Mentoring Resources From The ERIC System

by Ami Hicks

Interested in mentoring new teachers?
Wondering how to build a strong mentor relationship with a student who is at risk for dropping out?
Thinking of starting up a formal program?
 
You can track print resources on mentoring and other education topics through the ERIC database. This article provides an overview of the database and the type of materials in it and describes the services of ERIC Clearinghouses.

Searching the ERIC Database
The ERIC database, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, contains abstracts of more that 790,000 education documents and journal articles. You can search the database by combining keywords, called
descriptors, related to:

You can also search by author or title and limit your search to particular years (database records go all the way back to 1966).

An ERIC search typically turns up records for two types of materials, journal articles(denoted by EJ followed by six digits) and documents (denoted by ED followed by six digits). The journal article records include journal title, volume, issue, date, and page numbers to help you locate the journal at your library, through interlibrary loan, or through a reprint service. The documents--including curriculum materials, research papers, and speeches--can be read on micro-fiche at the library or ordered in microfiche or paper copy through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) at 1-800-443ERIC. Paper copy costs $3.30 per 25-page increment, plus shipping.

Accessing the ERIC Database
The ERIC database is available online, on CD-ROM, and in print version at more than 3,000 locations worldwide, including most university libraries and many staff development centers. Individuals with a modem and telecommunications software can also sign up to access the ERIC database from home or school through commercial services. Because charges can vary based on the time of day, amount of use, and availability of additional services, it's a good idea to check in with more than one of the following vendors:

BRS: 1-800-955-0906
CompuServe: 1-800-848-8990
Dialog: 1-800-334-2564
GTE: 1-800-927-3000

If you have an Internet account, you may be interested to know that some universities have mounted the ERIC database onto their mainframes. Each institution selects its own search software and determines its own access policies (e.g., restricted to the university community or open to the public). If you would like to try this method of access, contact ACCESS ERIC at 1-800-LET-ERIC or acceric.gwuvm.gwu.edu for a list of sites.

Using the ERIC Clearinghouses
Sixteen subject-specific ERIC Clearinghouses select and abstract the materials that go into the database. The topic of mentoring cuts across the scopes of several Clearinghouses.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, for example, covers mentoring as it relates to disadvantaged
youth.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management cover mentoring programs for inducting new teachers.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education abstracts information on mentoring at the postsecondary level;

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education addresses apprenticeship issues.

Each Clearinghouse has a user services staff member who can:

If you'd like to find out more about the ERIC System, contact ACCESS ERIC, the promotional and outreach component of ERIC, at 1-800-LET-ERIC. Staff members there will be happy to answer you general questions about
ERIC, help you find the nearest location for doing a database search, refer you to a subject-specific Clearinghouse, or take your order for a free publication. Call today to receive A Pocket Guide to ERIC, All About ERIC, or the latest issue of THE ERIC Review, which covers K-12 school computer networking. Let ERIC help you stay in touch with
education literature.