NAHSL Innovation: Engaging Students During Bibliographic Instruction

October 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Posted in NAHSL Innovations | 3 Comments

NAHSL Innovations are a way for our members to share their successful innovations or best practices with their colleagues. If you are aware of an innovation that you would like to suggest, please visit the NAHSL Innovations webpage.

Thank you to Jessica Kilham of the Lyman Maynard Stowe Library at the UCONN Health Center for sharing the latest NAHSL Innovation. Jessica has come up with a unique interactive way to teach bibliographic instruction.

“As an instruction librarian, I am always looking for new ideas to engage students during bibliographic instructions.  My latest approach is to have them build a search using cards that I pass out.  Printed on the cards are keywords, MeSH terms, MeSH terms with subheadings, Boolean operators, quotation marks and parentheses.  Working in small groups, students are given a very vague topic and told to create a search strategy using the cards that have been given.  Almost instantly the students are actively discussing strategy and seeking clarification on concepts that they do not understand.

Engaging students in the learning process increases their attention during the class and promotes meaningful learning.   More importantly, it makes the class fun and exciting!”

Jessica Kilham

Information & Education Services Librarian Lyman Maynard Stowe Library UCONN Health Center Farmington, Connecticut 06034

Jessica Kilham's NAHSL Innovation Jessica Kilham’s NAHSL Innovation

Jessica Kilham's NAHSL Innovation

Jessica Kilham’s NAHSL Innovation



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  1. Jessica, does this qualify as a “flipping the classroom” technique that is so “hot” in many instructional settings now? Who are your students – are they first-year college students? Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Claire-
      It’s not exactly flipped but the students have familiarity with PubMed– it does build upon their previous knowledge. I have used this exercise with faculty, residents, and first year students.

  2. I love this, and you can tell that the students are really engaged in the process!

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