As of 22 April 2009 this website is 'frozen' in time — see the current IFLA websites

This old website and all of its content will stay on as archive – http://archive.ifla.org

IFLANET home - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsAnnual ConferenceSearchContacts
Jerusalem Conference logo

66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 120-171(WS)-E
Division Number: VII
Professional Group: User Education: Workshop (Hebrew University, Mount Scopus)
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 171
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No  

Information competencies: the case study of AUS Economics students in Mexico

Miriam Ríos Morgan
Central Library,
Autonomous University of Sinaloa Mexico
Office's phone and fax (67)137832Culiacan,
Sinaloa. Mexico


Analyzing the case of economics school of Autonomous University of Sinaloa (AUS) in relation to the scarce Development of Informative Abilities (DIA), it is considered as a cause the model of the process of effective teaching-learning in a large extent of Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) in Mexico and the lack of specific programs in DIA. Its proposed in a general way that the IHE make forums and discussions to dissolve the relative to the teaching- learning process and to promote the one that is centered en the learning, since the latter organically ties the reason of being of the professional librarian and sets standards to consolidate our profession.

It's set, as a concrete action, a program with curricular value en DIA, adapted to the characteristics of the program of economics studies. To accomplish the problem solution is necessary the active participation between the professional librarian and the principal of economics school.

Keywords: Teaching process, learning process, economics school, professional librarian, library information, literacy information, Development of Informative Abilities



The accelerated growth of information and their formats, which is, the informative technology (IT) makes urgent today the necessity of users formation for the efficient use of the information independently of the support of the same one; this is an urgent task in the higher education and particularly in the Economics school of Autonomous University of Sinaloa (AUS) The emergency at international level of educative models that tend to give to the student an active participation in the learning process1 gives us as resultant that libraries or Information and/or documentation centers play a determining role in the educative process and this paper tends to be more dynamic in the new educative models trims in learning. It is common that college students, do not know how to use information in the library, nor its informative resources, this concrete situation daily, denotes the urgent task to us: To structure an integral program of development of informative abilities (DIA), that organically involves college students, who take part of the strategic lines to approach the challenge of present educative dynamics in the information age, if not doing it we run the risk of being on rear in the formation of the competitive professional panels that requires our country to face the challenges of XXI century.

Informative abilities for learning: a proposal for the Economy school of the AUS

I. Establishment of the problem


The lack of university culture in the use of the library, particularly in the Economy School of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (AUS), it is a reflection of which occurs in the librarian systems of the universities. It is common that many students (and also why to mention it, many teachers) of the AUS do not know the handling of the Automated Catalogue, the Automated Kardex, the recovering of periodical publication information with Microisis, the design searches or location of information on Internet, neither which is the system of classification that is used, nor in which space can be located most of the bibliography or hemerography on their area of interest, etc. This affirmation is based on nonexhaustive preliminary investigations of our population which is the object of study through questionnaires and personal interviews applied to the users of Central Library of the university days 2nd and 3rd of February 2000, in the record of attending people to the Internet courses, in the binnacle of users´s attendance to the infoteca (room for the Internet use, data bases in compact disc and on line through Internet), the information of the activities of the Infoteca Room during the year 19992 . By September 2000 is expected to accomplish an exhaustive investigation of our population (at this moment the investigation is in process) The previous thing has its historical roots in the prevalence of traditional educative methods that pay emphasis in the memorization and a passive-receptive attitude of the student. Reason by which, the contained bibliographical resources in the library are not essential. It is vital to clarify the importance of the teaching learning model for the investigation, aspect that we will approach in the following section.

The development of abilities and informative capacities of the users must be integral and not isolated efforts, for this purpose it is necessary to inculcate (fundamentally) in professors and students a greater conscience in the use of information and to help them develop the practical abilities needed, so in a long term they become self-sufficient people for the handling of information throughout their academic and labor life.

The new role that is assigned to the student raises a challenge for the librarian profession. The formation of users, which is, the development of informative abilities, is a task of the profession, urgent task in the Economy school of the AUS and in general at a national level, for the development of higher education.

1Patricia Seen Breivik. Student learning in the information age (American Council on Education/Oryx Press series on higher education. USA: Canada 1998 .164 p.

