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Information Literacy Instruction

highlights library instruction sessions and resources for increasing students' information literacy


books image

module titles of tutorial series

Begin Research icon green light

Section 1: Begin Research

Learn more about understanding your assignment and choosing a suitable topic. Then you can select appropriate keywords to search.
Running Time: ~8:30

knowledge cycle icon - arrows

Section 2: Knowledge Cycle

Become familiar with the information cycle and the purpose of various information sources. Understand how different disciplines define primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.
Running Time: ~11:00

Find Books icon

Section 3: Find Books

Discover why books can be valuable sources and learn where to search for them.
Running Time: ~8:00

Find articles icon

Section 4: Find Articles

Find out how to locate articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in library databases.
Running Time: ~8:00

Make Citations icon - pencile

Section 5: Make Citations 

Discover why accurate citations are important and identify information required for any citation style.
Running Time: ~8:00

Basic search icon - magnifying glass

Section 6: Basic Search

Start a search and improve your search results by incorporating useful strategies.
Running Time: ~17:30

Advanced search icon - binoculars

Section 7: Advanced Search

Increase your search skills by incorporating subject searching, limiting by specific fields, and exploring additional databases.
Running Time: ~12:00


This videos are those created by UC Merced librarians or those selected from other libraries.

--from UC Merced

Using eBooks (Research Skills Introductory) 1:26

  • Explains how to find and access ebooks available at UC Merced from both on and off campus locations using Melvyl - the library's catalog.

Finding Databases (Resources & Tools) 1:08

  • Learn to search for databases and narrow down by database subject area, full-text availability, etc.

Using Melvyl (excerpt from previous UC Merced Library Tour) 3:48

  • This cartoon features a peer showing another student how to use Melvyl, the library's catalog, to find books and articles on a specific topic.

Using Melvyl (Research Skills: Introductory) 1:52

  • This video briefly explain how to search Melvyl from the library's home page and highlights its functionality including how to scope, filter, and cite.  

Academic Search Complete (Resources & Tools) 1:45

  • A brief introduction to searching this database which includes content on many subjects and from many source types e.g. newspapers, magazines and academic journals. 

Find Full-Text of Articles through UC-eLinks (2:32)

  • Use the UC-eLinks button to connect to the full-text of an article.

Find a Specific Journal Article (1:53)

  • Learn how to locate a specific articles through Google Scholar or Melvyl when you have the citation information.

Find Full Text Articles (2:32)

  • Learn how to request the full-text of articles through UC-eLinks when it is not available at UC Merced.

Article Networks (Research Skills: Advanced) 2:37

  • Discover how articles are connected to each other through citations.  Use this information to save time when you research.

Articles in Web of Science (Research Skills: Advanced) 2:13

  • Discover how to find related articles from Citations and Cited By information available in Web of Science.

Article Networks in Google Scholar (Research Skills: Advanced) 1:39

  • Discover how to connect to forward article networks (Cited By information) in Google Scholar.  Also used Related Articles links to find relevant resources.

Using CREDO Reference to Locate Background Information for a Disciplinary Field (Research Skills: Advanced) 3:11

  • This video gives an overview of how to use CREDO Reference to find credible background information on a variety of topics.

Identify Your Research with an ORCID ID 2:26

  • Link your scholarly work together with an ORCID identifier. Most applicable to faculty and grad students.

--from Common Craft

Website Evaluation (Think Like an Editor) 2:59

  • Possible questions for use with video: 1) Why are there more untrustworthy sources now than before the Internet was available? 2) What role are you encouraged to take when evaluating information? 3) What suggestions are given to help you protect yourself against untrustworthy information?  What should you do when evaluating information?

Web Search Strategies 2:29

  • Possible questions for use with video: 1) What is a common problem in web searching?  2) What is the first strategy suggested for better web searching?  3) What are more specific strategies you can use to streamline your web searches?

Bias Detection 2:38

  • Possible questions for use with video: 1) What is the primary problem with bias?  2) What other terms can you use to explain unbiased? 3) What strategies are suggested for detecting bias? 

Deep Web (Why Search in a Database?) 2:37

  • notes that database content is often in the hidden (deep) web and is typically authoritative and of high value

Plagiarism 2:32

  • defines plagiarism and outlines research strategies to avoid accidental plagiarism

--from North Carolina State University Libraries

Picking Your Topic IS Research 3:10

  • focuses on research as a process and the importance of exploratory research to scope/tweak a topic

Peer Review in 3 Minutes 3:15

  • focuses on academic/scholarly journal articles, Possible questions for use with video: 1) What do peer reviewers do?  How are they similar to or different from editors? 2) Who are the primary customers of scholarly journals? 3a) Do databases only include peer-reviewed articles?  3b) How do you know?

One Perfect Source? 2:08

  • suggests an approach for addressing a topic or research question and manages expectations, and gives strategies, for finding information to contribute to a cohesive argument

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction 1:54

  • explains what citation is and the importance of citing sources, notes that there are different styles per subject area and gives an overview of what is generally required in all styles

Evaluating Sources for Credibility 3:15

  • video briefly explains peer review, possible questions for use with video:  1) What words can be used to describe a credible source? 2) What factors contribute to a source's credibility?  3) What warning is given about bias?  4) What is the editorial process called for academic journal articles?  5) When selecting sources, what else must you consider beyond credibility?

