Teaching Information Literacy at the Library

1At the library we are five librarians involved in teaching students information literacy skills. It is Christel (as you see in the picture), she is responsible mainly for the students who are studying Education,  Birgitta for the Librarianship, Information  and Engineering, Sara for Web Editors, the Caring Science and Social Wellfare, Karin for Textiles and Fashion and Lena is responsible for the students who are studying Business, Informatics and Work Life.

Since 2009, the teaching is planned according to a model in which we librarians are planning together with the programme managers and course coordinators at the faculties. It aims to support students in developing information literacy skills. To achieve the best results the education has to be integrated into regular courses. It is important that there is a study assignment in the course that can be linked to information seeking.  The teaching will never be the same, but vary by student subjects and skills. It it free of charges for the faculties.

Optimally, we teach information seeking tree times during the student’s study time here.  It is  very clear that those who take the opportunity to come, often discover that it is not the same to seek scientific information and what they need for their studies as searching or googling the information they need in their everyday lives. The cooperation Library-Faculty is also important for us to get information about the size of the groups and previous knowledge, etc.

We have progression in our teaching so the first time the student comes to us, she or he learn to  search, evaluate  information generally in some common resources such as the library catalog Summon.  The second level provides a deeper knowledge  in the scientific information retrieval process. We introduce different search strategies. In the third  level, we demonstrate systematic information retrieval in relevant databases, eg thesaurus construction and to use search history and citation indexes. Although reference management software as EndNote usually included here. The last step will be helpful before and during the whole thesis.

The students study assignment for these educations are  often to search, evaluate and use scientific information on a given topic. Therefore, we almost always teach in form of a workshop. The students need to sit down and try to do different searches on their own. They have the librarian to consult.  At the library, we have  our own classroom ( J438) with computers. We think it is good that the students come to us at the library so they get used to come here.

Contacts for teaching

Text and photo: Lena Wadell

Source criticism and plagiarism

You might be in the midst of searching for scientific articles for your thesis or assignment. Do not forget to think critically when you do this work!

COLOURBOX1947363Source criticism is a method to examine the information and facts contained in the sources you choose to use. You value the sources and choose carefully what you want to include. Do not forget to use source criticism on other than text. For example pictures and video that nowdays are equally important to source view given how much you can edit and process them. Remember to differentiate between a primary source and secondary source. The Academy is considered primary sources (first-hand) to be more reliable. You can use following questions, irrespective of the material:

  • Who is the author of your source?
  • For what purpose is it published?
  • Is the research still relevant?
  • Where have the research been published? Has it been reviewed? ( peer-review)
  • Can other check the results?
  • What information do you get from other sources at the same event?
  • If others have done similar studies, which results have they reached?
  • Does the timing in movies and audio clips add up?
  • Who funded the research?
  • Does the results seem trustworthy? Are there other sources that are trustworthy to say the same thing?
  • Are the conclusions reasonable based on the theory and methodology used?

Take a look at the web page Källlkritik on the Internet which is a guide that .SE stands behind and which shows how you can review content on web pages.

It can be helpful to know what obligations you as the author of your essay or thesis have regarding plagiarism. On the University web you can find a great anti-plagiarism guide where most aspects of this matter are included. It is available through Ping Pong, but also open on the web from this page (click on the link in the text far down on the page).
And please see the movie where our former librarian Eli Bytoft-Nyaas is talking about the subject and deal critically  with sources and references. The anti-plagiarism tutorial included Urkund, a plagiarism handbook that inlcudes a list to look at if you want to know what actually is plagiarism when writing.

Text: Lena Holmberg
Bild. Colourbox

Welcome to the search lab!


Did you know that the library offers an open search lab for students? It takes place in the library premises on thursdays between 15: 00-16: 30 at the computer lab, room J418 on level 4.

The Search lab focuses on searching information, selecting databases, writing references and more. Are you writing on your thesis or paper and need someone to discuss with? Welcome to the Search lab. There are drop-in at these dates:

October 29
November 5, 12, 19, 26
December 3, 10, 17


Text: Lena Holmberg
Photo: Colourbox

Academic texts, part 4: References

Reference management is an important part of scientific texts. References should be used in detail and in a correct manner to support your discussions and arguments. You use references to previous research to support your own study – you provide a context for your study. It is also considered good academic conduct (both towards other authors but also readers) to cite others’ work correctly. Through the text you refer to you take part in  scientific tradition; you show where you belong scientificly. References can also be used in a rhetorical way – to convince the reader that you know relevant litterature.

In different scientific genres and sub-genres references are handled different and also there are varying ways to form and to use citations and references within differend fields. There are texts which have great influence on science which do not include comprehensive references. An example of this is  Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (Philosophische Untersuchungen). Maybe one could debate whether these texts are scientific or not but they are seen as highly reasonable to cite in today’s scientific texts.

