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Information Literacy Basics

Walk the first steps of any research: How to define your subject, how to locate information, how to find relevant information on the Internet and evaluate it. Plus how to write the bibliography.

Florence Micoud

on 9 September 2013

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Transcript of Information Literacy Basics

Library is just a part but essential.
Don't skip it!
Research Path
variety of sources
Why & How?
What do you already know?
Synonyms, thesaurus
Related concepts, subjects, topic, wider, more precise
Various approach: organisation name, famous persons, time, place
Library catalogue
Library books
Other reference
(Atlas, science or historical encyclopedia...)
Information Files
People who might know
Yellow pages
Citizen advice bureau
Government agencies
Know the difference
Directory: http://webdirectory.natlib.govt.nz/
Databases: Epic on tki http://www.tki.org.nz/r/epic/
A search engine looks for
words inside the public webpages
Online Encyclopedias: http://www.britannica.com/
Wikipedia is collaborative
therefore not necessarily accurate
Google: Try Google NZ or scholar
Advanced Search Tools
Choose Advanced Search option
Quotation Marks for phrases
Webcrawler: looks in all search engines!
Boolean Operators AND OR NOT
and combinations
AND to be precise
cars and pollution
smoking and cancer
cloning and human
OR to broaden or search on synonyms
Tobacco OR smoking
New Zealand OR NZ
To Not have a term in your result, type -term. It is useful to narrow or eliminate homonyms:
Clone NOT human
Mustang NOT car
"Tiger Woods"
“mountain bikes”
Wildcard * replaces any term.
In databases, * replaces any number of letters, ex:
Tibet* will find Tibet, Tibetans, Tibetan
Grow* will find grow, growth, growing, grown
prevent* AND (tobacco or smok* or alcohol) AND (Child* OR teen*)
Refine on the url:
-.com to avoid commercial sites
site:org for non-profit groups
site:govt or gov for government sites
site:nz to find New Zealand content
site:jp to find Japanese content
On the Internet
Evaluating Internet Sources
Credibility: who is the author?
Audience: who is it for? for what purpose?
Accuracy: is it peer reviewed? Scholar or not?
Relevance to your needs
.com - a commercial site, to sell you something, typically self-promotional language.
.edu - an academic site, but examine the page's content. Is it a library web page, or a student's pet project?
.gov - .govt reliable because the document is from a government affiliated site, but it does not mean unbiaised as governments have a political agenda
.org - non-profit groups : may be biased towards the organization's point of view.
Check about the author link
Check what other publication this author has made from a library catalogue or book sites
Check links from the site
Who is the site for? Children at play? Help for homework? Or general public? Or researchers? For specialists with lots of jargon?
Is it to sell something?
It might well be biaised then!
Is the information provided factual?
Look for bibliography or references to the facts. Are they mentioned? Are they “serious”?
Compare with other sources.
Always explore further if contradictory.
Check the date the page was created/updated. Look for clues to date the information.
Remember that for some themes, currency may not be essential (i.e. history, book review)
Find the balance between too much versus not enough information. Do not be content with trivial common knowledge. You may start broadly not to miss any point then refine to answer your point.
Check the url:
Check About us page
Always have a minimum of 3 sources
Complete the research path
Bibliography = Sources
Does it contribute to your actual purpose
Write a few questions, sentences
that precisely define your research
Author's Last Name, First Name. Title. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
Gleitzman, Morris. Boy Overboard. Camberwell: Penguin, 2002.
Author Last Name, First name. "Title of Article". Magazine Name in Italic. Date of publication. Pages.
Nachtwey, James, and Alexandra Fuller. "Mandela's Children". National Geographic (in Italic). June 2010. p80-109.
List all of your sources in alphabetical order.
Place the list at the conclusion of your paper.

There are several standards. Which ever you choose, keep the format consistent.
Online source
Author's name, Title. <url of the page>, (if from a database:) database name in Italic, Date you accessed it.
Sources for this prezi:
National Library of New Zealand Information Literacy workshops
Near North District School Board <http://www-lib.nearnorth.edu.on.ca/>, September 2009
University of North Carolina Library Instructional Services <http://library.uncc.edu/research/tools/>, May 2010
More standards here:
Author: Florence Micoud
Librarian @ Mount Aspiring College - Wanaka New Zealand
Thank you for your attention.
I hope you've learnt something today :)
Always think of your
A directory is an organised
selection of webpages
A database is a collection
of items (historically mainly articles) and generally accessible for a fee.
We are lucky in New Zealand that our National Library pays so that schools have free access to a wide range of databases through EPIC.
Ask your librarian for the login and password
You can also Try DigitalNZ
an interactive site to find, share and use
New Zealand's digital content
Search engine:
What is your question?
What do you want to know?
Here you will explore the first steps of a research, any research:
an essay,
your homework,
a project,
anything you want or need to know about.
It is useful all your life
For example, this online resource:
Micoud, Florence. Information Literacy Basics, <http://prezi.com/tsnecoiotrii>, July 2010
Full transcript