Teaching and Marketing Electronic Information Programs: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians

Article excerpt

BARCLAY, DONALD A. Teaching and Marketing Electronic Information Programs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2003. (How-to-do-it manuals for librarians: no. 124). 255 p. $75.00. ISBN: 10 -555700 -4700-0.

Because the concept of electronic information literacy shares common elements across a variety of disciplines and types of libraries, much of this "how-to-do-it" manual by Donald A. Barclay is as relevant to the health sciences librarian-teacher as to the group he seemingly targets, instructors of undergraduate students. This general applicability-combined with Barclay's delightful humor, his extensive annotated reference list, and his practical advice on everything from animating PowerPoint slides to optimal lighting in the electronic classroom-creates a volume that this reviewer will refer to and recommend to others. Teaching and Marketing Electronic Information Programs is definitely a significant contribution to the field.

The book contains two main divisions: the concepts to be taught in an information literacy program (what to do) and the process of teaching those concepts (how to do it). The initial chapters cover what information literacy is, why the needed information is not "just a click away" (the myths), what the ethics and economics of electronic information are, what the essentials of searching and retrieval are, and how information is evaluated. Twelve complete slide shows follow, with an accompanying CD containing the electronic versions.

The two process sections of the work contain the real "how-to-do-it" advice. One chapter provides step-by-step guidance on teaching a "one-shot" fifty-minute class. Another helps the reader tackle the extended electronic information literacy course. Two more chapters provide support for instructors in their quests to become better teachers, to use a variety of instructional methods, and to enhance learning with online tutorials and videoconferencing. The last section covers the management of a successful program: designing and equipping the electronic classroom; marketing instruction to administrators, faculty, and students; and, finally, assessing learning and instructional programs themselves. The annotated list of "Useful Resources for Information Literacy" points the reader to additional recent publications.

In this book, Barclay provides an update to his 1995 edited work, Teaching Electronic Information Literacy: A How-To-Do-It Manual [I]. That volume included considerable discussion of the Internet but just a few paragraphs about the then-new Web. This current work, of necessity, focuses on the Web, its place in the lives of students, and its influence on students' information literacy skills. Of course the Web carries with it the myths that information is free and instantly available and that accessing it requires little or no effort. Barclay provides specific strategies and examples to help an instructor "demythologize the net," many of which are relevant in an academic or a health sciences setting. Jacobs reinforced the need for this kind of instruction in an article on information literacy in graduate nursing education:

Although access to a wide range of information is available to anyone with a home computer and connectivity, users have acquired a variety of experiences, as well as misperceptions, about electronic resources. Therefore, users may be computer literate but not necessarily information literate. [2]

A second work that is similar to the one being reviewed is Young and Harmony's 1999 book Working with Faculty to Design Undergraduate Information Literacy Programs [3]. Another in the How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians series, this book is clearly targeted to undergraduate instruction; however, it contains valuable detail that Barclay's 2003 manual handles more broadly. For example, Young and Harmony's section on evaluation and assessment provides an outline of the steps in the instructional improvement process, as well as examples of evaluation surveys, tests, and focus group questions. …