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Information Literacy Modules: Selecting Finding Tools

Learning Outcomes for Selecting Finding Tools

A. Types of Finding Tools 

  1. Demonstrates when it is appropriate to use a general and subject-specific information source (e.g., to provide an overview, to give ideas on terminology). 
  2. Distinguishes among indexes, online databases, and collections of online databases, as well as gateways to different databases and collections. 
  3. Identifies the differences between freely available Internet search tools and subscription or fee-based databases. 
  4. Identifies the types of sources that are indexed in a particular database or index (e.g., an index that covers newspapers or popular periodicals versus a more specialized index to find scholarly literature). 
  5. Identifies research sources, regardless of format, that are appropriate to a particular discipline or research need. 
  6. Explains the difference between the library catalog and a periodical index. 
  7. Describes the different scopes of coverage found in different periodical indexes.

B. Information Time Line 

  1. Determines the period of time covered by a particular source. 
  2. Determines when some topics may be too recent to be covered by some standard tools (e.g., a periodicals index) and when information on the topic retrieved by less authoritative tools (e.g., a Web search engine) may not be reliable. 

C. Descriptions of Main Finding Tools and Types of Materials Accessed.

  1. Selects appropriate tools (e.g., indexes, online databases) for research on a particular topic. 
  2. Locates major print bibliographic and reference sources appropriate to the discipline of a research topic. 
  3. Uses different research sources (e.g., catalogs and indexes) to find different types of information (e.g., books and periodical articles).

D. Wrap Up and Review


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