Information Literacy Initiative Planning
Spring Semester, 2004

Instructional Services Committee
   Roberta Tipton, Chair
   Jeris Cassel
   Rebecca Gardner
   Theo Haynes
   Heather Huey
   Triveni Kuchi
   Patricia Libutti
   Jackie Mardikian
   Leslie Murtha
   Eileen Stec
   Donna Wertheimer

August 23, 2004



During the 2003/2004 academic year, the Instructional Services Committee of the Rutgers University Libraries undertook several planning activities intended to contribute to the Libraries long range planning process and to prepare the Libraries for participation in the review of undergraduate life and learning initiated by President McCormick. The committee considered a strategy for information literacy statement from the university librarian's cabinet and accepted recommendations for a learning framework for the Libraries instruction program from a study group of instruction librarians. Committee members reviewed the ACRL competencies for information literacy and adopted a starting subset to guide Library information literacy initiatives. The Committee also began to adapt for use at Rutgers an open source tutorial recommended by the study group. With the support of the associate university librarian for public services and communications and her staff, committee members sponsored an information literacy symposium and called together a small group of faculty to advise on plans for an information literacy initiative leading to the next university accreditation process.

This report includes the meeting notes and handouts from the two meetings held with the faculty advisory committee. Faculty were invited to a general discussion meeting with instruction librarians, to the symposium, and to a luncheon discussion with symposium presenters. Not all faculty were able to attend all sessions, but all those involved were generous with their time and actively engaged in the discussions. A sample invitation sent to the faculty explains further our objectives for the discussions and gives further background about information literacy and student assessment expectations for the next accreditation process.

The symposium Information Literacy and Student Learning at Rutgers: Standards, Competencies, and the Search for Strategies was well attended by faculty, librarians, and academic administrators on the three campuses in Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark. Cosponsored by several vice presidents and the Libraries, the symposium featured Dean Barry Qualls, Terrence Mech, and Ilene Rockman. Dean Qualls, chair of the President's task force on undergraduate life and learning, gave a general introduction that placed the symposium in the context of the President's initiative. Terrence Mech was a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Advisory Panel on Information Literacy. He explained the new accreditation expectations in his presentation "The New Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education: Assessment and Information Literacy." Ilene Rockman is the manager of the Information Competence Initiative for the Office of the Chancellor of California State University. She described development of a systemwide information literacy initiative at a complex multi-campus university in "Strategies for Integrating Information Literacy into the Curriculum." Program details are available at Video of the symposium will be made available on our website in the near future.

Next steps will continue to build underpinnings for collaboration with teaching faculty across the university, including completion and introduction of the online tutorial, further development of the program outlined in the learning frameworks report, and determination of such additional deliverables as disciplinary tutorials and other educational tools. The Libraries will work on developing a learning assessment instrument by participating in Project SAILS during the coming academic year, and committee members will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of new learning technologies. The Associate University Librarian for Public Services will serve on the subcommittee of the President's task force on undergraduate education that will focus on curricular issues.

Jeanne Boyle
Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Communications

Information Literacy Initiative Discussion Meeting Notes,
April 30, 2004

General Comments

Research can be viewed as empowerment; it can be redefined as "solid information to help you reach your goals."

Most students dread research, but many enjoy it after they try it.

A practitioner may have "tunnel vision" by working too long in the field; sometimes a less experienced student is a better researcher. Students who write well and have the best critical thinking skills do the best work.

The concept of research keeps getting re-articulated during the course of the students' education. A certain amount of redundancy and repetition is required throughout the four years to make sure the students walk out with the skills they need. "Scaffolding" throughout the curriculum would build and reinforce skills.

Many students are weak in critical reading and synthesis; some have trouble at first admitting that there are many sides to an argument besides their own.

Many of our students are too rushed to read extensively and thoughtfully during their undergraduate years; many of our students work as well as go to school in order to pay the bills. Some reading experiences are going to have to wait for graduate school.

Information literacy instruction is, of course, most authenticate when tied directly to an assignment. Information literacy instruction without a course "anchor" is generally wasted and considered irrelevant by the student.

Rutgers can feel large and impersonal to both students and faculty; providing in-person instruction should still be an option for students who just don't like learning from computers.

Faculty have two challenges with information literacy and library skills: 1) the wide range of students' knowledge and skills; and 2) professional development for the faculty themselves.

