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Team Librarian Resources

Librarians for Gemstone Teams provide research guidance and support and help Gemstone Teams produce excellent, well researched theses.

Librarians should look at the Gemstone Curriculum, to learn about the Gemstone coursework in more detail, and the Timeline for Team Success, to see an overview of the program and its requirements. Librarians might also want to look at the Thesis Guidelines to get a sense of the final product that students are working toward and the part that our wonderful librarians play in that process.


Gemstone Librarians provide support for teams in the following ways:

Sophomore Year

It is during their sophomore year that teams will conduct their literature review. Librarians should meet with the team (or team representative) at least once each semester, to highlight important resources and research techniques to assist in this process. Librarians may meet more often with the team (or representative) and can possibly develop a Research Guide.

Teams are also required to present a Thesis proposal in their sophomore year. Librarians should be available to assist with this process and should attend the thesis proposal to offer critiques and advice on next steps.

Junior and Senior Year

During their Junior and Senior years, students work closely with their mentors to conduct their research. The librarian may receive occasional contacts from team representatives to answer questions about resources, data services, and library services (for example, equipment loan, study room locations, Interlibrary Loan, etc.).

Senior Year

Offer feedback on thesis drafts and support your Gemstone team as they present their thesis at Thesis Conference. Librarians are also encouraged to attend the Thesis Conference Rehearsal if they are available. 


Attend Gemstone Librarian Breakfast (fall semester each year). The Gemstone partnership with the UMD Libraries is absolutely invaluable for our students, but we know that each team is different, and that any good partnership should grow and evolve. Come to this breakfast to check in with Gemstone staff and let us know what you need to best support your team(s).

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives for Gemstone Teams evolve throughout their time at UMD. However, we hope Gemstone students working with their Librarians will learn:

  • To identify appropriate sources (scholarly journals)
  • To differentiate between primary and secondary documents
  • To choose and consistently use one writing style (APA, Chicago, etc.)
  • What plagiarism is and how to avoid it
  • How to scan an article for important points
  • How to critique an article
  • How to build knowledge about the research problem
  • To explore the literature related to the research problem/topic

Additional Tips

  • Sometimes students have trouble focusing on the research problem at hand. Help them to wrap their heads around the larger problem before focusing on their specific topic.
  • Students come into their project with varying levels of knowledge, and interest. Be prepared to work with students of varying backgrounds.
  • Research vs. Advocacy – please help us to emphasize that Gemstone teams are expected to create new knowledge (e.g., conduct original research), not just advocate on behalf of an issue that they are passionate about.
  • We require that students use ONLY academic sources (peer-reviewed journals, edited books, government documents, etc.).  Please steer them away from magazines, newspapers, trade publications, etc.
  • If this is your first time working with a Gemstone team, take suggestions on how to interact with your team from seasoned librarians. They have experience with the process, but also with how different teams work and can likely offer some helpful advice.

Other Opportunities to Get Involved and Support Your Teams

University Libraries Award for Outstanding Gemstone Teams

Sophomore teams apply in Spring semester with their research proposals and a brief essay and the top three teams are selected to present in the Libraries Awards to compete for prize money that can be used for research. 

Do Good Showcase

Junior teams give powerpoint presentations on their research projects and the important societal issues they address at the Do Good Showcase. Come support your team(s) and hear about the progress they are making in their research. You can provide critiques on their presentations and research thus far.

Undergraduate Research Day

Junior teams present posters on their research projects. This is an excellent opportunity to check in with your team and see how they are progressing in their research.

Thesis Conference Rehearsal

This is an opportunity to provide feedback on the team’s presentation before the thesis conference.

Thesis Conference

This is the culmination of the students’ four years in the Gemstone Honors Program. Come to support your team(s) and provide feedback and their presentation and thesis.

Citation Ceremony

The work is done! Come help us celebrate our outstanding graduating seniors, and be recognized for your commendable contribution to their success.

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