a. Find topic ideas & overviewsb. Refine a topic
a. Information needs & sourcesb. Information Sources - comparisonsc. Journals vs. magazines
a. Search the library catalogb. Locate print books by call numberc. Find & use online & audio booksd. Obtain books from other libraries
a. Search the library databasesb. Online search strategiesc. Locate full-text articlesd. Off-campus access
a. Introductionb. Library databases vs. search enginesc. Use search engines
a. Criteria for evaluating sourcesb. Wikipedia
a. Avoid plagiarismb. Interpret citationsc. Cite sources
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Research the Smart Way  

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2015 URL: http://pdc.vccs.libguides.com/smartresearch Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction Print Page

Suggested Information Literacy eBooks

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Information Literacy: Search Strategies, Tools & Resources for High School Students and College Freshmen
Available to VCCS faculty & students via the EBSCOhost eBook Collection. If you are accessing this eBook from off-campus, you will be prompted to login with your My VCCS username and password.

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Information Pathways: A Problem-solving Approach to Information Literacy
Available to VCCS faculty & students via the EBSCOhost eBook Collection. If you are accessing this eBook from off-campus, you will be prompted to login with your My VCCS username and password.

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The Information Literacy User's Guide
An open textbook freely available for public use from the State University of New York (SUNY).

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Writing Commons Open Text
Sections include: Information Literacy and Research Methods & Methodologies


Related Guide

Reading & Writing Resources for English: This guide includes material covered in developmental English, English 111 and English 112 including: reading, writing, and argumentation.


Purpose of the Guide

  • Developed in collaboration with VCCS librarians and English instructors as part of an OER (Open Education Resources) project.
  • Contains OER material which is freely available on the open Web for public use.
  • Information literacy skills covered are based on the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
  • Your research should not be limited to the scope of this guide.  Please feel free to check with a reference librarian for more focused resources on your specific topic.

What are OERs?

Open Education Resources (OER) are freely available online for anyone to use.  Under some licenses, OERs can be changed, improved and redistributed.  Most OERs are licensed using Creative Commons.

Open Educational Resources include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including - searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

For additional information on OERs, see Reynolds Community College's OER guide.

Created by In the Academia group: Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)


Information Literacy Defined

Taken from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) web site, Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education:

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." 

Information literacy is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives.

Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it.

The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. 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

Components of Information Literacy

Created by Seminole State College of Florida Library, Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)


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