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Learning Frameworks (EDUC 1300) - Information Literacy: For Students: Group Activities 100-400

A source of information literacy ideas and activities for instructors and students, both online and in face to face classes

Small Group Experience Set 1: Information Literacy as a Lifelong Skill

Click on the Activity No. (e.g., Activity 100:1) for tips. After completing the activity, you may want to click on the Aha! link  for an answer to the question. 

  • Activity 100.Use EBSCO A-Z or Serials Solutions to determine whether a particular article is available in the DCCCD.
     View this 3 minute video  to see how it works. Then find it on the Choose a Database page. Note that the video shows how the process is carried out in Serials Solutions. If and when  Serials Solutions is discontinued you'll need to use Ebsco A-Z. An updated video showing how it is done in Ebsco A-Z will be available in due course.  
     Is this article available in the DCCCD Libraries: Patricia Rosof. "Beyond Rhetoric." The History Teacher 26 (4) 1993, pages 493-497. Aha!

    Activity 100.2  Recognize that good thinking is driven by good questions
     Go to the Web site and read this page about the importance of questions.  
    What is the main idea of the brief reading? Could you elaborate on that idea with a few sentences? Can you give an example of a good question you've heard or asked? Can you think of a story or find a picture that illustrates what good questions are like?  Aha!

Small Group Experience Set 2: Libraries and the Web

Click on the Activity No. (e.g., Activity 200:1) for tips. After completing the activity, you may want to click on the Aha! link for an answer to the question.

  • Activity 200.1 Use Academic Search Complete to find articles (newspapers, magazines, and academic journals) on almost any subject.  Finding articles is one of  the most important skills you'll learn to become an effective researcher. Ebscohost is our most popular interface. View this 3 minute video on basic searching and/or this 3 minute video on advanced searching (which is the one librarians will usually recommend for precision searching). If you really want to get ahead as a researcher consider how much you can learn on the Ebscohost Tutorials page.

      Can you use Academic Search to find academic journal articles on frogs and children? Aha!

Small Group Experience Set 3: Research Tools

Click on the Activity No. (e.g., Activity 300:1) for tips. After completing the activity, you may want to click on the Aha! link  for an answer to the question. 

  • Each student in your small group should choose one source from the list below. Try to have at least one item from each category represented.   These titles are intentionally not hyperlinked so you can have the experience of locating them on your own. You can start at , or from your own campus library home page. The underlined titles are essential and most have screencasts in this LibGuide. 

    Think of yourself as the class expert on the source you've chosen. Study it, play with, run it through the paces.  Then report back to the group what you learned about it and what you'd recommend they use it for.  

    30 Research Tools and Resources in DCCCD Libraries

    A: Six Essential Finding Tools That Everyone Should Know Well

    1. The Library Catalog ( – The most important single key to resources owned by the DCCCD Libraries. Books. Ebooks. DVDS.Videos. Internet Links. Microforms. Atlases. Sound Recordings & more.

    2. The Choose a Database Page Use it to select your best database from the 170 currently owned by the DCCCD. ( Extensive coverage of articles in journals, magazines, newspapers & more.

    3. Academic Search Complete (Ebscohost) – The DCCCD’s largest database of articles. Includes full text articles from nearly 8,000 magazines and journals in all disciplines. Some newspapers.

    4. EBSCO A-Z - The answer to "where is that journal title I'm looking for?" and “Do we have this issue?” 5. Gale Virtual Reference Library - An alternative to Wikipedia. Citable articles from specialized subject

    encyclopedias in full text on the Web. 6. Google and Its Subsets (Advanced, Books, Scholar, Directory, Uncle Sam, Google Dictionary).