2Ríos Morgan Miriam. Informes de actividades de la sala de Infoteca a la Dirección General de Bibliotecas de la UAS. Culiacán Sin. México Agosto de 1999

The Economy school of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, has favorable characteristics to implement the DIA because:

  1. It is characterized for being a small school, with a total of 331 students (distributed in 5 levels, with 2 groups by level, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon) and 22 full time teachers and 5 part time, factor that allows an exhaustive knowledge of its population and make it more susceptible to apply an integral program in DIA.
  2. It is important to indicate that geographically it is a school near the Central library of the AUS, which facilitates the displacement of the students and allows making the phase viable of implementation of the experiment that consists in the application of the DIA courses.
  3. It is facilitated to make a deep investigation because the researcher is a graduate of the same school and the relations that have been established with the magisterial body ensure communication and a confidence level to operate the application phase of the questionnaire and of course the experimental phase of the implementation of an integral DIA program.
The central library of the AUS has the infrastructure required for the development of DIA courses and consists of:
  • Electronic room that provides access to Internet in 29 computers
  • Videoprojector
  • Power Point 2000 installed.
  • Catalogue on line automated of monograph, periodical publication, book of consultation, and memories
  • General Room with books of the economy area
  • Room of Consultation with specialized materials
  • "Hemeroteca" with publications on the area
  • On line access to the Dialog database, that provides access to specialized banks of information on the area.

II. Cause of the problem

  1. The explosion of the information.
  2. The big development of the informative technology (IT) which is, the emerging of new information formats (computer with databases on line, Internet, compact discs, etc.)
  3. The prevalence of an educative model centered in the teacher and the receptive passive attitude of the student.

1) Explosion of the information

There are projections that enunciate that the total amount of humanity knowledge doubled from 1750-1900, and that this one doubled again from1900-1950, and from 1960-1965. It has been considered that the total amount of humanity knowledge has doubled every 5 years since then. According to the projections for the 2020, the knowledge can be doubled every 73 days. 3

2) Information Technology

The computer technology in the classrooms as in the library has the potential to serve mainly as a liberating pedagogue, especially when it is used in a creative form in the knowledge construction. Nevertheless this power can occur if tools are given to the students to find the printed or on line documentary resources. This emphasizes the relationship between the reference librarian and a

3James B Appleberry. Changes in our future:How will Cope? Faculty speech Californian presented AT State University. Long Beach Ca, August 28, 1992

member of the faculty that must make an effective team to teach the strategies of investigation and the abilities of critical thought. This strategy revolutionizes the way in which the reference librarian makes his work and greatly increases his interaction with the student. 4

3) Overhaul of Literature on the education learning models

  1. The Educative Model based on teaching (for aims of our study, when spoken of traditional model, it will be referred the educative teacher centered model. This model develops under this scheme: the teacher presents his class, responds to the students doubt, ask for the individual student works or team works. The student takes notes, participates about the subject of the class and asks the professor who clarifies nonunderstood aspects. The process is totally centered in the professor; he completely decides what and how the student will have to learn and evaluates how much he has learned.

    The role of the student is to participate in the execution of the activities selected by the professor, which often makes of the student a passive person who hopes to receive all knowledge from the professor: Appearing a scheme in which the professor constitutes itself as the axis of the teaching-learning process.5

  2. The new educative Model changes the traditional scheme: from a process centered in teaching to a process centered in learning;
The role of the student as an active being:
  • The student must develop the ability to look for, select, analyze and evaluate the information, assuming a more active role in the construction of its own knowledge: Element that makes the work of the professional librarian essential
  • The student will have to assume an active role in the process through activities like: projects, study cases and solution proposals to problems. So that they allow him to expose and to interchange ideas, contributions, opinions and experiences turning the classroom into an opened forum to the reflection and the critical resistance thus reducing to the breach between the classroom and the place of work.
The role of the teacher:
  • To design the necessary activities for the acquisition of the anticipated learning, as well as to define the spaces and resources adapted for its profit.
  • To guide and to motivate the students during their learning process and to lead the course towards the proposed objectives.
  • To change from being a transmitter and only evaluator to a planner and guide establisher, that shares the decisions of the process. This change mainly requires a re-training of the teacher and a new conception of the teaching-learning process.6

For Espíndola the abilities of verbal presentation of the teacher constitute a part of the success in the classroom. The other part, the most important, is the generation of learning experiences, work that the student must make through planned and structured activities. It is important that the teacher turns his class into an opportunity to create problems that arise the critical thought between the students.7

4Dickstein Ruth and Boyd McBride. Listserv Lemmings and Fly-brarians on the Wall: A librarian instructor team taming the ciberbe in the large classroom. Collegue Research Libraries. January 1998. Vol 59, No.1.



