The Third Annual Savvies (InfoSavvy)

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Break out the beverages and snacks! It’s time for the third annual InfoSavvy Movie Awards, my quirky answer to the Oscars.  As usual the credits come from the Internet Movie Database.  This year’s Savvies go to:

For Overall Film

The Hoax (2006): Dir. Lasse Hallström; Written by William Wheeler (screenplay) & Clifford Irving (book); Starring Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden, Stanley Tucci.

Information literacy involves the ethical use of information (ACRL, 2014, p. 1): this film serves as a case study of information used unethically.  Clifford Irving stole and forged documents to pen a fake biography of Howard Hughes.  Then he conned a major publisher into accepting the book.

The Monuments Men (2014):Dir. George Clooney; Written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov (screenplay), Robert M. Edsel & Bret Witter (book); Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban.

Yes, I watched this movie because of the men in it.  All the same the “monuments” speak to the value of our cultural treasures.  Also, each member brought particular expertise (art history, architecture, sculpture, graphic design, etc.) to the team.  Information literacy has such a social component (ACRL, 2014, p. 1) .

For Noteworthy Scene

Good Will Hunting (1997): Dir. Gus  van Sant; Written by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck; Starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams,  Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård.

Working-class genius Will gets into a shouting match with an ivy leaguer.  He (Will) boasts that libraries gave him  an ivy league education for free.  Booth (2014) writes of information privilege and of the library’s role in combatting it.

High Fidelity (2000): Dir. Stephen Frears; Written by Nick Hornby (book), D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, & Scott Rosenberg (screenplay); Starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black.

I found out about this movie from Peterson (2010).  In one brief scene Rob, a record store owner, is organizing his personal record collection.  He organizes it neither alphabetically nor chronologically.  Instead he organizes it autobiographically–by the significance the album had in his life.  Organizing information is part of information literacy, as is realizing that the organizational systems are based on shared conventions (ACRL, 2014, p. 9).


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from

Booth, C. (2014, December 1). On information privilege [Blog post].  Retrieved from

Peterson, N. (2010). It came from Hollywood: Using popular media to enhance information literacy instruction.  College & Research Libraries News, 71(2), 66-74.

Posted by on February 26th, 2015 Comments Off

InfoSavvy on vacation (winter 2015)

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I am on vacation this week.  Stay tuned next week for the InfoSavvy movie awards.  In the meantime have a safe, relaxing winter break.

Posted by on February 19th, 2015 Comments Off

College readiness and info lit (InfoSavvy)

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An adult ed colleague recently told me about the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Ed (U.S. Department of Education, 2013).  Thinking of the adult students in our classes, I took a look at the document.  Chapter Four speaks to information literacy.

It begins with a discussion of shifts in literacy instruction.  Shift One is a shift to “regular practice with  complex text and its academic language” (p. 9).  Information literacy habits only become habits if you practice them.  Also, scholarly articles are complex and use academic language.  Where and how can we provide opportunities for students to engage with such language?

This question connects to Shift 3, “Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction” (p. 10).  To find such material students need to recognize such material.  To recognize such material they even need exposure to it.

The document was written for a college prep setting.  Still, many current students have the same needs.


U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education. (2013).  College and career readiness standards for adult education (Report No. ED-CFO-10-A-0117/0001.).

  Washington, DC.  Retrieved from

Posted by on February 12th, 2015 Comments Off

Foregrounding background resources (InfoSavvy)

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In some instruction sessions I mention background resources–often in passing, as the focus is usually on scholarly articles.  Though scholarly articles are part of the information landscape, let’s give background information some long-overdue attention.

The libraries have a variety of specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias.  CredoReference is a great place to search many of them at once.  The entries provide terminology we can use in our searches.  Searching may be iterative (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2014, p.9).  Still, better search terms lead to better initial searches.

Let’s not forget newspapers or current events sources, such as CQ Researcher.  From a news article we can move on to more scholarly treatment of an issue.

