Visual Literacy for Libraries

Apr 2016 | 208pp

Price: £54.95
CILIP members price: £43.96

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Visual Literacy for Libraries
A practical, standards-based guide

Nicole E Brown, Kaila Bussert, Denise Hattwig and Ann Medaille

This book will give you an understanding of how images fit into your critical practice and how you can advance student learning with your own visual literacy.

The importance of images and visual media in today’s culture is changing what it means to be literate in the 21st century. Digital technologies have made it possible for almost anyone to create and share visual media. Yet the pervasiveness of images and visual media does not necessarily mean that individuals are able to critically view, use, and produce visual content. 

This book provides you with the tools, strategies, and confidence to apply visual literacy in a library context.  You will learn ways to develop students’ visual literacy and how to use visual materials to make your own teaching more engaging. 

Ideal for the busy librarian who needs ideas, activities, and teaching strategies that are ready to implement, this book:

  • shows how to challenge students to delve into finding images, using images in the research process, interpreting and analysing images, creating visual communications, and using visual content ethically
  • provides ready-to-use learning activities for engaging critically with visual materials
  • offers tools and techniques for increasing one’s own visual literacy confidence
  • gives strategies for integrating, engaging with and advocating for visual literacy in libraries.

With this book’s guidance, you can help students master visual literacy, a key competency in today’s media-saturated world, while also enlivening your teaching with visual materials.

Readership: Visual Literacy for Libraries will be essential reading for librarians, information professionals and managers in all sectors, students of library and information science, school and higher education teachers and researchers.

1. Interpret and Analyze Images

1.1: Learning to Look
1.2: Interpreting and Analyzing Images
1.3: Analyzing an Ad for Context
1.4: Comparing Image Metadata
1.5: Evaluating Data Visualizations in the News
1.6: Inspecting Scientific Images

2. Find the Right Images 

2.1: Preparing for Image Searching
2.2: Exploring Digital Image Sources 
2.3: Finding Creative Commons Images
2.4: Understanding Image Descriptions for Smarter Searching
2.5: Reverse Image Searching

3. Create and Use Images

3.1: Exploring Disciplinary Image Use
3.2: Amplifying a Message with Visuals
3.3: Storyboarding 
3.4: Creating Graphical Representations of Data
3.5: Editing Images
3.6: Design Critique

4. Ethical Use of Images

4.1: Understanding Image Copyright
4.2: Fair Use Debate
4.3: Interpreting Terms of Use
4.4: The Ethics of Image Sharing

5. Cite and Credit Images

5.1: Why Cite Images?
5.2: Gathering Information for Image Citations
5.3: Crediting Images

6. Images and the Research Process

6.1: Kick-Starting Research with Historical Images
6.2: Using Images to Further Research
6.3: Examining a Source Visually
6.4: Evaluating Images and Their Sources
6.5: Analyzing a Map to Teach Source Evaluation
6.6: Contemplating the Value of an Image.

'Required reading for any library professional, from students to seasoned librarians, who participate in teaching activities. A must-have for all academic libraries.'
- Library Journal

'So successful is this book that my copy is littered with turned down pages, attached post-it notes and scribbled pencil annotations and I have already started to incorporate some of the activities into my inductions and will refer to it for all teaching sessions from now on.'
- Claire Carter, Academic Liaison Librarian, University of Bedfordshire, Library and Information Research

'There have been many books published on visual literacy and while the content of Visual Literacy for Libraries may seem more like a review of foundational work, its true innovation lies in the activities at the end of each chapter and how they help bridge the gap between theory and practice.'
- Drew Virtue, Assistant Professor, Western Carolina University, Research in Online Literacy Education (ROLE)

Nicole E Brown is the Multidisciplinary Instruction Librarian at New York University, where she teaches research workshops to a variety of user groups and works to expand and strengthen the teaching role of librarians.

Kaila Bussert is the Foundational Experiences Librarian at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where she leads a foundational information literacy program.

Denise Hattwig is Curator of Digital Collections at the University of Washington Bothell Library, where she collaborates with faculty and students on digital scholarship projects, facilitates digital collection and repository development, and teaches archiving and interdisciplinary image use. 

Ann Medaille is the Assessment Librarian at the University of Nevada in Reno where she coordinates library assessment efforts, teaches information literacy and research skills, and serves as the library liaison for education, art, anthropology, theatre, and dance.

1. Interpret and Analyze Images

Chapter 1 sets forth a flexible process for interpreting and analyzing visual content that can be applied in work with students as they begin to analyze the meanings of images and visual media. The adaptable, inquiry based process can be used in consultations, instruction sessions, and assignment design. Through systematic looking, thinking, and questioning, students can come to a solid understanding of the way meaning is produced in images. Some activities in this chapter provide entry points for interpreting and analyzing images, and others move into the deeper consideration of images needed for advanced academic work. Activities range from analyzing photographs to reflecting on the implications of image manipulation. The images, activities, and examples in this chapter can be adapted to align with different disciplinary contexts and levels and to inform partnerships with faculty as visual literacy concepts are embedded into the curriculum.

2. Find the Right Images

It can be difficult to know where to look for images and how to navigate the millions of choices available. The resources, strategies, and activities in Chapter 2 will build a repertoire of approaches to finding images and guiding students as they look for images. Finding images is not as simple as knowing where to look. Like all research, it is an iterative process that involves multimodal exploration, browsing, learning more, and then exploring further. Visual content is not easily defined by words. This chapter reveals sources and search strategies for finding the images you need.

3. Create and Use Images

In Chapter 3 we share several approaches to use to ensure that visual communications are effective and meaningful. Align visuals and project goals by knowing how images function to convey information and by using a rhetorical approach to image use. Achieve visual impact through an awareness of visual design principles and just the right amount of technical knowledge. Practice editing and creating visual materials to build your confidence and competence.

4. Ethical Use of Images

In Chapter 4 we share basic information, tools, and resources for using images ethically and applying copyright effectively. For many of the topics covered in this chapter, there is not a clear right or wrong answer: the use of images involves judgment calls. As with other ethical issues in the scholarly communication process, choices about image use are best addressed with students through examples, discussion, and analytical exercises.

5. Cite and Credit Images

The broad range of contexts in which students use images also presents challenges for citing and crediting images appropriately. Of course images need to be cited in research papers, but what about posters or creative work? What is the best way to credit an image online? In Chapter 5, we explore these questions and more, and we offer examples and activities for modeling and practicing image citations. This chapter will deepen your understanding of why we cite images, build confidence for citing and crediting images in a variety of contexts, and open discussion about how image citation can advance creative work and engagement with visual materials.

6. Images and the Research Process

Research shows that college students are already looking for images and text at the same time: in their information-seeking behavior, students don’t separate searching for sources by type. Chapter 6 discusses the value of incorporating visual literacy as part of the research process, giving students the tools to move through multiple sources and content types. The chapter explains how to use images to further research, how to visualize a topic and how to evaluate images and their sources.

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