Monday, October 09, 2006

Review of r-library

A new software, called “r-library" ($14.95 US) by Riveted claims to be “Your ultimate research tool.” But it is little more than an enhanced web browser. In “r-library,” you can browse the internet, save webpages, highlight these webpages and take notes on them. But, it doesn’t appear to work with Portable Document Format (PDF) files. It provides a “citation creator,” but you still have to enter all the citation information into it. There are already free citation generators, like NoodleTools' NoodleBib that do this for free. Its primary sources are free internet sites. It completely ignores library tools in favor of and Wikipedia. The only online database it links to is Questia, available for personal subscriptions. It does nothing to lead researchers to databases available for free from the library.

You can create a report from your saved webpages which includes the text you highlighted, source information (including the date you saved the page) and your notes. In the tutorial, the section on “Generating Reports” states, “You can now copy & paste any of the information or save it as a text file or .doc file.” Um, isn’t that plagiarism?!

Sure, if you take the time to read the “Acceptable Use Policy," you learn that Riveted “will attempt to terminate service to anyone who we become aware is repeatedly using our services in violation of copyright law.” But plagiarists have no fear! In the policy, Riveted admits that it does not police and “IT IS YOUR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY TO USE THE SERVICES IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE COPYRIGHT LAWS.” Capitalization is theirs.


-Save, highlight, and take notes on a webpage
-Generate reports of the above which include date of access (important for citing)

-Doesn’t work with PDFs
-Promotes poor research skills
-Encourages plagiarism

This is a commercial product with no academic value. I like the idea, but the product as it is now will only appeal to the lazy student who doesn’t know better. It could be used with the databases, but I would not recommend it to the average student. Free trail available at

Friday, October 06, 2006

Presentations on Blogs and Wikis

The second session I attended at the TLA District 5 meeting was on Blogs and Wikis.
“Wikis, Briefly Considered” by Mark Gilman
“Blogs: Rethinking Library Outreach” by Davin Pate
The PowerPoints for this presentation provide some good general information on these two hot topics. They are available online at

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Top Hits of the Reference Playlist

September 23, I attended the Texas Library Association District 5 meeting. The first session I attended was “Top Hits of the Reference Playlist” by Valli Hoski. These are the websites she recommended during the session. I have starred her favorite sites.

General Reference
*The Internet Public Library:
Internet Library for Librarians:
Librarians Index to the Internet:
Onelook Dictionaries:
RefDesk: Reference, Facts, News:

For Kids
FirstGov for Kids:
*Fact Monster:

Science Fair
*IPL Science Fair Project Resource Guide:
Science Fair Central:
Science Fairs Homepage:

Legal Information for Consumers
NoLo Guides and Auntie NoLo:
Project Avalon: Law, History, Diplomacy:

Business Information for Consumers

Friday, September 01, 2006

Improving Teaching in Your Program

Finally, I am posting my last session summary from Immersion ’06. The remainder of time was used for working on our final products. In the program track, we developed action plans. Some example action plans from a previous Immersion are at At the Closing Plenary, we developed fun activities in groups. My group was Written/Student. We wrote a personal ad looking for an information literate student. Pictures from the Closing Plenary are at I tried to get pictures of each group. I also took pictures of the Immersion Faculty performing their activity based on The Wizard of Oz musical.

July 31, 2006
Lead Faculty: Randy Hensley and Beth Woodard

In this session we got to draw with crayons and play with play dough. Randy started the session talking about authenticity and including creativity (like using crayons and play dough) as ways to improve student engagement. (I wonder if he uses crayons and play dough in IL instruction.) He suggests using Parker Palmer’s writing, national characteristics of student populations, and local data to reframe teaching in programs. One can do this by taking advantage of developmental and practice opportunities, organizational change, or leaving (as a last resort).

