultimately, of course, the final thesis is submitted.
The presenters felt that all parties learnt from working together in this way. One issue was: librarians have to fit in with the academics' schedule (and now and then the academic does not attend the joint session, which is frustrating). One of the presenters had studied a geography subject, so the question was posed: is it still necessary to have an academic present? He felt that, yes, it was. One thing was that he had specialised in one field, but that the students were covering many different specialisms. Thus you needed the search expertise of the librarians, and the subject expertise of the academics.
I found a paper from the BOBCATSS conference which I think covers the same initiative (in the latter part of the paper) at:
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