Conducting research in the 21st century often means navigating fake news sites, biased media, and contradictory online information. Information literacy has emerged as a critical skill to achieve academic, professional, and personal success. Thanks to a partnership between the state’s library consortium NC LIVE and Credo Reference, Credo Online Reference Service will offer North Carolinians a starting point to find information about their research or personal topics of interest.
Credo provides background knowledge, illustrates relationships between topics, and cites the information they provide simply and consistently. North Carolinians won’t need to worry that what they are reading is bogus.
“As recently as 100 years ago we lived in an age of information scarcity,” notes Rob Ross, Executive Director of NC LIVE. “Creating information was the exclusive domain of recognized experts and accessing information meant buying a print newspaper or visiting the library in the hope they had the book we wanted. The main problem people faced was in getting information. Today content is being created exponentially – increasingly by bots – access is ubiquitous, and our most significant challenge is to sift through all the dubious information and find the good stuff. NC LIVE is proud to provide North Carolinians access to an authoritative starting point for research like Credo.”
Through the deal, over 200 academic and public libraries in North Carolina will empower their users to locate and explore the reliable information they need via Credo’s flagship exploratory search platform. Beyond providing North Carolina communities with a tool to navigate a precarious information landscape, the platform has additional benefits for library users and library staff.
Credo’s interface will help acclimate first-year students to the rigors of college-level research through features like the Mind Map brainstorming tool and Topic Pages, which help teach information literacy concepts like exploratory searching and scholarly conversations. Building these skills is one of the most demonstrable ways librarians can contribute to students’ academic achievement, as such skills impact institutional goals like retention, student success, graduation rates, and employability after college.
Public libraries also stand to gain from this new partnership. In combination with NC LIVE’s EZProxy service, digital reference means that every citizen of North Carolina can access Credo’s highly-credible content from home or on the road from their mobile devices. Additionally, as more users express a preference for digital reference materials over print, converting shelves of old encyclopedias to eBooks can free up physical space and budgets that libraries can reallocate to support innovative instruction, programming, and community events.
Since its founding in 1997, NC LIVE has worked strategically with and for its member libraries to meet patron needs, to acquire resources many libraries may not have otherwise been able to access, and to facilitate innovative projects and services around the state. “NC LIVE has shown a decades-long commitment to helping libraries and their users access essential digital resources,” said Credo Reference’s General Manager, Ian Singer. “We’re honored to partner with them in their efforts to provide North Carolinians with a starting point from which they can conduct great research.”