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engineering education, Engineering Information

ACRL Information Literacy Standards for Science and Engineering/Technology

At the June 2006 ALA Annual Conference, the Association of College and Research Libraries approved a new set of Information Literacy Standards for Science and Engineering/Technology.  They also published this set of standards in the November 2006 issue of College & Research Libraries (p.634-641).

These standards are extremely detailed and will provide a roadmap for the kind of information literacy skills our engineering students should ideally have when they graduate.  That said, I think we should be careful not to become overwhelmed by this list, but rather to pick and choose the skills and outcomes that dovetail with the outcomes of our science and technology programs.  Note that the ABET accreditation criteria were consulted in the development of these standards.

The standard that I am most concerned with here at WMU is 1.3 “Has a working knowledge of the literature of the field and how it is produced.” This includes knowing “how scientific, technical, and related information is formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated” and knowing “sources that are specific to the field (e.g., manuals, handbooks, patents, standards, material/equipment specifications, current rules and regulations, reference material routinely used in industry, manuals of industrial processes and practices, and product literature).”

I am in the process (slowly) of developing Camtasia screencasts that discuss the various engineering information sources.  I hope to use these in our IME 1020 (Technical Communications) courses, as well as other engineering courses, to familarize undergraduate engineering students with these sources.  My vision is for these screencasts to be loaded on the Library website, and various course sites.  I’ll keep you posted.  I should have the first two modules (on scholarly journals and trade magazines) done in time for Spring 2007.

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About Ed Eckel

I am a engineering and applied sciences librarian at Western Michigan University.

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