The Department of Social Work in Newark has two different kinds of courses requiring information resources. The first is a course in social services that emphasizes information resources and physical resources for the students as practitioners. The second is a course in social policy that is writing intensive.

The Industrial and Systems Engineering Department in New Brunswick includes a senior thesis project in which students work in groups of four to design and build something real. The kind of information these groups need varies greatly from group to group. There are two kinds of knowledge involved: 1) knowledge of the process of obtaining information; and 2) the specific, factual knowledge they gain from doing the project.

Serendipitous finding through browsing has value. Students should sit and read, and those in senior seminars need the experience of browsing something, somewhere. Every class presents data and poses the question, "And what are you going to do with it?"

Students should think about research in their field by being inside it. They need to go to the library, learn their discipline, produce something.

Getting a baseline sense of what skills students have when they arrive is a good idea. Now we make assumptions about their knowledge and skills. From the baseline we could scaffold them through.

The K-12 standards and competencies have been clearly articulated; we could use lists of basic skills for undergraduate students for planning. The ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards are such a list.

Once they have gained a feeling of confidence and empowerment in their research skills, students will go ahead and continue to learn by themselves. [This is consistent with the findings on self-efficacy in library instruction published by our colleague, Wen-Hua Ren--RLT. (Ren, Wen-Hua. "Library Instruction and College Student Self-Efficacy in Electronic Information Searching." Journal of Academic Librarianship 26.5(Sept. 2000): 323-328.)]

There are two different ways to reach most freshmen on the New Brunswick campuses: 1) the writing program; and 2) the college-specific orientations, such as "Shaping a Life" on the Douglass Campus. The writing program in Newark ends up reaching about 25% of graduating students. Transfer students are a challenge everywhere.

Undergraduate research is very important to the University; it is a selling point for recruitment.

We are at a moment of opportunity due to the current emphasis on undergraduate education.

On the Tutorial

The tutorial and its individual modules would be useful as a "re-visitable resource," especially for transfer students and to combat "brain leak."

Having this resource (and possibly others) online would be useful as review for fourth year students who are two years and more away from their English composition classes. One professor called this forgetting "brain leak" (!), and the time factor explains some of the failure to transfer the skills from the English composition classes to upper-level classes in the major.

Modules to use before coming to class at the basic levels, an advanced application version, and discipline specific tutorials would all be useful.

As part of the tutorial, a good aid that can be printed would be useful.

Prerequisites could be established not by course but by what skills are really needed. Modules would support scaffolding by allowing those who know to move on and giving those who don't know a way to learn. Having a freshman prerequisite skill set is all very well, but scaffolding and reinforcement are required throughout the four years.

A few possible strategies for using the tutorial:

One professor would use the short modules in SearchPath as a group tutorial in class and would sacrifice course content to fit it in.

Another professor would be interested in having a discipline-specific tutorial available on his department's home page.

Students must complete tutorial in order to register. [Accreditation for the Engineering Department demands that every student complete a certain requirement, and the school must prove that they did. This sort of thing can be done.]

Generally, having basic and discipline tutorials and online modules available to faculty would enable them to help individual students or to work on particular information literacy topics.


It is important that all faculty know the tutorial is there as a resource. That way, they can refer students with problems to specific modules or to the entire tutorial if needed.

Librarians should visit at faculty meetings to keep faculty up to date on changes, new databases, and so forth. Attending every faculty meeting in every department is certainly not possible, but perhaps one meeting per year or so could be managed.

Know who your advocates are in each department, and use the advocates to introduce new ideas and new services from the library to their departments. Champions can speak where librarians are not invited.

Roberta L. Tipton
Business Librarian
Information Literacy Coordinator
The John Cotton Dana Library
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Newark, NJ 07102
973-353-5257 (FAX)

With some additions by:

Jeanne E. Boyle
Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Communications
Rutgers University Libraries

Information Literacy Initiative Luncheon Discussion Meeting Notes,
May 6, 2004

On Faculty-Librarian Collaboration

It is important to build teaching partnerships and have librarians and faculty working in teams.

"Warming the waters" for faculty is a necessity; the objective is to make using information literacy easy for them.

Separate information literacy courses are very labor-intensive; integrating with existing programs is more efficient of librarian time and perhaps more effective for more students.

