What Should Italian Majors Know?
By the time of their graduation all majors in Italian language and literature should understand how literary scholars conduct research and how they then communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this process is “information literacy” – i.e., the ability to conceptualize what literary information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information (please refer to the final section of this page).
Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following skills:
These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Neilson Library Reference Department's Ask a Librarian options.
Students should build upon this base by applying and expanding their information skills:
1. Quick Search on the libraries' homepage
2. Italian subject page: Italian / Books & Media
3. Smith College Libraries Research (links to library catalog)
4. Research / Find Books & Media page
Advanced Italian majors at the seminar level should be able to:
In Which Classes Should Students Learn These Skills?
In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?
Students completing work on a paper at the 200 level should submit a bibliography in which primary and secondary sources listed reflect the use of the online catalog, at least some scholarly journals through the use of MLA International Bibliography. Students should be prepared to defend the credentials of authors cited if asked.
In 300 level seminars in Italian students should routinely cite both supportive and oppositional arguments from primary and secondary sources in papers including book reviews or other articles found through the use of footnotes or citation indexes. The seminar paper might include an annotated bibliography in which students are asked to indicate the source of their citation and its relative value to the argument within the paper.
An 'ethical use of information' means to make a clear distinction between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The incorporation of the work of others into his or her own must comply with such distinction. Therefore, every written and/or oral work in the discipline must clearly state its source, if it has any.
February 10, 2006