How do you train today’s and tomorrow’s knowledge workers to know how to use online content effectively? How do you teach them to evaluate content sites accurately? Credo Reference already has amassed a collection of high-quality digital reference tools from about 80 publishers worldwide. Now the company has begun beta testing a new service called literati by Credo that will improve the use of its own and non-Credo sources, educate users, and enhance the role as well as the image of librarians. Beta testing will extend through November, and a launch of the new service is scheduled for January 2012. In an interview with Mike Sweet, CEO of Credo Reference, he noted that the term “information literacy,” though the more standard term for the concept, was a less accurate description for the goal of literati by Credo than “information fluency.”
The literati by Credo platform brings together essential components of effective research: technology, content, tools, and services to help eliminate the hurdles of discovery and enhance education and assessment in sourcing, linked to collaboration, classroom integration, and library promotion. The program is targeted at librarians, students, and faculty, aiming to improve research outcomes through a multichannel design that provides more source assessment at the point of need.
The new service builds on Credo Reference’s long-standing offerings of completely customizable, cross-referenced reference collections. According to Sweet, Credo Reference now integrates “over a thousand reference books into one giant encyclopedia. We have also added visual search and content mapping. We also link from Credo Connect to the next stage of full-text journals, books in library catalogs, and other news sources. We introduced Credo Topic Pages about a year ago. They let librarians customize and promote sources to users. Just go to Google and put in ‘Credo Cold War.’ It’s on the open web. When you come to the Topic Page, you can see it promotes information literacy in good sources. Our experience with Topic Pages made us realize we were on to something. So we started to work on how to structure a platform and services in ways to help librarians to promote information literacy skills and supplement bibliographic instruction. Now the literati suite of services can provide all-in-one solution tools that help with evaluation.”
The literati by Credo design embeds information literacy tools and services into the Credo platform. Each institution acquiring literati by Credo will have it customized to suit its own needs and resources. As those needs and resources change, Credo plans to adjust the service appropriately. The service provides a new interface that integrates information literacy tools and services into the workflow, including learning management systems. It will also offer curriculum-specific tools and content with a discovery system that reaches subscribed databases and library catalog items. In designing the services, Credo tried to make them as attractive to users as possible. Sweet indicated that the help and tutorials that “explain the databases are not long explanations, but ‘just in time’ ones. When users hover over them, they can quickly see what they need to know.”
The service component is based on ACRL/ALA library/faculty standards for undergraduate information literacy. It provides materials, tools, and service for full integration into the discovery system with curation of content and customized material for LibGuides/Subject Guides; pre- and post-information literacy user survey options; and customizable icons to reach help and tutorials. Credo also plans to offer workshops for both librarians and faculty members, plus classroom integration and subject-specific tutorials and modules to integrate e-resources.
The new service depends on client librarians to build the necessary customization to maximize effectiveness. Sweet described how librarians can integrate Credo content into LibGuides and subject guides through search boxes and widgets. In return, Credo plans to promote libraries vigorously with strategic co-marketing, social media collaboration, case studies on best practices, and scholarship data.
More than 30 college, university, and public libraries are participating in the beta test, including some in the U.K. and France. Most are established Credo customers. The service has already been through a series of library, faculty, and student tests. A team of seven Credo staff members with M.L.I.S. education and faculty teaching and learning center experience will assist with the implementation.
As to pricing for the new service, Sweet indicated that they planned to start work on that in November.
By the way, as an editor, I had to ask Sweet why literati by Credo had no initial capitalization, warning him that it meant the service’s name would rarely start a sentence. He responded that they had wanted to soften the term and make it more approachable, less highbrow.