Words versus Pictures: Leveraging the Research on Visual Communication

Librarians, like many other occupations, tend to rely on text and underutilize graphics. Research on visual communication shows that pictures have a number of advantages over words. We can interact more effectively with colleagues and patrons by incorporating ideas from this research.

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Visual Literacy Synthesized: A Content Analysis of Syllabi to Build a Better Visual Literacy Course

This paper implements a content analysis approach to examine syllabi of existing visual literacy
and media literacy courses for themes that meet best
practices as established by the ACRL standards. These
themes have then been combined into a syllabus template representative of a course that will meet the
commonly accepted needs of contemporary students
in higher education. The template includes recommended readings and assignments.

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Visual Literacy Practices in Higher Education

In our media-driven age visuals are increasingly frequent and prominently present in society and their importance and influence across academic disciplines is growing. This makes it essential to enable learners to become visually literate and justifies the need for teaching visual literacy competencies. Yet, there has been little research on visual literacy practices undertaken across academic subjects and institutions in higher education. Moreover, the key challenges and factors of success for achieving visual literacy education haven’t been studied to date. Accordingly, this research aimed to elucidate the issues most relevant to visual literacy and to identify practices undertaken by universities/ faculties and academic libraries. Explorative and descriptive research was conducted using literature analysis and an online questionnaire distributed to an international group of visual literacy practitioners.

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Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy: How Two Academic Librarians Combined Information Science and Design in Their Careers

The two authors of this chapter both worked in graphic design departments before obtaining their Master of Library & Information Science degrees, and subsequent professional positions in academic libraries. Framed within a context of visual literacy, this chapter describes each author’s experiences with graphic design and how the skills gained from those experiences lend themselves well to academic library outreach, instruction, web design, and archival work.

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The “Eyes” Have It: A Digital Media Lab in an Academic Library

Multimedia design center, digital media lab, makerspace, scholars’
lab—there are many names for the ways that academic libraries
are embracing a wider definition of the “library as space” concept,
“where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching,
and research” (Freeman 2005, 3). While actively renovating and reinventing spaces for information/knowledge commons areas, the rationale for
this movement is to provide an environment where students have access to
equipment and space to experiment. The underpinning of this movement
encompasses two key missions of academic libraries: to develop skills in information literacy and to encourage critical thinking among college students.

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Teaching Visual Literacy Skills in a One-Shot Session

Just as one-shot information literacy sessions can be implemented in college classes to improve students’ research capabilities, similarly-styled sessions on image research can increase their visual literacy skills. The desired outcome of teaching an instructional session is to provide students with the tools and confidence they need to effectively use high-quality visual materials in their undergraduate years and beyond.

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Teaching Visual and Media Literacy Skills Through Media Production Technology

Information professionals such as archivists and librarians are faced with the challenge of preserving, describing, and providing access to information encoded on a variety of media, both text based and visual. While the visual and media literacy discourse recognizes the role of information professionals in visual, media, and information literacy education, the literature contains few pedagogical approaches those charged with training informational professionals at the graduate level. This chapter discusses one approach to visual and media literacy instruction in the Moving Image Archives course offered at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, and suggests one method for visual and media literacy instruction at the graduate level. This technology-based approach addresses the “designing and creating” competencies from the Association of College and Research Libraries Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, creating an environment that simulates production by introducing students to the tools and technologies of media production. This approach could also be used in other academic disciplines, such as film and media studies, where students learn to analyze and interpret specific media products, but do not engage directly with the technologies used to create these images.

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Stories of Service-Learning: Guidelines for Increasing Student Engagement with Digital Storytelling

This article describes a project at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Libraries in which two library staff members–a librarian and a media specialist–collaborated with a Communication Studies professor to provide assistance for two sections of an Intercultural Communication class in the creation of digital stories. As part of the course requirements, students performed service hours with community organizations and then created digital stories as a way to reflect upon and share their experiences. The project provided students with an opportunity not only to create and reflect but also to acquire digital media and visual literacy skills that may be helpful to them in future coursework and employment. In this article, the authors will describe how the digital storytelling project was designed and executed at UNR and provide guidelines for executing digital media projects to increase student engagement and to support a variety of learning objectives.

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Some Visual Literacy Initiatives in Academic Institutions: A Literature Review from 1999 to the Present

The ubiquitousness of images in the digital era highlights the importance of individuals’ visual communication skills in the 21st Century. We conducted a literature review of visual literacy initiatives in academic institutions to illustrate best practices for imparting these skills in students. The literature review identified five categories of visual literacy educational strategies in academic institutions including: the availability of instructional scaffolds, faculty’s creation of activities and assignments aimed at increasing students’ abilities to interpret and create visual images, lectures and readings that promoted visual design principles, the development of programs and courses centered on visual communication, and research initiatives that sought to identify and improve individuals’ skills in communicating visually. The latter two strategies remained especially popular in institutions outside of the United States. All of the efforts served to focus attention to the importance of visual literacy competencies in higher education.

