Saturday, March 28, 2009

More fun metaphors

I love the metaphors (or similes) that instructional librarians use to get points across to our students about some of the more complex ideas. Here's another great one recently posted to the CJC-L:

On a related note, I like to tell students Academic Search Complete and Proquest Research Library are like Wal-mart and Target. They have multiple departments and there is overlap between the two but there are some items you can only buy at Wal-mart and some only carried by Target. The subject-specific databases are like the shoe stores, sports stores, bookstores, etc. you find at the mall that cater to consumers looking for a particular item. (-Christina Teasley, Savannah Technical College)

If you have any of these great metaphors, please share them. I think it makes our classes more interesting and understandable when we get away from "library-speak" and make our concepts relevant to students' "prior knowledge" (to get all pedagogical on you!). One of the first ones Julie shared with me was using "hurricane" to explain the lack of context when keywording search (i.e. the word "hurricane" could refer to a storm, a lamp, a boxer, a movie, a Bob Dylan song, an alcoholic bevarage, an NHL hockey team, etc). I still use that in English I classes (thanks Julie!!).



Friday, March 27, 2009

Define a website vs. database

Someone posted to a listserv the question "How do define in one sentence a website, so that students understand the difference between websites and database articles." Here's my favorite response:

Websites are bars that let everyone in.
Databases are like nightclubs that charge a cover. We (the library) are paying your cover charge.

I think I might just have to use that. :o)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Online sample math problems

I just had a student call looking for sample calculus problems and found a pretty good site:

It's a wiki and contains user-generated sample problems (and the solutions!) for tons of math topics, and also optics, physics classical mechanics, and probability and statistics. Looks like a pretty good resource! It looks like you might have to register to access some content.