First-Year Preceptorial

What Can the Library Do for You and Your First-Year Students?
Your First-year students typically arrive at Union having mastered the information gathering practices that enabled them to achieve academic success in high school. Few of them, however, will have had any significant experience with an information environment as complex, rich, or dynamic as that which Union offers. By involving the Library and its staff in your Preceptorial, you can help ease the transition these students will need to make in order to become accomplished researchers in the college setting. We also think that it is extremely important that students new to Union hear directly - from someone in the Library - the message that we are here to help them
Components of a Typical FYP Library Session
  • Orientation: Students tour the facility and are provided with basic information regarding Library policies, practices, collections, and services
  • Access: Students learn to access and navigate the various features of the Library website.
  • Research: Starting with the catalog as the centerpiece of the research process, students learn to search for Library materials, to revise their search strategies for improved results, to gather detailed information about the materials they find in their search, to request research materials from other libraries collections, to launch their searches in periodicals databases, and to identify and search specialized, discipline-specific research databases.
  • Critical Evaluation: Students are taught to evaluate and to distinguish between freely available Internet resources and subscription-based, research-quality resources that are delivered via the Internet, to distinguish between popular periodical titles and peer-reviewed scholarly journals, and to identify the resources that are best suited to meeting their individual research needs.
  • Support: Students are instructed that the expertise of Library staff represents one of the most important resources that the Library has to offer, that establishing a working relationship with Library personnel is likely to benefit many of the projects they will be undertaking over the course of the next four years, and are reminded that anyone on the professional staff would be happy to work with them on an informal, one-to-one basis to help them identify and learn to use any of the resources that the Library provides.
Contact Bruce Connolly (phone: 6281 / email:, David Gerhan (phone: 6614 / email:, or any librarian with whom you have a comfortable working relationship to set up an initial planning meeting geared toward the needs of your First-Year Preceptorial course.
Additional FYP Support and Service Options
  • Informal, one-on-one orientation and training session on Library resources and services for the FYP faculty member prior to the term and, ideally, at the point where the research project is being planned.
Helping faculty to become acquainted with the full range of resources that the library has to offer is a key component of the program for us, and helping faculty learn to use these resources effectively themselves is also a high priority. Librarians affiliated with the program are interested in taking you on a tour of the reference collection, demonstrating the capabilities of the online catalog, identifying electronic resources appropriate for the research projects you are planning, determining what types of handouts and instructional materials are needed for you class, and hearing your suggestions regarding the resources the Library might need to acquire to support course-related research. We are happy to meet with you individually or in small groups, in the Library or in your office.

Support for Courses:

  • Librarians can create web-based research guide for your FYP section, customized to include the specific print titles, scholarly databases, and web resources that you want students to use for their research and writing.
  • Librarians can also create handouts on general and specific topics that will be covered in your FYP section, for print, online, or Blackboard distribution.
See the Subject Research area of the Library website.

Instruction/Partnering Alternatives:

  • Librarian-led instruction sessions conducted during class time in either the Library or your classroom.  Length and frequency suited to the courses overall learning goals or to the specific and immediate needs of your students.
These could be one of the standard, hour-long library instruction sessions, scheduled during a class time and covering reference sources appropriate to the research assignment, searching the catalog, selecting and searching scholarly databases, and authoritative websites. Alternatively, they might involve a quick visit to demonstrate a specific information gathering skill or technique, marking search results in the catalog or a database and downloading them into a bibliographic management software package, saving search strategies that can be re-executed over and over via the catalog's "My Library" feature, or setting up an alert in a database which will automatically email journal citations on a research topic at regularly specified intervals.
  • Support for Blackboard, including resource development, participation in online discussions where appropriate, and the option of registering a librarian as an instructor for your course.
Blackboard gives faculty the option of registering a librarian as an instructor for the course and granting the privilege of posting research-related materials on the Blackboard site. Alternatively, a librarian might create materials that are published via Blackboard and/or the Subject Research area of the Library website.
Back-up for Faculty:
  • Plagiarism checking using the Turnitin system.
The Library provides access to the system. Contact Gail Golderman for more information on how to incorporate the database into your class.
  • Support for bibliographic management software such as RefWorks.
Access to RefWorks software, training workshop, customized materials, consultation.