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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 Majors Should Learn in Courses

Level II: SPN 125, 200, 220

Upon completion of this level students should

  • be able to understand the various elements of individual entries in a Spanish-English / English-Spanish dictionary
  • be aware of the supplementary materials available in such dictionaries (for instance, lists of strong verbs)
  • be able to produce Spanish characters (á é í ó ú ü ñ ¡ ¿) in MS Word

Students should be familiar with the following

Call Number/Access
Concise Oxford English-Spanish Dictionary
Concise Oxford Spanish-English Dictionary
Collins Spanish dictionary = Collins diccionario Inglés ref PC 4640 C53 2003
Larousse College Dictionary, Spanish-English, English-Spanish ref PC 4640 U5 2002
The University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary:
Spanish-English, English-Spanish
ref PC 4640 U5 2002
Webster's New World International Spanish Dictionary: English/Spanish, Spanish/English ref PC 4640 W4278 2004


Level III: SPN 230, 241, 244

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 Spanish language studies. This includes such things as: Spanish Spellcheck, etc., in MS Word; online dictionaries, and also reputable Spanish-English and Spanish-Spanish dictionaries.

  • Students should achieve appropriate technological proficiency to be able to use Spanish-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 to cite Spanish websites
Specific Texts/Links Call Number / Access
Oxford Language Dictionaries Online [electronic resource]: containing unabridged Oxford Spanish Dictionary Oxford Dictionaries Online
Directo al Grano: A Complete Reference Manual for Spanish Grammar / Priscilla Gac-Artigas and Gustavo Gac-Artigas. PC 4112 .G33 1999
The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs: 555 Fully Conjugated Verbs / Ronni Gordon, David Stillman. ref PC 4271 .G65 2009
The Big Red Book of Spanish Idioms: 12,000 Spanish and English expressions / Peter Weibel. ref PC 4460 .W45 2004
also online: ebrary book
Spanish Verbs Made Simple(r) / David Brodsky.
Austin: University of Texas Press.
ref PC 4271 .B76 2005
also online: ebrary book
MS Word (Spanish characters & spellcheck)
[Select text in Word (Ctrl+A), then go to Review | Set Language]
Students in SPN 244, Advanced Composition, will be exposed to principles of using MLA citation style, and all students are expected to use MLA at the next level.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers / New York: Modern Language Association of America ref LB 2369 .G53 2003
(additional copies available)
Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guides & Style Manuals
MLA Handbook Citation Guides & Style Manuals

Level IV: SPN 245, 246, 250 - 261

At this level students should have become familiar with scholarly Spanish-Spanish dictionaries, knowing when and how to use them.

Specific Sources

Call Number / Access
Diccionario de la Lengua Española / Real Academia Española
Diccionario de Uso del Español / María Moliner (2 vols.) ref PC 4625 .M6 1998
El Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado:
90,000 palabras, 5,000 ilustraciones en color, 250 Mapas Históricos Y Geográficos
ref AG 61 .L3 2008
Diccionario Esencial Santillana de la Lengua Española / Prólogo De Gregorio Salvador, De La Real Academia Española rer PC 4625 .D52 1991
Diccionario Esencial: Sinónimos y Antónimos de la Lengua Española. Barcelona: Biblograf ref PC 4591 .D54 1997
Sinónimos y Antónimos / Madrid: Espasa Calpe ref PC 4591 .S566 1994
Latin American Writers (4 volumes) ref PQ 7081 A1 L37 1989


Style Sheets  
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers / New York: Modern Language Association of America ref LB 2369 .G53 2003
(additional copies available)
Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guides & Style Manuals
MLA Handbook Citation Guides & Style Manuals

300 Level/Seminars

Advanced Spanish majors at the seminar level should master the research skills necessary to make an original contribution to the field of Spanish 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 levels III and IV (above), students should

  • know how to identify the standard scholarly editions of major writers and to distinguish these from less reliable print or online sources
  • be able to identify the credentials of an author whose work they are citing
  • be able to apply their skills in using literary databases such as MLA International Bibliography to resources in related disciplines such as History, Film, Government, Art History, the Performing Arts, and others as necessary
Specific Sources Call Number / Access
Vox Diccionario de Uso del Español de América y España ref PC 4625 .D48 2004
The Dictionary of Chicano Spanish = El Diccionario del Español Chicano ref PC 4827 .G35 1995
Nuevo Diccionario de Americanismos e Indigenismos ref PC 4822 .M64 1998
Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature  ref PQ 7081.A1 E53 1997
Diccionario Enciclopédico de las Letras de América Latina ref PQ 7081 .D515 1995
Spanish and Portuguese Literatures and Their Times (the Iberian Peninsula)  ref PQ 6041 .M67 2002
The Feminist Encyclopedia of Spanish Literature ref PQ 6055 .F46 2002
Dictionary of Literary Biography ref PN 451 .D53
Companion to Latin American Literature & Culture [Blackwell Reference Online has a few companions to history & literature] Blackwell Reference
Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors [available in Biography Resource Ctr.] ref PQ 7081.3 .H58 1999
Biography Resource Center
Diccionario de Literatura Española e Hispanoamericana ref PQ 6006 .D6 1993


Style Sheets
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers / New York: Modern Language Association of America

ref LB 2369 .G53 2003
additional copies available)

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guides & Style Manuals
MLA Handbook Citation Guides & Style Manuals

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 Spanish studies.

  • demonstrate mastery of skills required for levels II, III, and IV (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 Spanish 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 the 300 seminar level should be familiar with the following:

Specific Texts/Links:

Call Number/Access
Writing Papers: A Handbook for Students at Smith College Jacobson Center
Resources in the Five College Libraries Five College Library Catalog
WorldCat, MLA Bibliography, and more resources found on the Smith College Libraries Spanish & Portuguese Subject page....
Citation Guides & Style Manuals help page
Help & Login to RefWorks
Smith College Libraries' guide


Smith College Libraries Contacts  
Sika Berger, Reference Librarian
Need Help? Ask a Librarian! options

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 Spanish 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 scholarly databases. 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

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.

Approved by members of the Spanish & Portuguese Dept. faculty, May 4, 2009

Please NOTE: Content for Portuguese information literacy planning is under development, May 2009.