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Information Literacy: Module 2- Using the OPAC

Introduction to the ACRL Information Literacy support provided by the Albright Library.

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Albright College is committed to maintaining the highest standards of information literacy and creative thinking in both its curriculum and its campus culture. The Albright College Gingrich Library provides comprehensive information literacy modules and works diligently with faculty to intergrate the standards set forth by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

Mission Statement

Assignments -- Asignments, IL Modules and IL tutorials 

ACRL Framework--The new ACRL Framework that replaces the standards

The Old Standards- the ACRL division of the American Library Association has set the highest standards for College and University level Information Literacy. These standards have since been rescinded and replaced with the ACRL Framework.

Getting Assistance -- Who to contact to get assistance.

Module 2- Using the OPAC


Introduce students to Gingrich Library staff, provide an understanding of the structure and use of the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), and convey a general understanding of basic database search techniques for use in the library catalog


The student will:

  • Be able to use the online catalog to locate and retrieve books, multimedia, and other library holdings
  • Utilize search techniques including Boolean search terms, truncation/wildcard symbols, phrase searching, and synonym/keyword searching
  • Recognize and evaluate a print academic resource and determine if it contains critical features including an index, table of contents, charts and graphs, bibliography, etc.

Sample Lesson Plan:

1. Instructor will introduce students to the important features of the Gingrich Library Webpage, including the OPAC and Subject databases link. (Visual/Audio)

2. The instructor will use “human Boolean,” PowerPoint, or both to illustrate the use of AND/ OR Boolean search terms.


                        Human Boolean “OR” term example (start sitting):

                                    Instructor: “Would all students wearing sandals stand up.”

                                    Instructor: “Would all students wearing sandals OR sneakers stand up,” etc.


                        Human Boolean “AND” term example (start standing):

                                    Instructor: “Would all students wearing pants remain standing”

                                    Instructor: “Would all students wearing pants AND earrings remain standing,” etc.


3. The Instructor will explain the use of truncation symbols and/or wildcards

4. The Instructor will explain the use of “phrase searching”

5. The instructor will demonstrate a Boolean/synonym chart on the whiteboard, outlining the various search string combinations:


            Example:         Online                            Drug                        Purchase

                                      OR          AND               OR            AND           OR

                                  Internet                      Prescription                  Shopping


6. The instructor will group students by a simple search topic, encouraging them to use the synonym charting technique illustrated above and ask them to come up with a viable search strategy.

7. The instructor will demonstrate one group’s search strategy in the OPAC and discuss with the class how to improve it.

Sample Assignment for module #2:

Utilizing the four search skills, students shall locate a book related to a pre-determined class assignment or on a subject chosen by the instructor, determine its location, and retrieve it from the library stacks. 

The instructor will ask the students to point out the salient features of their retrieved book and direct them to look for the hallmarks of an academic text including, but not limited to, an index, table of contents, bibliography, clear charts and graphs, and important layout features.

Sample Rubric for Module #2:


Performance factor


(Level 4)


(Level 3)


(Level 2)


(Level 1)

Demonstrates an ability to locate resources through the Library OPAC

-Develops effective search strategies using basic keywords, Boolean search terms, truncation Symbols and Phrase searching.

-Identifies and searches the most appropriate sources; differentiates between and uses primary and secondary sources

-Develops search strategies using keyword and subject searches

-Utilizes Boolean search terms and truncation symbols

-Identifies and searches more than the minimal number and/ or types of sources to retrieve information

-Develops search strategies using basic keywords

-May utilize Boolean search terms, truncation symbols, or phrase searching

-Identifies and searches a minimal number and/ or types of sources to retrieve information

-Unable to develop a search strategy using basic keywords

-Needs assistance to identify and search sources to retrieve information

Subject Guide

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Lindsay Sakmann
Instructional Services &Outreach Librarian

Room: M-06

(610) 921-7212