Beth concluded the session by encouraging us to write a personal teaching/philosophy statement. It is important that what we do aligns with what we believe about teaching. Completing a teaching perspectives inventory helps one write this statement. I found this teaching perspectives inventory with a Google Search: It is not the same one Beth provided us and I haven’t tried it, but it looks promising.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Assessment of Information Literacy Programs

From Immersion '06, July 31, 2006

Faculty Lead: Debra Gilchrist

For assessing a program, as opposed to student learning, Deb reframed the 5 questions from her “Assessment-as-Learning” sessions.

  1. “What do you want the instruction program to be able to do? What does it do when it meets student needs and/or supports student learning?” (Outcome)
  2. “What factors does the program demonstrate or exhibit if they are meeting the outcomes? What will be happening?" (Indicators)
  3. “How will you gather your data or evidence?” (Assessment)
  4. “How will you determine if you have achieved your outcomes?” (Criteria)
  5. “How will the discussion or evaluation of the data occur? Who will be involved?” (Change)

It is important that the assessment leads into a cycle of continual improvement. Deb’s cycle of Outcomes/Indicators/Assessment/Criteria/Change reminded me of the Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle used in my organization. Deb recommends using ACRL’s “Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices” when establishing program outcomes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Campus Cultures

From Immersion '06, July 30, 2006

Faculty Lead: Craig Gibson

A culture includes a combination of explicit knowledge (factual and recorded) and tacit knowledge (attitudes and beliefs). The “five core academic values of faculty” are 1) collegiality, 2) autonomy, 3) academic freedom, 4) specialized expertise, and 5) reason/scientific method.* They see librarians as “process, procedure oriented; rule-bound; service role rather than educational one; not seen as equals;” and “not aware of instruction that librarians already do.”

The campus culture also consists of a student culture, a library culture, and an administrative culture. In order to integrate information literacy into the curriculum, we need to “tap into all the cultures” and “bring them together.” Gibson quoted the “core changes strategies within the academy” from an article in The Journal of Higher Education (July/Aug. 2002) by Kezar and Eckel: “senior administrative support,” “collaborative leadership,” “robust design” (a collaborative and evolving blueprint of the future), “staff development,” and “visible actions” (actions that “show the culture is changing”). He emphasized robust design and visible actions.

* Barbara Walvoord. Academic Departments: How They Work, How They Change. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, v. 27, no. 8. San Francisco: Josey Bass, 2000, pp.15-17.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So Whatsa Program?

At Immersion, July 30, 2006

Faculty Lead: Craig Gibson

Program Structure: From the Systems view, “structures consist of interrelated parts.” “Structures make sense, are visible to all the parties involved.” An IL Program structure is not linear, but a “spiral curriculum” (“Structures develop a progression of knowledge.”) An IL program structure consists of a horizontal scope (how many) and vertical scope (how long) that promotes the “Diffusion of Innovation.” Traditional Bibliographic Instruction helps the student finish the assignment but does not connect with the course. In an Information Literacy program, learning opportunities are embedded in the course. To get to an IL program, we can begin by leveraging the one-shot session. (See Clueless in Academe)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Leadership Orientations

At Immersion, July 30, 2006
Faculty Lead: Karen Williams

We began with a Leadership Orientations questionarre. Most in the room scored either as a Structural or Human Resources leader. According to Karen, these are the two most common frames in librarianship. A few scored as Symbolic, but only 2 scored as Political leaders. These four leadership frames: Structural, Human Resources, Symbolic, and Political come from Bolman and Deal's book that is used in the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute. Reframing is important because it broadens our perspective, helps manage complexity, and “provides a basis for effective and informed action.”

**It is crucial to create an Information Literacy Vision.**

There was then a discussion of what a leader is with views from several authors. Karen’s view of leaders:
  1. Storytellers (Boyett & Boyett 1999)
  2. “design learning processes” (Senge 1990)
  3. “work with all in a community of leaders” (Barth 1992)
  4. “take risks and are open to change” (Bennis 1997)
  5. view mistakes and failure as learning opportunities (Bennis 1997).

Karen suggested we create leadership growth plans. She recommends Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook.

Our activity was an Opportunity Assessment: “Know your audience, focus on the change makers, and know their turf, use their issues.” It was also suggested that we draft short “sound bites” and a back-up plan.

