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American Today

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AU Library Sponsors Second Annual Research Prize Competition

Are you writing or grading an outstanding research paper?

It could be a candidate for the University Library’s annual research prize.  Consider the possibilities while the university is in peak term-paper season—do you have any papers due this semester that are worthy of submission?  Students and faculty are asked to track the best fall papers as applications will be accepted from Dec. 15, 2010, through March 1, 2011, at 5 p.m.  Spring semester papers are also eligible for the competition if they meet the March deadline.

Submissions will be judged by a committee of teaching and library faculty, and two prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded at a spring library event for winners and finalists:

  • University Library Prize for Best College Writing Research Paper or Project
  • University Library Prize for Best Undergraduate Research Paper or Project

The prizes recognize and reward American University undergraduate students who make extensive use of the University Library’s collections and show evidence of critical analysis in their research skills, including locating, selecting, evaluating, and synthesizing information.

The definition of collections is broad and may include electronic, print, media, music, archival, and manuscript, as well as other kinds of AU library materials.  Any project format is acceptable as long as the project meets the formal evaluation criteria.

Papers or projects must be nominated through a letter of recommendation from the faculty member who taught the AU course for which the paper or project was prepared. Each submission must be accompanied by a 500 to 700 word essay in which the student describes his or her research strategies and how they applied library tools and resources. Students are responsible for making their own submissions accompanied by the faculty letter.

To review last year’s winning essays, visit AU’s digital repository, American University Research Commons. For more information about eligibility, evaluation criteria, and procedures, visit the library’s Web site at  For questions about the competition, contact Diana Vogelsong at or

Diana Vogelsong contributed to this column.