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Dust Off Those Encyclopedias: Using Reference Sources to Teach the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy


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What if the ideal tools for teaching undergraduate students the most critical information literacy concepts have been sitting in the stacks all along collecting dust, or wading out in digital space unencountered? Reference sources are an optimal medium to introduce all six of the ACRL Framework’s central concepts for information literacy. Additionally, by understanding a reference source’s place in the information search process, students learn to consciously avoid the common pitfall of neglecting exploratory research before specifying their research topics. Thus, incorporating reference sources thoughtfully into instructional design contributes to the development of both information literacy and metacognition.

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Dust Off Those Encyclopedias: Using Reference Sources to Teach the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

  1. 1. Dust Off Those Encyclopedias: Using Reference Sources to Teach the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Kristin E. C. Green Acting Head Librarian, Penn State Worthington Scranton TILC 2017 May 11, 2017
  2. 2. reference work, n. a source of factual information (originally a printed work, but now also electronic resource) intended for research or consultation on individual matters rather than continuous reading
  3. 3. Presentation • compose research project Collection • gather relevant sources Formulation • specify research topic Initiation • assigned research project Selection • choose a general area Exploration • learn more for clarity Information Search Process
  4. 4. Instructional Context Select an instructional context. It could be a session for a class you usually teach, a new class you will be teaching, or a hypothetical instructional scenario. Take a few moments to think about… 1. your learners and their needs 2. what kinds of reference sources could be used 3. how reference sources could be useful in this context
  5. 5. threshold concept “represents a transformed way of understanding …without which the learner cannot progress.”
  6. 6. ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education • is constructed & contextual Authority • of information as a process Creation • has value Information • as inquiry Research • as conversation Scholarship • as strategic exploration Searching
  7. 7. HIST 020: American Civilization to 1877 research paper with thesis statement • as strategic exploration Searching
  8. 8. Who practiced witchcraft…? What about witchcraft is relevant…? When did accusations occur…? Where within the colonies…? Why was witchcraft persecuted? How were those accused punished? • as inquiry Research Research Question Thesis Statement
  9. 9. • is constructed & contextual Authority
  10. 10. Listen • as conversation Scholarship Speak
  11. 11. • of information is a process Creation analysis expression
  12. 12. • has value Information $1,517.33 - $1,813.00
  13. 13. Learning Objectives Brainstorm In your small group, brainstorm 1-2 learning objectives that incorporates the use of a reference source to teach your assigned threshold concept for your selected instructional context. If unfamiliar with creating learning objectives, you can use the following template. Students will [verb] to [outcome] using [tool].
  14. 14. Kristin E. C. Green Acting Head Librarian Penn State Worthington Scranton (570) 963-2633
  15. 15. References Barr, D. P., Wien, T., Znamenski, A. A., Ford, B. L., & Spence, M. D. (2003). Explorations and expeditions. In S. I. Kutler (Ed.), Dictionary of American history (3rd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 287-301). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Framework for information literacy for higher education. (2015). Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries. Gibson, M. (2006). Retelling Salem stories: gender politics and witches in American culture. European Journal of American Culture, 25(2), 85-107. Hammond, P. (2003). Folklore. In S. I. Kutler (Ed.), Dictionary of American history (3rd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 393-397). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Karlsen, C. F. (1987). The devil in the shape of a woman: Witchcraft in colonial New England. New York: Norton. Karlsen, C. F. (2003). Witchcraft. In S. I. Kutler (Ed.), Dictionary of American history (3rd ed., Vol. 8, pp. 494-495). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  16. 16. References (cont’d.) Kuhlthau, C. (1993). A principle of uncertainty for information seeking. Journal of Documentation, 49(4), 339-355. Latner, R. (2008). The long and short of Salem witchcraft: Chronology and collective violence in 1692. Journal of Social History, 42(1), 137-156. Meyer, R., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practicing within disciplines. Edinburgh: ETL Project, Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry, and Durham. Reference work. (2009). In OED Online. Retrieved from http:// directedFrom=reference+source#eid123464231 Saari, P., & Shaw, E. (Eds.). (2001). Witchcraft in America. Detroit: UXL.