Leadership Tools

From Senge’s Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (1994), the needed tools are: “personal mastery and self awareness, systems thinking, shared vision, mental models and team learning.”

There was a short discussion on change, including John Kotter’s (1996) process of creating change and human reaction to change. The session ended with a very brief overview of Force Field Analysis and the Ease/Impact Model.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Changing Paradigms

An Immersion event, July 29, 2006

Faculty Lead: Karen Williams

Bibliographic Instruction and Information Literacy are actually two different things, and most of what we do is still bibliographic instruction. According to Karen, the goal of bibliographic instruction is “to teach how to find information in the library” and the goal if information literacy is “to be an effective user of information in any format and place.” In an information literacy program model, information literacy is integrated into the curriculum. A librarian does not have to be present for information literacy instruction to take place. Changing from an “instruction paradigm” to a “learning paradigm,” as described by Robert B. Barr and John Tagg will allow information literacy instruction to be scaleable.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


During Immersion, Debra Gilchrist presented 3 workshops on assessment, 2 general sessions on assessment-as-learning and 1 on program assessment. My notes from the first 2 sessions are below. I will post my notes from the session on program assessment later.

Assessment as Learning Pt. 1 July 29, 2006
Faculty Lead: Debra Gilchrist
Deb’s 2 rules for assessment: 1) Work backwards from what you students to be able to do and 2) Assessment is about student learning.
Deb’s “5 questions for assessment design:
  1. “What do you want students to be able to do?” (Outcome)
  2. “What does the student need to know in order to do this well?” (Curriculum)
  3. “What activity will facilitate learning?” (Pedagogy)
  4. “How will the student demonstrate the learning?” (Assessment)
  5. “How will I know the student has done this well?” (Criteria)
Deb’s outcome writing formula: Verb phrase + “in order to” + impact phrase
An example from Deb: "Develop topic relevant vocabulary in order to search databases with maximum flexibility and effectiveness."

Bloom’s Taxonomy is helpful in writing the verb phrase that describes what you want the student to be able to do. The impact phrase explains why you want the student to be able to do it.

Assessment-as-Learning Pt. 2 July 30, 2006
Faculty Lead: Debra Gilchrist
This session began with a brief review of the outcome formula. In the formula, the verb phrase is the skill and the “in order to” statement is the application or impact. Deb believes outcomes are fully measurable. Recall from the “good learning outcomes” slide that they are measurable/“judgeable.” Measurable outcomes are quantitative and judgment outcomes are qualitative. A judgeable outcome is where the instructor can see that the student has improved (I am thinking this means behavior wise). Assessment test like SAILS and ETS can provide a benchmark. The best assessments include a critical thinking element. Debra than shared some documents demonstrating IL assignments and outcomes that librarians have helped faculty develop and self-assessment students utilize in library workshops.

At Pierce College, the library provided a faculty workshop where they analyzed assignments with faculty. The faculty submitted assignments in advance and the librarians identified what IL concepts students needed to know in order to complete the assignment. They then worked with faculty to revise outcomes.

At Pierce College they assess only one out of five outcomes each year so that each out come will be assessed at least once over an eight year period. More important outcomes may be assessed more often than less important ones. At first they only assessed 1 in 10 sessions (10%), now they assess 1 in 4 (25%).

PS. Be sure to check out Pierce College's Library Instruction Program. Notice that Information Competency is on of the college's 5 core abilities. Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Immersion Opening Plenary

Following is a summary of the first session at Immersion '06. My notes from other Immersion events will be following soon.

