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Information Literacy


Writing Intensive Classes

Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following information literacy skills:
Identification & Location 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
Evaluation 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
Citation 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 Portuguese-Brazilian Studies Majors Learn and In Which Classes?

POR 100/125

Upon completion of this level students should

  • be able to understand the various elements of individual entries in a Portuguese-English / English-Portuguese dictionary
  • be aware of the supplementary materials available in such dictionaries (for instance, lists of strong verbs)
  • be able to produce Portuguese characters and accents in MS Word

Specific Texts/Links

Portuguese-Brazilian - English Dictionary Call Number/Access
Michaelis Moderno Dicionário Inglês -
Online Portuguese-English Dictionary

POR 200/215

The emphasis here should be on using skills the student has already mastered in English (use of a dictionary, word processing, and basic online searches), but refining them for Portuguese-Brazilian Studies. This includes such things as: Portuguese Spellcheck, etc., in MS Word; online dictionaries, and also reputable Portuguese-English and Portuguese-Portuguese dictionaries.

  • Students should achieve appropriate technological proficiency to be able to use Portuguese-language electronic dictionaries and word processing software: MS Word
  • Apprentice scholars need to maintain a flexible vocabulary which will allow them to alter initial search strategies which prove unsuccessful as well as to understand, support, or refute an argument
  • Students should be able to perform basic searches of and cite Portuguese and Brazilian websites

Specific Texts/Links:

Portuguese-Brazilian - English Dictionaries Call Number/Access
Larousse Concise Dictionary:
Portuguese-English, English-Portuguese
ref PC 5333 .L36 2003
Novo Michaelis Dicionário Ilustrado (2 vols.) ref PC 5333 .M582 1973
Oxford-Duden Pictorial Portuguese-English Dictionary ref PC 5333 .O94 1992


Basic Portuguese-language news websites:

BBC – Brasil
Jornal do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro)
Folha de São Paulo
Google Notícias – Brasil
Globo (Notícias e Entretenimento)
BBC para África
RDP África
Público (Lisboa)
RTP -- Rádio e Televisão de Portugal


Other Websites of Interest  
Instituto Camões (Portugal)
Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa
Instituto Internacional da Língua Portuguesa
Ministério da Cultura do Brasil
Itaú Cultural (Brasil)

POR 220/221

At this level, students should familiarize themselves with basic American academic resources, while at the same time they begin to specialize their research methods to reflect a deeper engagement with Portuguese-Brazilian Studies. By the end of POR 221, students should

  • demonstrate mastery of skills required for POR 200/201 (outlined above)
  • be able to locate scholarly sources, becoming skilled users of standard databases such as (but not limited to) the Five College Library Catalog, WorldCat, MLA International Bibliography, and J-STOR
  • be able to acquire materials using Interlibrary Loan
  • submit a bibliography of primary and secondary sources that accords with a recognized style manual (Chicago Manual of Style or MLA)
  • create a bibliography using RefWorks
  • have become familiar with scholarly Portuguese-Brazilian dictionaries, knowing when and how to use them
  • know key contact personnel in library: Sika Berger
  • be able to cite secondary sources accurately and honestly

In addition to the resources listed above, students in POR 220/221 should be familiar with the following:

Print & Online Portuguese-Portuguese Dictionaries Call Number/Access
Novo Dicionário Aurélio da Língua Portuguesa ref PC 5327 .F44 2004
Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (de Portugal)
Michaelis Moderno Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa (do Brasil)


Specialized Portuguese-English Dictionary
Dictionary of Informal Brazilian Portuguese ref PC 5446 .C45 1983


Additional Scholarly Reference Texts
Historical Dictionary of Brazil ref F 2504 .L46
Brazil – World Bibliographical Series ref F 2508 .D52 1997
Enciclopédia de Literatura Brasileira (2 vol.) ref PQ 9506 .E53 2001


Style Sheets  
Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guides & Style Manuals
MLA Handbook Citation Guides & Style Manuals
Writing Papers: A Handbook for Students at Smith College Jacobsen Center
Resources in the Five College Libraries Five College Library Catalog
WorldCat, MLA Bibliography, and more resources found on the Smith College Libraries SPP Portuguese Subject page...
RefWorks Log in to RefWorks


Smith College Libraries Contact  
Sika Berger, Reference Librarian

POR 280

The research skills necessary for POR 280 resemble those learned in POR 220/221, though because knowledge of the SPP Portuguese language is not required, Portuguese-Brazilian Studies resources may be beyond the scope of many students. Still, one can expect that students will, by the end of POR 280, be able to

  • locate scholarly sources, becoming skilled users of standard databases such as (but not limited to) the Five College Library Catalog, WorldCat, and MLA International Bibliography, and J-STOR
  • submit a bibliography of primary and secondary sources that accords with a recognized style manual (Chicago Manual of Style or MLA)
  • create a bibliography using RefWorks
  • determine the historical context of a topic using basic and scholarly reference sources

In addition to the resources listed above, students in POR 280 should be familiar with the following:

Specific Texts/Links:

Call Number/Access
Dictionary of Literary Biography ref PN 451 .D53
Please note:
Disciplinary parameters and the types of works dealt with at the 280 and 300 levels vary broadly according to any year’s topic. Topics may include literature, film, race and identity, environmental issues, among others. Thus, students will be advised on reference works appropriate to the specific topic at hand.

POR 300+

Advanced Portuguese-Brazilian Studies majors at the seminar level should master the research skills necessary to make an original contribution to the field of Portuguese-Brazilian Studies. This requires that students be able to contextualize their claims within current scholarly discourse, drawing upon quotable and reliable resources and presenting their arguments cogently.

Beyond the skills required in POR 200/201 and POR 220/221, students should

  • be able to identify the credentials of an author whose work they are citing
  • be able to put scholarly sources into historical context
  • through the use of book reviews, review articles, and citation databases, be able to defend their use of scholarly materials by evaluating the reception of such works by others in the profession
  • be able to apply their skills in searching cultural studies and literary databases such as MLA International Bibliography to research in related disciplines such as Anthropology, Art History, Philosophy, Religion, History, Film, the Performing Arts, and others as necessary

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 Portuguese-Brazilian studies, 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.

Ethical Issues

Using someone else's words, ideas, or arguments without acknowledgment is plagiarism. This is a serious violation of the College's Honor Code. Students should learn to distinguish between "received knowledge" and original work, between ideas that have often been repeated and ideas that are new. They must always identify and acknowledge their sources for everything except "received knowledge," such as dates and facts found in many encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Note About SPP - Spanish Majors Skills

A separate Information Literacy Program Plan has been developed for Spanish majors at Smith College.

draft recommended for approval by faculty, Feb. 8, 2010