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LBR 200 - Information Literacy

Wednesdays 1:10-3:40pm
Library Classroom, 1st floor, Fogler Library
3 credits, Fall 2012

Basic Information | Course Assignments & Grading | Course Outline

Instructor Jim Bird
Science & Engineering Center Librarian; 
Fogler Library
581-1697 (w)
866-2578 (h)

Office Hours Science Center, 2nd floor Fogler Library
Wednesday 4-5pm
or by appointment

Please note: This syllabus is subject to change. I will announce any changes in class. Students are responsible for staying informed of the changes.

Basic Information

Purpose of  LBR 200

This course will provide undergraduate students with both a theoretical approach to the flow of information and the skills necessary to navigate the many kinds of information resources available today. In addition, students will better understand the role of information in today’s society. By developing critical thinking skills concerning the production of information and its use and organization, the foundation will be laid for improved research strategies and life-long intellectual growth.

Course Objectives and Learning outcomes of LBR 200:

Identify information needs

  • Student is able to articulate information need by forming a thesis statement of posing relevant research questions in need of answers.
  • Describe circumstances which lead individuals to seek information and possible approaches for addressing each information need.
  • Student is able to identify relevant databases to find the needed information.

Develop awareness of the legal, economic, social, and public policy aspects of information resources

  • Student demonstrates knowledge of the relevant issues surrounding intellectual property, plagiarism, open access, societal privilege, and similar aspects of information creation and dissemination.
  • Articulate several roles and functions of information resources in society.
  • Student will cite sources appropriately.
  • Student is able to articulate the differences between ownership of information and access to it.

Evaluate the strengths and limitations of different types of information resources and the media through which these resources are presented

  • Student is able to find supporting research materials in a variety of formats: for example, from printed and electronic books, newspapers and journals, websites, audio/video, data sets, maps, and any other source appropriate for the research need.
  • The student is able to articulate the strengths and limitations of all sources used.
  • Student can identify and explain the process of scholarly communication and the role of peer reviewed journals.
  • Student can identify and explain how to determine whether a source is primary or secondary.
  • Student will compile, assess, and utilize information resources.
  • Student is able to identify various types of information resources within their discipline.
  • Student will understand that the Internet is a means of delivering information rather than a resource.
  • Student is able to differentiate scholar, trade, and popular publications.
  • Student will understand the peer review process.

Develop strategies for the critical evaluation of information resources, including assessing the reliability of a resource and determining the biases and viewpoints that are inherent in any resource

  • Student is able to properly evaluate an information source for its currency, authority, accuracy, and bias.
  • Identify the intended audience and goals of the author.
  • Identify possible audiences, purposes, viewpoints, and expertise of the authors of information resources.
  • Student is able to evaluate both print and web resources as to their currency, authority, accuracy, coverage, and reliability.

Structure and implement research strategies

  • Student is able to refine their thesis statement or research questions through an iterative process of discovery and evaluation, using a variety of research tools.
  • Identify resources that seem most likely to provide applicable information.
  • Create a prioritized approach for checking resources and refining search strategies.
  • Students will design, use, and revise search strategies.
  • Student will be able to identify relevant search terms using a variety of resources and know the difference between controlled and keyword terms.
  • Student is able to properly use Boolean and proximity operators, parentheses, and truncation to construct a search statement and be able to modify this search statement when results do not meet expectations.

Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose

  • Student is able to coherently apply information seeking skills to complete assigned tasks
  • Student can synthesize and document the information gathered during the research process.
  • Gather citations for related resources to prepare an annotated bibliography on a particular topic.
  • Student will gather, organize, and present information.
  • Student understands what is meant by academic integrity.

Required Reading:

There will be readings most weeks. All readings are listed on your course outline. Some readings are on reserve and available at the Reserve Desk (1st floor) in Fogler Library. Reserve material can be borrowed for up to 4 hours. There are two copies of each reading on reserve.  Most of the readings are available over the Internet via the World-Wide-Web. Links to these readings are provided on the homepage for this course.  Please notify me by e-mail if you encounter a link that does not work.  You will be responsible for all of the course readings, so please come prepared to each class having read the material for that day.