-- from Northeastern Illinois University (Ronald Williams Library)

How is the Library Organized? 1:37

  • explains how libraries are organized by subject using Library of Congress (LC) classification

How Should I Search in a Database? 1:25

  • encourages searchers to use keywords and then refine with Boolean logic (AND/OR/NOT)

What are the Library Database and Which One Should I Use?  (1:22)

  • explains the value of databases, notes the variety of content available and how databases are often organized by subject content

-- from Others

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals (Carnegie Vincent Library) 4:11

  • Answers the main questions- what is a peer-reviewed article? What is the difference between a scholarly and a popular source? What are librarians for?

The Information Life Cycle (UNLV Libraries)  2:33

  • uses the example of an alien landing but does a good job of tracking where information may be published initially and then over a period of time


These Guide on the Side (GOTS) tutorials provide instructions on the left hand pane and a live web page in the main screen.  This is an interactive way to become familiar with a database.

If off-campus, connect to the VPN first.  Click a link to get started.

Using CREDO Reference

  • Navigate this collection of specialized reference ebooks to locate information on a variety of subjects.  Think of it as an academic version of Wikipeida.

Using Opposing Viewpoints

  • Browse or search this database on a variety social issues from charter schools to bioterrorism.  Information from multiple perspectives is included.

Using Academic Search Complete

  • This versatile database offers information on a variety of subject from many sources including both popular (news, magazine, images) and peer-reviewed (academic journal) sources. 

Finding Empirical Studies in PsycInfo

  • Discover how to narrow a search to only original research articles in the psychology field.

Using Congressional Quarterly Researcher

  • A collection of reports on important issues written by journalists.  Each report includes pros and cons.

Finding Film Reviews in Film Literature Index

  • A database pointing to citations from journals that cover film and television content from 1976 to 2001.

Find an Original Research Article in PLOS

  • Discover how to locate an academic biology article that is original research (rather than a review).

Finding Film Reviews in Performing Arts Periodicals Database

  • Assists students in specifically locating reviews of films in this larger database.

Using Sociological Abstracts

  • Key database for sociology research, highlights strategies to use in the database to find and manage information.

Guide on the Side (GOTS) tutorial logo

These Guide on the Side (GOTS) tutorials provide instructions on the left hand pane and a live web page in the main screen.  Become familiar with a search strategy or library service using one of these brief interactive tutorials. 

If off-campus, connect to the VPN first.  Click a link to get started.

Finding Important Journals in a Research Discipline

  • Locate the important journals in a research discipline using the Journal Citation Reports (JCR).

My ILL Requests

  • Use My ILL Requests to view items in process, see received items, and renew or cancel requests.

Finding Databases for Research

  • Use the library's online Database listing to find relevant databases for research.

My Library Account

  • Access your local library account to see what you have checked out, overdue, or on hold.

Using UC-eLinks for Full Text

  • Connect to the full-text of articles using the UC-eLinks button from various databases.

Finding a Known Item

  • Use citation information (e.g. author, article title, journal title etc.) to find the full-text of that known item using one of four search tools: Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar, Melvyl, or the e-Journal finder.

Guide on the Side (GOTS) tutorial logo

The library has created learning activities intended to introduce students to the basics of accessing library resources and some beginning information literacy concepts.  These learning activities can be directly imported into your CatCourse(s) from Canvas' Commons.  Once imported, you can adopt as is or adapt as desired.  Currently each activity has an associated point value via one or more quizzes.  Outcomes are also listed at the beginning of each learning activity.

Content Time for Completion Outcomes Suggested Use
Accessing Information - VPN & UC-eLinks ( ~12 minutes, without VPN download)
  • understand why the VPN is needed for access to library resources from off-campus locations.
  • connect to the VPN in order to locate library resources.
  • know where to locate help for VPN set-up.
  • become familiar with the purpose and value of the UC-eLinks button.
  • use the UC-eLinks button to locate information.
suitable before or after Finding & Selecting Databases
Finding & Selecting Databases ( ~12 minutes)
  • recognize how the library provides access to academic content for your research.
  • find databases available from the library.
  • select subject-specific databases to search based on a topic.
suitable before or after Accessing Information - VPN & UC-eLinks
Evaluating Information  ( ~15 minutes)
  • identify important questions to ask when evaluating sources.
  • understand that source evaluation includes considering one’s information need.
  • evaluate sources and determine if a source is suitable for a specific information need.
suitable prior to Searching for Information
Searching for Information - Searching in Google (8-10 minutes)
  • recognize the pros and cons of using Google for specific information needs.
  • be able to use specific search strategies to improve Google results.
suitable after Evaluating Information; useful if students will be using freely available web sources

Finding Statistics & Data

( ~5 minutes)
  • distinguish between the need for statistics or data.
  • identify strategies for locating statistics or data.
suitable after Evaluating Information and Searching for Information - Searching in Google; useful if students will be using freely available web sources with a focus on finding stats

Working with Information - Reading Scholarly Articles

( ~12 minutes)
  • understand the common characteristics of scholarly articles.
  • know strategies for effectively reading scholarly articles.

suitable prior to any requirements that students read scholarly articles; could use after Finding & Selecting Databases if students also need to find scholarly articles

Librarians highlight module/learning activity content, how to locate it in the Canvas Commons, and how to import it into your SPARK course(s). ~10 min.

Locating Learning Activities; Importing into CatCourses

  • Access the CatCourse in which you want to include one or more library activities.
  • Click Commons (found in far left of a course).
  • Search for UC Merced Library (or a specific module title).  See titles below.
  • Click on the activity you're interested in and select your course in the box on the right ("Import into Canvas")
  • Click "Import into Course". You will be able to see imported modules under "Modules" in the list on the left. You can edit, mute, or set imported assignments as ungraded.

Note: it may be helpful to deselect "Show Public Resources" in your search in the Commons. This will show you just UC Merced resources.