Posts Tagged ‘information literacy’


Information Fluency Workshop: Center for Hellenic Studies

August 30, 2013

(I wanted to title this post “What I did on my summer vacation,” but I figured that would not be very helpful for the search engines out there.)

In July I had the privilege of spending 10 days teaching a workshop on information fluency in classical studies at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC.  It was an incredible luxury to explore a topic in such depth, when in the past I have had at most an hour and a half to reach a group of students! I am very grateful to Kenny Morrell, who invited me to teach this class; Lanah Koelle, our program coordinator/librarian who contributed her expertise at every stage; Allie Marby, CHS’s summer interns, and librarians Temple Wright and Erika Bainbridge, who attended sessions and supported us at CHS, especially in the library; and most especially the workshop students, who gracefully accepted their role as guinea pigs and taught me a great deal.  The students were a mixture on American undergraduates and Greek professionals in education and information fields; each brought an inquisitive spirit and their collective hard work and openness to sharing and new ideas was a major factor in the success of the workshop. Thank you!

As a group we assembled some resources that others who are interested in this topic may find useful.  The first is a Zotero group library with folders that list the session topics. Each folder’s contents include citations for assigned readings for the session (usually fairly short, web-based readings) and citations for information resources we discussed during the session.

The students were asked to complete two assignments.  The first, the development of an annotated bibliography, is available as a Google document: The second, a WordPress Research Guide, is also described in a Google document ( and the guide itself is available via the CHS’s website.  The guide should be viewed as a work in progress; we began a project that we hope to flesh out with the participants of future workshops in years to come.

Librarians and scholars interested in libraries and archives in Greece will be delighted by Maria Konstantopoulou’s entry on this topic; Latin teachers can find many fun texts to use with beginning students in George Trapalis’ entry; Matina Goga has assembled a list of valuable links for the study of Greek society and culture; Brittany Profitt has done the same for Roman society and culture; teachers of Greek might want to think about using Tyler Verity’s entry on precisely defining words for a classroom exercise; Ashton Murphy’s entry on reading for research addresses study skills faculty may assume undergraduates possess when they arrive at college; and Vanessa Felso’s entry on latin dictionary resources is a model of clarity, useful for any undergraduate. Use them, and share them!


Information Literacy for Classics Majors

September 15, 2010

Librarians are very gung-ho about a topic that many non-library academics haven’t even heard of: information literacy. Information literacy is defined as the skills and basic knowledge needed for the student to operate successfully in the world of information – think “computer literacy” but for information. Librarians visit classes – at UGA we work with a lot of ENGL 1101 classes, and at other schools librarians have a mandate to do a class session in all first-year English classes – and in the course of orienting students to the library’s physical and online resources, also try to introduce basic skills and concepts for college-level research, like criteria for evaluating a web page or article (who is it by, why was it written, who is it aimed at, are the facts it presents accurate, is it trying to argue a specific thesis?), what an academic citation is, what a scholarly journal article is and what peer review means.

At some schools, the Classics department and the library have worked together to develop a set of information literacy standards for Classics majors. One set of criteria I found posted online are those from Classics at Smith College:


By the time of their graduation all Classics majors should understand how scholars of Classical Antiquity conduct research and how they communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this understanding is “information literacy” – i.e. the ability to conceptualize what information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information.

There are then specific skills and resources students should know and know how to use, listed out by the level and type of class being taken (i.e., Greek at the 200 level.)

Carleton College has a page that not only lists the desiderata for Classics Information Literacy but describes the process by which the standard was developed and a required Analecta Technica – a junior year portfolio:

The overall goal of the Analecta Technica is to demonstrate that students are ready to analyze and interpret elements (e.g. texts, artifacts, institutions, etc.) of the ancient Greco-Roman world within their various contexts (e.g. political, social, linguistic, etc.) through the use of primary sources as evidence and secondary sources to situate their work in the context of the discipline. To achieve this goal, students will need to be able to locate, utilize, and cite the sources indicated above.

The Classics department often thinks of itself – and promotes itself – as a place to acquire a strong liberal education.  Information literacy skills like critical thinking, as well as writing and language skills, are associated by students and faculty alike with Classics in a study by the Center for Hellenic Studies (The Classics Major and Liberal Education, Liberal Education, vol. 95 no. 2, Spring 2009).  Have you thought about the information literacy skills you want your students to come away from your class with? Would talking about this explicitly help your department?  If so, don’t hesitate to contact your librarian liasion, who will probably jump into the topic with great enthusiasm.