These resources are familiar enough.  All the same they deserve their moment in the foreground.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from



Posted by on February 5th, 2015 Comments Off

Responding to recordings, responding to research (InfoSavvy)

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Have you heard of a response recording, a.k.a. an answer song?  As the name implies, it is a song released in response to an earlier recording.  Sometimes it will parody the original piece.  Sometimes it will continue the story related in the original.  Sometimes it will challenge the viewpoint of the original, or at least offer an alternative viewpoint (Cooper & Haney, 1990, pp. xiii-xxi).  Why am I even bringing up this topic?

Scholarship itself involves responding to previous scholarship.  The ACRL Information Literacy Framework describes scholarship as a conversation (2014, p.11).  Think of the works you have cited in your research.  At times haven’t you challenged or  expanded upon these works?

Answer songs provide a fresh way to consider the concept.  Cooper and Haney (1990) provide an extensive list of pre-1990 recordings.  Smith (1986) tells the story behind “Papa Wants the Best for You,” which gives the father’s response to “Papa Don’t Preach.”  More recent examples exist, though these earlier ones are well-documented and model the conversation.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from

Cooper, B.L., & Haney, W.S. (1990). Response recordings: An answer song discography 1950-1990.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Smith, L. (1986, October 22). Papa gets second chance in new video. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 5E. Retrieved from,2137407

P.S. On a lighter note you can watch the video for “Queen of the House,” which parodies “King of the Road.”

Posted by on January 29th, 2015 Comments Off

The album and the journal (InfoSavvy)

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With the upcoming Grammy Awards I’ll indulge in recording industry metaphors for the next couple of weeks.  Online music stores (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) let you download–after you’ve purchased it–an individual song or an entire album.  Likewise a library database lets you view (if we’ve purchased the subscription) an individual article or the entire issue.  Why does this similarity matter?

In both cases you can lose something by taking the individual item out of context.  Is the song part of a concept album or a soundtrack, for example?  Is the article part of a special issue?

On the other hand you gain convenience.  Why should you pay for a whole album when you want one particular song?  Why would you read an entire issue when you want one particular article?

Those new to academic research may not be familiar with article databases.  They may either own an MP3 player or at least understand the concept of music downloads.  Perhaps the analogy might make journals and databases more understandable.


Posted by on January 22nd, 2015 Comments Off

Welcome back spring 2015 (InfoSavvy)

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Welcome back!

I hope that you enjoyed your intersession.  As always I’ll start the semester with a few reminders.

We librarians can visit your class multiple times.  We can visit at point of need–during any part of the semester.

If a visit doesn’t meet your needs, we can create materials to support your desired information literacy outcomes.  Our guides are the most obvious example.  Of course a visit and supporting materials need not be mutually exclusive.

Don’t forget about the Selected Works pages.  Through them we can help give your work the visibility it deserves.



Posted by on January 15th, 2015 Comments Off

Equal time for books (InfoSavvy)

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Image by Craig Conley from Durham, NC, US (Rainbow Bookshelf) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite articles of 2014.  Now I’ll give equal time to books.  I did not restrict my list to books published in 2014, only to books I read in 2014:

Buchanan, H. E., & McDonough, B. A. (2014). The one-shot library instruction survival guide. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.

I learned about this book in an online course (The instructors were the book’s authors.).  As did the course, the book offers ways to make the most of a single visit.

Calkins, K., & Kvenild, C. (2014). The embedded librarian’s cookbook. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

The contributors format their respective activities as recipes.  As with any cookbook you can refer back to it for many occasions.

Cook, D., & Farmer, L. S. J. (Eds.). (2011). Using qualitative methods in action research: How librarians can get to the why of data. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

I still wish to do some research.  This book provides some inspiring examples.

Gawande, A. (2010). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right (1st ed.). New York, NY: Metropolitan Books.

You may remember this one from my 9/11/14 post.  It deserves a second mention.

Wiggins, G. P. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Cook and Farmer (2011) cited this one.   I cite it because it explains backward design in a useful way.

Posted by on January 7th, 2015 Comments Off

Happy New Year! (InfoSavvy)

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I thank you for your support in 2014 and wish you a wonderful 2015.  Here’s to continued posts and to great readers!

Posted by on December 31st, 2014 Comments Off

Happy Holidays from InfoSavvy!

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I’m spending Christmas with my family.  May your Holidays, too, be peaceful and joyous!

Posted by on December 23rd, 2014 Comments Off