Course Narrative:

Each class will be devoted to a particular topic in information literacy. The first half of each class will be lecture and class discussion on the topic of the day as well as reviewing any assignments that are due. Students are encouraged to discuss their completed assignments in class. The next segment will be devoted to an in-class assignment.  Most of these assignments, listed in your course outline, will be accomplished through small group work. Group size will vary according to the assignment and the size of the class. Whatever the size of the group, each member will be expected to participate fully in collecting and organizing information and recording and reporting findings. The group as a whole will accomplish the assignment for that class, with one member of the group taking notes and another member reporting the results to the whole class. It is expected that all students will serve as group reporter and spokesperson at least twice during the semester.


Attendance is expected for all classes. In the case of extraordinary circumstances, please contact me by phone or e-mail before the class meets to let me know that you will not be attending class that day.  You will be expected to hand in any assignments for that week during the week in which you missed the class.


We will be using the University of Maine’s FirstClass in this course. Access to FirstClass is available to all students in the computer clusters on campus. I will use FirstClass to post class announcements and other information. I expect that students will use FirstClass when communicating with me and with other students in the class.  A brief orientation to FirstClass will be given on the first day of class. The FirstClass FAQs may be of use as well.

Accommodation of Disabilities:

If you wish to request an accommodation for a disability, please contact either me or Ann Smith ( Director of  Disability Support Services (East Annex 123 , extension 2319) as early as possible in the semester.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism and all forms of misrepresentation in academic work, and is unacceptable at The University of Maine.  As stated in The Uiversity of Maine's online undergraduate "Student Handbook," plagiarism (the submission of another's work without appropriate attribution) and cheating are violations of The University of Maine Student Conduct Code.  An instructor who has probable cause or reason to believe a student has cheated may act upon such evidence, and should report the case to the supervising faculty member or the Department Chair for appropriate action.

General disclaimer

In the event of an extended disruption of normal classroom activities, the format for this course may be modified to enable its completion within its programmed time frame.  In that event, you will be provided an addendum to the syllabus that will supersede this version.

Course Assignments and Grading

Reserve Reading Responses - 10%

Students will submit written reading responses for one of the readings each week. Note however that I expect you to be familiar with all readings in preparation for class.  Please don't turn in a written reading response that just reiterates what the reading was about.  Responses should be your evaluations of the readings. There will not be a specific length for the response but it is expected that each response reflect the student’s thoughts about particular readings. Remember, it is very important that if you want to use someone else’s words, put those words in quotes and cite the source. Reserve reading responses should be word-processed or submitted to me by e-mail.  Responses will be graded on a 3 point scale:  1) evidence of having done the readings, 2) word processed/e-mailed, and 3) handed in on time.  Top score=3.  If you turn in your response within 1 week of the due date you will receive a maximum of 2 points. Failure to turn in a reading response will result in a zero for that assignment.

Class Participation - 15%

It is expected that students participate both in class discussion on the topic of the day and during the in-class exercises.  Because class participation counts for 15% of your grade, it is very important to attend all classes and to do the weekly assigned readings and all other assignments.

Bibliography - 15%

See assignment under W

 Issue Paper- 15%

See assignment under week 5

Interview - 10%

See assignment under week 6

Other Assignments - 15%

All other assignments are given in this course outline. 

Quizzes - 20%  (10% each)

There will be 2 quizzes; one at the beginning of Week 7’s class and one at the beginning of Week 12’s class, our second to last class. They are noted on your course outline. Quizzes will be based on reserve readings, class assignments, lectures, and class discussion.  Questions will mostly be in the multiple choice format. Note: There is no final in this class. 


