Baker Library – Getting to Know You

Nearly 600 members of the MBA class of 2003 are now familiar with the dreams of Martin-particularly the `interview from Hell’ and his discovery of the resources at Baker Library that enabled him to ace the interview. The library orientation started with a multi-media slide show featuring Martin and his dream interview with a growing company. After the slide show students took a “pop quiz,” a web based poll that prompted them to find specific information about an HBS alum who is a CEO and his/her respective company by using four featured Baker Library databases.
Judging from comments on the quiz, most students found the orientation to be a good introduction to Baker’s resources. The new students appreciated the conciseness of the program. The quiz gave them an opportunity to explore resources in more depth and commit them to long-term memory. Others, however, wished to have greater coverage of resources not used in the quiz such as Bloomberg, Investext and Lexis-Nexis, as well as resources available elsewhere in the Harvard University Library. A tour of the library was suggested as a potential supplement to the orientation on 14% of the responses.

Several of the questions on the quiz did not have a specific, unequivocal answer. For example, revenues for private companies and subsidiaries are usually estimates and determining a company’s strategy is not always straightforward but must be gleaned from interpreting qualitative information. The primary purpose of the quiz was to introduce students to the information resources, not to have students find a specific “correct” answer. Many students demonstrated successfully that they were able to use these tools critically.

Students who missed the orientation can look forward to the presentation and pop quiz becoming available to them via the web, so they can catch up. Following that, we will be offering sessions for anyone who would like to explore the resources of Baker Library in further detail. We also plan to schedule a couple of brief tours for those who expressed a desire for a quick walk around, to learn where things are in the library. Please watch for an announcement on “myHBS” as these additional programs are scheduled. Several students indicated in their feedback that they would not feel comfortable evaluating the effectiveness of the library’s orientation program until after they’d had a chance to use the resources, later in the semester. So we definitely plan to follow up, to see if the evaluations change over time.