LOEX Conference Proceedings 2010

Document Type


Publication Date



What happens when undergraduates get their hands on a nineteenth-century stereoscope, a first edition of _Tom Jones_, and 100-year-old student handbooks during an information literacy session? And what do these students learn through analyzing primary sources that can sharpen their responses to other kinds of scholarly evidence?

To answer these questions, participants in this interactive workshop will recreate an instruction session developed by librarians at Grinnell College using surrogates of primary sources to prompt discussion of any source's audience, authorship, reliability, and purpose. This workshop will begin with an overview of how librarians at Grinnell, a small liberal arts institution, have successfully collaborated with disciplinary faculty to select materials and to plan information literacy sessions focused on examination and discussion of primary sources; we'll also share how these sessions have been integrated into a first-year seminar, an introductory history course, an upper-division education class, and a French literature seminar.

Our specific objectives for this session are that participants will i) learn successful strategies for using rare books, manuscripts, and archival resources in information literacy sessions; ii) consider the advantages and disadvantages of digital facsimiles from databases such as ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) and original texts; and iii) articulate ways their own college or university special collections might be used to expand information literacy instruction. Participants will also receive a list of questions for students to consider when using primary evidence.