WMU News

Elaine Jayne honored for work on library tutorial

Oct. 14, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University librarian is being honored this month by the Michigan Library Association for creating a computer tutorial that has drawn interest from more than 100 other institutions.

Elaine Anderson Jayne, instructional services librarian at Waldo Library, will receive the MLA's 2003 Information Literacy Roundtable's Information Literacy Award Oct. 30 during the MLA's annual meeting in Lansing. The annual award recognizes a Michigan library advocate who has made a significant contribution to instructional activities in libraries. Jayne is being recognized for creating Searchpath, a self-instructional tutorial designed to teach students basic library and research skills.

Implemented on campus in the fall of 2002, Searchpath guides students through the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and plagiarism. The tutorial includes interactive features such as Flash movies, rollovers, feedback in response to questions and live practice searching. Each of six modules can be completed in 10-15 minutes and is followed by a short quiz. Because it is Web-based, the tutorial can be used outside of class. Librarians recommend that students be able to pass the quizzes with a score of at least 85 percent before using the library resources or attending an in-person library instruction course.

"Searchpath is meant to help students become better researchers--better able to access and evaluate the information they find and incorporate it into their knowledge base," says Jayne. "We call this skill set 'information literacy.'"

Jayne and her colleagues have made their work available to other institutions at no cost. Nationwide, 105 libraries have already downloaded Searchpath, and customized versions are now

being used at Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Tulsa, among others.

"Searchpath is the next best thing to a live librarian teaching the student one-on-one," says David Isaacson, humanities librarian and assistant head of central reference, who nominated Jayne for the award. "There are some other products like this one available, but Elaine adapted Searchpath in such a way that it can be easily used by others as well. Every university library has many of the same resources such as indexes and catalogs, and we're all faced with the competition of the Internet. One of the most important things Searchpath does is to help students figure out the best place to go for research information, which is often not the Web. The program encourages students to think critically about the resources available to them."

Searchpath was created with the support of a Teaching and Learning with Technology Grant from WMU. Reference librarian Maira Bundza collaborated with Jayne on the project and provided technical support.

Jayne, who has worked at the University in since 1996, earned a bachelor's degree from WMU in 1986 and a master's degree in anthropology and a master's degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan in 1989 and 1993, respectively.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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