Opening Plenary June 29, 2006

Faculty Lead: Craig Gibson
After all the faculty introduced themselves, the program begin with discussion on the definition of information literacy that included the “7 Ages of Instruction,” a jig-saw reading activity on 5 articles that defined information literacy and Christine Bruce’s “Seven Faces of Information Literacy in Higher Education.”
For the next part of this session, we watched “The Deep Dive,” a fun Nightline clip about an innovative design company called IDEO. IDEO immerses itself into a design problem and uses play to foster innovation. Their five brainstorming rules are:

  • “Defer judgment”
  • “Encourage wild ideas”
  • “Build on the ideas of others”
  • “Stay focused on topic”
  • “One conversation at a time”
  • “Be visual”
  • “Go for quantity”

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Immersion '06

Simmons Conference Center
Originally uploaded by AmyGF.
Well, I got home from ACRL’s Institute for Information Literacy Immersion ‘06 in Boston a few days ago and I am dripping wet after being thoroughly immersed in Information Literacy for nearly a full week. It was an intense, but great experience. Not only did I learn a lot, but my perception of Information Literacy has changed and I’ve gotten so many ideas I want to try out.

I participated in the Program Track and our final product was an Action Plan to bring home. While my Action Plan still needs some work, it lays out some goals that I believe we can achieve within the next year.

Some pics from Immersion are available at Most of these pics are from the Teacher Track, but it still gives you good idea of what the whole program is like.

I’m still working on my summaries of events, but those will likely appear shortly.

Friday, July 21, 2006

ALA Annual 2006

I attended the following events at ALA this year:

Serving the Underserved - Distance Education & the LIS Degree
Speaker 1 discussed how the profession views distance education. Many look down on distance education programs, but most graduates of distance programs are satisfied with their education and employers are happy with distance LIS graduates. Speaker 2 explained how distant students can receive the same level of education as traditional students by researching LIS programs, using internet communication tools, participating in library associations, and work experience. Speaker 3 listed the pros and cons of distance education. Speaker 4 discussed distance education from an instructor’s perspective.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reference Discussion Group
In this informal discussion, librarians chatted about the role of libraries and librarians in detecting/preventing plagiarism. We also pondered how to handle purchased items that turn out to be plagiarized or fabricated (as in Frey’s A Million Little Pieces). Although it was an interesting conversation, there were no grand revelations.

Making Assessment Work for You: How Information Literacy Tests Can Help Support Library Programs
Speakers discussed the development and use of 2 assessment tools: Project SAILS and the ICT Literacy Assessment. I was late and missed Carolyn Radcliff and Joe Salem discussing the development of Project SAILS. Much of Wendy Holliday’s presentation on Utah State University’s experience with SAILS and assessment of information literacy is in the document at I thought it was interesting that SAILS scores showed no significant differences in freshman and sophomores, but the few seniors who participated did do better than underclassmen. Their citation analysis was also interesting. Of the few students who did provide citations, they were mostly websites and 16 websites accounted for 49% of the citations.
I cannot recall anything about Teresa Egan’s presentation on the development of ETS’ ICT Literacy Assessment, however, there is a lot of info about this test at Lesley Farmer discussed her experience with the ICT assessment. From her experience, the test focused too much on technology and not enough print IL, it was time consuming, and not aligned with the curriculum. They also experienced technical difficulties while administering the test and had to have the campus’ firewall turned off.

The Long Tail: The Internet, Culture and the Mega-Store
This was the most interesting session I attended at ALA 2006. Chris Anderson, author of the recently published The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, discussed the “long tail” and how libraries contribute. Anderson’s “long tail” describes the shift in consumer purchases away from a heavy focus on popular products to a focus on niche products with less mass appeal. For example, when I was a teenager, I bought most of my music CDs at Wal-Mart. My purchases were limited to products available in Wal-Mart, mass produced and mass distributed. But thanks to online stores, like Amazon, I can easily find and purchase less popular works, such as music by Sherie Rene Scott or O’2L.

If you graph product purchase versus popularity, a tall spike (of popular products) occurs with a long tail of niche products following. While no one niche product sells more than any of the popular products, all together, the niche products sell more than the popular products all together. The long tail affects entertainment, publishing, advertising (think AdWords), credit cards and even “libations” like beer. You can read a little more about “long tail” at and in Anderson’s original article on the subject at

The “long tail” can be seen in libraries through interlibrary loan, online databases, and Google Book Search. Interlibrary loan and online databases provide users access to a much broader access to materials than what they have at home or even in their libraries. Google’s Book Search helps users become aware of books that they might not have been aware of. Select slides of Anderson’s PowerPoint from this talk are available on his blog at

Events I Did Not Attend
I did not attend the following events, but resources related to these events and other blog summaries are available online.

