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Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Monroe C. Gutman Library—Harvard Graduate School of Education

Monroe C. Gutman Library


Report of John W. Collins III, Librarian and Member of the Faculty; Director, Special Studies Masters Program

In an effort to focus attention and assess our support for research and teaching, the librarians at Gutman Library, Harvard Graduate School of Education, engaged in a lengthy process of evaluating various instructional programs, refining our delivery mechanisms, and promoting our instructional services. This year's annual report highlights our efforts in these areas.

Master's Students

Even before they arrive, many incoming master's students take advantage of the library's online workshop, Writing Like an Educator, to familiarize themselves with the conventions and expectations of academic writing. An Academic Writing Workshop and a Library Research Orientation Workshop are offered for international students to support those who speak and write English as a second language.

All incoming students are offered orientations to Harvard library collections and services at the beginning of the academic year. Since many are overwhelmed by a collection of over 16 million volumes and thousands of online resources, Research Services librarians teach workshops to promote effective use of the HOLLIS Catalog and a number of major social sciences article databases.

As the semester progresses and students begin to define their research questions, the library offers one-on-one research consultations. Librarians help students to articulate their questions; if more direction is needed, students are encouraged to meet with their TFs or faculty members to clarify the scope of their research topics. During the consultations, librarians introduce students to the best resources for the appropriate bodies of literature and work out effective search terms and strategies.

To help students to manage their research and to document sources so that they can provide accurate attribution in their papers, librarians train students to use the RefWorks or EndNote bibliographic management tools. Research Services provides APA Citations Style workshops and produces a popular online tutorial covering the basics of APA style. Librarians work closely with the Academic Writing Services TFs to support students from initial research through completion of the final paper or project.

Doctoral Students

Research Services librarians collaborate with the doctoral program coordinator to plan and implement the Doctoral Student Orientation program, which provides research and technology workshops aimed at getting incoming students up to speed quickly for doing education research at Harvard.

Research support for doctoral students continues from their first year of coursework through completion of the dissertation, which is frequently done working at a distance. Many students establish partnerships with individual research librarians, who provide long-term research guidance and subject-area searching expertise. For students working at a distance, we consult by phone, e-mail, or web-based conferencing. Our Distance Services include delivery of scanned articles and books sent via FedEx.   


Research librarians also establish long-term research relationships with faculty, researching questions in a faculty member's preferred sources and delivering material in their preferred formats. Librarians assist the faculty in initial preparations for new courses, by updating content for existing courses, and through research for publications or research projects. Librarians also work with faculty interested in learning to use (or to master) the citation management tools RefWorks and EndNote.

Librarians also provide support in the classroom. Faculty members invite us to introduce students to the best approaches to research in subjects ranging from the history of education to schools and the law. Classroom presentations are supplemented with web-based research guides or iSites. To support group-based projects, librarians provide small-group trainings on RefShare, the resource-sharing component of RefWorks.

Indirectly, librarians support faculty by assisting their faculty assistants or teaching fellows in preparing syllabi or gathering course readings.

GSE Research Projects

Research Services librarians meet with new staff hired by many of the GSE research projects, such as Project Zero, to orient them to library resources and services and to help them work more efficiently from day one.

Extended GSE Community

GSE alumni/ae continue to receive research support and other library privileges after they graduate. Librarians offer tailored library or research orientation sessions to support visiting practitioners (Programs in Professional Education participants). Research Services librarians also support the work of educators working in the area through our Institutional Services package for area school systems, and through support of smaller ventures such as the annual College Preview program, which introduces local urban high-school students to the college experience.