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Navigating Library Research: Unit 13: Teaching With the Library

Teaching With the Library

There are many ways to include the library resources and services in your courses including a general information session taught by Library faculty for your class at the library or in your classroom or lab, linking to the Library's electronic copy of materials for the student and including a library search box in your course pages.

This section will present a few of the tools that Auraria's librarians can help you with.

Working With a Library Instructor

Librarians with expertise in numerous subject areas are available for teaching, research consultation, and developing instructional materials. For details on all of these options, visit the Instruction Department's page.

If you would like an Adobe Connect or Skype discussion on library search for your class, contact the Instruction Department (303-556-6776) and we will get you set up with a librarian.

Linking to Library Resources

For more information on this topic see Connecting to Library Resources.  There you will also find step by step guides to link to some of the Library's most used databases and resources.

To point students and colleagues directly to online content or to sample searches in appropriate databases you will generally need to pay attention to three things:

  • a stable URL, that is one that will point to the same resource every time.
    Not all of our content is available full text via a stable url. Some databases (such as the Lexis Nexis family of databases) do not yet support direct links to their full text content. Other databases are "indexing" databases without full text content. However many of the major database publishers have added this feature to their content.
  • a URL that allows off campus users to login to a proprietary resource through the Library.
    The URL to purchased resources need to be in the rewrite format.
  • a link from a course management system such as Blackboard or eCollege must open in a new window and not inside the course management system's frame.

General procedure for finding a stable URL:

  1. Go to the web site you want to use.
  2. First examine the URL as displayed in the address bar for the words: session, session id, id,jscript or javascript, or for single quotes. These items indicate the URL is probably not stable.
    1. If the URL doesn't have these items copy it from the address bar, open a new browser window, and paste it into the address bar to try it. If it works, use it, but test it again in 24 hours. Some sites have URLs that are stable only for a short time period.
    2. If the URL has those items examine the page for a link labeled "stable URL" or permanent link.
    3. If you find a link labeled "stable" that is good. Use it but be sure it includes what we call the rewrite wrapper if it is not a free resource so off-campus users will be able to log in to access the web site. You can usually opposite click on the link and select "copy shortcut" to get the URL to insert in your document or web page.
    4. Next try going back a page and examining the link used to reach the target page. Examine that connecting link (the one used to reach your target page) for the same items as mentioned above by putting the cursor over the link and viewing the URL of the link in the Status bar. The Status bar is typically located at the bottom left of your Internet Explorer browser window.
    5. If the URL doesn't have these items copy it from the address bar, open a new browser window, and paste it into the address bar to try it. If it works, use it, but test the link again in 24 hours. Some sites have URLs that are stable only for a short time period.
    6. If the URL has those items you might have to link to a page even further from your target web page and instruct users how to find the resource from there.


    Typically, stable or not, the URLs will be looooooong. Some course software has a limit on the length of a link you can insert. When you do insert it, the course software will cut off the end of the URL making it unusable. There is a public utility on the web you can use to create a short version of those long complicated URLs called TinyURL. Take your long URL convert it to a TinyURL and insert the TinyURL version in your courseware. It will work just as well. Go to the site or use the box below. 

Enter a long URL to make tiny:

Why Link? Why Not Just Place a Copy Online?

In general there is no reason you could not place a copy online. In fact this might be necessary for articles the library does not have full text online. You may generally do this as long as the following apply:

  1. Your electronic copy of a copyrighted article is a legally purchased copy or a digitized version of a legally purchased copy and the copyright holder has not specifically barred the practice. That is, no downloads from a less considerate users' web site or a taped television interview and no copies from sites that say 'no copies without permission'.
  2. Place the article in a protected area such as a Blackboard course space, or in the Auraria Library's online course reserves, but not on your personal web page.
  3. You remove the copy of the article from online at least by the end of the semester.

Copyright is an extremely complicated subject so here is a handout for faculty from the Association of Research Libraries that outlines some best practices related to using materials in a classroom and online. Also the Auraria Library librarians have created a set of web pages, Copyright, Plagiarism and Intellectual Property, that focus on the issues surrounding copyright and fair use in higher education. There are many credible web sites out there from librarians/lawyers that are linked from these pages.

Whether or not you include the article might also depend on how much 'discovery' you'd like your students to experience while taking your course. You may wish to simply provide a copy of an article for the sake of time and efficiency or you might want to point your students in the general direction of the resources and start them exploring. An example might be a link to a fairly complicated search in Skyline that will display a list of books they might find useful.