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Leslie J. Savage Library

Leslie J. Savage Library: Information Literacy

Video tutorials from the Library


Savage Library's Information Literacy Plan

Information Literacy Instruction at Western

Information literacy instruction helps students critically assess new information, become better researchers in their fields, and understand and use the wealth of resources available to them through the library. To coordinate information literacy instruction for your course or department, contact Emma Schmidtke, Education and Research Librarian at Leslie J. Savage Library.

Examples of information literacy instruction currently practiced at Western:

  • Synchronous Instruction: Workshops integrated into regularly-scheduled classes covering topics relevant to course objectives, such as assessing sources for credibility, conducting advanced searches in databases, or using research management tools such as Zotero. The skills taught in these workshops often correlate with specific assignments from the course.
  • Asynchronous Instruction: Paired with synchronous instruction or employed on its own, asynchronous instruction teaches general and discipline specific research and evaluation skills through a variety of mediums. The library has Youtube video tutorials on a wide variety of topics as well as class and general research guides, which can be embedded and linked on Canvas pages.
  • Individual Student Sessions: At any point throughout the school year, students may schedule a Book-A-Librarian appointment to discuss their specific research needs and their opportunities to grow information literacy skills. For example, a librarian can guide a student in developing a strong research question for a course assignment and then help create a search strategy for finding quality sources on that chosen topic.

Leslie J. Savage Library references the Association of American Colleges & Universities' VALUE Rubric for Information Literacy and the Association of College and Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to design instruction and assess student learning in information literacy skills and dispositions.

Savage Library Information Literacy Plan

Year 1

The first year of a Western student’s information literacy education will be dedicated to overcoming the common hurdles of conceptualizing research at a college level, becoming familiarized with the library’s resources, and understanding the essentials of knowledge production in a scholarly environment. By their end of their first year, students will be able to:

  • Identify types of sources, basic types of authority, and the differences between Google and library searches
  • Conceptualize the beginnings of the research process, including the development of topics and research questions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of strategies for avoiding plagiarism and correctly citing sources
  • Possess a basic knowledge of the library space, the librarians’ roles, and the library’s physical and digital materials and services


Concepts: Research as Inquiry. Information has Value.

Year 2

During their second year, a Western student will build upon the basic search and research conceptualization skills acquired in their first year in order to conduct more refined searches and more rigorous evaluation of sources. The library will also introduce discipline-specific considerations for selecting and evaluating resources. By the end of their second year, students will be able to:

  • Identify and articulate their own information needs related to course and research objectives
  • Select and add synonyms and related keywords to search strategies in order to produce search results more relevant to research questions
  • Understand and compare different types of peer-review (single-blind, double-blind, transparent)
  • Search for and retrieve books and scholarly articles using EBSCOhost and the library catalog
  • Begin using discipline-specific databases and search strategies for finding resources


Concepts: Research as Inquiry. Searching as Strategic Exploration. Authority is Constructed and Contextual.

Years 3 & 4, Graduate Programs

In their third and fourth years, a Western student will add advanced database searching skills to their research process and will critically evaluate the resulting sources in order to gain comprehensive knowledge of existing literature on a topic before adding their own knowledge and arguments to scholarly communication. Students will also use bibliographic management software and a mastery of discipline-specific resources to manage and synthesize a large body of research in a chosen discipline. By the end of their undergraduate degree at Western, as well as in subsequent graduate programs, students will be able to:

  • Enhance their database searches using subject headings, thesauri, Boolean operators, and truncation to produce search results that are both comprehensive and specific to a topic
  • Critically evaluate sources, especially within the context of the discipline at large and within differing lens/arguments/perspectives in their field
  • Utilize bibliographic management software, such as Zotero, to organize and apply large quantities of information
  • Master discipline-specific resources and demonstrate an understanding on how information is produced, shared, and applied in a discipline
  • Successfully synthesize and cite the body of literature on a chosen topic in order to participate in broader scholarly conversations and knowledge production


Concepts: Searching as Strategic Exploration. Authority is Constructed and Contextual. Information Creation as a Process. Scholarship as Conversation.

Education and Research Librarian

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Emma Schmidtke
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Room 210, Savage Library
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