Document Type

Campus Connection

Publication Date



This session will address the rise in interdisciplinary programs and research on university campuses, their impact on libraries, and discuss some ways of dealing with the complexities involved in helping students try to access information from across multiple departmental lines. Increasingly, as new fields and perspectives emerge from the strengths of other disciplines, instruction and reference librarians are faced with the often tricky challenge of educating students on how best to find research on their new and emerging topics. And this challenge is not going away—new programs and fields of research are burgeoning across university campuses everywhere as scholars seek understanding of topics that are often too broad for one academic discipline to cover alone, such as climate change, child poverty, or the global AIDS pandemic.

Because academic disciplines often develop their own unique languages and methodologies, communication between disciplines is limited. Research often rests in departmental silos with little or no conversation between them, posing daunting challenges for the researcher who is trying to find common ground within the various literatures. To meet this challenge, librarians must consider strategies beyond the traditional ones we have developed over time with already-existing disciplines. An openness to new, different, and unconventional approaches and methodology is essential in being able to deliver meaningful information literacy to the student doing interdisciplinary research. Librarians must be ready to meet this challenge. This session will provide some approaches, techniques, and perspectives to consider when addressing interdisciplinary study.