Teaching information seaching

Teachers, now it’s time to book information searching for your students for the next semester. If you know that it is (or should) be a part of the course you are responsible or involved in, then please contact one of our teaching libraries. We have already booked a lot of teaching and it is getting crowded in our schedules.

We who work as teaching librarians are from the left: Lena Wadell, responsible for the business and economic programs and Informatics. Sara Hellberg is in charge of the Care and Health  programs. Karin Süld handles textile programs like fashion design and textile technology. Birgitta Rutberg is in charge of Engineering such as building, resource recovery, chemistry and industrial economics and the library and information science. Åsa Brolund is new here at the Library and is responsible for all teacher programs.

Photo: Klaz Arvidsson
Text: Lena Wadell

Information seaching on the schedule

Do you know what some librarians do in the library besides being available in the information points? If you are studying a program, there is always a schedule where there is information search in the library or Information Literacy. Many of the students who have been to the workshops have gained one and another Eye-opener

In the library we are these five librarians who educate students in information literacy. From the left: Birgitta Karin Sara Christel and Lena.

We plan the occasions together with the teachers for all program students, and the education takes place in three stages. We often have both lecture and workshop so the “tools” to seek their information can be used directly. What is meant by information literacy or information searching? Well, it’s all about finding out right in the library, searching efficiently online, and in databases, how to see different types of articles for source criticism and reference writing.

Among the students who came at the scheduled times, responding to our evaluations, we have received the comments:

“Very good with both theory and practice, many useful search terms and methods for finding information faster and more efficiently”

“Nice to know where to look !! “Now I can search much better”

“Awesome! got many useful tips! and great work afterwards “Looking for more ways and getting better on searching” “superfun!”

“Did me motivate to start searching for articles!”

“Very good and useful information, clearly presented!”

“The exercise was relevant and the questions made me reflect and want me to develop”.

“Relevant databases, I learned how to find topics”

“Reference writing is top notch! Can save a lot of time. Then it is absolutely important to define and combine keywords to help you find what you’re looking for ”

“How to use the subject headings! I did not have a clue before! ”

Here you can read another blog post about the information literacy education:


Text & Picure: Lena Wadell

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

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