Using the ‘library without walls’
A networking approach to teaching information literacy skills
Project Number 20 – 1993
Penn State University Libraries
E408K Pattee Library
University Park, Pa, 16802
Fax: (814) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Center for Academic Computing
Penn State University
Undergraduate Information and Communications
Office of Undergraduate Education
Penn State University
Networked information sources, such as those available on the Internet, have permanently changed the way library users access information. Once a centralized, location-bound process, information gathering has become an autonomous activity whose boundaries are limited only by a user’s resources and creativity. A consequence of this development is the “library without walls” whose users may be located on-site or scattered across continents. The unique character of the “library without walls” poses special challenges to academic librarians, who have traditionally structured their user education programs around personal encounters with users. How can a library design a user education program that instructs remote users to efficiently use the resources of the host institution while simultaneously encouraging its own users to effectively explore the unfamiliar information resources of other institutions?
Penn State University is responding to this challenge by designing a distance education course available to PSU and non-PSU-affiliated students. Jointly developed by the University Libraries, the Center for Academic Computing, and the Office of Undergraduate Education, this course uses LIAS , the Libraries’ online catalog, Penn State’s Gopher, and other Internet- available information resources to develop information literacy skills such as identifying appropriate information sources and critically accessing their content, and developing effective strategies for searching databases. An additional unit discusses responsible electronic information consumption , including lessons on the creation and cost of electronic information, and its usefulness in making “real life” decisions. Individual consultation and group discussion will be conducted using the University’s electronic mail and conferencing system and students will have the option of submitting assignments electronically or through surface mail.
The curriculum for this course will be finalized during the initial part of the Fall 1993 semester and the course should be available for registration shortly thereafter. The EDUCOM presentation would describe the course curriculum, outline the philosophy underlying its development, and discuss the strategies that guided the development of this collaboratively-designed project.
This project uses a networked information source, the Internet, to develop basic information literacy skills such as identifying, accessing, and evaluating information resources. By emphasizing the use of electronic mail and conferencing technology, the course also allows students who use Penn State information resources from a remote site to participate in class discussions and instructor consultations on a equal-access basis with students physically located at Penn State. This project also features collaboration by three different areas of the University: the University Libraries, the Center for Academic Computing, and the Office of Undergraduate Education.
data projection pad
telecommunication connection to Penn State’s mainframe