COLTEK Librarians Hold Information Literacy Workshop

A three-day workshop was organised for the library staff of the College of Technology Education, Kumasi (COLTEK) of the University of Education, Winneba from July 3rd to Friday, 5th July, 2018.

It was aimed at enhancing the skills of the library staff in various components of Information Literacy so that Librarians would be able to provide better services to their users and also assist them to become information literate.

The workshop was facilitated by the University Librarian, Mr. Viscount B. Buer, Head of the COLTEK Library, Mr. Seth A. Katsekpor, and the Head of the College of Agriculture Education (CAGRIC) Library at Ashanti-Mampong, Dr. Christopher M. Owusu-Ansah and participated by all Senior and Junior Staff of the library.   

Opening the workshop, Mr. Katsekpor welcomed the participants and emphasised the important role Information Literacy plays in the life of every professional and the need for everyone, including the library staff to be information literate, as it facilitates people’s ability to achieve their academic, professional, citizenship, health, and everyday life goals. He also thanked and welcomed his co-presenters for making time to attend such an important workshop.

Mr Buer made presentations on Ethical and Legal Use of Information and Evaluation of Information Sources and Resources. On the subject of Ethical and Legal Use of Information, he touched on the concept of plagiarism in the academic environment. After the participants were led to bring out contributions relating to their understanding of plagiarism, he discussed with them some of the possible reasons why students and other members of the academic community plagiarise; the penalties for plagiarising other’s works and the strategies for avoiding plagiarism.

One issue that strongly emerged from the discussion was inadequate time for students to complete their assignments; this therefore leads to plagiarism.  He recommended that assignments should be given to students during the first week of the semester with adequate time in order for them to successfully complete the assignments and submit them personally to their Faculty/Departmental Officers instead of giving them to their class leaders who might plagiarise the work of good students. He credited this suggestion to the practice at the Department of Information Studies of the University of Sheffield, U.K.  The presentation also covered self- plagiarism and the use of common knowledge that may not have to be cited. The participants were also taught how to use paraphrase and interpretation accompanied by the requisite citations to avoid plagiarism.

In his next presentation on Evaluation of Information Sources and Resources Mr. Buer emphasised that participants needed to be ingrained in the information literacy skills so that it would reflect in their daily lives. Staff were also taught how to use paraphrase and interpretation accompanied by the requisite citations to avoid plagiarism. Using the RADAR Framework developed by Mandalios in 2013, the presenter highlighted the need to consider the Rationale, Accuracy, Date (Currency), Authority, and Relevance when determining the credibility of an information source.

In applying the given criteria for evaluating information, one must ask a number of pre-determined questions with the intention of establishing the credibility and relevance of any given information (scholarly or non-scholarly) for a given task.

Mr. Katsekpor who introduced topics on Information Sources and Resources, discussed the concepts of primary, secondary, tertiary and reference sources. He demonstrated with examples from the library  types of information sources and emphasised the need for staff  to be abreast with the roles of each type of resource in the academic work of students and other users and know when they are used and for what they are used.

Additionally, in another presentation, the Head of COLTEK Library guided the participants through the Concept of Intellectual Property Rights with specific emphasis on Copyright, Fair Use, and Patents.

Dr. Owusu-Ansah took participants through the Concept of Information Retrieval in the second presentation of the day. Topics discussed, among others, included how to effectively use the online catalogue (WINNOPAC) of the University to perform a number of functions such as generating  and developing  reading lists in the subject areas, performing simple searching with phrase search, conducting advanced searching with Boolean Logic  and performing Google advanced searching. He used the Library Databases and Google to demonstrate how these retrieval processes may be executed.

Finally, he ended the session taking the participants through the APA Referencing Style.

A cross section of participants during the workshop

A similar workshop was also held in Winneba from 16th to 19th July, 2018 for the staff of Winneba and Ajumako Libraries.

Some of the library staff interacting during one of the sessions