GBS tests new Gale resources search feature

Eliz Akgun, staff reporter

An extension that directly links students to GBS library resources from their Google search page has recently been implemented on student Chromebooks.

According to Librarian Kris Jacobson she attended a School Library Journal Leadership Summit conference in the fall. Gale, an online resource company, was piloting a new extension at the conference, and Jacobson took an interest in this particular extension.

“I thought it looked very compelling,”Jacobson said. “I liked the idea of making our resources more accessible to students, because this would give them the opportunity, without having to take any additional effort, to be able to see what [is] available in the Opposing Viewpoints database that could support their work.”

Jacobson says that, after providing feedback at the conference, Gale asked her if GBS would like to pilot the beta version of the application. After getting approval from the technology coordinator for the district, the extension was implemented. The extension pulls articles from three main categories from the library database: opposing viewpoint articles, academic journals and reference resources. Principal Lauren Fagel thinks this new function will be beneficial to students.

“I think it might point students to resources that they otherwise wouldn’t take the time to go to, and I also really like that the set of resources that it’s pointing students to are ones that have been proven to be evidence-based [and] fact-based,” Fagel said.  

South is the very first school to be testing this new extension, according to Jacobson. The usefulness of the extension is going to be tested in a sample of Honors Sophomore English classes, which are currently working on extensive research papers. Head Librarian Christi Shaner acknowledges that the extension is only in its primary phase, and that it may or may not be here to stay.

“What’s interesting about this is we’re doing this test, but it’s really the Gale group that’s doing the test on their product, so it could end up looking differently, [or] it could end up being pushed out a different way,” Shaner said. “Right now, it’s just in beta testing, so we’re really not sure what the final product will look like.”

According to Fagel, this extension may be a very valuable resource to students.

“The more our students are exposed to pieces of writing or resources that show them multiple sides of an issue, I think, the better,” Fagel said. “I think if the library is going to point you to anything, that set of resources seems like a good thing.”