Students in library

Information Literacy Instruction

What is Information Literacy?

The ACRL defines information literacy as the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze and use information.
Information literacy instruction allows students to develop the skills they need to:

  • Identify the need for information
  • Efficiently and effectively find information
  • Evaluate information

Helping our students develop these competencies at NDNU will equip them with the critical skills they need to excel as students and as life-long learners.

Information literacy instruction at the Gellert Library

The Gellert Library’s information literacy program aligns with the university’s institutional learning outcomes in Information Literacy (undergraduates) and Scholarship (graduates), as well as the Western Association of Schools & Colleges and the Association of College and Research Libraries. Librarians are available to collaborate with faculty to conduct hands-on library sessions designated to support students’ research needs.

Information literacy instruction can take place in the library, in the classroom or online, and includes supplementary material in the form of handouts and research guides. The librarians work with faculty to create unique instruction sessions tailored to individual courses. Library instruction sessions tend to be most effective when they are scheduled during a research assignment and students have chosen their topics. An assignment gives the instruction session a specific purpose and reinforces the students’ participation. Based on library assessment, instructors who schedule multiple sessions for their classes see significant improvement in their students’ ability to identify quality resources and evaluate information. Information literacy instruction sessions at the Gellert Library include:

  • Introduction to the Library
    Learn who the Librarians are and what we do, how to navigate the website and how to get help.
  • Creating a search strategy
    Students learn how to plan their research and construct a search strategy based on their research question. This includes identifying keywords and synonyms, selecting databases based on the subject and locating background information.
  • Introduction to database searching
    Librarians discuss the difference between free web sources (such as Google) and subscription library databases and techniques for successfully searching databases.
  • Evaluation of search results
    Librarians demonstrate how to evaluate a results list from a search in a library database. Students will be able to identify the type of source and elements of a citation, interpret database records and locate the full text of an article.
  • Evaluating information
    Students learn general guidelines for evaluating information sources, regardless of format (tips for specific formats such as books, articles, web pages are also included). Students will be able to make informed decisions about their information sources.
  • Distinguishing popular and scholarly periodicals
    Students learn the differences between popular, professional/trade and scholarly periodicals, their audiences and purposes, and gain an understanding of peer review.

Instruction sessions can be tailored for both undergraduate and graduate courses.

To schedule a library instruction session:

  • Fill out a Library instruction request form on the Library’s website
  • Submit a copy of your syllabus and research assignment at the time of your request.
  • Feel free be specific in your request. Let the Librarian know if there are certain titles and resources you would like him or her to cover with your students.
  • Attend the instruction session with your class. Your attendance and participation emphasize the importance of learning library research skills.

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