INFORMATION LITERACY : INCULCATING RESEARCH EXCELLENCE TO IIUM GRADUATES

From year to year, the IIUM Library has achieved more than 95% on customer satisfaction to the information literacy (IL) workshops conducted. Similarly, the same achievement is stated for the fulfillment of the request for IL workshop.

Simply put, Information Literacy is a set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze and use of information. It is true that in this century, just about anybody can find just about anything they need by using the internet or by referring to sets of books. However, researchers without proper knowledge on how to look for information will just go round and round sifting the multitude of information they get. This might in the end cause headache and frustration to the researchers.

Due to the above, IL classes taught by the librarians are necessary to any university students. This strong foundation and skill which they gained and practiced will eventually turn them into independent lifelong learners. As the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.) says “Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.”

In IIUM Library, IL classes began back in the early years of establishment with librarians teaching basic information on using the Library Catalogue/OPAC and other library services and resources.  In 2003, a more formal and structured module was introduced into LE4000 (English for Academic Purposes), a course under CELPAD. This collaborative effort with CELPAD saw the development of the module by taking into account all the comments and suggestions put up by the participants of the class and those teaching the module.

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As it so happens too, LE4000 is taken by students in their third or final year of study. Based on the evaluation which the participants filled in after the class, they suggested that the IL class is introduced in the first year of study. Therefore, beginning 2008, the liaison librarians began approaching the Kulliyyah with proposals to introduce an IL session into the first year classes. The proposal was accepted enthusiastically by all the Kulliyyah. Some Kulliyyah incorporate the module designed into a Research Methodology class and some set up a zero credit hour course for the library’s IL class.

Other than classes for the first year, liaison librarians also work hand in hand with lecturers teaching Research Methodology subjects and other specific subjects, either for the undergraduates or the postgraduates. Some lecturers have placed great value for the IL classes that some request for extension of the module. This means that the module is extended from one session to three or four sessions, complete with quizzes and exercises.

Contents of the IL classes among others include knowledge on searching techniques, understanding of citation, and instruction on how to use the Library Catalogue/OPAC, how to use the online databases to look for articles, cases, law acts, thesis, newspaper articles, treaties, etc. and where to look for authentic internet and open access resources. Other than that, the modules introduce the library’s own resources by understanding the arrangement of resources in the library, the library’s digital services, how to look for books on the shelves and many more.

Reports on IL show that the IL classes conducted by the liaison librarians have positive impact to the knowledge and information retrieval skills of the users. Participants agreed that the classes were beneficial for their study and research needs. As for IIUM Library, particularly the liaison librarians, teaching has been another job which is seriously shouldered in nurturing the intellectual minds of IIUM.

 

By
Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.

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