Thursday, October 27, 2005

S.O.S. for Information Literacy

S.O.S. for Information Literacy was launched this month in the USA. S.O.S. stands for Situation, Outcomes, Strategies. It is a "database of standards-based information literacy lesson plans and other teaching materials" which "is a dynamic, multimedia, Web-based and freely accessible resource for K-8 library media specialists and classroom teachers." It was created by people at Syracuse University ( with a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The database is at

You need to register, but I was able to do so and get access immediately. It contains "lesson plans" input by librarians, media specialists and teachers, I think all from North America at present. You can search the database by keyword, subject context for the IL lesson, education level, and also by learning outcome (as identified in information literacy standards) or broad area of IL skill. So, for example, you can search for plans for 7-8th graders that target the outcome "Selects information appropriate to the problem or question at hand." Links on the website include links to information literacy guidelines or standards from different US states.

People are encouraged to contribute new lesson plans, as well as search. There are guidelines for creating the lesson plans in the right format for S.O.S. I was a bit put off by the first line of one of these tip pages ("Think "motivation" in every part of your lesson plan": my sour and cynical British temperament tends to surface in response to things like that) but they do explain things clearly, which is the main point really. They also aim to create a similar resource for other school levels and higher education.

(Photo by S. Webber: York in the rain, Oct. 2005)