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University of Wollongong Australia

History of the Library: Our information literacy journey

An archive of the historical milestones reached by UOW Library since 1972 in words and pictures

WordleDevelopment of Information Literacy at the University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong Library has had a strong leadership role in information literacy, being among the first libraries in the country to have an endorsed policy and compulsory zero-credit point subject about information literacy.

The Library is deeply committed to its endeavours to support the lifelong learning goals of UOW students and staff and demonstrates this by the continuous setting, and achievement of, information literacy goals linked to University planning and academic curricula.

Annual milestones are recorded below:

  • Computer literacy was first introduced and comprised two components – Computing and Library
  • Compulsory for all first year undergraduate students.
  • Computing to be completed at the end of the third year of study and Library at the end of the first year of first year of study
  • Documentation: Entry in the University Calendar
  • The University Mission statement included: Research skills, communication skills, computer literacy, skills in logical exposition and competence in the use of statistical concepts will be expected of all graduates
  • Documentation: University of Wollongong Annual Report
  • Increase in Faculty Librarians to one per Faculty to enable increase in information skills instruction
  • A list of subjects, with a significant computer component, was created as one pathway for achieving computer literacy
  • Documentation: Listed in the University Calendar
  • The (ten) Attributes of a Wollongong Graduate were published. These included the statements: is computer literate and is statistically literate
  • First Information Literacy Conference held in Adelaide, Australia 2–4 December
  • Documentation: Towards 2000
  • The Attributes were grouped under nine Competencies and five Attitudes. These were revised in response to a survey of employers
  • Documentation: Towards 2000: First Year Progress Report
  • The Library conducted an Information Literacy Forum for academic staff. Awareness was raised about the importance of Library skills being more than just computer skills
  • Lobbied to change the terminology used in documentation from computer literacy to include information literacy
  • A Working Party on Comprehensive Information Literacies (computer, information & statistical literacy) was established. Two Library staff invited to be members of the Working Party
  • Library hosted the Second Annual Information Literacy Forum
  • Continued lobbying for changes in terminology. Gained approval in theory
  • Information Literacy integrated into core subjects such as CREA101, a first year Creative Arts subject
  • Two distinct components of computer and information literacy remained. The Working Party on Comprehensive Information Literacies worked towards pulling together three elements of literacy
  • The Working Party on Comprehensive Information Literacies conducted a workshop for academic staff
  • Terminology changed from Computer Literacy to Information Literacy in the University Calendar
  • Research Edge program launched at UOW Library in January
  • Further integration initiatives evidenced by such subjects as ARTS101 and NURS121
  • Working Party Report published and submitted to the University Education Committee (UEC)
  • The Working Party on Comprehensive Information Literacies recommended integration of information literacies as the preferred model with a compulsory element to remain outside the curricula
  • This integrated model adopted by the University for generic skills and tertiary literacies
  • Recommendation for a project officer be appointed to oversee the integration of the literacies into the curricula
  • Tertiary Literacies Project Officer appointed to oversee integration of skills into curricula
  • Generic Skills Working Party established, chaired by a member of Library staff
  • Information Literacies Policy approved and distributed
  • Generic Skills Working Party Report submitted to UEC
  • Library, ITS, ARD and Tertiary Literacies Project Officer developed web-based assignment to test compulsory element of information literacy
  • Faculty Librarians on site in the faculties
  • Tertiary Literacies Working Party established to support Tertiary Literacies Project Officer and to reflect the merging of the two agendas of information literacy and generic skills
  • Attributes of a Wollongong Graduate were revised.
  • Documentation: Published in the University of Wollongong Strategic Plan 1998-2005
  • Information literacy replaces computer literacy.
  • Documentation: University Calendar
  • Computer and Library skills combined to form one compulsory program. Significant development was the program known as ILPIP – Information Literacies Policy Introductory Program
  • ILIP100 (Information Literacies Introductory Program) introduced as a zero credit point subject
  • Tertiary Literacies Skills Inventory designed for use as a framework to:drive the tertiary literacies integration process; audit the extent of integration of literacies into each subject
  • ILIP100 on student transcripts and in University Calendar
  • Tertiary Literacies Skills Inventory published, based on Information Literacies Skills Inventory and graduate attributes. Tertiary Literacies Skills Inventory incorporated into University's subject approval process.
  • Web-based information literacy tutorials established with partial University funding
  • University purchases of computer-based learning modules in IT skills
  • Information literacy program for academic staff – Academic Outreach – conducted
  • Online ILIP100 self paced tutorial developed
  • University of the Year Award 2000–2001: 'Preparing graduates for an e-world'. Library's information literacy recognised as best practice
  • Further integration of skills in subjects such as LLB395 and EDIT102 – assisted by web page Linking to Library Resources developed by the Library's Online Subject Working Group
  • Research Edge converted to web-based modules
  • Information Literacy Standards Team established in the Library to facilitate the application of the CAUL Information Literacy Standards
  • ILIP009 was introduced as a compulsory, zero credit point subject for postgraduate coursework students
  • ILIP assignment revised to include randomised question
  • A draft Information Literacy Integration Policy was developed for discussion
  • New evaluation tools trialled
  • Comprehensive information literacy review conducted by external consultant
