Individuals in our global, information-rich environment are faced with increasingly diverse and abundant information choices. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information, combined with rapid changes in technology, require that individuals be highly sophisticated in their ability to locate, critically evaluate, and use information. “Information Competency” and “Information Literacy” both refer to the same set of skills however the term used more frequently globally is that of Information Literacy.
What is Information Literacy?
According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Standards, an information literate individual is able to:
• Determine the extent of information needed
• Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
• Evaluate information and its sources critically
• Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
• Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
• Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
Information literacy is a key component of lifelong learning and is central to the mission of higher education. It enables students to master course content and extend their investigations beyond the classroom, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. Achieving competency in information literacy requires an understanding that this cluster of abilities is not extraneous to the curriculum but is woven into the curriculum’s content, structure, and sequence.
University of the Witwatersrand Library Information Literacy Program
What we do
The Librarians across the three campuses with the exception of Medical School (Medical School Library does their own training) conduct a collaborative teaching program, designed by the Education and Training Librarians. For postgraduate students, Education and Training Librarians work closely with the Graduate Support Division in coordinating library research workshops. The programs assist students with critical thinking and research abilities, necessary for academic success and learning.
How we do it
We collaborate with the faculty and staff to strategically integrate information literacy instruction across the undergraduate and post graduate curricula. Information literacy skills are best learned and retained when taught as part of the University curriculum and in conjunction with skills such as critical thinking, reading, writing and production.
Goals and Objectives
Our goals and objectives are to:
• Provide instructional services to meet the needs of the University user communities, including orientation programs and provide adequate resources to support the program
• Deliver instruction that is inclusive of a variety of teaching and learning styles and cultural backgrounds
• Support and fulfill the University’s teaching, learning and research mission and goals
• Promote opportunities for librarians to collaborate through sharing ideas, best practices and professional development opportunities
• Cultivate partnerships(i.e. Graduate Support Division and Research Office) and to encourage opportunities for collaboration
1. Undergraduate Information Literacy program outline
• Create a Library Pin
• Search the e-Wits catalog or Summon to search for digital content for books/Journals by Title, Journal Name, Author, Subject etc.
• Process Short Loan/Overnight Bookings
• Renew Books
• Place Holds on books
• Carry out basic Database, e-Journal and e-Book searches
• Carry out the above tasks on the e-Wits Mobile catalog
• Make use of Libguides/Subject Guide for finding information
2. Postgraduate Information Literacy Program
The Objective of the Post graduate program is to enable students to:
• Create a Library Pin
• Use EBSCO,JSTOR, IEEE Explore, Emerald, NEXUS, ProQuest, PUBMED, SABINET, ScienceDirect, SCOPUS, SpringerLink, Taylor & Francis, Web of Science, to carry out literature reviews
• Use InCites to identify top researchers, a research supervisor, collaborators and possible funding sources
• Use Journal Citation Reports to identify high impact journals
• Use InterLibrary Loans system to request materials not available at Wits
• Use Online Bibliographic Tools supported by the Library e.g. Zotero
• Make use of e-Thesis and Dissertations
Wits InfoLit programmes are offered within the framework of national and international standards as listed below: