Library holds workshop to help students find sources

By Allison Beatty

The ‘Find Articles’ workshop Monday in the East Los Angeles College library was attended by only one of the two students who registered.

The workshop, held in room 103 of the library, focused on finding the difference between a popular and scholarly article, when using each would work best and how to take full advantage of the ELAC library article database. There were even group activities on differentiating between the two and correctly citing a source, which were a bit awkward to do as a single person.

Librarian Rita Suarez said it was “highly unusual” for workshops to be this empty, although her first workshop of the year only had one person in attendance as well. That could’ve been because the library staff weren’t able to get the workshop schedule up until the second week of classes. Or possibly  the low number of students was due to the fact that professors don’t usually assign papers in the first few weeks of the semester. So it’s not help that anyone really needs just yet.

The workshop began by explaining what popular and scholarly sources to use for an essay or research paper. A popular source is anything published on a daily to semi-monthly basis and is written for the general public, such as a news outlet or magazine. A scholarly article is something usually published four times a year, is written and reviewed by experts on the subject and is usually written for other experts on the subject.

Later on the full features of the ELAC library article database were shown in detail. Nearly every article database available on the ELAC website has a feature that shows how to cite the specific sources in the different editions of MLA formats as well as citation for different fields of study. The entire roster of more than 80 databases, some specific to particular topics and some being very general, are tools for writing research papers.

Suarez said that typically her entire roster is full, even if about one-third of the people don’t show up. “I’d say around this time of year eight to ten is the average. Later in the year it’s eighteen to twenty,” Suarez said.

Wendi Brown, an ELAC Assistant Professor of Art History who assigns mandatory workshops for her students, says that maybe it’s due to poor advertising that these were so few students who showed up. Especially when compared to how quickly the workshops at the ELAC Writing Center in room E3 220 fill up as the semester goes on. Brown said, “Professors would appreciate it if the library focused on advertising the workshops, it’s really important to let students know that there are workshops available.”

The “Find Articles” workshop was the first of two workshops available at the library per week. “It’s still pretty early in the semester, I imagine it’ll pick up before and after spring break,” Suarez said. This may be due to professors assigning more papers during this time and students rushing to do extra credit as final exams get closer.

The next “Find Articles” workshop will take place on March 3 at 1:30. The full schedule of workshops for the semester is available at the library or on the ELAC website.


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