It is very important to complete all assignments on time because it will help you contribute to the class discussion. Each assignment will be discussed before it is due. Please, if you have questions or concerns about any assignment, ask in class or contact me. You will not receive full credit for late assignments. For citation format, please follow APA or MLA style. The MLA handbook for writers of research papers and the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association are kept near the Reference Desk, 1st floor, Fogler Library.  

The following points will be graded:  Understanding of the assignment (30 points total), Following assignment (30 points total), Construction (spelling, sentence construction, etc.) (30 points total), Handed in on time (5 points total), and e-mailed or word processed  (5 points total).  Top score=100.  Note that 5 points will be deducted for each week an assignment is late.  Failure to turn in an assignment will result in a zero for that assignment.  Note that zeros really lower your average.

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Course Outline

WEEK 1 (9/5/12) Structure of Course
Lecture Instructor-contact points (e-mail, telephone, office location); assignments, grading, attendance, participation, written work, small group work, class conduct.  Students will introduce themselves, highlight interests. Tour of Fogler Library.
In-class Pre-test. Fill out data sheet. Demo URSUS, FirstClass, and classroom workstations.
Assignment Write a definition of information. Due September 12th.

Bohn, R.E. and Short, J.E. 2009. How much information? 2009. Report on American consumers. Global Information Industry Center, University of California, San Diego.

Burkhardt, J., MacDonald, M, and Rathemacher, A. 2004. What is information? Is there anything that isn't information? University of Rhode Island Plan for Information Literacy.

Garfield, E. 1974. What are facts (data) and What is information? Current Comments No. 12.

Losee, R.M. 1997. A discipline dependent definition of information. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48(3): 254-269. Definition of information section

Wresch, William. "Information Rich, Information Poor." In Disconnected: Haves and have-nots in the information age.
New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996.  Read up to the subheading "unexamined assumptions"


WEEK 2 (9/12/12) Define Information
Lecture Discuss information. What is it? Where is it? Is there "one"
definition? Who controls information? How do you know where to look
for/find it? How do you actually get it? Look at different professions -
how is information used? 
In-class Use a piece of information with visual data (i.e. a cartoon). What kind of information is contained in the item? What appear to be the beliefs, opinions, assumptions in the information? Do you "get" the information?  Examine weeds and flowers.
Assignment One to two page essay on the future of academic libraries - due September 19th.

Battles, Matthew. 2000. Lost in the stacks. Harpers Magazine 300: 36-39.*

Blosc, H. and Harnad, S. 2005. In a paperless world a new role for academic libraries: Providing open access. ESOF symposium, Stockholm.

Hardesty, L. 2000. "Do we need academic libraries?" Association of College and Research Libraries. Position paper. 

Johnson, Pete. An overview of collection-level metadata. 2002. BCS Electronic Publishing Specialist Group. What is a collection? Slides 4 and 5.

Lombardi, John V. 7/8/2000. "Academic libraries in a digital age." In 20/20 vision for the future, Association for College & Research Libraries, University Libraries section. 

Lougee, W.P. 2002. Diffuse Libraries: Emergent roles for the research library in the digital age. Council on Library and Information Resources.

Marcum, D. 2003. Visions: The academic library in 2012. D-Lib 9(3).

Ociepka, S. 2002. The future of the academic library. The Olive Tree - Friends of Fogler Library, 9(2).

Stamatoplos, A. 2009. The role of academic libraries in mentored undergraduate research: A model of engagement in the academic community. College & Research Libraries 70(3): 235-249.

Wen, S. 2005. Implementing knowledge management in academic libraries: A pragmatic approach. Proceedings of the 3rd Chin-U.S. Library Conference.

*Find the full-text of this paper by searching Academic Search Complete


WEEK 3 (9/19/12) What is a Collection? What is a Library?
Lecture Identify collections you or your friends have. Why are things in
collections? What are different ways to group collections, depending on the use and purpose of each collection? Talk about different libraries and other information centers and their collections.
In-class Sort a collection and provide a rationale for your choices.
Assignment Examine a library, departmental collection, or other collection of information resources (on campus only), and determine how it is organized. Due September 26th.
Readings An explanation of the Superintendent of Documents Classification system 

Library of Congress Classification Outline 

Chan, L.M. 1998. Still robust at 100[:] A century of LC subject headings. LC Information Bulletin, August.

