thing 6: Information Creation as a Process

Recommended Readings, Resources, and Examples

Woxland, C. M., Cochran, D., Davis, E. L., & Lundstrom, K. (2017). Communal & Student-Centered: Teaching Information Creation as a Process with Mobile Technologies. Reference Services Review, 45(1). [paywalled]

Choose Your Own Adventure Activity

Select one of the following activities to complete:

  1. Locate an example of an article or lesson plan that describes an approach to teaching using the frame Information Creation as a Process. In a comment, post a link to the article or lesson plan (or a citation if paywalled) along with a short summary of what you read. How could you adapt or build upon this approach at your own institution?
  2. Drawing inspiration from one of the recommended readings, draft your own lesson plan related to the frame Information Creation as a Process. Upload your lesson plan to Project CORA and/or the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox, and post a link to it here.


  1. I chose the Types of Information online tutorial from Joelle Pitts, which is linked to on the Sandbox:

    The thing I like about it, as compared to a few of the other lessons that were linked to, is that it acknowledges and highlights the ways in which different types of information can be useful. I really liked the scholarly journal autopsy until it gets to the second to last question: “Is it better or worse than a scholarly sources?” Ugh.

    I do a version of some of these activities in a lot of my classes–give students the first page or two of four or five source types around a topic–say, a tweet, a newspaper article, magazine article, journal article, and maybe a book. I ask them to work in small groups and identify:
    1. what type of source it is
    2. where they could find the information they would use in a bibliography
    3. to estimate how long it took the author(s) to research and write the article/source
    4. explain a context in which it might be appropriate to use this in personal research or college work.


  2. I located a lesson plan in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox entitled “Inform Your Thinking”( The exercise was created by Cristina Colquhoun and Matt Upson from Oklahoma State University. The exercise consists of a series of short videos addressing the frames, in this case “Information Creation as a Process”, followed by questions related to the topic. The video uses natural language to describe how information is acquired and is presented by an actor who appears to be a student. Presenting the information in this way, makes the information much more palatable and easy to understand. My library has a One Button Studio installation which is ideal for the production of a short video. We could create questions to accompany the video as well, and offer it in the flipped classroom style, having the students view the video and answer the questions prior to their library instruction session. Because most of our instruction is limited to the one shot session, providing the information in advance would allow us time to focus on student’s responses to the questions when we meet in the classroom. In the past our library has used Google forms to get the students assessment of the library instruction session. Google forms could be used to capture the responses to the questions for assessment purposes, which could also inform our instruction.


  3. The University Libraries at the University of Washington has created guides on the ACRL Framework. The link for Information Creation is a Process is:

    There is a video, along with the transcript, which looks at how a scholarly article, a news story, and a tweet are created. It provides students with a good introduction to analyzing who created the source and a simplified overview of how, with different sources, ideas are turned into published pieces. It provides students with an understanding of how information is produced, thereby helping them to analyze if the source is suitable for their needs.


  4. The article on using mobile technology was interesting (ILL to the rescue!), however, mobile technology is not being as widely employed as it could be at our institution since not all students have smart devices, and the Library doesn’t have enough mobile devices to be used for an entire class.

    The assignment, Inform Your Thinking: How Is Your Information Created?, from the ACRL Framework Sandbox (, contributed by Christina Colquhoun (Oklahoma State University) includes a short video to “introduce students to the Information Creation as a Process frame by examining how the process for creating information impacts the way information is shared and packaged. Students will decide when to use each type of information depending on creation process, as well as recognize the need to verify their sources.” At the end of the of the video, there is a section which includes four open-ended questions which students can submit after viewing.

    Direct Link:

    To adapt this assignment, I would have students view the video and answer the questions using a survey tool before the Information Literacy session, and then include a discussion about their responses into the IL session. We could then search a database, such as EBSCOhost, and evaluate the results together based on the students’ research needs.


