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Reference Services for Instruction

Reference Librarians at OCAD U

Reference librarians work to help you succeed at OCAD U and beyond by

  • helping you find your own voice and make sense of information needed for creative and academic research
  • develop your information literacy skills by helping you select and use appropriate search tools and techniques

This resource demonstrates the unique, studio-based information literacy projects that OCAD U Librarians have implemented to help explore new models in librarianship.

Information Literacy Defined

Research is a thoroughly individualized process; however, it is important to understand standard approaches in order to begin mastering this skill.  Similar to studying an artistic medium like painting, you must learn basic techniques (line, form, composition, perspective) before expressing yourself creatively through painting on canvas.

At a most basic level, there are six basic standards or "core competencies" where information literate researchers:

  1. Determine the extent of information needed
  2. Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  3. Evaluate information and its sources critically
  4. Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  5. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  6. Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

These standards are useful; however, in a creative research environment, they do not effectively interact with the organic nature of creativity. In 2016, a new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was introduced that provides exciting, more conceptually engaging "frames" for researchers.  The goals, known as "threshold concepts," are:    

  • Information Has Value
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Research as Inquiry