Further reading:

Hellqvist, B. (2010). Referencing in the humanities and its implications for citation analysisJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(2), 310-318.

//Helena Francke, lector at BHS

Blog posts are translated from Swedish by Pieta Eklund.

Refer to unpublished works

Yloginesterday I got the question of how to refer to something that is behind a login. It could be a document or webpage that is not available to everyone. This can of course lead to difficulties for the person checking your references.

This may include documents / information in an intranet, a presentation of some sort that you got from a person, for example, someone you interviewed for the assignment, or a checklist for environmental certification of a company as was the case yesterday. For this type of material you use the phrase [unpublished manuscript] or other appropriate phrase like [PowerPoint presentation] or [checklist for environmental certification] after the title of the document.

The reference in yesterday’s case, would look something like this:

Author / Editor, (Year) Title [checklist environmental certification] Location: Company / Organization

Text: Lisa Carlson

Help with your references

You can use automatic features of the various search engines to get the information to be included in the bibliography.

Summon – www.hb.se / library
The library’s multi-search discovery tool. Here you will find references to our printed books and lots of e-books and articles.

Libris – libris.kb.se
Sweden’s national library catalog. Here you can find books, dissertations, reports, and so forth, available at Swedish libraries.

Google Scholar – scholar.google.se 
Here you can do a broad search for scientific literature. You also can find student papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from universities and academic publishers here. Note, however, that everything in Google Scholar is not “scientific” but there are still different in content and functions other than the search engine Google.

Completing required
Please note that the appearance and content can vary between different search engines – therefore, always make sure that all references in your source list has a consistent look and follows the style you’ve chosen to use. Especially Swedish article references are sometimes inaccurate and needs to be adjusted. Below two examples from the Harvard style:

Reference to the book:
Eklund, K. (2007). Our economy: An introduction to the national economy. 11. Edition, Stockholm: Norstedt academic publishers.

The reference to article:
Elmqvist, C., Brown, D., Fridlund, B., & Ekebergh, M. (2010). Being first on the scene of an accident – experiences of ‘doing’ prehospital emergency care. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 24 (2), ss. 266-273.COLOURBOX7313844

Other databases and search engines
The subject-specific databases that the library subscribes to also have these features.Contact the library if you have any questions regarding any individual database!

Text: Sara Hellberg

Updated: 2014-10-03 Lisa Carlson

What to refer to?

I received a question at the information point yesterday about how to refer to web pages. When I asked further about what web pages was the student thinking of I found out it had to do with pdfs. Then I asked even more and found out now that the pdfs were journal articles which the student had found using one of our databases. If one asks there are more wondering about thisl

Journal articles are refered to as articles no matter where you find them – on a web page or a print journal. It is the sources that is the important part – not the form. The same goes when you search in a database or use our search engines. It is not the database och the search engine which is your source. More about that can be found in the blog post Google is not your source!

In order to illustrate this further I give you two examples here:

Take a look at  Information research.It is a (scholarly) journal (stating that even on the page) published only online. Now, take a look at this article Continuum thinking and the contexts of personal information management. It looks like a web pages but it is an article published in a journal and is refered to as an article.Your source is the article published in a online journal which looks like a web page. Reference looks like this:

Huvila, I., Eriksen, J., Häusner, E. & Jansson, I. (2014). Continuum thinking and the contexts of personal information management. Information Research, 19(1) paper 604. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/19-1/paper604.html]

Articles which you download from a database are often in pdf-format. When you open the file you most often will find bibliografic information (journal name, volume, issue, DOI) either on the page header or footer. Use this information to write the reference. URL to the pdf is not interesting – it varies depending on if you are here at the library or if your are at home or if you have gotten hold of it through some other library.

Now, lets speculate that you are writing about H&M and their understanding of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, CSR. Find more about it here. When looking at that page you see that it is also a web page like the page Information Research has – only with a better looking design. Here the web page is your source. Maybe you want to write about how H&M uses water and you use the page for Water as your source. Reference looks something like this:

H&M. (2014). Water. http://about.hm.com/en/About/Sustainability/Commitments/Use-Resources-Responsibly/Water.html [2014-03-27]

H&M is the author since we cannot find someone who would have authored this page. Water is the title of the page – look at the tab for the name of the page. Then comes the URL and last in brackets the access date. The date is important since web pages are not static. If you compare with the reference above you notice that there is no access date in the reference. THis is because the contents of the article is not changed after publication. Articles are static web pages with the exception of daily newspapers. If you use a daily newspaper online as a source you need to write down the access date.

When you have questions about references come to the information point. We are there to help! Remember – cite your sources!

Pieta Eklund