A Critical Review of Research on Academic Libraries’ Use of Online Digital Literacy Instruction

Erin Clarke-Dorrell & Ana-Paula Correia

Poster presented at 2019 Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology Student Research Forum.

Many university stakeholders view it as the responsibility of academic libraries to instruct students on the intricacies of conducting research. There are multiple ways this can be accomplished, but in the quest to stay relevant in the digital age, digital literacy has made its way into the online environment. The definition of digital literacy as presented in this research is the capability to search online databases, journals, the web, and online catalogs for desired information.

The purpose of this research is to categorize common themes and alternative methods to analyze how academic libraries teach digital literacy. The findings of this critical literature review could be used to strengthen the understanding of digital literacy and how libraries can create online learning experiences to better support their students’ information seeking and critical thinking skills.

After reviewing dozens of articles, case studies, and meta-analyses, the lack of available resources appears to be the driving force of academic libraries’ adoption of online digital literacy instruction. Along those lines, there does not appear to be any major differences in the approaches libraries have taken to achieve this as only a few tools were identified in those resources selected. However, some unique approaches appeared to present digital literacy instruction, including video games and simulation. As a whole, the quest of academic libraries’ to provide their students with research and critical thinking skills is one and the same for many institutions. The question is, is there a better way to conduct online digital literacy instruction than what is already being done?

This study has been presented at the 2019 Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology Student Research Forum, Columbus, OH (February 14, 2019).