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Information Literacy


Writing Intensive Classes

Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following skills:

  • to define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information beyond the web search engine
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to identify and locate the two most appropriate types of information needed to complete their assignment.]
  • to articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to distinguish between popular and scholarly materials in a variety of formats such as books, periodical literature, and websites.]
  • to acknowledge and cite the sources used in conducting research for an assignment using an acceptable style guide
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to locate the appropriate style guide and emergency online help.]

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.

What Should Classics Majors Know?

By the time of their graduation all Classics majors should understand how scholars of Classical Antiquity conduct research and how they communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this understanding is “information literacy” – i.e. the ability to conceptualize what information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information.

Students in classics-in-translation courses should be able:

  • To identify the kind of information -- biographical, historical, literary -- they need, and to know where to find it. In other words, they should be familiar with some essential reference books:
    Reference Books : Call Number/Access
    Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.) ref DE 5 .O9 2012
    or online
    Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization ref DE 5 .O92 1998
    or online
    Oxford Companion to Classical Literature ref PA 31 .H69 1989
    or online
    New Pauly Online online
    Barrington Atlas SC Neilson Ref Atlas Cases/1 North
    G1033 .B3 2000
  • To evaluate the reliability of a source. How does one distinguish between a scholarly and a non-scholarly resource? How can one evaluate the credentials of the author(s)? How does the date of publication affect a source's reliability ? (It's important for students to recognize that the answer to this question differs in different disciplines.) They should also be aware that web search engines are often inadequate for scholarly research.
  • To know how and when to acknowledge and cite their sources in MLA format or another approved style.

Students in Greek 100 and Latin 100 should be able:

  • To understand and use the standard Latin reference system by which scholars refer to Classical authors and texts.
  • To consult standard reference works, particularly the the Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.).

Students in Greek 212/213 and Latin 212/213 should be able:

  • To keyboard in Greek, if enrolled in GRK 212.
  • To locate information in dictionaries, both intermediate and complete editions. Although they will use primarily intermediate versions, students will also become familiar with the complete, standard dictionaries:
    Dictionaries Library Location
      SC Neilson Refeence/1 North &
    SC Neilson Caverno/3 Core
    Liddell-Scott-Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon ref PA 445 .E5 L6 1996
    CAVERNO PA 445 .E5 L6 1996
    Glare, Oxford Latin Dictionary ref PA 2365 .E5 O9 2012
    CAVERNO PA 2365 .E5 O9
    Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary ref PA 2365 .E5 A7 1980
    CAVERNO PA 2365 .E5 a7 1980
  • To consult standard grammars:
    Grammars SC Neilson Caverno/3 Core
    Smyth, Greek Grammar PA 258 .S63 1984
    Bennett, A New Latin Grammar PA 2087 .B5 2004
    Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar PA 2087 .A525 1992
    Woodcock, A New Latin Syntax PA 2285 .W6 1985
  • To use the bibliography and footnotes of an authoritative, up-to-date scholarly source as a tool for locating additional sources.
  • To locate scholarly sources via standard databases such as (but not limited to):
    Databases Links
    The Five College Library Catalog - search for books at the Five Colleges click here
    L'Année Philologique (1959+) covers all aspects of classical studies click here
    WorldCat - search for books worldwide click here
    Project Muse - full text of current journal issues click here
    JSTOR - mostly back files of journals with some current coverage click here
  • To identify and evaluate the credentials of an author whose work they are citing.
  • To summarize the main points of a scholarly article and evaluate it critically.

Students in Greek 310 and Latin 330 should be able:

  • To identify standard scholarly editions of Classical writers and to distinguish these from less reliable print or online sources.
  • To use standard reference works in adjacent fields, such as ancient history or art history. Examples of standard reference tools are The Cambridge Ancient History and the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae.
  • To trace the development of a literary debate or concept (for example, the trope of the Golden Age) from its beginnings to the present day.
  • To describe the scholarly and intellectual orientation of some of the standard journals in Classical studies.
  • To use a concordance, both in book form and via an online database such as the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, available online in an abridged version at:

In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?

Whether their material is taught in the original or in English translation, all classics courses emphasize critical thinking, logical analysis, and the transferable skills of clear writing, articulate speaking, close reading, and sophisticated evaluation of evidence. At the elementary level these skills are measured by means of daily assignments, frequent quizzes, periodic exams, and short papers. At the intermediate level the same assessment tools are used, but the assignments become more demanding, the quizzes and exams less frequent, and the papers longer and more complex. At the advanced level an important index of progress is a long paper, involving a significant research component and preceded by an oral presentation. Advanced classics courses thus function as capstones or seminars.

Ethical Issues

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.

March 28, 2013