InfoSavvy Archive

Sitting at the table (InfoSavvy)

Dining table set for breakfast

Image from

In the past I have called for an instruction menu, especially in the case of one-shot sessions.  While I still see a menu as valuable, a recent course has refined my thinking on this issue.

The course was called Dynamic.One-shot Library Instruction.  The instructors, Heidi Buchanan and Beth McDonough, stressed the importance of conversations with course instructors, both in planning one-shots and in following up.  Conversations with my fellow course participants were an added bonus.  Through these exchanges I picked up some techniques to freshen up future sessions.

Focusing on a menu alone would be like ordering at a fast-food restaurant.  While fast food has its place, there is much to be said for sitting down to a leisurely meal with a friend.  Focusing more on the conversations would be like such a meal.

Please join your librarians for talks around the information literacy table.  If they take place around an actual meal (paying my own way, of course), I wouldn’t mind.


Posted by on April 10th, 2014 Comments Off

An InfoSavvy vacation

Blossoming trees

Image from

I am on vacation this week.  Stay tuned for a regular post next week.  Happy Spring!

Posted by on April 4th, 2014 Comments Off

My viewpoint on POV Reference Center (InfoSavvy)

EBSCO Information Services/
EBSCOhost is the registered trademark of EBSCO Information
Services.  All rights to the Trademark are the
exclusive property of EBSCO Information Services.

The libraries subscribe to the Points of View Reference Center database.  For those of you who’ve never tried it, it is a useful starting point to research hot topics.

Each Point of View entry includes a point essay, a counterpoint essay, and critical analyses.  These would be useful for getting some background on  a topic, as would the Debate blog.


Along with the Points of View are a variety of source types.   If you are going in-depth about source types in your courses, I would love to collaborate on a lesson!


Other handy features include images that you or your students can use in class presentations.  These images are copyrighted, though, and can only be used for classroom purposes.


Try Points of View Reference Center for yourself.  You are the best judges of where this database, or specific features, would be useful.  Of course you can also contact your librarians for more information.

Posted by on March 27th, 2014 Comments Off

New info lit framework (InfoSavvy)

Cubes arranged into larger and larger blocks

Image from

Often I have mentioned the ACRL Standards (2000) in these posts.  Last month the Association of College & Research Libraries released the initial draft of a new information literacy framework (2014).

As useful a starting point as the Standards were, the new framework includes some important concepts they did not address.  These threshold concepts (to use the ACRL terminology) show research as :

  • Conversation (p. 11)
  • Questioning (p.13 )
  • Beyond formats (p.15 )

The framework even includes suggested assignments for fostering each concept.

I could go on at length about the framework, but I’m still getting to know it myself.  Besides, this post is only the first of what I hope will be many conversations–in many venues–about these ideas.  Note that there is even a site for offering your feedback.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 1, part 1.  Retrieved from

Association of College & Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.

Posted by on March 20th, 2014 Comments Off

Day of service (InfoSavvy)

Huskies@ Finger Lake Checkpoint

Image from David Weekly: Retrieved from, and used according to a Creative Commons Attribution License

Tomorrow is the Husky Day of Service.  In honor of the day I’ve updated the libraries’ Community Engagement guide.

The guide features resources from the libraries and beyond.  Please offer your feedback and comments.

May the guide spark conversations about community engagement.  May it support service learning beyond a single day.

Posted by on March 13th, 2014 Comments Off

The Second Annual Savvies (InfoSavvy)

Glass star

Image from

Welcome to the 2014 InfoSavvy Movie Awards, my yearly salute to information use in film.  The credits for each film come from the Internet Movie Database.  Without further ado the Savvies go to:

For Overall Film

Educating Rita (1983): Dir. Lewis Gilbert; Written by Willy Russell; Starring Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Michael Williams.

Information exists in context.   Two information worlds collide when working-class Rita enters the university.   Rita is a fictional first-generation student.  Still,  librarians are looking at the research support needs of real first-generation students  (Pickard & Logan, 2013).

The prize winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005): Dir. Jane Anderson; Written by Terry Ryan (book) & Jane Anderson (screenplay); Starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern.

This film tells the story of Evelyn Ryan, a real-life housewife who kept her struggling family together by winning jingle contests.  ACRL (2000) Standard 4 describes using information “effectively to accomplish a specific purpose” (p. 12).  Evelyn effectively used her knowledge of contest rules, norms, sponsors, and products.  With ten children to feed she had a very real purpose.

School of rock (2003): Dir. Richard Linklater; Written by Mike White; Starring Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack.

Desparate for a job, a rock musician finagles his way into a substitute teaching gig.  He and his students enter a Battle of the Bands.  Peterson (2010) ties the movie to multiple ACRL standards, especially in the scenes concerning the band’s formation (p. 68).  Since the lead character used information deceptively, the movie also raises an ethical question: how do we reward resourcefulness without condoning dishonesty.