Mann, Thomas. Doing research at the Library of Congress - a guide to subject searching in a closed stacks library. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, 1994..  Section II: A, B, and C only

University of Maryland Libraries. 2003. Using Library of Congress subject headings.



WEEK 4 (9/26/12) Subject Systems/Headings/What is a Citation?
Lecture Why classification systems and subject headings are used; benefits, drawbacks.  Library of Congress classification outline. How LC call numbers are read.  Who uses and why. Superintendent of Document system. Discuss the collections you have discovered.
Supplementary Library of Congress Subject Headings (Red Books). At Science Center office.
In-class Assign LC subject heading(s) to a book. 
Assignment Take an assigned list of URLs and devise a method of classifying them. Due October 3rd.
Readings Elizabeth Seton Library. Venn diagrams for Boolean logic.

Indiana State University, Cunningham Memorial Library. Top ten database search tips tutorial.

University of Illinois. 2005. Choosing an article database.


WEEK 5 (10/3/12) Selecting and Searching Databases
Lecture Introduction to database selection and searching.   Boolean logic. Examine the role of keywords and controlled vocabularies in searching. Examine the variety of subject databases available. Discuss your url categorization.
In-class Search the same subject in several databases.  Discussion of the following article that will be handed out in class today:  McLellan, F. 2001. 1966 and all that - when is a literature search done? Lancet 358: 646.

Issue paper. Select a topic concerning information.  It can be a topic we have discussed or something that you have read or heard about.  Please write a paper not more than 2 pages in length that briefly reviews the issue.  This paper should include you thoughts on the issue.  Due October 31st.

Readings Cited reference searching: An introduction. A tutorial using Web of Science. ISI.  Also Web of Science tutorial.

"Copyright & fair use FAQ". Stanford University Libraries. 

Dickenson, D. 2006. How students and faculty use academic libraries differently. Fast Facts - Recent Statistics from the Library Research Service. ED3/110.10/No. 242.

The use and misuse of bibliometric indices in evaluating scholarly performance. 2008. H.I. Browman and K.I. Stergiou (eds.) Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8(1).

Tenopir, Carol. 2001. The power of citation searching. Library Journal. 11/1/2001*.

U.S. Copyright Office.
Look at
Copyright in General
What does Copyright Protect
Who can Register
Register a Work
How Long Copyright Protection Last

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Basic facts about registering a trademark.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
General information concerning patents.
Look at
What is a patent?
What can be patented
Who may apply for a patent
Design patents
Plant patents
Treaties and foreign patents
*Find the full-text of this paper by searching Academic Search Complete


WEEK 6 (10/10/12) Database Searching and Patents and Trademarks

Broad overview of patents, trademarks, and copyright. Continue discussion of database searching.

In-class Web of Science  

Find a U.S. patent and a U.S. trademark (for trademark search scroll down and select trademark search [TESS])of interest to you and print out the first page of each.

Assignment Interview a professional in a particular field (from a pre-selected list).  Identify the formats of information they use and what communication networks they use. This assignment is due November 7th.

NOTE: The Spivey and Wilks paper must be one of the articles selected for a written response.

Frank, Donald G. "Database integrity: Issues and questions." Journal of Academic Librarianship 1995 (Sept) 21(5): 387.  This will be handed out in class.

Hovde, Karen. "You can't get there from here: Student citations in an ephemeral electronic environment." College & Research Libraries, 2007 68(4): 312-321.

Hunter, J. n.d. The importance of citation. Grinnell College.

OCLC white paper on the information habits of college students. 2002. How academic librarians can influence student's web-based information choices.