[Librarian] "Our students don't know where the tools are." (We know this is as big a problem as teaching them how to use the tools -- RLT)

[Faculty member] "We would like to address the problem [of information literacy], but we don't know where the problem is… When you look at a paper and you see all URLs, that's an indication."

Faculty problem areas can be addressed with tutorials and toolkits since librarian numbers do not permit personal intervention in every case. Tutorials and tools can be mounted on websites for use and reuse; pages must be kept up-to-date and the quiz questions on all tutorials changed from semester to semester.

Student/faculty ratios: What do you do with huge classes? Thoughtful written assignments are nearly impossible with a lecture class of 800 students.

Team teaching is a financial issue; it overtaxes the financial resources of individual departments. Someone recommended doing co-requisite credits so that both departments would be reimbursed for the time of their instructors.

Lists and rubrics give the students some rules of thumb for coping with common problems in information literacy.

Students must use what they've learned. Information literacy needs to be reinforced in classes; you can build onto it.

Spreading the Word

We need to market what librarians do that assists faculty. Most faculty are unaware of the expertise and support that is available. We need champions in departments to speak to how their ongoing partnerships have been productive. If we can show that we save faculty time, what we have to offer will be used.

Everyone at CSU read the white paper about information literacy because it was issued from the Chancellor's office. It was also shared widely and systematically with the campus, the faculty senate, and other stakeholders.

How to use the grapevine? What works? "Air support" is nice, but we need to build on successes. Don't try to do everything. Build something good, then tell other people about it.

Promise Web skills; you might get invited to orientation. For example, Cook College has a required library orientation for every student.

[Librarian] mentioned that we should go to our marketing professors for hints. Always using the research paper as an example of information literacy is not appropriate. This is a marketing issue for the library, too -- some departments never require research papers but do require other kinds of written or oral projects.

Organizational Issues

Intriguing questions: "What distinguishes your graduates from the graduates of another institution? How can we get where you would like them to be? What do graduate schools or the work world say about your graduates?"

Central support at CSU included funding, which was used initially for a summer workshop. Those who attended received a laptop. Twenty faculty worked one-on-one with twenty librarians. On the fifth day of the workshop, the librarian-faculty teams presented their ideas to all the workshop participants. The Provost was invited to review the presentations.

California State University organized retreats for faculty by application only. Faculty were asked what they were interested in pursuing, and they were given a choice of which information literacy competencies they wanted to work on.

[Rockman] CSU also has reunions for returning workshop participants to report on their progress a year or two later.

[Librarian] Workshops set up like the CSU summer workshops also present a model for how classes can be structured to implement information literacy.

Where do faculty talk about teaching at Rutgers? One place for discussion is the Teaching Excellence Center in New Brunswick, but the Teaching Excellence Centers in Newark and Camden have been discontinued. The New Brunswick Undergraduate Conference in the fall is another place to talk about teaching.

At Rutgers, the undergraduate education committee or some central authority needs to make a statement of support or an information literacy initiative will not work.

Each college at Rutgers has to take responsibility for the freshman experience of its own students.

How widespread is a capstone course or a senior experience across all the campuses?

Showing outcomes

Student portfolios show depth and growth in information literacy and subject knowledge over time in a way that course grades alone cannot.

[Terry Mech] The Campus added information literacy questions to the graduating students' survey. The results were then divided by departments to show the differences in scoring and to stimulate questions about why those differences existed.

[Rockman] has been drafting added questions for her campus on information literacy for The National Survey of Student Engagement, a widely given survey for graduating students.

[Librarian] Project SAILS is a way of establishing what the issues are for incoming freshmen or transfer students. Question: Why not give the Project SAILS to seniors is well, as a method of measuring student achievement in information literacy?

Rewarding Faculty

Promote and reward faculty for information literacy activities, and they will do more of it.

Reappointment and tenure documents need to be rewritten to include this kind of work.

[Faculty member] talked about the relationship between teaching and research. Actually pared down the teaching portfolio when going up for tenure at Rutgers so that the ratio of teaching materials to research materials would appear to be appropriate for a research university. "Job aids" and "toolkits" from the library would be very useful to help students cite in appropriate style, do case analyses, and find outside sources for their projects.

