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Why do I need to know about Information Literacy? I’m a science major!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

(and other myths hereby debunked)

You know the drill all too well - you go to class, you go to lab, you stay in lab for *hours*, repeating your experiments until the results finally turn out the way they are supposed to, and then you retreat to a quiet corner to lick your wounds and blearily write up your lab report.  That is the life of many a science student — not just here at Salisbury University, but at colleges everywhere.  Walking past a poster for the library services that advertises the learning of  Literacy skills, you think to yourself “Why do I need to know about any of that stuff?  I’m a science major!”  

However, my friend, think again.

Science, engineering, and technology disciplines these days not only require that students demonstrate basic competency in identifying, evaluating, acquiring and using information ( basic tenants of Information Literacy) but these disciplines are also unique in that students must also be competent in experimentation, laboratory research, and mechanical drawing.  Writing up lab reports requires knowledge of information sources that go far above and beyond basic journal article findings - data sets, multimedia, 3D technologies, open file reports, graphs, maps, patient information, and Geographic Information Systems can all easily come into play.  Many disciplines in the sciences that used to be tightly controlled and focused have now blown wide open and are fantastically multidisciplinary - and as such students are expected to know how to fluidly maneuver from one discipline to another, a move that frequently requires significant manipulation of data and can also mean that in-depth knowledge of specialized software should come along for the ride as well.  


Science “then”:  A science-fair winning project - 1974.  Un-altered photo via  Flickr, originally published by Kevin Trotman.  Creative Commons license, & as such used with permission.  



Science “now”:  petri dishes in a lab.  2006.  Un-altered photo via Flickr, originally published by Laurence Livermore.  Creative Commons license, & as such used with permission.  

So - think about that.  Not only are you expected to understand and remember what mitochondria do, the steps of the Krebs cycle, and know how to key out an aquatic larval insect all the way down to genius and species, but you are also expected to know specialized software programs that are unique to your discipline *and* neighboring disciplines.  You need to know how to easily find, evaluate, and use external data sources, be they journal articles, data sets, maps, or graphs.  You are also expected to write clearly, articulately, and persuasively in order to produce scientific papers that properly lay out all of your research that you have done in the field or in the lab.  All hallmarks of a person who is truly information literate!  

In fact, according to the National Research Council:  

"Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately" (National Research Council, 1996).

So given all of that, why aren’t you taking advantage of the library offerings and folding Information Literacy in to your bag of scientific tricks?  You’ve already amazed and astounded your friends by your ability to diagram out benzene rings and rattle off all the bones found in the human wrist…….why not add a few more skills to an already impressive list?  There is a lot out there that needs to be done by scientists - and it needs to be done well.  Take advantage of the Information Literacy offerings that we librarians provide, and who knows where your new knowledge could take you!  


'Crazy Scientist Lab':  un-altered photo via Flickr, originally posted by Med PhotoBlog.  2011.  Creative Commons license & as such used with permission.  

— 20 hours ago
#science literacy  #scienceliteracy  #information literacy  #citizen science  #sciences  #technology  #engineering 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Lewis, SU Libraries' Information Literacy Partner of the Month! →

The SU Libraries are proud to recognize Dr. Michael Lewis of the Environmental Studies Department as the inaugural winner of the SU Libraries Information Literacy Partner of the Month Award. This is a new award we will be giving monthly to honor the faculty with whom we partner in teaching students to find, evaluate, and effectively use information. In addition to recognizing Dr. Lewis on the SU Libraries’ website and social media, we also will purchase a book in his field of study to be added to the Libraries’ collection in his honor.

Keep reading!

— 20 hours ago
#national information literacy awareness month  #information literacy  #Information Literacy Partner of the Month  #libraries  #environmental studies  #higher education 
Open Access Explained by Salisbury University’s Scholarly Communications Librarian

Monday, October 20, 2014

How many times, after hours of searching for that perfect, scholarly, peer-reviewed article for your research, have you been denied access to the full text due to the dreaded publisher paywall? You are not alone! With the rising cost of journal subscriptions, libraries have struggled to maintain the level of access needed to keep their students and staff engaged in the current academic conversation. Even Harvard University announced to their faculty in 2012 that they could no longer afford all the journal subscriptions their scholars and students needed.

But there is change on the horizon! Researchers, students, librarians and other community members have been developing a new way to share, distribute and curate research outputs – this is called Open Access. The term “Open Access” is used to describe peer-reviewed, scholarly research that is available online, is free to access and can be fully used in the digital environment.

Not only does Open Access help the global academic community gain access to the research it needs to progress, it also offers opportunities for interested members of the public learn and contribute to that process. A spectacular example of this happened right here in Maryland! In 2012 Jack Andraka used Open Access research to come up with a test for the early stages of pancreatic cancer that is now undergoing medical trials – he was 15 years old at the time and still in high school.

For more information on how Open Access played a major role in this case, here is a link to an interview of Jack Andraka by Dr. Francis S. Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health – one of the major research funders in the US.