7Espíndola Castro José Luis. Reingeniería educativa. México : ANUIES, 229 p. 1997

For Freire no true educational formation can be done by setting the exercise of the critic aside, which implies the promotion of ingenuous curiosity to epistemological curiosity. The teacher must be conscious that teaching is not to transfer knowledge, but to create the possibilities in the student for his own production or construction. It is essential that the school constantly develops the curiosity of the scholar and that this one becomes conscious that the ingenuous use of curiosity is the initial phase but to remain at it avoids the exactitude of finding it, is necessary that scholar assumes the role of his own understanding production subject, not only, a receptor of which the professor transfers to him. The teaching of the contents made critically implies the total opening of the professor to the legitimate attempt of the scholar to take in his hands the responsibility as the subject that knows. Even more, implies the initiative of the professor who must stimulate that attempt in teaching, helping the student so that he makes it.8

Garza Rosa María, in "Aprender cómo aprender ", defines a learning process by means of which a person acquires skills (motor and intellectual) incorporates informative contents or adopt new technologies of knowledge and/or action. She considers the process of learning as unfinishing and that learning by self requires an educative atmosphere search of the truth and the critical reflection of a society that challenges people to be propositive and active. She considers that many professors' focus in communicates knowledge instead of developing abilities. 9

The education centered in the learning according to English Fenwickw must fundamentally move the site of thought of the ends of the system. It means to radically change the center of gravity of the educative institutions. In the model of teaching: the planning, the program, the administration and the qualification were constructed on the base of the apprentice like receiver of the education; here the learning is passive and teaching is active "to reverse this fundamental relationship means to put out of center all the ideas and the practices that continue supporting this old duality. The central idea is to preserve the joy of learning and the learning started by selves is rarely boring". 10

III. Origin of the concept of Development of Informative Abilities (DIA)

In 1989 the ALA (American Library Association) defines the term Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." Developing lifelong learners is central to the mission of higher education institutions; ensuring that individuals have the intellectual abilities of reasoning and critical thinking and helping them construct a framework for learning how to learn.11

Information Literacy was also defined by Raders Coons (1992, p.113) and mentioned by Tiefel (1995) like the ability to locate and to evaluate the information indeed to solve problems and to make decisions. The literacy people on this field know how to be apprentices of long life in the information society, Fjallbrant (1996) 12

8Freire, Paulo, 1921-1997 / pedagogía de la autonomía: saberes necesarios para la practica educativa.-- México: s. xxi, 1997. pp.27-47

9Garza Rosa María, "Aprender cómo aprender". México : Trillas : ITESM, Universidad Virtual, 1998. pp 15-32

10English Fenwickw, J C. John C. Hill "Calidad total en la educación" EDAMEX, 1995. p118

11American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1989. http://www.ala.org/acrl/nili/ilit1st.html

12Fjällbrant, Nancy. EDUCATE: a networked used education projet in Europe. IFLA Journal, 22(1), :31-34, 1996.

In Mexico the concept is identified with the present stage, reflects the contemporary reality and mainly it is a tool to face in a competitive way the age of the information. Nevertheless, the term it self, being an English literal translation does not express the depth upon it is defined; by such reason the meaning that we give to it in this essay is: Development of Informative Abilities (DIA). For aims of a less literal and more practical understanding of the Information Literacy, it will be denominated as Development of Informative Abilities, concept used by "National Meeting of Informative abilities" in University Autonomous of City Juarez (UACJ) in 1997 and 1999 which joined hundreds of librarians in Mexico. Under that concept all a series of courses systematically implemented by the Central Library of the UACJ is included in its Guide of Informative Resources.13

The concept DIA is used one in this investigation by being considered that it expresses the academic terms: users formation and users education, and it is identified like a set of organic structured courses to have curricular value.