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Librarians and Graphic Design: Preparation, Roles, and Desired Support

Librarians often become de facto graphic designers for their libraries, taking responsibility for designing signage, handouts, brochures, web pages, and many other promotional, instructional, and wayfinding documents. However, the majority of librarians with graphic design responsibilities are not trained as graphic designers. This exploratory research study surveyed librarians to determine their graphic design training and preparation for their assumed design duties as well as the support and training they desire. Results from this study can be used by library administrators when providing support for librarians with graphic design duties.

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Developing Interview Skills and Visual Literacy: A New Model of Engagement for Academic Libraries

This case study presents a cocurricular initiative at the Margery Somers Foster Center at Rutgers University Libraries in New Brunswick, NJ. The initiative resulted in an interview workshop for the course Knowledge and Power, a “mission course” of the Douglass Residential College. This discussion-based workshop uses visual and multimedia resources to teach useful skills for conducting meaningful interviews, develops deeper understanding of an interview as a two-way social interaction composed of listening and talking, cultivates ethnographic and cultural sensitivity, and empowers students to critically engage with visual forms of communication and the meanings of media.

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Data Literacy: In Search of a Name and Identity

The role of data literacy is discussed in the light of such activities as data a quality, data management, data curation, and data citation. The differing terms and their relationship to the most important literacies are examined. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

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Creating an Interdisciplinary Materials Lab in the Design Library

In collaboration with students and faculty, the Library of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University developed an interdisciplinary Materials Laboratory that offers students in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction a hands-on and interdisciplinary sensory experience of building and construction materials. Materials research is a key component to students’ learning in design disciplines, and the tactile and visual experience of handling physical building materials samples allows students to investigate and discover materials in new ways. This article explores the collaborative creation of the Materials Lab that positioned the library as a central and innovative educational resource for all design disciplines.

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Constructing and Reading Visual Information: Visual Literacy for Library and Information Science Education

This article examines visual literacy education and research for library and information science profession to educate the information professionals who will be able to execute and implement the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Visual Literacy Competency Standards successfully. It is a continuing call for inclusion of visual literacy into the curriculum for library and information science education and research in order to educate students to provide professional services in this visual information world and it is a call for a paradigm shift from text-based information services and research realm to a social construction of meaning, reading, searching, finding meaning in a visual information world.

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Connecting Inspiration with Information: Studio Art Students and Information Literacy Instruction

This article discusses the partnership between the library and the studio art faculty that led to the integration of information literacy instruction into the studio art curriculum. The author outlines the importance of information literacy to artistic practice and student success, and discusses the program of instruction and learning outcomes. Early assessment of student needs and the program’s effectiveness, using both citation analysis and anecdotal feedback, reveals that the program has contributed to the maturation of student research and inquiry skills, and positively affected the relationship between the department and the library, and provides preliminary conclusions about undergraduate studio art information behaviors. An ongoing further program of study to more fully describe the information needs of undergraduate studio art students is also outlined.

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Better Images, Better Searchers: Google Images and Visual Literacy in the Sciences and Social Sciences

This chapter describes our instruction efforts concerning Google Images, a specialized search engine. We were inspired to teach Google Images to an academic audience by our experiences in the Power Searching with Google MOOC, Google’s effort to improve searchers’ understanding of their platform’s capabilities, and by our academic community’s interest in finding images for coursework, presentations, publications, and other scholarly activities.

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App it up: Using Google Apps in Library Instruction

Utilizing Google Apps in library instruction can help librarians easily incorporate digital literacy into their information literacy lessons. This chapter, informed by the experiences of three Eastern Kentucky University reference and instruction librarians, covers the basic functionality of Google Apps such as Google Drive (including Google Docs, Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets), Google Groups, Google Hangouts, etc., and some possibilities and advantages for creatively employing these apps to enhance face-to-face and online library instruction, as well as to aid in assessment.

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A Collaborative Vision: Partnering with STEM Faculty to Teach Visual Literacy Through Multimedia Research Presentations

This article discusses visual literacy, its connection to information literacy, and its significance to scientific disciplines. It includes a case study from Washington and Lee (W&L) University that showcases how libraries can integrate visual literacy instruction into STEM courses. In the study, two W&L Library staff members partnered with one W&L visiting assistant professor of physics to transform a common assignment, the academic poster, into a digital form of visual communication. This shift resulted in a revised evaluative rubric and led to enhanced library led instruction focusing on information literacy, visual literacy, and digital literacy skills.

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Visual Rhetoric for School Librarians

The role of the school librarian requires mastering numerous dynamic and pliable 21st-century literacies. Of those literacies, visual literacy is sometimes overlooked, yet appear in numerous standards at the state and national levels.

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Visual Literacy Across the Disciplines

Visual literacy is a crucial skill for today’s university students and faculty. Thus, it is essential for academic librarians to have an understanding of basic issues surrounding use and discovery of images. This chapter defines visual literacy, explores potential visual needs across subject disciplines, discusses search strategies for images, describes potential roles
for academic librarians related to visual literacy, discusses ethical concerns regarding images, lists visual literacy competencies and selected resources on visual literacy, and indicates where to locate images.

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