Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Promoting Information Literacy among Undregraduate Students of Ashesi University College, Ghana

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Promoting Information Literacy among Undregraduate Students of Ashesi University College, Ghana

Article excerpt

Introduction

The delivery of information literacy instruction to students is becoming progressively more important due to the proliferation of electronic resources and the increased use of the internet as an information source. Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (Ashoor, 2005). Information literacy has also become increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse abundant information choices: in their academic studies: in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available throughout libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the internet. Increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society.

An information literate individual is able to:

* Determine the extent of information needed;

* Access the needed information effectively and efficiently;

* Evaluate information and its sources critically;

* Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base;

* Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose;

* Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; and

* Access and use information ethically and legally (ALA 2006).

Two public universities in Ghana namely, the University of Cape Coast and the University for Development Studies, Tamale decided to run one semester course in information literacy. These universities recognize that proficiency in the appropriate use of information and information technologies is essential to the success of university students learning information literacy skills. These skills constitute a lifelong learning objective, and as such the universities therefore decided that this course should be made one of the requirements of all students at the undergraduate level. The course contents for information literacy in these two universities include:

* Libraries, information and the society

* Types of libraries

* Methods of acquiring library materials

* Information organization, cataloguing and classification

* Information retrieval, importance of catalogues, indexes and abstracts

* Types and uses of reference materials (All library resources)

* Copyright, photocopying. (Dadzie 2008)

Traditionally, Ashesi University College, Accra, Ghana, like many institutions, provides library orientations and guided tours of the library and also brief new students on the services rendered to library clients. These are generally offered outside the context of students' courses or assignments. The library therefore expanded its instructional role to include more specialized training in information literacy skills in 2005. However, the programme was discontinued due to inadequate staff.

Statement of the Problem

Instruction and research in the twenty-first century rely on individual skills and on the best information accessible to students and researchers. Information literacy encompasses more than good information-seeking behavior. It involves abilities to recognize when information is needed and then to phrase questions designed to gather the needed information. It includes evaluating and using information appropriately and ethically once it is retrieved from any media, be it electronic, human or print. (Kinengyere, 2006).

Many students today are over-reliant on search engines such as Google to find information when researching topics. …

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