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Info Lit Training 2023 (GAs) Student Workers: Session 1A Information Has Value

Information has Value

Information Has Value? What does that mean?

Anytime you have a question (a need for information), you make a series of choices about how to answer that question (fill the information need).  Many times, you can locate some information that is "free" other times, you will be asked to pay for access to the information.

A lot of whether you will need to pay for the information or whether you can locate it for free depends on the following:

1. What is it that you want to know?

2. Is that information valuable or important to you?

3. Is that information need something that you can gather facts about in order to create your own answer(s)?

4. Is filling that information need something you can do for yourself? (covered later tonight)

5. Would filling that information need take too long, cost too much, or be out of your area of "expertise"?

How do you know (if you decide to pay for it) that you are getting quality information? (which will be covered in a different night)

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as:

  • A commodity -- examples include: newspapers, databases, blogs, reports, etc., that have a "Paywall", AND include websites that sell academic papers or offer to write them for you.
    • People, website and companies that offer to sell academic paper, test banks, exam answers etc. or who offer to write a paper for you are considered dishonest. Using one is considered a VIOLATION of the academic honor code.
  • As a means of education - college credits, certificates, micro-credentials are documents that prove you have learned and developed a level of comfort or expertise in one area, such as marketing, cyber-security, or social work, etc.
  • As a means to influence others -- advertising, mass media, movies, YouTube videos, product reviews, etc.

What is a paywall? A paywall is a means of negotiating access to information.

You have probably encountered a paywall before. You click a link, and the next thing you know, a screen pops up asking you to subscribe to see the content. Here are a couple examples:

What is Open Access, and how is that different than using resources that are behind a paywall?

Open access refers to materials (usually scholarly articles and research studies) that are freely available to the public. Open access materials are not behind a paywall, and are available to everyone without a fee being charged for access. Examples of Open Access include:

Is Google "Open Access"?  No. Read any good fully-accessible "Google Books" lately? They too, are behind a paywall. AND, Google (like all search engines) is an imperfect tool -- it is not neutral. It quite frequently provides results based on previous search history, and other factors such as pay per click and previous search history, as well as shopping results and news browsing. 

Are library resources "Open Access"? Not most of them. Most of the resources used by the library are paid for by student fees, donations to the library, and other sources. Students, faculty and staff do not have to pay any additional "paywall" fees because the library has paid for access to make these resources available to our community. The library does list some Open Access resources on its website.

Activity 1: Using markers, crayons, pencils, pens, paint etc., depict (draw)  for another student the meaning of this idea that "information has value".