ACRL President’s Program: The Emperor Has No Clothes: Be It Resolved That Information Literacy is a Fad and Waste of Librarians’ Time and Talent:

Drug Foods, Fast Foods, and Feasts: A Social Science of Eating:

Go Where They Are (And Go Now!):

I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can: Building a Career When Personal Responsibilities Demand More of You:

The Power of Personal Persuasion:

Publish, Don’t Perish: Helpful Hints for Authors:

LITA Events:

If you have a link to resources or summaries of events from ALA 2006, please share!

Friday, June 30, 2006


I returned from ALA Annual a few days ago. Everybody in New Orleans was very welcoming. I don’t think we have ever received such a warm reception. The French Quarter didn’t receive much damage from Katrina and was just like I remembered it. But librarians who made it out to the ninth ward and other damaged areas said it was worse than they had imagined. Refer to the following articles for more about the current state of New Orleans and ALA in New Orleans.

“Ten Months After Katrina: Gutting New Orleans:”

June 27 Times-Picayune article:

CNN Video:

I attended the following events and plan to post summaries soon. Event descriptions are from the conference program. There were also a lot of great looking events that I didn’t get to attend and I will be looking for summaries of those events too.

Serving the Underserved - Distance Education & the LIS Degree
Date: 6/24/2006 10:30 AM -- 12:00 PM
Location:Morial Convention Center room: Rm. 342
Meeting Type: Open
Description: Social and technological changes in recent years have created a virtual revolution in the field of LIS education. Currently there 12 institutions that offer ALA accredited degrees that can be completed entirely on-line. Many others have extensive distance education components. Four Spectrum Scholars and an LIS professor will discuss the advantages, challenges, and unique “classroom” dynamics that this phenomenon creates, particularly for students from underrepresented groups. Moderated by Mark Puente, 2003 Spectrum Scholar.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reference Discussion Group
Date: 6/24/2006 1:30 PM -- 3:30 PM
Location:Hotel Intercontinental room: Poydras
Meeting Type: Open
Amy’s note: Topic was Plagiarism

Making Assessment Work for You: How Information Literacy Tests Can Help Support Library Programs
Date: 6/25/2006 8:00 AM -- 10:00 AM
Location:Morial Convention Center room: Rm. 286-87
Meeting Type: Open
Description: Standardized tests are being used to measure the information literacy competencies of K-16 students. Results from these tests can have a profound effect on how administrators look at information literacy. What are these tests assessing and how can we use these tests to our advantage? This program will present a panel of testing experts and practitioners who will discuss how these tests work and how test scores can be used by librarians as data to support library programming.

The Long Tail: The Internet, Culture and the Mega-Store
Date: 6/26/2006 10:30 AM -- 12:00 PM
Location:Morial Convention Center room: Rm. 298-99
Meeting Type: Open
Description: Speakers will discuss information commons and new strategies for libraries.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Information Literacy for the 21st Century Learner

I recently viewed the teleconference, “Information Literacy for the 21st Century Learner: Reaching At-Risk High School and Community College Students,” provided by the College of DuPage’s Library Learning Network. The program focused on a project with the same name by the Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges (NILRC). A major component of this project is the Needs Assessment Instrument, which is available for others to use free of charge.

Other Things I Learned About

Standards: In developing this project, NILRC not only referred to information literacy standards, such as those by ACRL and AASL, but also considered general education standards: the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) and the Center for Educational Policy Research’s Standards for Success. SCANS considers the skills required to succeed in the modern work world. The report lists 6 “Functional Skills Needed for Effective Work Performance,” including “Information Management: Acquires and uses necessary information.” The purpose of the Standards for Success project was to define the skills students needed to successfully complete entry-level university courses. Several of the standards, provided in Understanding University Success, focus on the ability to locate and use information.