It has been possible the last few years to make a better case at Rutgers for the validity of the scholarship of teaching. This avenue might be a way to develop interest in information literacy: for example a librarian could publish with several faculty as an organizing co-author or have work included in the proceedings of a conference. A librarian can make connections among faculty who may not know each other but who are working on similar things.

Currently, presenting at a teaching conference is okay for Rutgers faculty , if these efforts are not seen as interfering with primary research. Presenting at a teaching conference is beyond the norm, catches attention, and is more effective if the presenter also has a respectable research record.

Roberta L. Tipton
Business Librarian
Information Literacy Coordinator
The John Cotton Dana Library
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Newark, NJ 07102
973-353-5257 (FAX)

With some additions by:

Jeanne E. Boyle
Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Communications
Rutgers University Libraries

Information Literacy Initiative Discussion Meetings Attendees
April 30 and May 7, 2004

Susan Albin
Department of Industrial Engineering
School of Engineering
Room 206, CORE Bldg, Busch

Erica Boling
Department of Learning & Teaching
Graduate School of Education
Room 206C, Graduate School of Education Building, College Avenue
2-7496 x8218

Martin Gliserman
Department of English
Room 209, Murray Hall, College Avenue

Richard Ludescher
Department of Food Science
Cook College
65 Dudley Road, Cook
2-9611 x231

Jenny Mandelbaum
Department of Communication
School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies
SCILS 211, College Avenue
2-7500 x8120

Phylis Peterman
Social Work Program
School of Social Work
Room 413, Hill Hall, Newark
(973) 353-5841, 5145

Gayle Porter
Department of Management
School of Business
Room 252, Business and Science Building, Camden
(856) 225-6715, 6216


Jeanne Boyle
University Libraries Administration
Alexander Library, College Avenue

Jeris Cassel
Kilmer Library, Livingston
5-4432 x111

Rebecca Gardner
Stephen and Lucy Change Science Library, Cook
2-0305 x114

Theo Haynes
Paul Robeson Library, Camden
(856) 225-6034/35 x15

Triveni Kuchi
Kilmer Library, Livingston
5-5733 x112

Patricia Libutti
Alexander Library, College Avenue
2-7129 x125

Jackie Mardikian
Library of Science and Medicine, Busch
5-1337 x307

Leslie Murtha
Kilmer Library, Livingston
5-3163 x115

Eileen Stec
Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Douglass
2-9407 x25

Roberta Tipton
John Cotton Dana Library, Newark
(973) 353-5910

Sample Invitation

Dear Professor Gliserman,

During the spring 2004 semester, the University Libraries are calling together a small group of teaching faculty to advise us on our plans for an information literacy initiative, and we would like you to be part of that group.

Here are the details:

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education's 2002 revision of its standards for accreditation included new requirements for information literacy in the general education standard. Elements that address this requirement include evidence of librarian/faculty collaboration, incorporation into the curriculum on syllabi and other material, assessment of outcomes, and so forth. During 2003, Middle States also issued guidelines for information literacy in the curriculum and for student learning assessment. Rutgers next accreditation evaluation will be in 2007/8, and the Libraries are beginning to get ready.

The faculty group will be asked to review information literacy standards and competencies from relevant accreditation and professional organizations, comment on a basic information literacy online tutorial that we are developing and its readiness to support discipline tutorials, and advise on strategies for extending the initiative within the university.

The group will meet twice - once in April for a general introduction and discussion with instruction librarians and once with presenters from an information literacy symposium, being planned for early May. We hope you will also attend the symposium.

I hope you will be able to join us. Please let me know if there is any further information I can provide.

Best regards,
Jeanne Boyle
Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Communications

Discussion Questions


Do you incorporate information literacy into your classes? In what ways do you incorporate information literacy into your classes?

What experiences have you had with teaching writing-intensive classes?

How do you teach your students to think about research? How do you want them to think about research in your field?

What expectations do you have your students' ability to find and use information? Do you ever give them assignments in which you want them to use scholarly journals?

In what ways do you use the library in your own research? If you have graduate students who work with you, how do these students use the library in their research?

In what ways might you or another faculty member use an online resource like SearchPath? Would you feel more confident about the research abilities of your students if every freshman and every transfer student at Rutgers were required to take a tutorial like this?

To what extent are these issues discussed in your departments or among your colleagues? If they are not discussed, how can they be introduced?



