Document Type

Coping with Ethical Issues

Publication Date



ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards outcomes include students identifying issues related to intellectual property and copyright, and using a citation style accurately to document sources. But is teaching these outcomes the responsibility of professors or instruction librarians?

At Radford University, the librarians recognized that students were struggling with academic integrity issues, including plagiarism, paraphrasing, and citing sources properly. The librarians quickly developed programs to fill in gaps on campus. They hold brown bag lunches for faculty and student workshops on topics such as plagiarism, reading citations, and formatting references according to APA Style. Recently, they were asked to teach EndNote. Even within the library instruction team there was disagreement as to whether this was their purview. Where should they draw the line? Should they concentrate their efforts on library research, focusing on how to use a myriad of databases and how to evaluate sources? In the absence of infinite staff and resources they cannot accomplish all of the projects that seem interesting. And yet they ponder the question: If we do not evolve and give students and professors what they seem to require to complete their research, are we failing them?

The presenters will address these concerns and involve the audience in a discussion about the librarian's role in promoting academic integrity on campus. Learning outcomes for participants will include identifying academic integrity issues; understanding the challenges of teaching plagiarism topics; and learning how colleagues at other institutions are handling similar situations.