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Teaching Citations as a Multi-Functional Approach to Archives Instruction Open Access

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This case study presents a lesson plan in which students learn how to cite archival materials. The exercise of citing archival materials not only ensures that students make proper attributions, it also requires students to apply their understanding of archival description and organization. This case study treats teaching proper archival citation as an opportunity to (a) reinforce core archival literacy skills and (b) cultivate best practices in note-taking and academic integrity. Both authors are librarians, one a special collections librarian and the other a reference librarian who was also the instructor for the course. The discussion below draws on the authors’ collaboration in a ten-week archival research practicum at The George Washington University (GWU) in fall 2016. In that practicum, students conducted preliminary research at GWU’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) in order to develop research proposals. The learning activities discussed here fell in week two of the practicum. The course in question was an Arts and Humanities Seminar offered within the University Honors Program. The Honors Program requires students to take two such seminars, and students have several options available each semester. The sixteen students enrolled ranged from second- to fourth-year undergraduates. Only one had previous experience in Special Collections.

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