Accessing and Using Free Government Information
Course Instructor: Laura Cadra
Tuesday May 3, 2011 – Monday May 30, 2011
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
- Are your library's users are interested in job information?
- How about accessible health information, or consumer or business advice?
- Do high school students ask for information on American history?
- Are elementary aged students looking for trustworthy science resources?
- Would your library's administrators find detailed demographics of your local community helpful? If so:
UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU!
(And so do your state and local governments)
Did you know that governments are the largest publishers of information in the world? Beyond political and legal information, governments publish information on health, travel, history, business, science, and much, much more. Most importantly, governments make this information available at no cost. With government publications moving away from print and onto the Internet, it is even easier to access this wealth of free information.
This online course will provide an overview of free online government information sources as well as effective strategies for locating the best ones for your library users.
Course Description: Through readings, assignments and discussions, this four-week online course will guide you through a variety of government websites. You'll learn to:
- Identify both subject-specific and user-specific government sites
- Locate statistics on your community's demographics and needs
- Evaluate government sources as complements to your library's subscription databases
- Incorporate government sources into your library's catalog and website
For a course project, you will create a topical resources guide for a specific group of library users.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using an Internet connection and web browser, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: Getting Acquainted with Government Information
- Overview of government information
- Government information on the Internet
- Government information portals
- Week 2: Accessing Government Information
- Subject specific government information websites
- User specific government information websites
- Searching the Internet for government information
- Week 3: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
- Varieties of government statistics available
- Locating and using statistics in reference transactions
- Locating and using statistics to identify community characteristics and needs
- Week 4: Incorporating Government Information Into User Services
- Evaluating government information sources as complements to database subscriptions
- Including government information resources in library catalogs and web guides
- Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, and online meetings. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: This course is designed for library staff members from all types of libraries who provide reference services to children and adults as well as library staff who are responsible for identifying resources to add to the library catalog or the library web page. Users and administrators in public libraries, community college libraries, and school libraries can all benefit from free government information resources.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at:
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday May 3, 2011.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.