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Faculty & Staff Resources

This guide provides information about library services for faculty and staff at CSM.

Requesting Library Instruction

Research shows that point-of-need library instruction is particularly valuable for students, especially when it can be tailored to a specific assignment. Plan to request your session when your students will be starting research for a project.

All sessions will start with information about library services and how to contact a librarian for research help (~5 minutes).

Library Instruction Topics

(15-45 minutes)

The librarian will help students to understand how to evaluate sources and what types of sources are expected for research at the college level. Students will learn: 

  • Types of information sources (books, scholarly journals, newspapers, websites, etc.) and pros/cons of each source type. 

  • Tips for determining quality and credibility of a source including currency (how recent/up-to-date the information is), reliability (accuracy of the information, references to other sources, and whether the source is primarily opinion-based), authority (credentials of the creator/author and whether the publisher is reputable), and purpose (if the source is fact or opinion, checking for bias, and determining if the author or publisher have an agenda or are trying to sell something). 

  • Longer sessions allow more time for showing examples and hands-on activities with students. For example, the librarian may work with students to find articles then figure out what type of source it is and whether they would (or should) use it in a college-level research paper. 

(5-15 minutes)

The librarian will discuss why students should brainstorm and create a strategy before starting their research, and go over ideas for coming up with keywords to search with in library databases. Students will learn how to identify the main ideas or concepts from their thesis statement or research question and come up with alternate keywords for each important idea/concept (including synonyms, narrower terms, broader terms, and formal or academic terminology). Longer sessions will have time for students to work on creating a search strategy for their own topic, and/or for the librarian to demonstrate the process (starting with a topic then brainstorming as a class to come up with additional keywords).

(10+ minutes)

The librarian will demonstrate a search, using a relevant topic based on the assignment description you send us. While demonstrating the search, the librarian will show and explain features and tools in the database such as:

  • Using “Advanced Search” to separate keywords into multiple search boxes, along with a brief explanation of the purpose of AND, OR, and NOT (Boolean operators). 
  • Building a basic search string (using the single search box for the “Basic Search”) 
  • Sorting your search results (by relevance, newest first, oldest first) 
  • Limiting your search results by: 
    • Full Text 
    • Peer Review 
    • Source Type (scholarly journal, newspaper, etc.)  
    • Publication Date 
    • Subject 
    • Language 
  • Information found in the database record of an article 
    • Abstract 
    • Subjects, subject terms, or other controlled vocabulary 
    • URLs 
    • Author(s), including any credentials listed (affiliation with specific school or organization) 
    • DOIs or other unique identifiers (ISBN, ISSN, etc.) 
    • Publication Title 
    • Source Type and Document Type 
  • Cite tool: using this as a starting point for generating a citation 
  • Email tool: using this to send articles to themselves 
  • Print tool: using this to print out a copy of the database record and/or the article (if full text is available on the page) 
  • Folder or “Add to Selected Items” tools: use to gather multiple sources before sending them to yourself 
  • Export or Citation Export tool: using this to send information about the source to NoodleTools 
  • Options for creating accounts in the database (ProQuest, EBSCO, etc.) to save research long term 
    • Note: Personal database accounts are free, but not affiliated with the library. If students forget the username/password or have other issues accessing their account, they will need to contact the database company. 

(5-20 minutes)

The librarian will provide tips, tricks, and tools for better research. Examples of topics may include: 

  • Using Boolean operators in your search 

  • Using controlled vocabulary (“subjects”, “subject terms”, or “thesaurus” in databases) in your search 

  • Tips for using Google (using shortcuts such as “intitle:”, “site:”, “filetype:”, quotation marks around phrases, minus/hyphen to exclude words, etc.) 

  • Searching for full text (using E-Journal Finder) 

  • Reverse citation searching (using a citation to find the full text article in the library’s databases) 

(5-10 minutes)

The librarian will provide a quick overview of the purpose of using this style, and general rules for citing your sources. This includes going over the format for types of commonly cited sources (journal article, book, etc.) for both in-text citations and references or works cited pages. 

(5-10 minutes)

The librarian will talk about what plagiarism is, how to avoid plagiarism, and why we ask them to cite their sources. This topic also includes discussion on the conversational aspects of research, where scholars build off of and respond to each other's work by citing their sources.

(5-10 minutes)

The librarian will explain what NoodleTools is, why students may want to use it, and how to access it. Students will learn how to make an account, create a project, add sources, and generate a bibliography. Longer sessions can go into more detail on specific functions such as using notecards, creating an outline, and using NoodleTools to keep track of their research.

Have another information literacy or research-related topic that you want us to cover? Let us know what you’re looking for!

Course Guides

Course guides can provide targeted overviews, suggestions, and asynchronous instruction for a specific course. Each course guide generally includes:

  • Strategies for brainstorming keywords
  • "Best bets" for finding articles, books/eBooks, web sources, and other resources (such as statistics, data, or media sources)
  • Tips for evaluating information sources
  • Citing sources (including any relevant citation styles)

Note: CSM Libraries hope to have an up-to-date course guide for every gateway course by the end of AY22-23.

Course guides are created upon request. To request a guide for your course (or to request additions or changes to existing guides to better match current curriculum), please email us at