There are many different definitions of information literacy (also called information competency or information fluency by some practitioners) because the term is often confused with computer literacy and bibliographic instruction. While there is a great deal of overlap among the three terms, information literacy is the more comprehensive.

The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools has defined information literacy as: intellectual framework for identifying, finding, understanding, evaluating and using information. It includes determining the nature and extent of needed information; accessing information effectively and efficiently; evaluating critically information and its sources; incorporating selected information in the learner's knowledge base and value system; using information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; understanding the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and information technology; and observing laws, regulations, and institutional policies related to the access and use of information.

The terms resource-based education, bibliographic instruction, library instruction, computer literacy, among others will often be used in conjunction with the term information literacy. Sorting out the differences can be useful but is not essential to understanding the basic concepts of finding, evaluating, and using information to become independent life-long learners.

Information literacy includes both a set of generic skills and concepts as well as skills and concepts that are specific to certain disciplines and subject areas. Information literacy programs take two archetypical forms --separate courses (for credit or non-credit) or activities integrated into general education courses and/or courses in major fields of study.


Accreditation agencies have lent their support to the information literacy movement by including language in their standards that stress the importance of teaching these abilities in colleges and universities.

The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools has adopted the following standards:

Standard 11: Educational Offerings
The following are "Fundamental Elements of Educational Offerings" and also apply to Standard 13, Related Educational Activities. (provided by Richard H. Swain)
"Collaboration between professional library staff and faculty in teaching and fostering information literacy skills relevant to the curriculum" "Programs that support student use of information and learning resources"
(Characteristics..., p. 34)

"Optional Analysis and Evidence" includes "Evidence of information literacy incorporated in the curriculum with syllabi, or other materials appropriate to the mode of teaching and learning, describing expectations for students' demonstration of information literacy skills" "Assessment of information literacy outcomes, including assessment of related learner abilities"
(Characteristics..., p. 35)

Standard 12: General Education
"The institution's curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy. (Characteristics..., p. 37)


Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (ACRL, 2000) was developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the premier division of the American Library Association for libraries serving higher education, and has been endorsed by the American Association for Higher Education and the Council of Independent Colleges (February, 2004).

The published document includes detailed performance indicators and outcomes for each of the following standards:

Standard One: Know

The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

Standard Two: Access

The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.

Standard Three: Evaluate

The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.

Standard Four: Use

The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

Standard Five: Ethical/Legal

The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

The standards, performance indicators, and outcomes detailed in the publication are being reviewed in institutions across the nation. In addition to the standards, ACRL has issued over the past three years major publications describing best practices, objectives, and guidelines for information literacy and instruction programs in academic libraries.

Strategy for Information Literacy

Technology has given us unprecedented opportunities to support the educational experience of our students. We have made available a carefully developed suite of electronic resources and services that students can access through IRIS, our online catalog, and our website. A major remaining challenge is to use technology to ensure that information literacy is a measurable learning outcome for all students.

The Rutgers University Libraries have the capability to develop the expertise, technical infrastructure, and campus relationships that are the necessary ingredients of a digital information literacy program. The desired characteristics of the program are that it develops information competencies necessary for academic achievement, career success, and lifelong learning; that it promotes information equity by scaling to engage all students, both undergraduate and graduate, at some point during their time at Rutgers; and that it is created in partnership with the teaching faculty as an integral piece of the curriculum and is available to students at the point of need. Librarian roles, especially in undergraduate education, will blend instruction in the classroom with work as developers and advisers.

Our work over the near term will be to develop a suite of digital information literacy modules that can be customized for various disciplines and courses. We will work with the systemwide library advisory committee and other groups to create the essential faculty partnerships that will give our work meaning and purpose. We will incorporate recommendations of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the ACRL information literacy guidelines and competencies into our work and identify and study exemplary digital information literacy projects. While pursuing these efforts at Rutgers, we will continue to provide leadership and support to the shared information literacy initiative of VALE.

Learning Framework

The field of education boasts many different models, frameworks, and theories, but for the most part lacks consensus about the meaning of a "learning framework." The Learning Framework Study Group suggests the following definition for a learning framework:

A learning framework provides the overall parameters, conditions and support for various learning and teaching styles, information-seeking behaviors and multiple intelligence approaches to learning in any type of classroom or online learning environment.