  • Information Literacy Integration Policy endorsed by Senate
  • Trial Information Literacy Measurement tool used, producing better data than previously possible
  • Joint Academic Services Division/Academic Staff Graduate Attributes forum held with representatives from every faculty attending
  • Two faculty librarians seconded to University's Centre for Educational Development and Interactive Resources to work on information literacy templates for the University's new online learning management system
  • Information Literacy Coordinator position established
  • Information Literacy Measurement tool used to identify strengths and gaps in some Faculties to make appropriate recommendations for improving integrated information literacy instruction and assessment
  • Teaching and Learning Grant successfully awarded to Margie Jantti, Suzanne Lipu and Annette Meldrum for the project "Applying e-learning pedagogy; complementing face to face information literacy instruction with online learning for on campus students in a large, 2nd year subject"
  • Information Literacy Coordinator joined University-wide ESDF project on “Improving and Embedding the Graduate Attributes”
  • Information Literacy Professional Development Seminar series instituted for Faculty Librarians
  • UOW Library hosted the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Information Literacy (ANZIIL) Regional Symposium on eLearning and the impact on information literacy practices
  • Academic Services Division Referencing Project team established to develop the UOW Author-Date (Harvard) Referencing Guide.
  • Library toolkit developed by Informatics Faculty Librarian to support information literacy for IACT201 as part of Teaching and Learning Grant project
  • Information Literacy Coordinator resigned and Information Skills team formed to monitor and develop ongoing programs
  • Learning Support Librarian position established to assist in development of learning objects and e-learning technologies for use in information literacy
  • Library received its first Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Awarded to Annette Meldrum (Informatics Faculty Librarian) and Dr. Holly Tootell for "Developing leadership through a sustained and responsive team-based approach to curriculum development in a core ICT subject, targeting assessment and student engagement"
  • ILIP Review resulted in an major update of the Modules and Assignment to include learning outcomes for all modules and learning objects (‘show me’) in both the modules and assignment
  • Information literacy offerings extended to transnational cohorts with presentations to Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention (Malaysia) and Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)
  • Significant increase in number of information literacy classes taught with integrated content. Attributed to improved negotiations, collaboration with academics, and Faculty Librarian involvement in Graduate Qualities working parties.
  • A research based project commenced to implement a new program to replace ILIP. Surveys of incoming students revealed that, for example, 80% were confident in their ability to find information for their assignments, yet only 28% could identify the appropriate keywords for a research topic
  • The Library subscribed to LibGuides. Beth Peisley, the Guides administrator, was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Award for General staff for her work in establishing Guide format and training for staff
  • Faculty librarians travelled to the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) campus to deliver orientation sessions to UOW enrolled students. Promotional materials and a SIM guide was developed to provide a pathway to online resources.
  • The number of information literacy classes taught with integrated content continued to grow in 2009
  • Evidence-based research conducted in 2009 informed the creation of StartSmart –essential academic information skills, an interactive, learning outcomes based online tutorial. The associated Quiz replaced ILIP as the introductory compulsory zero credit point, supplementary qualification for all new undergraduate students to UOW
  • The StartSmart Quiz was developed in partnership with NetSpot and hosted using the Moodle platform. Successful completions are batched overnight and linked to student transcripts
  • The Information Skills team won the Vice Chancellor’s Award for General staff for their contribution to learning and teaching through the creation of the StartSmart tutorial that introduces students to UOW’s culture, sourcing and using academic resources, and knowledge of academic integrity
  • The Information and Research Services Librarians engaged in an Academic Outreach project to visit all academics during the year
  • The establishment of a partnership between the INTI Laureate Group and UOW enabled the application of best practice for the delivery of library services and information and research skills support with an offshore partner. 
  • An INTI Malaysia guide was created to foster access to faculty specific information and StartSmart
  • In 2010 over 750 information skills classes and lectures were delivered to over 19,000 students
  • Following a review, the Information and Research Services team became the Liaison Services team, comprised of three sub teams: Academic Outreach, to target all researchers and academics, two Educational teams taking a team-based approach to supporting the learning and teaching needs of Humanities and Sciences discipline areas
  • Feedback from a 2011 UOW survey on Academic Integrity and StartSmart included: “It was very easy to access and was interactive which allowed me to understand what was expected of myself at a university level”, “it was very thorough, simple to understand and relevant” and “the StartSmart modules are a good stepping stone as an entry method for providing the basic information"
  • A critical review of the Library’s information skills programs and related support services began. Results include improved streamlining and consolidation of multiple face-to-face interactions and greater use of  web-based contextualised tools to support virtual information discovery
  • Ask a Librarian replaced the former Email a Librarian service. Ask a Librarian draws upon a knowledge base to provide automated responses where appropriate
  • A new approach to reference services was adopted offering undergraduate students an opportunity to Book a Librarian for an in-depth consultation. A Research Consultation Service was formalised with an online request form, allowing HDR students and academics to detail their requirements and arrange a meeting with a Liaison Librarian to support their research needs
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