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Newsletter: April/May 2023

Information Literacy Framework: Searching as Strategic Exploration

Watch Out for Rabbit Holes!: Knowing When Enough Is Enough

Most practiced researchers would agree that searching for information is not a linear process. Usually, the first search query turns up only marginal results at best, and searchers need to refine their search terms until they find a combination that gets them the information they want. Sure, it’s easy to choose the first result in a Google search or not go beyond the first page of results in a database. But most of the time, those aren’t going to be the best sources of information. Searching as Strategic Exploration is the ACRL Information Literacy Frame which focuses on teaching students that, “Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.” (ACRL Framework, 2016)

This makes sense for academic papers requiring in-depth analysis and careful consideration of sources. But is it always necessary to dive deeply into sources of information? Two of the dispositions related to this frame articulate a need to understand when a searcher has enough information. Specifically, the dispositions state searchers will:

  • “realize that information sources ... have varying relevance and value, depending on the needs and nature of the search,” and

  • “... know when they have enough information to complete the information task.” (ACRL Framework, 2016)

Mike Caulfield is an digital literacy educator known for introducing the SIFT method of source evaluation. SIFT stands for: Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace claims to the original context. This method is especially effective for checking the instances of misinformation we encounter daily in our social media feeds. Perhaps counterintuitively, Caulfield also stresses the importance of not diving too deeply into fact-checking missions. In a 2021 New York Times opinion piece, “Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole,” Caulfield argues, “‘Whenever you give your attention to a bad actor, you allow them to steal your attention from better treatments of an issue, and give them the opportunity to warp your perspective.’” As the article's author Charlie Warzel puts it, “Internet users need to learn that our attention is a scarce commodity that is to be spent wisely.” In news that will be surprising to no one, too much information is actually a bad thing.

Caulfield offers a relatable summary of how he recommends people use the SIFT method in a 2021 essay he wrote for Project Information Literacy’s Provocation Series:

You saw a tweet, got mad, hovered over the source and found out this wasn’t a great source. So maybe it’s not worth any more of your attention. Shut down the phone and see what’s on Netflix, or go outside and get some sun. You have no obligation to waste good attention on bad sources.

In a nutshell, it’s important for people to persist until they find the information they need. At the same time, it’s perhaps even more important that people can recognize when they have enough information to answer their question, and not go further to complicate the issue. Students who practice skills related to Searching as Strategic Exploration should be well equipped to exist in an environment of constant information overload.


On display for Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month 
Check out these and other books now on display in the library, courtesy of CAPE director Shyla Kallhoff! Descriptions are available by hovering over the titles.
Hey, Faculty!

Over the summer, don't forget to check your links in Canvas to library resources! Databases can change and you might lose access to a valuable article.


Contact Cali or Jayne if you have any questions or need to find access to something another way.


We Love Our Student Assistants!

Before everyone heads out at the end of the semester, we want to give a shoutout to all of our student library assistants since we didn't have time to highlight each of them. As always, we had a great group this year, and the fulltime library staff truly appreciates their help keeping the library open nights and weekends for the other students. You rock!


Dani Avalos

Donat Beke

Killian Bousfield

Jorge Chevez Ricardo*

Mara Coates*

Marilu Garcia*

Hayden Klaus

Zekiel Krejci-Hyde

Luci McKeag*

Cierra Meyer*

Rachel Mittlieder

Nina Ngo*

PJ Ramsey*

Jaime Renshaw*

Addison Rosno

Elvis Tirop

Sydney Tramp*

*Graduating seniors! We will miss them so much!

Information You Can Use

Feed Your Brain During Finals


More Brain Break Activities

chocolate frosted donut with pink and blue sprinkles


Don't let hunger get in the way of studying for finals! The library will be serving snacks in the evening, May 3 - 10. 



   Wednesday, May 3 - Breakfast at Night

   Thursday, May 4 - Variety of Snacks

   Sunday, May 7 - Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

   Monday, May 8 - Popcorn Bar

   Tuesday, May 9 - Fresh Cinnamon Rolls

   Wednesday, May 10 - What's Left?

Image by kannojiashreyak on Pixabay


As always, we'll have puzzles and coloring pages available, so switch brain hemispheres for a while!

We also hope to have some furry friends visit on Monday, May 8, at 7pm to lower your blood pressure and relieve some of the stress of Finals! 



Image by brgfx on Freepik

Learning Commons
Regular Hours

No special hours for the last two weeks

Monday-Thursday  8am-11pm
Friday  8am-5pm
Saturday  1-5pm
Sunday  2-11pm

Library Faculty & Staff

Derek Bierman
Acting Director

Jayne Germer
Learning & E-resources Librarian

Cali Biaggi
Online Learning Librarian

Tammy Roach
Interlibrary Loan Library Assistant

Subject Liaisons

Need help finding information? Have
ideas for library materials in your
discipline? Want to consult with a librarian
about information literacy instruction for
your classes? Contact the librarian in
your subject area:

Fine Arts & Humanities
Cali Biaggi

Science, Technology,
Engineering & Mathematics

Cali Biaggi

Social Sciences
Jayne Germer

College of Education
Jayne Germer

College of Business
Jayne Germer 

"Our librarians serve the precious liberties of our nation: freedom of inquiry, freedom of the spoken and the written word, freedom of exchange of ideas." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower


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