After review of two learning frameworks: How People Learn and A Framework for E-Learning, the group recommended that the learning framework for information literacy instruction at the Rutgers University Libraries should strive to include the following components:

Educational aspects. A learning environment should include a learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered (for both learning and teaching) and community-centered approach to teaching and learning.

Institutional involvement. The cooperation and collaboration of faculty, instructors and other entities, programs or departments on campus should be included while reaching out and providing services to students.

Creation, Presentation and Assessment [of teaching materials]. Technological issues (such as hardware, software, technical infrastructure, standards for learning objects and metadata), interface design (online tutorials design, web page design, content design, navigation, usability) and other requirements for creating effective teaching materials should be taken into consideration.

Resource and Maintenance Support. Budget and resources support for maintenance and updating of teaching materials and ethical, instructional or guidance support for both online and offline tutorials needs to be provided.

Management and Administration. Issues of distribution and assessment of information literacy instruction program in terms of financial and infrastructure feasibility, approval and implementation of innovative instruction projects, skills development opportunities for instructors, budgeting, partnerships with other institutions, class-size, workload and compensation, and so on, need financial and moral support from library management.

Project SAILS

Project SAILS, Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills, is being developed at Kent State University with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Association of Research Libraries. Its purpose is to measure information literacy and assess its impact on student learning. The project team is developing a tool that is standardized, easily administered, valid, and reliable.

The instrument is based on outcomes defined by the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. It is being designed for administration at any type of higher education institution to provide data for both internal and external benchmarking. Information on SAILS can be found at

Kent State University received a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for $252,000 for continued development of Project SAILS. This includes testing with other institutions across three phases:

Phase I: Implementation at 10 institutions, spring 2003
Phase II: Implementation at 30 institutions, fall 2003 & spring 2004
Phase III: Implementation at 100 institutions, fall 2004 & spring 2005

The Rutgers University Libraries will participate in Phase III during the fall 2004 semester.

Digital Projects

Electronic New Jersey is designed for the in-depth study of New Jersey history. The six topical modules currently available were chosen after careful review of a range of sources available in the Special Collections and University Archives of the Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers University- New Brunswick.

English Advice Manuals Online at Rutgers (E-AMOR) provides bibliographic access to the E-AMOR archive, containing selected books printed in England between 1475 and 1700. The books have been selected from Early English Books Online (EEBO) by Rutgers undergraduate students participating in Professor Rudolph M. Bell's FAS Honors Seminars on popular culture and the print revolution in early modern Europe.

Italy's Peoples is a comprehensive research database of links related to Italy's Peoples. It has been developed through the Rutgers University Department of History and Professor Rudolph M. Bell and has been offered as an open source platform for the study of culture.

Learning Links focuses on developing web-based materials for teaching introductory-level courses on Spanish Literature. It utilizes two Web development tools, WebCT and Netscape Composer.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity is an interactive story and learning module designed for undergraduates. The lesson focuses on ethical decisions students must make during the process of preparing a research paper.

Shareable Information Literacy Modules that use open source technologies and that are easily customizable by instructors were explored by four New Jersey academic librarians, including Triveni Kuchi from Rutgers, in a project sponsored by VALE. The Rutgers University Libraries are considering submitting a proposal for Academic Excellence Funds for development of the open source technologies that would support statewide development of these modules.


Searchpath is a self-instructional tutorial designed to teach students basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issues of copyright and plagiarism. SearchPath was developed at Western Michigan University and has been acquired by the Rutgers University Libraries under an Open Publication License. Rutgers librarians are now customizing SearchPath for use by Rutgers students.

Its content is organized into six modules:

  1. Starting smart is an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.
  2. Choosing a topic provides tips on broadening and narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.
  3. Using IRIS has live practice searches in our online catalog.
  4. Finding articles provides practice searching in the Periodical Abstracts database.
  5. Using the Web includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.
  6. Citing sources includes the topics of citing, plagiarism, and copyright.

Students can complete the tutorial on their own time outside of class. Each of its six sections takes about fifteen minutes, and students can complete one or more modules at a time. Each of the modules is followed by a short quiz.

Searchpath is designed for students in classes with a substantial writing component or introductory- level research. We hope, however, that instructors of other classes will find it useful and assign it to their students.

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