How does the Instructional librarian determine what to teach in a lesson? My answer is to look at the standards in the field. The primary motivation behind education standards is to ensure equivalent library skills and information analysis to all college and university students, however they a consistently growing and evolving to meet the needs of the current generation of students. The original Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education were originally approved in January 2000 by the Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL) however, these standards were rescinded by the ACRL Board of Directors on June 25, 2016. This means the original standards are no longer in force however they are a useful tool to look at to help deliver quality content and lessons. The original Information Literacy Standards were replaced by the current Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and adopted by the ACRL Board January 11, 2016 available at the following website: http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework. The new frameworks still have the same underlying motivation of ensuring equivalent library services and information resources to all college and university students irrespective of their actual school. The new frameworks have six frames: (1) Authority Is Constructed and Contextual, (2) Information Creation as a Process, (3) Information Has Value (4) Research as Inquiry (5) Scholarship as Conversation and (6) Searching as Strategic Exploration
The American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) has developed a set of principles and standards for legal research and competency. The principles advanced by the American Association of Law Libraries are:
- A successful legal researcher possesses foundational knowledge of the legal system and legal information sources.
- A successful legal researcher gathers information through effective and efficient research strategies.
- A successful legal researcher critically evaluates information.
- A successful legal researcher applies information effectively to resolve a specific issue or need.
- A successful legal researcher distinguishes between ethical and unethical uses of information, and understands the legal issues associated with the discovery, use, or application of information.
This information is available online at https://www.aallnet.org/mm/Advocacy/legalresearchcompetency/principlesstds
This brings us the to issue on bias. Under the competency “An information-literate legal professional knows that information quality varies” This leads to the question of bias. There is no standard in legal textbooks of what cases to include and what is considered important. Three different textbooks all on constitutional law can vary as to what is deemed important all based upon the experiences of the writer. So it is important to teach students to consistently evaluate the reliability of information, based upon (1) authority, (2) credibility, (3) currency and (4) authenticity. This is important for both print and online sources, legal and non-legal sources. For example, many students and legal practitioners obtain cases online the notes are written by an author, depending upon who wrote the notes viewpoints can vary. This is important when writing a brief and arguing a case. It is important to see both sides to effectively argue your position. This awareness of bias needs to be addressed by information literacy professionals early to expand the student’s growth.