Spivey, C.A. and Wilks, S.E. 2004. Reference list accuracy in social work journals. Research on Social Work Practice. 14(4): 281-286.*

*Find paper by searching Academic Search Complete


WEEK 7 (10/17/12) Citing and Searching for Resources
QUIZ#1 Lecture Citing sources,  integrity issues.  Internet searching.  Review for Quiz next week. 
In-class Have each group look at a different information source. Have each group explain how their item is organized, how indexed, what material is covered, who the author(s) is(are), when and where published, frequency of publication, and anything else that the group thinks is important concerning the publication under examination.  Find a journal article of interest and identify the types of references cited.
Assignment Examine an article in a newspaper, news magazine, and a journal on a similar subject. (Found on Reserve as "LBR Journal Assignment") What are the similarities/differences between the information each source provides? Due October 24th.

Prepare an annotated bibliography of  12 sources that are available in Fogler Library or from its website.   You must include the following types of sources: book, journal article, government document, and non-print resource. Include detailed comments on your process of finding these sources. This assignment is due November 28th. A more complete explanation of the assignment is available here.

Issue paper due today.


Evergreen State College. The Daniel J. Evans Library. [nd] What is peer review?

Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. [n.d.]Responsible conduct of research. Peer review.

Lund University Libraries. 2010. Directory of open access journals

McKenna, Laura. 1/20/2012. Locked in an ivory tower: Why JSTOR imprisons academic research. The Atlantic.

Morrison, J.L. and Suber, P. 2002. The free online scholarship movement: An interview with Peter Suber.

Nature forum on open access. 2004. 

Suber, P. 2004-2006. (latest revision 6/18/2012) Open access overview.

University of Maine at Farmington, Mantor Library. 2007. Scholarly, trade, and popular periodicals.

University of New Hampshire. [n.d.] Responsible conduct in research. Peer Review.

Waldon University [nd] What is peer review?


WEEK 8 (10/24/12) Publishing, Peer Review, and Open Access
  Lecture What does it mean to publish? Who publishes? What do they publish? Where do they publish? How do they publish? How does the publishing process differ by discipline?  Look at forms of publications - trade/popular/scholarly. What are similarities and differences? The creation of databases and associated integrity issues. 
In-class Look at an article from a journal or proceedings volume. Find the publication date, the acceptance date, the submission date, the date the journal was mailed, the date it arrived in the library, and, if possible, the date it appears in an index/abstract. Make a time line to determine the time lags between each step.
Assignment Work on Interview assignment (due November 7th), Annotated bibliography (due November 28th). LBR Journal assignment due today.

Berg, S.A., Hoffmann, K., and Dawson, D. 2010. Not on the same page: Undergraduates' information retrieval in electronic and print books. Journal of Academic Librarianship 36(6): 518-525.*

Cool, Collean, Park, Soyeon, Belkin, Nicholas, Koenemann, Jurgen, and Ng, Kwong Bor. Information seeking behavior in new searching environments. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ge, X. 2010. Information-seeking behavior in the digital age: A multidisciplinary study of academic researchers. College & Research Libraries 71(5): 435-455.*

Haines, L.L., Light, J., O'Malley, D., and Delwiche, F.A. 2010. Information-seeking behavior of basic science researchers: Implications for library services. Journal of the Medical Library Association 98(1): 73-81.*

Gallant, T.B. 2008. Twenty-First Century forces shaping academic integrity. ASHE Higher Education Report. 33(5): 65-78.*

Indiana University. 2004. Plagiarism: What it is and how to recognize and avoid it. Writing Tutorial Services.

Kuhlthau, C.C. 1994. Students and the information search process: Zones of intervention for librarians. Advances in Librarianship 18.

MIT academic integrity: Introduction. 2012.

Purdue online writing lab. 2010. Avoiding plagiarism.

