BiblioBouts Game Play

This game play description details BiblioBouts beta version 2.0 that was available on demand to instructors and librarians for game play from September 2011 through December 2012.

We invite instructors and librarians to contact us about their interest playing BiblioBouts. To familiarize yourself the BiblioBouts, please use the Firefox browser and play the demo game at, enter "" (minus the quotes) into Email and "demo" (minus the quotes) into Password. The demo game expects only 1 person to be playing it at a time -- if you are playing and the game ignores information you have entered, it is because someone else is playing the demo game at the same time. Demo players cannot submit their own sources to the demo game. Instead, the demo game begins with the Closer bout in which you close on a sample list of sources. (Note: The demo game is not working due to incompability problems with Zotero. Instead, consult section 14, "Step 12," on pages 12 to 24 of Interim report #5 for a description of game play.)

Pre-Game Preparation for Instructors

Before the game begins, instructors choose a one broad-based topic for all students to research. Instructors sign onto BiblioBouts' administrative interface to set quotas for the Tagging & Rating bout, caps for the Closer and Best Bibliography bouts, add their class roster to the game invitation list, and publish the timetable for the beginning and ending dates of individual bouts. When instructors fill in the timetable, they should synchronize it to the research-and-writing assignment they give to their students. They must also add BiblioBouts game play to their course syllabus, giving course credit to and grading students on how well they play the game.

Instructors are strongly encouraged to invite librarians to their classes to: (1) show students the library's database portal and a relevant database that produces relevant information on the broad-based topic, (2) show students how to use Zotero to save the citations and full-texts they find online, and (3) demonstrate to students how to play BiblioBouts.

For more information, consult the Instructor FAQ or message us at

Pre-Game Preparation for Students

BiblioBouts expects students to find sources on the broad-based topic and use Zotero to save these sources in the form of online citations and full-texts. How many sources students find and save using Zotero is determined by instructors when they set the cap for the Closer bout.

To play BiblioBouts, students must first register for a BiblioBouts account. When they log onto the game for the first time, BiblioBouts tells students who have met or exceeded the Closer cap that they are cleared to play the Closer bout. BiblioBouts tells students who have not met the Closer cap that they cannot play BiblioBouts until they search online for more sources and use Zotero to save them.

1. Closer Bout (suggested length = at least 3 days)

The Closer bout lists the player's sources on the broad-based topic in play. Players can scroll through the list and reacquaint themselves with the sources' content by reading abstracts and scrutinizing attached full-texts. Players then choose their 5 best sources on the topic and submit them to the Closer bout. (The default number of sources is 5 but instructors can change the default when they prepare the game their students play.)

SCORING: For each item that a player closes, s/he gets a base score and gets bonus points upon reaching the cap. The player gets bonus points throughout the game when other players rate his or her sources highly. Giving the Closer bout the short shrift could cost a player in the long run because players whose closed sources are added to most other players' best bibliographies are usually the ones who win BiblioBouts!

2. Tagging & Rating Bout (suggested length = at least 7 days)

BiblioBouts randomly chooses a source donated by an opponent, displays it to the player, and asks the player to assess its usefulness in several ways. Does the source include a complete full-text? Does it include a complete citation? What is the source, for example, is it a scholarly journal, an encyclopedia, a newspaper, a directory, or a blog? Who published it, for example, does it come from higher education, a non-profit organization, or the government? What 3 big ideas does the source discuss? This bout concludes by asking players to rate the source's relevance and credibility vis-a-vis the broad topic in play and add comments telling why they gave it the ratings they did.

Instructors set a quota for the minimum number of sources they want their students to tag and rate. This quota is based on the total number of sources students closed in the Closer bout and the number of ratings per source. For example, if the instructor accepts the game's defaults of 5 closed sources and 5 ratings per source, the quota is 25 for a class of 20 students. This is calculated as follows: 5 [default closer cap] x 20 [students in the class] x 5 [default ratings per source] / 20 [students in the class].

SCORING: For each item that the player rates and tags up to the quota, s/he gets a base score. The player gets big bonus points for exceeding the quota until s/he doubles at quota at which time, the bonus points become fewer and fewer. If the majority of players determine that a source's full-text is missing, BiblioBouts eliminates the source from the game, thus denying the player who donated it big-time bonus points in the Best Bibliography bout. Players earn bonus points when they add comments about their ratings and when other players match their relevance and credibility ratings, and big-idea, format, and publisher tags.

3. Best Bibliography Bout (suggested length = at least 3 days)

Into a dialogue box, the player enters the specific research question that his/her written paper will address, selects the 3 big ideas that the paper will discuss, and chooses the 10 best sources for their Best Bibliography. Students choose sources from the BiblioBouts database bearing all sources -- their own and their opponents' sources -- put into play during the Closer but. Players can share their Best Bibliographies with their instructors because they are a prospectus of their papers, listing the topic of their written papers, the big ideas they plan to discuss, and the 10 best sources they will use to write the paper. (The default number of sources is 10 but instructors can change this when they prepare the game their students play.)

SCORING: For each item that the player adds to his or her bibliography, s/he gets a base score. The player gets bonus points for the following: (1) when a source's big ideas match up between the Tagging & Rating and Best Bibliography bouts, (2) when players choose sources for their Best Bibliographies that have scholarly characteristics such as these publisher tags: scholarly journal, conference proceedings, trade magazine, and these publisher tags: government or higher education, (3) when players choose sources with high relevance and credibility ratings, and (4) when players choose sources that other players choose for their Best Bibliographies.

Post-Game Library

When the game ends, players have access to the Post-Game Library that contains all of the sources students submitted to the game including citations, abstracts, big ideas, tags, ratings, and digital full-texts. Players can search the Library by title keywords or big ideas. They can also sort the library by relevance and credibility ratings, publication date, or title.

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HomeAboutProject Activities • Game Play • Evaluation PlanProgress to Date
Participants & ContactsProject Reports & PublicationsInstructor FAQ