IV. Conclusions

By the previously presented contents, it is considered that the model centered in learning is the suitable one to implement in the Institutions of Higher education and concretely in the Economy School of AUS in this historical period; because it allows to respond to the expectations of a world that faces deep changes in all the fields and prepares the actors of the process not only to transfer knowledge, but mainly to assume an active role in the construction of its own knowledge, Nowadays education demands to develop in the student the ability to look for, select, analyze and evaluate the information, element that makes the active participation vital and essential for the professional librarian in the solution of the problem.

This model organically ties with the reason of being of the professional librarian and sets standards to recognize, and consolidate the profession. By such reason it is essential to have got the directive instances proposals of forums and discussions to dissolve the relative to the teaching - learning model and to promote the one that is centered in learning, or at least to help with concrete actions that allow giving practical steps in that sense.

Responding to that expectation it is proposed according to the curricula and the characteristics of the School of Economy, the implementation of a course for the Development of Informative Abilities (42 hours), with the intention of setting under the approval of the School Principal, the Technical Council and of the University Council to give it a curricular value.


Development of Informative Abilities (DIA)

Course Topics Hours Objectives
1. Introduction to library usage 2
  • Identify the role that the library play in the higher education
  • Describe the different areas and public services that the Central Library has
  • Know and approve the service rules
2. Internet and the economic information 20
  • Describe and conceptualize Internet, its evolution and services· Identify WWW as a tool for information location (Electronic Library)
  • Identify the commands for the browser of Netscape management
  • Know different information searchers
  • Design strategies for information search
  • Locate web pages and links of the economics area and make an outline
  • Know and practice the procedure for copying information
3. Database of economic information in Dialog 10
  • Describe and conceptualize Dialog
  • Identify databases of the economic area
  • Design strategies for information search a) menus b) commands
  • Know and practice the procedures of copying, printing and sending information through e-mail
4. Optimization of usage of the electronic catalogue 5
  • Identify general characteristics of SIABUC program
  • Identify the consulting module features
  • Describe and practice the different kinds of consults using the search operators
  • Identify the search results
  • Know and differentiate the catalographic and bibliographic data card
5. Locating bibliography of the economic area in shelving 5
  • Describe and conceptualize the LC classification system· Identify the structure and characteristics of the System
  • Identify in the topographic sign: Classification, Cutter numbers and Dates
  • Identify classes, subclasses, Arabic numbers and decimals
  • Identify and locate in shelves the classes that are related to the curricular content of the economy program

Consulted works and Web sites

  1. American Library Association, ALA presidential committee on information literacy: final report (Chicago: ALA, 1989).
  2. Appleberry, James. Changes in our future:How will Cope? Faculty speech Californian presented AT State University. Long Beach Ca, August 28, 1992
  3. Citation guides for electronic documents [on line]. IFLA, 21 March 1997. http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/I/training/citation/citing.htm [consulted: 30 marzo1997].
  4. Dickstein, Ruth and Boyd McBride. Listserv Lemmings and Fly-brarians on the Wall: A librarian instructor team taming the ciberbe in the large classroom. College Research Libraries. January 1998. Vol 59, No.1.
  5. English Fenwickw, J C. John C. Hill. Calidad total en la educación. México: EDAMEX, 1995. 118 pp.
  6. Espíndola Castro, José Luis. Reingeniería educativa. México: ANUIES,1997. 229 pp.
  7. Fjällbrant, Nancy. EDUCATE: a networked used education projet in Europe. IFLA Journal, 22(1):31-34, 1996.
  8. Freire, Paulo, 1921-1997. Pedagogía de la autonomía: Saberes necesarios para la práctica educativa. México: S. XXI, 1997.
  9. Garza, Rosa María.Aprender cómo aprender. México: Trillas: ITESM, Universidad Virtual, 1998.
  10. ITESM. Hacia un nuevo modelo del proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje basado en la misión del Tecnológico de Monterrey para el año 2005: Documento de trabajo (tercera versión, abril de 1998) [on line] http://www.sistema.itesm.mx/va/nuevmod/home.htm [Consulted: 17 marzo 1999].
  11. Seen Breivik, Patricia. Student learning in the information age. USA: Canada. American Council on Education/Oryx Press series on higher education. 1998 .164 p.
  12. UACJ. Guía de recursos informativos: Octava parte. Programa de desarrollo de habilidades informativas [on line] http://www.uacj.mx/dirinfo/Default.htm [Consulted: 3 Enero 2000].


Latest Revision: May 7, 2000 Copyright © 1995-2000
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions