As the pandemic forced schools and universities to transition abruptly to online learning, one of the critical tasks of the library is to guide students through the library’s various online information sources .
For its part, the University Library, through the Information Services and Instruction Section (ISAIS), held the 3rd and final leg of its webinar series, this time targeted towards students from all levels. The first set of webinars was held from October 20-23, while the second set was from October 27-30. Patterned after Research Made Easy (RME), the library’s information literacy initiative, the webinar provided practical knowledge in navigating through the various online databases and information resources of the Main Library. The other webinars were dedicated to enhancing students’ necessary information literacy skills by introducing smart search strategies in their research process. Smart search strategies employ various symbols to execute specific operations such as the use of quotation marks (“ “) for phrase searching, hash (#) or questions mark (?) for a wild card search, and asterisk (*) for truncation operations, among others. Considered one of the primary search strategies that every researcher should know, Boolean Searching was also discussed, which involves using operators such as AND, OR, and NOT in a logical manner to narrow down or expand a search.
There is a multitude of online databases that students can use, from multi-disciplinary to subject-specific. However, it is equally important to instruct students how to efficiently use these databases to locate an authoritative article, search for an appropriate research paper within the shortest time possible, and narrow down a search to a specific subject matter, to name a few. Additionally, a session was also dedicated to updating the participants with the new tools and upgraded technology employed by the University, such as the web-scale discovery service platform, Tuklas, and the new Main Library website, which boasts a more responsive design.
Another key objective was to understand the students’ personal experience in utilizing the library’s various resources by providing a venue to ask questions and provide comments. As the Main Library subscribes to User Experience (UX) ‘s significance in modern-day libraries and information centers, ideas, and reflection from the clients are valued as they contribute to the library’s growth. In this case, however, users’ opinions and experiences are limited to research concerns. True enough, a handful of students managed to exchange ideas and share their personal experiences in conducting their research.
More so, this webinar series proved useful to those who are unable to personally visit the Main Library, such as this academic year’s new students. Having that in mind, the University Library shall continuously uphold its mandate to aid the student community with their information needs with or without a pandemic.