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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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Current Trends in Library Research in the face of the Internet Juggernaut

By : Yusrina Abu Bakar
Senior Librarian
Head, Publication & Promotion Committee

In the era where information is at a person’s fingertips, the library
has been viewed, erroneously, as obsolete. This is because people are
turning to the Internet to search for information they want. To them, the
Internet is fast, convenient, and information can be gotten for free. That
is true but a library is far from being redundant. To continue attracting
customers to the library, IIUM library management continues to “change”
the library, be it the physical building and, more importantly, its services.
Discussed below are some of the trends seen in the library arena:

1. Web Scale Discovery Services
Internet users are always attracted to the single search box that a
search engine provides. They believe this single and powerful tool is
the “window” to search for all information on the internet. To compete
with this tool, many database providers are coming up with similar tools
known as Web Scale Discovery. Among known names are Common,
Ebsco Delivery Service (EDS), FAST, Primo, Encore, etc. Many libraries
now have this Google-like search box in their homepages. What the
“box” does is it searches in all the electronic resources that the Library
owned, be it the Library Catalogue, subscribed databases, in-house
databases, e-books, e-journals, digital library and many more.

The IIUM Library for example is having EDS, on a trial basis on its
homepage. If you feel that we should subscribe to this service, just email
your recommendation to your liaison librarian.

Research Gateway

2. Library on the Move
Information nowadays can be accessed via the mobile electronic devices
such as iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc.. What are so great about these devices
are the amount of storage and the applications that can be downloaded.
The library is also taking this opportunity to introduce library
applications to the market. IIUM Library has two of these applications
known as Bookmyne to access the Library Catalogue and also Mobile
Web to access the simplified version of the IIUM Library Homepage.
Now, library users can be constantly connected to the library.

bookmyne page

3. Institutional Repositories
Institutional Repository (IR) is a collection capturing and preserving
the intellectual output of an educational institution. Many universities
in Malaysia have their own IR in which the academic staff self deposit
their own writings and share it with the world (either in citation, abstract
or full text access). IIUM’s IR is known as IREP (IIUM Institutional
Repository) which could be accessed through the Library Homepage.
Researchers could browse through this collection and might contact or
visit the library to gain access to the full text of the writings found within.

4. Social Media
Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which
they create, share and exchange information, etc. in virtual communities
and networks. Among famous social media are Facebook, Twitter, blogs
and Instagram. The IIUM Library has its own Facebook page known as
The Official IIUM Library which was set up in October 2010. Though this
medium, the library disseminates updates and shares with its “friends”
on any information and news about the library and research resources.
Friends can also share any relevant information and queries which will
be responded immediately.

5. Digital Library
Digital Library (DL) is a collection of library’s print resources which are
digitized into electronic format. In IIUM Library, the collection comprises
of the IIUM Theses, Examination Papers, IIUM Publications, Islamic
Economic database, Islamic Law database, Manuscript and many more.
Users can search within the collection wherever they are in the world.
However, if they need to refer to the full content, they need to personally
visit the IIUM Library.

Research Gateway1

6. Purchase of More Electronic Resources
From year to year, the library is putting more emphasis on electronic
resources, either in the purchase or the development of digital content.
Databases, e-books, e-journals and digital library are more sought
after compared to the physical books or journals. The new generations
of users preferred these collections more since they can access them
anywhere, any time at their own convenience and pace. That is also why
library budget keeps increasing to fulfill this “new” demand.

Libraries throughout the world have definitely evolved especially with
the unstoppable attractiveness of the Web and the Net. The IIUM
Library is definitely moving towards the right path with the introduction
of new collections and services in ensuring that research done within
the Library building or online is kept abreast of the latest demands of
its users. IIUM Library hopes users would see that the advent of the
Internet would not spell the demise of the library.