INLS 200: Retrieving and Analyzing Information
In this course, students will learn how to clarify their own information needs, access information sources, critically evaluate those information sources, and use the information accessed to fulfill those information needs. The information sources utilized in this course will be predominantly electronic, though some will be print. Students will learn to formulate effective search strategies, will master basic search logic and commands, and will gain hands-on experience searching databases and other information sources. Students will learn to access information in both bibliographic and non-bibliographic resources, including citation, full-text, numeric, image, and multimedia databases. The assignments will enable students to focus on information resources on a topic of their choice.
On a personal note, I believe that this course is important because in the Information Age, knowledge of how to find, evaluate, and use information is as important to our survival as knowledge of hunting and gathering was in the Paleolithic: you might be able to survive, but your diet (of food or of information) would be a pretty poor one. One of the biggest problems faced by people in the Information Age is the sheer volume of information available: there is more information available on any topic than you are likely to want, but is all of it worthwhile? Poor quality information or misinformation may be worse than useless, it may be positively harmful. The ability to filter and evaluate information is therefore one of the most important skills that a person can have in the Information Age. Moreover, I believe that these skills are absolutely essential for all citizens of a democracy to possess. A quote is frequently attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy" (though the good people at the Jefferson Library at Monticello do not believe that this quote is genuine). The American Library Association's position is that: "the power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them." Without quality information, how can you learn enough about the issues that are important to you to decide how to vote on them and who you want representing you in government? I believe that this course is important because knowledge of how to find, evaluate, and use information is as important as any skill that a person can possess in the Information Age, and is a citizen's civic duty to boot.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Use search tools effectively,
- Use different genres and media of information sources effectively,
- Evaluate information sources for quality,
- Evaluate information sources for relevance to their own information needs,
- Use information to fulfill their own information needs.
| Jeffrey Pomerantz, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360
| v: 919-962-8064
pomerantz at unc dot edu
| Office: 112 Manning Hall
Office hours: Mon & Wed, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Make an appointment on my Google Calendar. Please indicate your name and what you want to meet to discuss.
Note for undergraduates: As an alternative to office hours, I'll be happy to do lunch, with enough advance scheduling. You can even get reimbursed for lunch through the Meals with Heels program.
Course Piazza site
No textbook is required.
All readings will be assigned on the course Schedule. All readings will be available on the free web, as an ejournal, or via the Library's ereserves. Readings are also listed in my course Pinboard feed.
Readings are listed on the Schedule on the day on which we will discuss them.
I collect other items of interest using the inls200 tag on Pinboard. Please do the same.
Grading rubric & other policies
See my course grading rubric.
See my course policies.
See the web.unc.edu Online Class Statement.
Your final grade will be calculated as follows:
- Wikipedia article: 80%
- Topic statement: 10%
- Interaction with a librarian: 10%
- Source evaluations: 10% each, for a total of 30%
- Wikipedia article: 15%
- Citation database: 15%
- A Google a day: 10%
- Participation: 10%