For Noteworthy Scene

The librarian: Quest for the spear (2004): Dir. Peter Winther; Written by David N. Titcher; Starring Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart.

Yes, at some point I had to include a movie featuring a librarian!  Early in the movie the hero interviews for the job as the Librarian.  He gets the job when he remembers his mother’s words about the importance of feelings.  Information literacy has that affective element (Ward, 2006).

As I close the Savvies for this year, I’m already thinking of films for next year.  In the meantime grab your favorite snacks and enjoy your favorite information movies.  Stay tuned for  further posts as well.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.

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

Pickard, E., & Logan, F. (2013). The research process and the library: First-generation college seniors vs. freshmen. College & Research Libraries, 74(4), 399-415.

Ward, D. (2006). Revisioning information literacy for lifelong meaning. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(4), 396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2006.03.006

Posted by on March 6th, 2014 Comments Off

Citation basics for ambiguous citations

building blocks

Image from

Sometimes the sources we want to cite don’t neatly fir the examples in the style guides.  For example the reference in my January 16 post resembled a magazine article in some ways and a blog post in other ways.  I could even make a case for the piece being supplemental material.  Such cases call for us to look at the why, and not simply the how, of citation.

The overall goal of citation is for your reader to find your source.  Regardless of type most sources have an author or its equivalent.  Sources are created at a point in time: most citation formats even have an option when the date is not given.  Sources usually have a title or its equivalent as well.  These elements help the reader trace the source.

The APA Style experts have an excellent framework for thinking through these elements.  For MLA format the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s guide color-codes functionally similar elements among different source types.

My example had a clear author, date, article/post title, magazine/website title, and URL address.  These pieces would help you find the source.  The possible designation of “weblog post” or “supplemental materal” is a mere detail.

I don’t mean to say that details are unimportant.  If we take care of the essentials, though, the details will be easier to manage.

Posted by on February 27th, 2014 Comments Off

Movies close at hand (InfoSavvy)


Image from

With the Oscars coming up I thought I’d remind you of some films close at hand.  The libraries subscribe to Academic Video Online.

There you’ll find films in a number of categories.  As with most resources, the best way to find out more is to try it yourself.

Posted by on February 21st, 2014 Comments Off

More research paper alternatives (InfoSavvy)

A representation of links

Image from

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education piece urges us to “keep the ‘research,’  ditch the ‘paper” ” (Bousquet, 2014, A25).  Where can we find alternatives to the research paper?

The Plattsburgh tip sheet (Heller-Ross, 2004) offers a number of possible assignments.  Davis and Shadle (2000) explore four alternatives in depth.  Powell (2012) describes an option suited to her field.

This is not the first time I’ve discussed research paper alternatives.  I also will not go so far as a blanket condemnation of research papers.  Still, having more alternatives in mind can help us choose the research assignment that best meets our objectives.


Bousquet, M. (2014, February 14). Keep the ‘research,’ ditch the ‘paper.’ Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(22), A25-A26

Davis, R., & Shadle, M. (2000). “Building a mystery”: Alternative research writing and the academic act of seeking. College Composition and Communication, 51(3), 417-446. doi: 10.2307/358743

Heller-Ross, H. (2004). Reinforcing information and technology literacy: The Plattsburgh tip sheet. College & Research Libraries News, 65(6), 321-325. Retrieved from

Powell, V. (2012). Revival of the position paper: Aligning curricula and professional competencies. Communication Teacher, 26(2), 96-103. doi: 10.1080/17404622.2011.643805

Posted by on February 15th, 2014 Comments Off

Skating scores and info lit scores (InfoSavvy)

Ice rink in blue

Image from Alastair Burt: Retrieved from, and used according to a Creative Commons Attribution License

When I think of the  Winter Olympics, I think of figure skating.  When I think of figure skating, I think of the scoring system.  All right, first I think of the gorgeous men and graceful ladies.  Then I think of the scoring system.  What do figure skating scores have to do with information literacy?

First of all the International Skating Union (n.d.) has guidelines for scoring a routine’s technical elements.  These guidelines resemble a rubric.  The Association of American Colleges and Universities (2014) has a rubric that can guide our information literacy conversations.

Secondly, the ISU scoring system includes an artistic component. Information literacy, likewise, has an affective aspect that is too often ignored (Ward, 2006).

Let us keep these principles in mind as we assess info lit.  In the meantime here’s hoping for safe, fair, and enjoyable games!


Association of American Colleges and Universities (2014). Information literacy VALUE rubric. Retrieved from

International Skating Union (n.d.). Single & pair skating & ice dance: ISU judging system. Retrieved from

Ward, D. (2006). Revisioning information literacy for lifelong meaning. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(4), 396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2006.03.006

Posted by on February 6th, 2014 Comments Off