Traditionally, guidance from teaching staff to students on the use of information sources has taken the form of reading lists containing a mix of books and journal articles, and the assumption is that information specialists within the library will provide whatever additional help is needed to access these resources. Given the rapidly increasing availability of electronic sources of information, and changes in the learning and teaching environment, such an approach can no longer be regarded as appropriate. This paper addresses the issue of the best way of helping students make effective use of electronic information resources, thereby developing their information‐gathering skills. Reference is made to the lessons learned from undertaking a small action research project in this field. Consideration is also given to a number of broader, more contextual issues, such as the ongoing shift towards more independent learning by students and changing relationships between teaching staff and information specialists. We conclude that more research is urgently needed if ways are to be found of ensuring that students maximize the potential of electronic information resources, and argue that there should be greater collaboration between teaching staff and information specialists, and that their roles and responsibilities in providing appropriate support and in assessing the information‐gathering skills of students need to be redefined
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