Instruction Design: Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe discussed the Kolb Cycle of Experiential Learning, Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, and ARCS Motivation Theory.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Any Questions?

One of my favorite teaching strategies is the Socratic Method. I like this method because questioning the class for ‘original answers’ fosters critical thinking. For example, instead of telling the students the steps in a 5-stepped research process, I ask them a series of questions that leads them to discover the 5 steps as a class. I start by writing 1 through 5 on the board so the students will know we are looking for five steps. Then I ask them “When you have been assigned a topic to write about, how do usually begin your research?” Almost always they will say, “The Internet!” I will then ask them a series of questions, such as “How many results do you get?” or “How good are the results?” until they admit that maybe the web is not the best place to start. I then write “Internet” in the fifth spot so we remember that this is the last step. Next I will ask something like, “When you first start your research, what do you need to know about your topic?” I usually get answers like “what it is” or “background information.” After that I ask them “Where can you find this type of information?” I ask questions until we have all 5 spaces completed.

I first learned about the Socratic Method at an instruction workshop. In the workshop, we received a handout titled “Introduction to Socratic Pedagogy.” Unfortunately, the handout does not appear to be online, but here are some helpful tips from the handout.

  • Prepare your sequence of questions before class
  • Vary question difficulty and pace
  • “Ask a variety of questions on the same concept.”
  • “Set up patterns”
  • “When a student asks a question or if we ask a question, don’t answer it yourself.”
  • Don’t ask questions that end in “Right?”

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Interested in a TLA Distance Learning Interest Group?

Denise Landry-Hyde is looking to establish a Distance Learning Interest Group within the Texas Library Association (TLA). She states, “With the rapid growth in distance learning throughout the country, there is an increasing need within the state for a group that focuses on the needs and requirements of this learning community.”

If you are a TLA member in good standing, please “sign” the petition to form this Interest Group by e-mailing Denise Landry-Hyde at If you are not a member of TLA, you can join TLA at

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Library Instruction Teaching Tips

At their Library Instruction Teaching Tips page, the Library Instruction Round Table of ALA provides brochures with teaching tips in the following areas:

Not only do these brochures provide teaching tips, but each also includes a bibliography. Despite being created in 1999, the information provided is still relevant, even in “Technology in the Classroom.”

You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these brochures. If you don't already have it, you can download for free at

Friday, March 31, 2006

Classroom Management Systems Comparison Chart

I have a dream of a library classroom where the instructor controls the computers students use. No more students checking their e-mail or MySpace page. No choice but to pay attention (or sleep). The instructor can even direct all student computers to the same website. Several software/hardware products, called Classroom Management Systems, make this possible. The Teaching Methods Committee of ACRL provides a list comparing many of these products at

Someday my dream will come true.

PS. If you have experience using a Classroom Management System, please post a comment with your opinion of the system you use.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Internet at School

"The Internet at School: A Tool or a Crutch?"
By Peter Alexander, Correspondent, NBC News

This article states, "With the facts now at their fingertips, teachers say it's less important that their students can store information in their heads and more important that they know where to find it and what to do with it."

Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, we call that 'Information Literacy.' Anyways, it is nice to see that others recognize the importance of information literacy today, even if they don't call it that.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Laughs for the Stressed Librarian

There are just some days (and patrons) I could not get through if I didn’t look at the humor in the situation. Here are a few sources of humor that help me make it through those kinds of days.

bitter librarian
“The true tales of a public librarian. Advocating for victimized librarians everywhere. Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of guilty parties.”

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette
“A polite librarian is a good librarian.”

Library Mofo
(Warning: Contains language that may be offensive to some!)
“The Society for Librarians* who Say Mother****er.” Or those of us who feel like it sometimes.

Daily comic strip that takes place in a public library.

Funny You Should Ask…
Each week this e-mail from Thomson Gale features a humorous reference question. Subscribe at or view the archives at Not really a comic, but it looks like one.

