Information Literacy Strategy

Information Literacy Strategy for Yale NUS College

Librarian Contact Information

Priyanka Sharma
Email: priyanka.sharma@yale-nus.edu.sg
Telephone: 6601-3660

Overview and Key Recommendations

 The purpose of this strategy document is to delineate the rationale, vision, goals, implementation approaches and assessment methods that will be used to foster an information literate community of learners at Yale NUS College. The increasingly complex information landscape has made it more important than ever before to nurture learners who have the ability to recognise when information is needed, where it can be found, and how it can used effectively and appropriately. Information literacy is a set of skills, attitudes and approaches to information that allow us to achieve this.

 

The following are the primary ways in which the library advances information literacy at Yale NUS College. Library orientation for all first year students (Think Like a Scholar) provides the necessary foundation for thinking about information. CSI Integration (Think Like a Researcher) builds basic Information literacy skill sets and begin the process of developing a research mindset. The information literacy programmes act as building blocks, and one-on-one research consultations and work with capstone groups as well as with individual students will further reinforce these skills.

  1. Develop and deploy a set of strategies that will promote information literacy outcomes in a gradual manner throughout the four year cycle of a Yale NUS student
  2. Use a variety of different settings and approaches to promote information literacy and to reinforce and scaffold the learning
  3. Use appropriate information literacy standards, models and frameworks – such as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Information Literacy model, among others – to benchmark and align our information literacy activities and programmes
  4. Design, execute and evaluate programmes in a quest for continuous improvement
  5. Deploy information literacy programmes to address general topics (finding information, evaluating information and using information appropriately), discipline specific topics (research methods, information sources and conventions for specific subject areas), media literacy (including fake news, use of images and videos, etc.), citation management software related topics (EndNote/Mendeley/Zotero), research data management topics.

 

Introduction

The increasingly complex information landscape has made it more important than ever before to nurture communities of learners who have the ability to recognise when information is needed, where it might be found, and how it might be used effectively and appropriately. The role of libraries, and indeed of librarians, is central to this process. Information literacy skills can be addressed through the various formal and informal interactions that librarians have with the College community. Several of these interactions present opportunities to talk about information and the skills that are needed to find and use information responsibly. In addition to the more formal avenues (research consultations/ course-integrated information literacy sessions/ research tools based sessions), information literacy can also be integrated into other interactions such as reference queries, faculty orientation, College events and the like.

 

Defining IL for Yale NUS

Information literacy can, at its core, be understood as “the ability to recognise when information is needed, then locate and evaluate the appropriate information and use it effectively and responsibly” (CONUL, ACIL).  As per the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) ‘Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning. (ACRL, 2016).

At Yale NUS, the library considers information literacy to be a set of skills and attitudes that empower individuals to identify when information is needed, locate relevant information, and critically and contextually examine information in order to produce, use and share information responsibly and ethically. 

Our view is that information literacy may be understood as a set of core skills and habits that can be learnt in a graduated manner. Information literacy skills are best learnt when the learning outcomes are integrated into the curriculum.

Given the current surge in both the incidence of and interest in fake news and other associated concepts, the library will also incorporate elements of digital literacy into its information literacy strategy.

 

Contextualising Information Literacy: ACRL framework

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (January 2016) explains information literacy through the following six concepts:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

The library’s information literacy initiatives are guided by these principles and they are incorporated into our teaching and learning in a cross cutting way – more in terms of our approach and philosophy underpinning our information literacy activities rather than a rigid set of outcomes.

 

Alignment with the College’s priorities

All Yale NUS students take the Common Curriculum— a set of courses that provide an introduction to multiple modes of inquiry, to some of the timeless ideas of human existence, and to many challenging issues of our age. Students gain deep knowledge of one discipline through a major, and have several options each year for electives in all disciplines. The curriculum integrates the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and the students selected major.

 

At Yale-NUS College “habits of creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking are encouraged.” These habits are fostered in a variety of ways throughout the College and in different aspects of students’ living and learning experiences at Yale-NUS. Yale-NUS Library is committed to cultivating these habits. One significant component that contributes to these habits is information literacy.

 

Information literacy and research skills are central, cross cutting proficiency habits that allow students to get the most out of the curriculum, while advancing critical thinking and evaluation skills. These skills are also increasingly critical for success at work and life.

 

Implementation

The information literacy elements described in this strategy are at different levels of development. Some of the elements – most notably ‘Think like a Scholar’ and to a lesser extent ‘Think like a Researcher’ have been implemented and tested. Likewise, the sessions on digital tools and citation management tools have been in place for some time. The course integrated subject/module specific sessions are also in place but require further scaffolding/organization. The same is the case with Capstone cohorts.

 

Think Like a Scholar: A 60 minute (previous iterations were 90 minutes) compulsory programme for all freshmen during Orientation. Conducted in groups of 20-25 students. Taught by the team of subject librarians in a traditional classroom setup.

Think Like a Researcher: A 90 minute programme taught in groups of 16-25 students face-to-face in a traditional classroom set up. This year it was a part of one of our Common Curriculum modules (Comparative Social Enquiry) that is taken by all freshmen. The faculty member leading that module is involved in the curriculum planning of this session. We hope to continue this initiative in the future.

Course Integrated Sessions: Ranging from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, these sessions are anchored within a module and focus specifically on information resources, skills and techniques that are crucial to the specific module. Sessions are often designed in collaboration with faculty and are always conducted at the invitation of faculty. We especially try to reach Capstone modules, as well as several electives aimed at Junior and Senior students.

Digital Tools and Citation Management Software Sessions: These are offered as a part of the ERT Workshop series – walk in sessions that are held every Wednesday during term. These sessions are optional – but they are open to everyone on campus. We conduct classes on tools such as Zotero/Mendeley/EndNote. We also have sessions on GIS tools and data visualization and the like.

Collaborations: This refers to collaborations beyond the traditional ‘information literacy anchored in a module or orientation’ type session and may include collaborative work such as outreach ‘research clinics’ around campus and in collaboration with the Residential Colleges, etc.

 

Additional Activities and Learning Aids  

An important element of our information literacy strategy is the delivery of individual research consultations to students across all four years. There is a need to continue to create/promote awareness of the availability of these sessions.

The use of learning aids such as handouts, research guides and AV training materials is encouraged as this will ensure that we adequately accommodate different learning styles and preferences.

 

SAMPLE INFORMATION LITERACY CURRICULUM FOR A STUDENT

Year 1 and 2

  • Think like a Scholar
  • Think like a Researcher
  • Introduction to Zotero
  • Access to other campus wide information literacy activities such as outreach research clinics, Wednesday (ERT) workshops, and collaborative activities with other campus stakeholder such as RCs and Writer’s Centre
  • Access to research consultation sessions

 

Year 3 and 4

  • Introduction to research skills (via a course integrated module)
  • Subject specific research skills (in one or more course integrated sessions)
  • Specialised Software skills/Bibliographical Management Software refresher
  • Individualised research consultations/support
  • Access to other campus wide information literacy activities such as outreach research clinics, Wednesday (ERT) workshops, and collaborative activities with other campus stakeholder such as RCs and Writer’s Centre
  • Access to research consultation sessions

 

Last updated: 2 Oct 2020