Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dealing with "Rogue Assignments"

C&RL News posted this article about dealing with "Rogue Assignments" that come to the reference desk. She's referring to those assignments we see every so often directing students to use a resource that the library does not have, or to research a topic that we simply don't have enough content to support. There are some good ideas, some of which we already use, for dealing with these assignments immediately so the student is not frustrated by a perceived lack of library services. I think the most important part, as is described here, is contacting the instructor and tactfully addressing the issue. This, of course, is one of the fun parts of my job! We definitely get assignments that would benefit from some subtle librarian intervention. Or at the very least, an explanation to the faculty member that using an electronic database is NOT the same as using the Internet, which they have forbidden their students to do. I haven't contacted any faculty yet on an issue like this, but if you see an assignment that could use some tweaking, I'd be happy to approach faculty with suggestions for how the library can benefit their assignment.

This blog would be a good forum for sharing how we deal with such assignments and what we've suggested students try, so we're not each reinventing our own little wheel.

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