The What and Why of Information Literacy
Information literacy is a crucial set of abilities for successful academic and professional writing. Information literacy encompasses the ability to recognize when information is needed and how to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information in writing and other contexts.
There are various reasons for including library instruction/information literacy in Junior Year Writing:
Good writing is always informed by the literature of the field and by published evidence.
Students need to be introduced to how real practitioners and scholars in their chosen fields write – both how they write and what they write about.
Students need to learn how to access and make effective use of this vast literature. They need to become familiar with the indexing databases and reference sources and search strategies in their majors and for their future professions.
The How of Information Literacy: Work With Your Librarian
The Library has subject specialist librarians for each department who can help you teach information literacy to your students. To find your Subject Specialist, see www.library.umass.edu/reference/liaisons.html .
Your department liaison librarian can:
Work with you to help you design assignments that teach students to use appropriate sources for their disciplines and future professions, and that help them learn research skills and tools in their fields of study.
Conduct a library instruction session during either a lecture or discussion portion of your class. Library subject specialists offer subject-specific instructional sessions to assist students in gathering high-quality resources to complete academic assignments. Library classrooms allow for hands-on learning.
Arrange for you to use a library classroom to conduct your own Junior Year Writing research session.
Help you provide your students with access to subject-specific library resources.
Work with you on creating a web page research guide specifically for students in your Junior Year Writing classes, with links to the most useful resources for your subject, discipline or course. For a list of existing Subject Guides see www.library.umass.edu/subject/.
Integrate information literacy into your SPARK site, or course web page, or blog.
Help you develop links to catalog searches, online journals and full-text journal articles from a wide range of sources.
Course Guides by Major
Librarians create research guides specifically for students in Junior Year Writing classes, with links to the most useful resources for the discipline or profession.