    B: The Traditional Library 20. American History Online – A reliable source of facts

    7. Library of Congress Classification System - Your guide to systematically browsing the library shelves.

    8. Physical books and e-books (Ebsco Ebooks )- E-books allow full text searching. Physical books allow bathtub reading.

    9. WorldCat - A tool for finding almost any resource published - many available in nearby libraries (not just in the DCCCD)

    C: Online Databases: The Choose a Database Page listed in A is the starting point (

    10. CQResearcher-Thebestsinglesourcefor analysis of current and controversial issues: cultural, economic, and political.

    11. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context - Articles on issues re-titled to convey the author's position.

    12. SIRS Researcher - Well selected articles on popular research topics with overviews.

    13. NewYorkTimes(1851-present)-Aprimary newspaper source for historical and current and people.

    14. Ferguson’sCareerGuidanceCenter– Important source for career information, cover

    letters, resumes and more. 15. InfoTrac Newspapers (1996 - present) - Articles

    from over 400 newspapers from the U.S. and

    around the world including several from Texas. 16. Dallas Morning News (1885 - present) - An

    essential source for local information of all

    kinds. 17. DailyLifeOnline-Thebestsinglesourceon

    daily life in all times, places, and cultures. 18. Business Source Complete – Articles, data, and more 19. Wilson OmniFile - An alternative to Academic Search

    Complete. Search for articles, biographies, art images, book reviews all at once or separately.

    on all things American from Elvis to insurance. Videos, primary source materials, timelines, bios.

    21. eLibrary–Aneasy,highlybrowsable alternative to Academic Search and Wilson OmniFile that includes transcripts and approved Web sites.

    D: Reference Resources

    22. Reference Universe - An index of subject encyclopedias in the library. Some are full text.

    23. EncyclopædiaBritannica(availableonline and in the library) - Big ideas (Macro) and facts (Micro) by expert authors.

    24. World Book Encyclopedia - Easy, fun to use. DCCCD only has the physical volumes ( no online access in DCCCD libraries).

    25. Webster's Third New International Dictionary - Best unabridged dictionary

    26. Statistical Abstract of the United States The place to go for US statistics.

    27. Statesman's Yearbook - Annually updated update of all countries in world.

    E: Internet Tools

    28. Wikipedia - Valuable for overview of vast number of topics and as finding tool.

    29. Internet Public Library - Use search box to identify reliable Web sites, not pages.

    30. InfoMine - Scholarly materials only from the open Web.

    Tips: Use both category searches on the Choose a Database page: “What subject are you looking for?” “What course are you taking?” The tools and resources listed here are general only. Think beyond these for specialized subject databases in art, astronomy, dance, etc. which are findable using the Choose a Database page: http://www.dcccd.ed./databases .

    For an overview of the library catalog and databases view the video tour at Activity 3.1 of the EDUC 1300 LibGuide (second tab): .

Small Group Experience Set 4: Shifting into High Gear

Click on the Activity No. (e.g., Activity 400:1) for tips. After completing the activity, you may want to click on the Aha! link for an answer to the question.


  • Activity 400.1 Use an index to articles in subject encyclopedias to create some "prior knowledge", to find names of experts, and to get an overview of the topic. Use Gale Virtual Reference Library for online material and Reference Universe for articles only available in the library. Most users will choose GVRL for its convenience. Those who want to dig deeper will take the extra time to use Reference Universe.

    Using Gale Virtual Reference Library is easy. Just type a few search words in the basic search box and hit ENTER. Watch this 15 minute video tutorial to learn the most effective use of this tool including both basic and advanced searches.

     Use Gale Virtual Reference Library to locate an overview article on the risks of technology to society. (Be sure to enter all three terms). First look at the most relevant article. Open it up (PDF for easiest reading), scan the section headings and look for specialized terms in the article that could be used for further searches. Browse through the resource list at the end of the article.

    Start reading the article and see if there is anything that grabs your interest. Find an expert on that topic in the bibliography at the end of the article. See if this library has the book or article or type it into Google. See what additional information you can turn up. 


Serial Solutions

Serial Solutions will soon be replaced by Ebsco A-Z as the tool for determining whether a particular article is available in our large collection of electronic journals. 

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