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For librarians, the goals are three-fold: increase patron knowledge of how to retrieve and interpret information from Web sites, build a bridge to the teaching faculty to make them aware of how the library can help raise the level of their classes' critical thinking skills, and encourage participation on their part in developing Information Literacy.For instructors the goal we had in mind was to devise assignments that covered basic Internet research skills, yet provided flexibility in terms of the classroom assignments they might need to teach these skills.
The Type I assignment involves basic Web searching skills.
The Type II usually handles retrieval of information from pre-selected Internet sites.
The goal of these assignments is to show students and instructors alike some basic tips for effectively exploring the Internet and evaluating Web sites.
The use of Internet sites as sources for research is just a small part of the greater information literacy model.
Lastly, for students the assignments needed to be easy to understand, and immediately relevant to term papers or other projects that their instructors were regularly assigning.
The basic concerns with using "The Internet" as a research tool are well known, and fall roughly into two categories: defects and inconsistencies in the searching tools, and the complexity of interpreting and evaluating results.
The goal of this paper is to provide a framework for librarians to interact with instructors, and prepare for three common types of research assignments which necessitate the incorporation of Internet research and evaluation skills.
We will first summarize some of the familiar pitfalls of Internet searching, and show how they relate to our three types of assignments.
The explanations and examples included in this paper can be used as either pieces or modules of a broader library instruction programme, or as stand-alone assignments designed around particular classes or curricula.
Library literature includes much on the problems of using the Internet for academic research (Cornell, 1999; Janes, 1999) and the fallibility of current search engine technology (Notess, 2000), as well as the importance of building strong librarian/instructor relationships (Kotter, 1999; Stebelman, 1999).