Popular Searches

When Should I Consult a Librarian?

Academic resources are constantly changing, and it can be hard to stay on top of the latest information tools. Ripon College librarians offer faculty research consultations to help with professional research needs. We are happy to meet with you either in person or on the phone to explain the newest resources, update your research skills, or help design search strategies should you hit a research wall.

Some situations in which a research consultation is available include:

  • When you are unable to track down a specific item
  • When you would like to learn advanced search techniques for specific databases or online research
  • When your search strategy has yielded no useful results
  • When you have exhausted your normal resources and do not know where to look next

This service is intended to aid professors who hit a research roadblock; it is not a substitute for individual research or research generally performed by assistants.

Contact your library liaison listed below to set up a consultation.

Library Instruction


Each library instruction session is designed to help students:

  • Successfully complete the research for the assignments you have given
  • Improve their information literacy skills to become productive, socially responsible citizens

Planning a session:

Strategic timing

  • Is the session occurring at the point of need?
  • Will your students have enough time to finish the assignment if they need to use interlibrary loan?


  • What are your goals for the session?
  • What are the vital research skills/strategies/concepts students should acquire?
  • Which resources, scholarship, and/or methodology should be emphasized?
  • Do the assignment and the library resources complement each other?

If you’re interested in bringing your class to the library, check our up-to-date calendar below for room availability. After you’ve found a time that works for you, email Andrew Prellwitz to set up the session.

What Can We Cover?

    1. Will your students need to select and narrow a topic? (10-30 minutes)
      • Brainstorming a topic based on assignment criteria
      • Identifying keywords, synonyms and controlled vocabulary on their topic
      • Browsing relevant resources for background information
      • Articulating a research question or thesis statement
    2. Will students be using library catalogs (local and/or beyond) to do searches on their topic? (10-30 minutes)
      • Searching for books/media by words/phrase vs. subject
      • Finding relevant subject links
      • Interpreting results lists, marking and saving relevant items
      • Using advanced search functions to manipulate publication format, date, language, etc.
      • Using call numbers to locate items on library shelves
      • Requesting material from other libraries via ILL
      • Recognizing e-resources (e-books, web resources) within catalogs
    3. Will students be required to distinguish between primary vs. secondary materials? (10-30 minutes)
      • Defining primary and secondary sources
      • Developing strategies to locate primary materials
      • Discussing the contributions of primary and secondary literature to disciplinary knowledge building
    4. Will students need to identify and search relevant research databases effectively? (15-60 minutes)
      • Determining the nature and scope of literature indexed
      • Searching with natural language keywords and phrases
      • Using the database thesaurus or controlled vocabulary to search
      • Evaluating results lists for relevance
      • Checking for full-text availability and making ILL requests
      • Revising search strategies for related or more focused results
      • Marking, emailing, exporting, saving and printing results
    5. Will students need to understand the difference between scholarly and popular publications? (10-20 minutes)
      • Discussing scholarly vs. popular publishing procedures
      • Determining the scope, purpose and target audiences
    6. Will students need to identify and evaluate scholarly and/or popular Internet resources? (15-30 minutes)
      • Recognizing and distinguishing between fee-based and free websites
      • Using advanced Google search
      • Analyzing Internet site organization and search capabilities
      • Determining the scope, audience and currency of information
      • Determining the authority, accuracy and objectivity of sources
      • Analyzing the relevance of information for an information need
    7. Will students need to learn how to track down scholarship featured in bibliographies and references? (10-20 minutes)
      • Recognizing which elements of a citation to use for tracking purposes
      • Choosing an appropriate venue to locate cited materials (catalogs, databases, Google, etc.)
    8. Will students need to learn about documentation and plagiarism? (10-20 minutes)
      • Recognizing elements of a citation
      • Distinguishing book, article and media citations in various styles
      • Understanding why citations differ from style to style
    9. Will students be required to use bibliographic manager software to manage information? (15-60 minutes)
      • Becoming familiar with the capabilities of Zotero
      • Learning to import citations from databases, catalogs and websites
      • Creating records for resources not included in licensed databases and library catalogs
      • Editing records and creating annotations
      • Formatting bibliographies
    10. Will students need to know the physical layout of Lane Library? (10-30 minutes)
      • Becoming comfortable with finding physical reference materials, periodicals, DVDs, etc.
      • Developing a sense of how materials are shelved
      • Learning about service points (circulation, reserves, research help


Instruction Session Options

Multiple sessions in the library or classroom
Multiple sessions allow students to incrementally build their information literacy skills.

One-time instruction in the library
A one-time session in the library at the beginning of the research process can give your students a good foundation for completing a well-researched project.

Instruction in the classroom
These sessions can last from 15 minutes up to the entire class period depending on the topics addressed.

One-on-one assistance with specific projects
Students can be required to meet with a librarian as part of a research project.

Student-initiated meetings with librarian
Librarians are available to work with students from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students may drop by our offices or email to set up an appointment. Feel free to include our contact information in your syllabi.

Library Liaisons

What can your library liaison do for you?

      • Serve as a primary contact between the library and your department to answer questions, resolve problems, interpret library policy, and provide information about library resources
      • Assist with acquisitions and collection development
      • Provide one-on-one orientation to new and experienced faculty members
      • Gather information about new areas of research, courses and programs in your department
      • Be aware of curriculum changes and their impact on the library’s collections and services


Department Liaisons Extension
Art History Peter Conlon x8750
Art/Studio Art Peter Conlon x8750
Biology Peter Conlon x8750
Business Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Chemistry Peter Conlon x8750
Communication Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Computer Science Peter Conlon x8750
Economics Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Education Andrew Prellwitz x8752
English Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Environmental Studies Peter Conlon x8750
Exercise Science Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Global Studies and Languages Andrew Prellwitz x8752
History Andrew Prellwitz x8752
History Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Mathematics Peter Conlon x8750
Military Science Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Music Peter Conlon x8750
Philosophy Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Physics Peter Conlon x8750
Politics and Government Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Psychology Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Religion Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Sociology Andrew Prellwitz x8752
Theatre Peter Conlon x8750

Course Reserves

Course reserves are located in the Franzen Center on a first-come, first-served basis. The library places required textbooks for all Catalyst and 100-level courses on reserve each semester. Faculty can place requests for items to be placed on reserve by using the form below or filling out a reserve card, available here and at the front desk. The library encourages faculty to make use of course reserves and other affordable materials, such as open educational resources (OER), in their courses.

For other items, please fill out the form below:

Course Reserve Request

Instructor's Name(Required)
*Include section, if applicable.