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Learning & Instruction

Research Guides

Research Guides

In the first three months of 2012, there have been 18,594 visits to the most popular Research Guide: Pharmacy. What is it pharmacy students (and faculty) know? Research Guides are an invaluable resource provided by Cowles Library. Librarians have developed Research Guides for each department and school at Drake. There are numerous guides designed to help students in particular courses and with particular assignments. There are even guides designed for First Year Seminars and the Engaged Citizen experience.

Each guide was created by a librarian who is an expert in that field and contains links to both Cowles Library resources and relevant information sources available online. These guides are not static, however, as librarians are frequently updating Research Guides as more resources become available. While there are changes to what databases and journals Drake subscribes to, Research Guides are invaluable tools to knowing what is available now. Research Guides highlight relevant resources and help students figure out which resources are best for each research need.

One of the many perks of the library’s new website is the better visibility and integration of Research Guides. To discover and explore Research Guides, simply navigate to the library’s home page and select Research Guides from the Find menu or visit

New Web Site Launched

 After an extensive one-year development and test process, the Library launched a new website March 20.  There are actually “four sites in one” in the new architecture:

The “Research, Study and Learning site is the core service and access component at  This site focuses on providing resource access for Drake students and faculty, research assistance to Drake students, faculty and staff.

Our Purpose, Our People,” located at, covers the practice of librarianship at Cowles Library.  Planning, assessment, our building master plan and facilities projects, and the professional activities of the Library faculty and staff are the main components of this site.

Our extensive digital projects and special collections documenting the history, traditions, scholarly output and unique holdings of Drake University and Cowles Library are finally brought together in a single site as “Collections at Cowles” at  This site includes the noted Drake Heritage Collections and the Student Newspaper (Times-Delphic) digitization project that received national attention in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

And, finally, this site — our Newsletter — at provides an ongoing record of our activities and discussions as part of the Drake community.

What’s Ahead?

A continued focus on ever more seamless integration of the Library’s massive electronic resources and services will dominate our immediate development efforts — including further enhancements to our Find Articles (databases) lookup tool.

“The site isn’t finished,” noted Dean Rod Henshaw, “We have an aggressive schedule of cosmetic and functional improvements that will appear over the next couple of months.   We know that students and faculty will benefit particularly from the site’s improved integration with Research Guides and a much better engine for finding databases and other resources.  And it will only get better with time.”

Librarian for Discovery Services & Technology: Andrew Welch

Andrew Welch
You may have seen his alter masked persona on the SuperSearch Posters. Since joining the Library Faculty in 2010 – Andrew Welch has been forging new connections for access to scholarly resources. He earned his Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science in 2003, and served as a Systems Librarian for the Aurora Public Library system in Aurora, Colorado.

Mr. Welch serves as an Assistant Professor of Librarianship as at Cowles Library. He is responsible for the Library’s integrated library system (ILS), a suite of software that manages the acquisition, circulation and display of the Library’s collections. In addition, he oversees the configuration of SuperSearch and is involved with a number of other systems projects involving on-demand book, e-book and article delivery.

His research interests include usability of online library resources and the integration of third-party services into the library discovery interface.

Library Launches New Web Site

Cowles Library has been at the forefront of change in the world of electronic information for many years (the first Cowles Web site was launched in 1994, for example)  As the provision and accessibility of electronic information has continued to evolve, so have the services and electronic offerings of Cowles Library.

Library's New Web Site

The new site improved the finding tools for article databases

Now, in a major step forward, Cowles Library’s Faculty and staff have developed a new Web site, which they are launching in “beta” (i.e., available for public viewing and comment):  Employing the widely-used WordPress platform, this new version has many advantages over the current Library Web site: 

A dynamic and descriptive list of databases in each Drake discipline, ready links to information about the library and where to get help, and “site search” and “SuperSearch” abilities on every page (to name but a few!)