Of course, we can’t actually take our frustrations out on the patron, no matter how much they ask for it. Just to make sure you are not corrupted after visiting some of these sites, take a look at the Baylor University Libraries’ “Client Service Standards and Behavioral Indicators” accessible at This document will give you a review of good customer service behaviors.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ALA Midwinter 2006

I attended the following events at the American Library Assocaition's 2006 Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Combating the Culture of Copy: Information Literacy Intervention for Plagiarism

Presented by Lynn D. Lampert; Sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)
Friday, Jan. 20, 2006
Today’s typical college students routinely download information and media. Wikis, blogs, and open-source programming encourage collaboration. Most students do not know what constitutes plagiarism and what is legal. Furthermore, what most faculty recognize as plagiarism differs from many librarians’ stricter definition of plagiarism. The definition of plagiarism also differs by discipline. This session focused on a discipline-based approach to anti-plagiarism instruction. To understand what constitutes plagiarism in a specific discipline, a librarian, along with faculty, can investigate the field’s code of ethics and its literature on plagiarism and academic dishonesty. An academic department’s or an instructor’s specific plagiarism problem provides a “zone of intervention” where a librarian and faculty can work together to prevent plagiarism.

The Instruction Balance
Sponsored by the Teaching Methods and Education Committees of the ACRL Instruction Section
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006

In this participant-driven session, participants discussed questions in a group, and then shared the highlights of their discussion with the larger group. My group observed that of all our responsibilities, preparation (objectives, materials, etc.) takes the most time. Nevertheless, sharing can save time. Templates, shared drives, and online materials, such as PRIMO, LOEX, and MERLOT, provide opportunities to share instruction materials. We also discussed ways to avoid burn-out. Training, including team-teaching, is necessary for less-skilled instructors so that teaching duties are equal among instruction librarians. Members of my group also suggested taking a break, participating in non-library activities on campus, and taking advantage of continuing education opportunities as means of avoiding burnout.

Management of Instruction Services Committee's Bright Ideas Session:
"Hello, Anybody out There? How to Improve Outreach Efforts and Build Positive Relationships"

Sponsored by the Management of Instruction Services Committee of the ACRL Instruction Section
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006

This session was conducted in a “jig-saw” manner. The session had 6 topics. The table a participant sat down at became their home table. Each participant at all the tables was assigned one of the 6 topics. Then participants moved to tables with others assigned their topic to discuss the assigned topic. My topic was “Outreach to Adjunct Faculty or Teaching Assistants.” We discussed ways to locate adjuncts and TAs and how to broach the subject of information literacy with them. Ideas for finding adjuncts and TAs included: making friends with department secretaries, connecting with them when they come into the library, and attending orientations or training sessions. One can inform them about information literacy when they come into the library for assistance or through letters or e-mails (some colleges have e-mail lists or offices that can be used to reach adjuncts and/or TAs).

After discussions in our assigned groups, everybody returned to their home tables, where everybody shared the highlights from their assigned topics with their home table. The participants at my home table shared the ideas that follow.

Outreach to Students

  • Integrate into Freshman Experiences or introductory English Courses
  • Librarian visits student classes to introduce self
  • Activities during Parents Weekend or Orientation
  • Poster contest (students designed posters to advertise the library)

Outreach to Graduate Students
  • Involvement with the Graduate Student Association
  • Newsletters
  • Hand out business cards during sessions (helps them see you as a professional)
  • Have experienced and respected faculty promote the library to them

Working with Non-academic Departments
  • Work with residence halls
  • Participate in School fairs
  • Gain support by serving on campus-wide committees

Partnering with Faculty
  • Provide them the option to select from various library instruction approaches
  • Attend social events
  • Send periodic e-mails, but don’t overdo it

Cool Marketing Ideas
  • Key chains (light-up or carabineers) with library logo or website are very popular
  • Other Freebies with library logo or website, including post-it notes, magnets, branded candy and miniature highlighters
  • One librarian gives new graduate students a coupon for “Free Espresso with a Librarian.” When they return the coupon she treats them to a cup of espresso and spends 20 minutes talking with them.
  • Temporary tattoos