  5. I was unable to read the article as we don’t have access for a year. However, I explored the ACRL sandbox and found the following lesson that discusses Visual Literacy (see This is described as being able to “find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.” It also takes into account design and ethical considerations.
    I really liked this lesson from the Sandbox: (which links to the lesson plan here: and the associated LibGuide ( Taking something popular such as comics and other graphic media and evaluating it for good design as well as showing students how to effectively communicate information provides them with something they will use way beyond school but into the work world. From the Framework, this lesson reinforces the ideas of “any format produced to convey a message…and is hsared via a selected delivery method.” Knowing your audience and being able to articulate your message visually and with impact is a skill that is becoming more important in our 140 character Tweeting world. As the Dispositions say in the Framework, one of these skills entails the ability to “match an information need with an appropriate product.” In other words, once you know your audience, don’t use an infographic, for example, unless it makes sense. Use only what is needed to convey the purpose or provide the understanding.
    I also really liked the use of the simple 4 Elements of Good Design and the assessment at the end where students can tell what was OLD to them, NEW to them, what BLEW (what the librarian may have missed) and a BOUQUET (what should be added.) These are practical ways to engage and make the lessons more meaningful in the future.
    I am not sure that I would be able to adapt this lesson for the one shots that we do, as we do not work with those types of elements, but I can envision creating a stand-alone module that instructors who are asking their students to create visuals could use (maybe in a flipped classroom way) that the students could walk through to discover and then discuss. If we aren’t able to provide in person assistance, I think a well made module could help students achieve visual literacy and thereby better understand the Information Creation as Process part of the Framework.


  6. One of my “dream” instructional sessions would cover the information timeline/ cycle – especially as it relates to “breaking news” through social media (since that’s a thing we’re now contending with from even the most “inside” sources from positions of power).

    This lesson is from Toni M. Carter and Todd Aldridge from Auburn University and it appears on the Sandbox at

    I like the idea of breaking a room or a class into “stations” representing different stops along a timeline and tracing an event through the publication cycle. The activity can be modified so that the stations represent the media or format, or different events… which is key to me (adaptability).

    I work in a joint-use library (public and college). Early in 2017, I collaborated with the public librarians on a media literacy 5-program series that we promoted to students and the local area community. The vast majority of our attendees were local seniors and regular library patrons. They expressed a lot of frustration about the validity of online sources because, to them, “online” means “unreliable.” During our discussions, it became clear that challenges were arising in the way the information timeline has been so compressed by the constant connectedness and the democratization of publication via the web and cellphone technology.

    I think a lesson like Carter and Aldridge’s would be really helpful to even an audience so distinct from traditional or common college students. I would love to do a session on this with them in our next go-round of the series. I think it would help them understand the information landscape as well as help them identify reliable sources that they already trust in an online format.


    • The article that we read for this particular post was interesting, but as Jalyn Warren mentioned the dependence on the use of devices made me hesitant. We are trying very hard to update our eClassroom (built in the 90s) to a more flexible active learning space so I am searching for lesson plans that will get students moving around both physically and mentally. At the moment, we do have Soltice Pods set up so students can share what they are doing on their devices or desktop computers in the lab, so there is more flexibility than we had about 6 months ago. This may address my hesitancy with the dependence on library or student provided devices used in the study in the article. Still, I want to find lessons that will allow the students to lead students.

      So, at the risk of being a “copycat” I am going to echo Christy Moran’s thoughts on this lesson plan: from Toni M. Carter and Todd Aldridge of Auburn University.

      I did try to find a different lesson plan, but kept coming back to this one. Usually I just touch on this issue as we are pressed for time, but would like to modify it to a shorter activity that gets students thinking. If I can reduce it to 3 examples then perhaps students can use on the desktop and share with the class as they answer the questions on the handout, demonstrating how they found the information. Once we have cleared the classroom of the massive 3 ton desks that can’t be moved, I would like to explore the idea of actually posting the different examples and allowing the students to manipulate and examine the different Stations. I only have a few more instruction sessions in which to experiment with this, and will come back to share what did and did not work.

      This would be a great activity for a Teach in, especially when dealing with difficult issues challenging the college campus. We have done some trainings in Difficult Dialogs, and I think this would be a great springboard for larger campus conversations around community and how to build it.


  7. I like “Scholarly Article Autopsy” found on the Sandbox:

    It’s an activity that pretty much takes up one session. It splits students into groups and each group looks at a scholarly and non-scholarly article, answering very detailed questions about each element of the scholarly article via a worksheet and comparing it to the non-scholarly one. Then each group presents about one or two of the questions while the librarian shows the article in question on screen.

    This brings attention to what goes into the creation of a scholarly article, specifically those in the sciences & social sciences with a lit review, methods, and results section. I think any subject could benefit from this activity just as a way to really look at and question the way academic literature is written to better know how to use it in your own research.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the “autopsy” analogy! I also really appreciate how this lesson encourages student to go beyond a superficial analysis and dig deeper into the article. One thing I might add, time-permitted, is to have the students visit the journal website to see what the authors had to do to submit and publish the article. This would give them some insight into the process by which the information was created. They could then compare this to the other article and think about the benefits and drawbacks of each publishing method. Thanks for sharing!!



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