Students around the world, and at all levels, are playing a major role in shaping the means by which research is done, how it is accessed and how that research can have a real world impact!  To learn how you can get involved visit the Right to Research website, or contact your Scholarly Communications Librarian!

Questions? Just ask! Questions may be directed to SU’s Scholarly Communications Librarian, Laura Hanscom.

— 21 hours ago
#Open Access Week  #open access  #National Information Literacy Awareness Month  #scholarly communications  #librarians 
Information Literacy and Comics!

Friday, October 17, 2014

In many ways, understanding comics’ role in information literacy instruction is the same as any other text, but the comic format of combining visual and textual forms of communication makes it especially useful for those learning information literacy skills by decoding and synthesizing multiple modes of information. Comics, also known as graphic novels, are a format not a genre, and as such can be written in any genre and on any topic. They are not just super heroes; travelogues, non-fiction, instructional manuals, any and all can be in the comic format. The following are some great articles that discuss the use of comics in information literacy instructional settings in more depth, and examples of information literacy themed comics!


Image is from Library of the Living Dead by C. Michael Hall, Matt Upson, and Dustin Evans, created for McPherson College.

Further Reading:

Hoover, Steven. “The Case for Graphic Novels" Communications in Information Literacy, 5.2 (2012): 174-186. Web.

Scicluna, Ryan. “The Use of Graphic Novels in Information Literacy InstructionMalta Comic Con, 13 January, 2014, Web.

Upson, Matt. “Library Comics!Matt Upson-Librarian. n.d. Web.

— 3 days ago
#National Information Literacy Awareness Month  #information literacy  #info lit  #comics 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homecoming Weekend is coming up! It is a special 50th reunion for the class of ‘64. Sammy was feeling nostalgic and felt like browsing some old yearbooks.

After all, it was in ‘63 that “Sea Gull” became the official mascot for Salisbury and in ‘65 Sammy appeared for the first time in the Salisbury yearbook. Check out Sammy’s Timeline.

— 4 days ago
#BLtbt  #throwback thursday  #tbt  #sammyseagull  #Homecoming  #Salisbury University 
Information Literacy Explained by Salisbury University’s Information Literacy Librarian

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month. We asked SU’s Information Literacy Librarian & Coordinator of Library Instruction, James Parrigin, to explain information literacy and its importance. 

I think it is not a secret that employers today are looking for people who can find and use information effectively, which is why this phrase “information literacy” continues to be emphasized in education. It’s a sign of the times. Information is capital.

Simply put, “information literacy” refers to a person’s ability to work with information well. Outside of college, this might mean gathering the best information before buying a car so that you get the best deal; It might mean finding official information about a job opportunity; it might mean researching products before buying them for your 5 month old baby; it might be finding answers to your boss’ question and having the ability to provide evidence that your answer is without a doubt correct. All of these life situations require a person to have the ability to find information and put it to use. I mean, when your boss straight up asks you for THE right answer, and they will know if the answer is not correct…well, you just can’t fake that.

As SU’s Information Literacy Librarian, I am constantly finding ways to engage students with research, from beginner (freshmen) to advanced (seniors).

You know how SU’s curricula is peppered with all of these Writing Intensive courses? That’s so that by the time SU students graduate, they can communicate ideas effectively in writing.

Similarly, my SU Research Librarian colleagues and I work closely with academic departments and faculty to embed research opportunities within courses across the curricula, so that SU graduates can find and use information in effective ways.

Reading, writing, critical thinking, information literacy — these are all lifelong skills that will continue to serve students well beyond graduation and into what has been referred to as the Age of Information.

Questions? Just ask!

— 5 days ago with 2 notes
#National Information Literacy Awareness Month  #information literacy  #infolit 
How exciting!! The vertical beams that begin to form the structure of our future Academic Commons went up today!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How exciting!! The vertical beams that begin to form the structure of our future Academic Commons went up today!

— 6 days ago

Monday, October 13, 2014

At Sea in a Deluge of Data - The Chronicle of Higher Education →
— 1 week ago
#National Information Literacy Awareness Month  #librarians  #students  #The Chronicle of Higher Education  #information literacy 

Monday, October 13, 2014

EasyBib surveyed over 10,000 students and 1,200 librarians on the topic of information literacy. They are releasing a white paper that analyzes the results — just in time for National Information Literacy Awareness Month!

SU Libraries use EasyBib for online citation management.

— 1 week ago
#EasyBib  #National Information Literacy Awareness Month  #students  #librarians 
Because October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month and, well, because it is important…
What is PIL?

Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a large-scale, national study about early adults and their research habits, conducted in partnership with the University of Washington’s iSchool.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Because October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month and, well, because it is important…

What is PIL?

Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a large-scale, national study about early adults and their research habits, conducted in partnership with the University of Washington’s iSchool.

— 1 week ago
#information literacy  #infolit  #research  #students  #highereducation  #college students  #National Information Literacy Awareness Month