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Reduce > Reuse > Recycle: Teaching ACRL’s 5th Information Literacy Competency Standard: Overview

This site contains supporting materials for a 2009 LOEX presentation by Bowling Green State Librarians C. Cardwell, A. Fyn, and C. Singer.

Overview of Module

Using Information Legally and Ethically

Learning Outcomes:

The primary learning outcomes for this particular module are based on the ACRL Information Literacy Standard Five: The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

You will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material.

  2. Accurately cite sources using the APA citation style guide.


A large part of what it means to be an "information literate" person is knowing how to give credit where credit is due. This helps the consumer determine which ideas belong to whom. It also helps the originator establish credibility and distinguish their ideas from those of another. As a responsible researcher, it is essential to accurately credit your sources. This should be done by acceptable standards so that the consumer can get back to the original work--whether it is an article, an image, or a music score. What is meant by an acceptable standard is to identify a citation style guide (APA, MLA, etc.) and apply it consistently whether you are writing a paper, giving a Power Point presentation or delivering a speech. It is important to practice these skills in a safe environment so that you are prepared to do this professionally. Each field has an acceptable standard of citing sources.

In this module, you will learn about different kinds of intellectual property and potential violations of their use. Some may surprise you. The spectrum of intellectual property thefts has grown exponentially with the information explosion and the boom in technological advances. Stealing another's ideas now comes in a variety of forms including, but not limited to, music, art, speeches, computer programs, fabric designs, social networking profiles, and even sermons! Has technology proliferated these problems now that more information is available online to the masses and copying & pasting is here to stay? Then there is the issue of do people even know they are borrowing another's intellectual property a bit too liberally?

What next?

Read all lecture materials thoroughly. Next, proceed to the Discussion Board and be sure to participate as instructed. Also, be sure to take the quiz by the due date. All readings/viewings in the Lecture Materials and the Discussion Board are fair game.

Keep in mind, there is no textbook for this course. As a result, you will link out to a variety of materials, many of which were created by experts at other institutions.