Why do we educate in information seeking?


One of the library’s many missions is to educate students in information seeking. But why? Why are students at the university educated in information seeking?

Maybe you’ve already had a lecture in information seeking, if not you will have one at some time during your studies. You might question why you should waste your time with this lecture. Well, it’s not wasting time – because by learning how to search for information in a powerful and efficient way, you will get better results in your studies. Your new information searching skills will give you sources with higher quality, and you will find your sources faster, meaning you can spend more time to actually complete your study assignments.

Sara Hellberg

Sara Hellberg

If you ask Sara Hellberg, manager for the teaching librarians at the library, she says that the aim of education in information seeking is to make students information literate. That means students that know how to identify their information needs, define research questions based on this, search for information, critically examine process and then use the information in a good way. The importance of information literacy is emphasized in the Swedish law regulating the universities, and it is also quite common with course objectives related to information retrieval, reference management, source criticism, etc.

Education in information seeking several times?

During your studies, you will have education in information seeking on the schedule several times; most common is the three occasions over a three-year course. But it’s important to know there is a different focus at the various sessions and that each new lecture builds on what you’ve already learned. That means: Increased difficulty and new content each time!

The dates for the different occasions for education are chosen with care. The idea is that information seeking should take place in conjunction with a study assignment that requires you to seek information. This makes the search for information useful because you will actually use the information you find. To search for information just to find it, when you do not need it, is both difficult and a bit pointless.

If you do get stuck, we can help you

Okay, so you’ve been to all education ever offered, and although it feels like a struggle to find information? Then, of course, there are other ways to get support and help in the search for information:

Library Search Lab – Thursdays at 3 pm the Search lab is open in a computer room at the 4th floor in the library. Get help to find search terms, search techniques and database choice by a librarian.

Search Support – Come to the Information Point at any weekday between 9 am and 4 pm and ask for Search Support. You will then get to log in to a computer near the Information Point, and will have be able to ask a librarian for help whenever you get stuck in your search.

But none of the above operations can replace what you learn at a lecture in information seeking. The education in information seeking is so much deeper and wider, and also tailored to give you the tools you need to solve the study task you have at the moment.

What do you think about our education in information seeking?

Have you already had information seeking education here in Borås? How was it? Did the education help you in your studies? Do you have any suggestions on how to make the lectures better? Please let us know! Fill in the form and give us your opinion!

Text: Katharina Nordling & Sara Hellberg
Picture: Henrik Bengtsson