This new site has been carefully developed by Cowles faculty and staff, and subjected to usability testing by Drake students.  It consists of four major sections:  The “main” site is the Research, Study and Learning, which is designed to make it easier to access the Library’s services and resources; the Newsletter, launched in Fall 2011 (which you are reading!) is a digest of the Library’s latest happenings; “Our Purpose, Our People” has in-depth information about the life of Cowles Library; and “Collections at Cowles” contains both historical information about Drake University, as well as the collected research output of Drake’s faculty, staff, and students.

Keep in mind, the “official” Web site continues to be at ; this site has served us well, so we will not replace it with the “new” site until we’ve given our users time to try out (and comment on) the new site.

This, of course, is just an overview; we invite you to kick the tires!  There are feedback links on almost every page, so we’d love to hear what you think!

Refworks Workshops

Cowles Library will offer a workshop this semester where you can learn more about RefWorks. RefWorks automates the tasks of citing information & creating bibliographies for research papers. It allows you to create your own citations or import citations from research databases. Users can automatically insert references from RefWorks into their papers and generate formatted bibliographies in seconds. This workshop will be offered twice this semester: Monday, November 28 at 3 p.m. and Wednesday, December 7 at 4 p.m.

This workshop will cover the basic functions of RefWorks, including the new features added this fall. You will learn how to import and export citations from library databases, how to create bibliographies in seconds, how to organize sources in folders and subfolders, and how to manually create references. RefWorks novices and current users are welcome. Holding this workshop in the electronic classroom will allow users to practice using RefWorks.

This workshop is open to students, faculty and staff. Because space is limited in each session, registration is required. You may register for the November 28th session or the December 7th session. If you have specific RefWorks questions or would like to work one-on-one with a librarian, please contact Carrie Dunham-LaGree at or (515) 271-2175. This workshop will also be offered during the spring semester. Look for more information on dates in January.

For more information on RefWorks, please take a look at our post on RefWorks 2.0.

Librarian for Digital Literacy and General Education

Carrie Dunham-LaGree Joins Faculty


Carrie Dunham-LaGree joined the Cowles Library Faculty in June 2011. She completed her Master’s of Science in Information Studies at The University at Albany (NY) in December 2010. Before coming to Drake, she worked as an Information Literacy and Reference Librarian at the University at Albany and taught Information Literacy courses there for three semesters. During graduate school, she interned at Siena College and at the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Library in Cooperstown, New York.

Ms. Dunham-LaGree serves as an Assistant Professor of Librarianship as the Librarian for Digital Literacy and General Education.  This fall, she and Professor of Librarianship Bruce Gilbert will co-teach the First-Year Seminar “Digital People, Digital Lives,” which will explore concepts of citizenship and humanity through technology and information literacy.

Her research interests include the influence of technology culture on the information-seeking behavior of academic library users and the influence of popular culture in undergraduate library instruction.

RefWorks 2.0 – A Tool for Serious Research

RefWorks automates the tasks of citing information & creating bibliographies for research papers. Allows you to create your own citations or import from online databases. For remote access, call the Reference Desk at 271-2113 and ask to speak with the librarian on duty to obtain the site code.


RefWorks allows users to create personal databases and use them for a variety of research activities. References are quickly and easily imported from text files or online databases. The databases can then be used to manage, store, and share the information. Users can automatically insert references from their database into their papers and generate formatted bibliographies and manuscripts in seconds.

RefWorks allows you to…

  • Organize and create a personal database online – no more index cards to write out and organize. Everything is done automatically as you import the reference into RefWorks.
  • Format bibliographies and manuscripts in seconds – this saves hours of typing time and decreases the number of errors in creating tedious bibliographies. Easily make changes to your paper and reformat in seconds.
  • Import references from a variety of databases using the already created Import Filters.
  • Manage Alerts – RefWorks has incorporated a RSS feed reader to allow you to establish links to your favorite RSS feeds and import data from those feeds directly into RefWorks.
  • Searching your RefWorks database is fast and easy – RefWorks automatically creates author, descriptor and periodical indexes when importing so you just click on the word to perform the retrieval. Use Quick Search to search all fields for the most comprehensive results or Advanced Search to narrow your search to specific terms and fields.
Need help exporting from a particular database? Check out our information page featuring many of our databases.
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