Ten principles of academic integrity for faculty. 2004. Change 36(3): 12-15.*

Wang, Y-M and Artero, M. 2005. Caught in the web: University student use of web resources. Educational Media International 42(1): 71-82. *

*Find paper by searching Academic Search Complete

WEEK 9 (10/31/12) Academic Integrity and How Information is Acquired by the Researcher
Lecture General discussion on how information is acquired. Examine the information seeking behaviors and patterns of various disciplines.
In-class Each student will take a book of their choice and examine the references.  Data collection sheet will be provided. 

Using Academic Search Premier or another database, find an article about information seeking behavior. 

Assignment Keep a list of the means by which you acquire information over a 2-day period. Due November 7th. 
Readings University of Maryland. Health Sciences  & Human Services Library. Collection Development Policy

University at Albany. University Libraries.
Collection Development Policy.
WEEK 10 (11/7/12) How Information is Acquired by the Library
Lecture Specifics of how information is acquired. Collection development policy statements. Included will be Books in Print, serials directories, journals, bibliographies, URSUS, Web,  etc. Discuss cost considerations of acquiring information. Discuss your 2 day information assignment due today. Discuss your Interview assignment due today.  
In-class Continue reference data collection from last week. Using the book from Week 9, cost out 10 of the publications listed in the references or footnotes.
Assignment Keep a list of the means by which you acquire information over a 2-day period. Due November 14th. 
Interview assignment due
today. Work on  Annotated bibliography due November 28th.
Readings Barker, J. 2005. Evaluating web pages: Techniques to apply & questions to ask. Teaching library internet workshops. University of California, Berkeley.

Bell, C. 2007. Critical evaluation of information. University of Oregon Libraries.

Browne, M.N., Freeman, K.E., and Williamson, C.L. 2000. The importance of critical thinking for student use of the internet. College Student Journal 34(3): 391-398.*

Cornell University Libraries. 2010. Evaluating resources and Evaluating web sites: Criteria and tools.

Elder, L. and Paul. R. 2002. Critical thinking: distinguishing between inferences and assumptions. Journal of Developmental Education 25(3): 34-35.*

Harris, Robert. 2010. Evaluating Internet research sources. VirtualSalt.

Kaldjian, Paul. 2005. Critical thinking skills. University of Wisconsin, Eau-Claire.

Metzger, M.J., Flanagin, A.J., and Zwarun, L. 2003. College student web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behavior. Computers & Education 41: 271-290.*

Ormondroyd, J. - updated, edited, web-ready by Engle, M. and Cosgrave, T. 2010. Critically analyzing information sources. Cornell University. Olin & Uris Libraries.

Paul, R. and Elder, L. 2003. Critical thinking...and the art of close reading (part 1). Journal of Developmental Education 27(2): 36-37,39.* 

University of California, Berkeley, Library. 2009. Critical evaluation of resources.

*Find papers by searching Academic Search Complete

WEEK 11 11/14/12) Critical Evaluation
Lecture Overview of critical evaluation; what is critical evaluation? Why evaluate sources? What is information used/created for? What are some things to look for when evaluating? (including biases) Discuss journal articles, books, newspaper articles. Internet evaluation. 
In-class Evaluation of the same record in 2 different databases.  Continue or start to work on book references.
Assignment Evaluate the two sources  from  your bibliography. Who created the information and why? How current is it? What is the information used for? Are there any biases present? Due December 5th. Annotated Bibliography due November 28th

View the film Slow Fires: On the preservation of the human record.  On reserve in the Media Resource Center, Fogler Library - required to view.



WEEK 12 (11/28/12) Preservation Issues
  Lecture Guest speaker
In-class Search for and evaluate URLs.
Assignment Annotated Bibliography due today

University of Maine. Web Office. Accessibility

Web Accessibility Initiative. Resources on introducing Web accessibility.


WEEK 13 (12/5/12) Course Recap
QUIZ#2 Lecture  
Assignment Bibliography evaluation assignment due today


WEEK 14 (12/12/12) Wrap-Up. Course Evaluations
In-class Post text and course evaluation





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Created by: Jim Bird  | Revised: 06/23/2014


Created by: Fogler Staff | Revised: 06/23/2014
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