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Library CLOSED until further notice

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Limited Access

Beginning Monday, March 23, Hoover Library will be CLOSED until further notice. Virtual reference services (use the "ASK US" or "CHAT" button) will be available from 1 PM - 9 PM Sunday, 9 AM - 9 PM Monday-Thursday, and 9 AM - 4 PM Friday. Hours are subject to change at any time. Please see our Hours page for current building availability. For more information, see the McDaniel College COVID-19 Information Page
Faculty: Please see our COVID-19 Library Access
Students: Please see our COVID-19 Student Access page.

Library Instruction/Information Literacy: Assignment Suggestions

Assignment Suggestions

Assignment Suggestions


Compare and Contrast Information


Look at the treatment of a topic over  a period of time

This can build students' awareness of the process of scholarship on a topic -- what do researchers now know that they didn't know before, how might the social context of research have had impact on a topic, etc. It can work for time spans as limited as two years and as wide as a century. It may also heighten awareness that it is not enough to search the last six months in a database.


Review a major journal in the field over time
Students develop a sense of a discipline as an evolving entity by tracing shifts in who is published, what topics are considered of interest, what methodology is used.


Compare items retrieved by searches using two different search engines or databases
Students learn that indexes, databases and even search engines may have different focus and functions. This helps them learn to make deliberate choices about which finding tool to locate information in various fields, at differing levels, or in differing formats. Searching a general database such as Academic Search Complete and the standard indexing tool within your discipline might yield some interesting results. (Is the general database useful for an interdisciplinary approach? Are its articles more accessible? Does the specialized index do better for narrow searches?)


Compare the treatment of the same topic in two different disciplines
This helps students to practice physically locating material and it teaches them to learn to identify the perspectives and approaches of different disciplines.  


Locate two scholarly articles on a topic, and compare and evaluate their bibliographies
Students observe both common and unique sources across the articles, and think about the impact the quality of sources can have on the authority of the article.


Locate and compare two contemporary accounts of an event
Heightens awareness of difference in perspective between the immediacy and detail of the contemporary account and the treatment of the event by later scholars. Students are often intrigued with old newspapers and magazines, and finding a topic, then using an index to find another article, helps them understand the use of indexes. 


Website Evaluation 

Locate and evaluate the “best” and the “worst” web site on a topic, describing the criteria used and recommending improvements for the "worst" site. Students use search engines to locate web sites, and must develop criteria for judging the pertinence and reliability of the information found. 



Create a profile of a species, or of a chemical compound found in a household product
Familiarizes students with the common scientific reference tools, and can introduce them to scientific literature.


Write a newspaper article about an event
The entire class can research an event, with each individual writing a news story on it. In addition to encouraging students to identify important elements and to summarize, the differences among the stories may alert students to the impact a writer's perspective has on writing.