Students in non-arts disciplines generally are not taught to read and interpret visual images in the same way that those in the arts are taught. As a result, students in non-arts disciplines are often uncertain how to incorporate visual primary sources into their research. Using several of the frames outlined in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as an overarching structure, as well as the pedagogical model outlined in TeachArchives.org that focuses on active learning techniques, the authors outline their instructional techniques for teaching students to work with, and even interrogate, visual resources in a non-arts-based classroom.
This article presents one way that librarians, archivists, and educators can create new knowledge by connecting communities with rare material culture. The authors share how they engaged critically reflective practices while gathering descriptions of rare Mexican artists’ books at community-engaged outreach events. The books took on new meanings once they were removed from the context of the archives, and were centered within diverse communities.
Description is an essential library service of which reads may be unaware. The catalouge reveals where the desired item is; the item is retrieved. That seems easy. But the description of materials in special collections is often more complex, and sometimes even the fundamental nomenclature indicating what an item is can be difficult to identify.
Four colleagues–a faculty member, a digital services librarian, a research librarian, and a curator of Special Collections–take turns describing their role in creating an undergraduate student project around an eighteenth-century almanac that belonged to Marie-Antoinette. In recounting the steps taken, the collaborative process, the student research, and the analysis of the contents of the Trésor des Grâces almanac, we share the lessons learned for completing a digital exhibit over the course of one semester.
Regardless of institutional type or resources, one question facing archives and special collections is how archival collections can be efficiently enhanced with minimal or no original metadata. This issue becomes a focal point when collections are digitized, as metadata is what makes digital collections more accessible and usable. This case study explores the development of a digital collection using card sorting activities and gamification techniques and analyzes the direct and indirect effects of each strategy, including student employee connections to library learning goals and visual literacy standards.
Archival instruction pedagogy is shifting from traditional lecture-based show-and-tell approaches to more active hands-on strategies that fall within the realm of active or inquiry-based instruction. Archivists are beginning to assess their instruction sessions using reaction assessments, learning assessments, performance assessments, and blended approaches; gathering data to illustrate the efficacy of the instruction pedagogy employed and thereby shedding light on how archives contribute in meaningful ways to student learning.
In academic libraries, information literacy traditionally focuses on instruction sessions and classes, activities in library learning spaces, and interactions with librarians. Often overlooked but equally as important to augmenting the student experience is employment in academic libraries and its relationship to the development of information and other literacies. This is particularly true concerning the contribution of special collections and archives, as most scholarship associated with primary source literacy focuses on instruction. This article begins to fill this gap by reporting the results of a series of qualitative interviews with student employees who worked directly with special collections and archives.
The tenet of this article is that historic scientific works, along with science-themed artists’ books, photobooks, and U.S. government-produced reports, can contribute to contemporary science education in inspiring ways. By integrating these materials into undergraduate science-writing projects, we are pioneering an alternative paradigm that merges the sciences and the arts. We are teaching undergraduate science majors through content that invokes scientific curiosity, sparks creativity, and makes science accessible.
Theories, methodologies, frameworks, and scholarship have been built around information literacy and libraries worldwide for over fifteen years. In academic libraries, information literacy experiences traditionally include instruction sessions and classes, activities in library learning spaces, and interactions with librarians. Often overlooked but equally as important to augmenting the student experience is employment in academic libraries and its relationship to information literacy in the workplace. This is particularly true with regards to the contribution of special collections and archives, as most scholarship associated with information literacy and special collections has been focused on instruction and teaching with primary sources.
This study examined how hands-on work with original primary materials affects students’ information literacy and critical thinking skills. The project team developed rubrics to evaluate document analyses from before and after student time in special collections. Most scores did not vary significantly between the pre- and posttests, although students’ ability to analyze the materiality of documents did improve. They also examined papers from classes that had and had not used special collections against the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ information literacy rubric and found no significant differences. The authors hope this project will serve as a pilot for future assessment of student learning in special collections.
The university archives are so often the domain of “dusty historians” or serve as a source for nostalgia to encourage potential donors. As any archivist will tell you, however, these collections are cabinets of curiosity for the 21st century, containing ephemera and visual material that span the course of the institution. Engaging students with these collections can promote information and visual literacy objectives, as well as encourage retention by strengthening personal connections to the university itself. This article explores two assignments designed for studio art students using the archival resources at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and describes their results.
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU–Boulder) is known for strong programming in the sciences and a teaching faculty at the forefront of science education and reform. Librarians at CU–Boulder, in collaboration with science faculty, are challenged to improve undergraduate science education. Using rare, historic, and artistic works from Special Collections, the librarians employ active learning techniques that emphasize visual imagery to improve the quality of undergraduate learning in the sciences. This paper describes the fledgling program developed by CU–Boulder librarians to create a space for student-driven, collaborative learning using historic and visual scientific materials found in Special Collections.
In the United States, archival institutions have prioritized the preservation of commercial and Hollywood cinema overlooking small-scale media production by non-professionals and independent media artists. Media arts centers, however, have played a pivotal role in the continued access, use, and preservation of materials produced by the communities that they serve. These non-profit media collectives were imagined as a distributed network of organizations supporting the production, exhibition and study of media; serving as information centers about media resources; and supporting regional preservation efforts. However, media arts centers have remained over-looked and unexplored by the archival field. This dissertation seeks to shift this balance, including these artist-run organizations as part of the network of archives and collecting institutions preserving independent media.
The author describes the recent collaboration of a special collections librarian and an art history professor at McGill University to integrate primary source material into a semester-long undergraduate course assignment and subsequent exhibition and catalog. The fourth-year art history course, Canadian Slavery and Its Legacies: A Curatorial Seminar, required students to select and prepare an exhibition catalog entry for two visual objects (prints, maps, books, plates, ephemera, objects) from within the holdings of McGill Rare Books and Special Collections. Through in-class visits and individual consultation, the librarian guided students in navigating special collections for the first time, thus easing feelings of “archival anxiety” and illustrating the role of special collections in academic research.
“Although finding, interpreting, and using archives is inherent in the study of history, no standard identifies the archival research competencies college history students should possess. The purpose of this study is to identify history faculty expectations of undergraduates regarding their archival research skills and, based on those expectations, to create a list of archival research competencies that could be incorporated into the history classroom or introduced by the archivist in archival literacy sessions.”
“In this paper, we propose strategies for outreach and collaboration with faculty and archivists that are centered on digitized primary sources. These strategies are based on our experiences and informed by a review of the literature of teaching faculty in several disciplines, as well as the archival literature, to identify current methods of teaching and supporting undergraduates’ research with primary sources.4 Next, we present examples of activities, assignments, and approaches to digitized primary source pedagogy that are linked to relevant information literacy and visual literacy standards. Finally, we offer concluding thoughts on the development of primary source literacies, not just in an era of digital abundance, but at a time in which the rapidly expanding field of digital humanities has the potential to complicate and alter students’ relation to sources even more dramatically.”
“Critic John Berger’s ideas about seeing are still relevant. Many are certainly enveloped in the contemporary academic librarian’s definition of visual literacy. As one might expect, visual literacy has particular necessity for the librarian, like me, who works in a Visual Resources Center (VRC). I am very concerned with the habits of seeing among students and instructors… There are several challenges to visual literacy on campus. When these challenges are not met, there is reliance on convention and old habits. These challenges include resource unawareness, discomfort with technology, and information overload. As our VRC evolved from a slide library to a fully equipped digital media center, our ability to answer such challenges transformed.”