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Information for All Programs


Learn practical ways to help you become an efficient and independent user of the BA Main Library's services and collections.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) is committed to helping library patrons develop research skills that support critical thinking and lifelong learning, key components of information literacy. The BA has taken responsibility of teaching its users effective research skills, exposing them to the various information resources, facilitating the understanding of the structure of information and methods of searching, gathering, and evaluating information. The library offers many programs, including general library orientations, Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) training, internet beginner courses, and an e-resources course teaching users how to use the research databases offered by the BA.

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information".

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

Over the last two years, the BA has established two classes as a foundation of its information literacy program. The first course is a general orientation on the library and the basic library systems, such as the Dewey Decimal Classification system. The second course, called Information-for-All , is a five session course teaching OPAC basics, internet searching, introduction to reference materials, familiarity with databases and essay writing. The courses include both lectures and practical hands-on sessions to appeal to different learning styles. General orientation courses are run weekly with an average attendance of ten to fifteen users.

Module 1. OPAC

Learn how to access the library's collection of books, journals, newspapers, maps, video recordings, music and more.

This class familiarizes the patrons with the library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and different searching techniques. OPAC can be used to search through the library collection by a particular subject, author, title, key words, and more. Patrons will learn three types of searching: Simple , Heading , and Advanced .

This is a basic searching class, designed for those new to catalog searching. At the end of the class, participants will conduct practical training on searching the BA library catalog.

Module 2. Reference Materials

A reference material is a comprehensive, systematically organized collection of information such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac, etc.

This class offers an overview of the types of reference materials available and how to retrieve information using the BA reference material collection. Patrons will learn what a reference material is, the professional definition of the term, the different types of reference materials available, and how to match the type of reference material with their research needs. Patrons will also learn how to professionally cite reference resources.

This module also includes a tutorial on how to find reference materials within the BA general collection through searching OPAC and how to read the BA book labels.

Practical training is included at the end of this module.

Module 3. Internet

Welcome to the Net! (an introductory training)

This class provides a basic introduction to the internet for BA patrons who are not familiar with the web. The session includes a very brief introduction on the history of the Internet, how it was formed and operated, needs to connect to it and how to use it, what various kinds of facilities and tools could be available through it, and how to browse it & search it. Participants will also be introduced to the basic information on the World Wide Web, and how to access web sites, ..., and more. They will learn the difference between search engines, meta search engines, and directories. They will be able to use the Boolean operators and other searching tools and techniques. Many samples of websites will be introduced, including the BA website.

Attendees are taught effective searching techniques on the World Wide Web, using search engines, search directories and metasearch engines. A number of search tips are presented that teach users how to focus their search results. The workshop also teaches web site evaluation for authority and appropriateness, highlighting meanwhile, the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet.

Patrons will also learn basic criteria for evaluating a website and how to create a personal e-mail account.

Practical training is included at the end of this module.

Module 4. Databases

Fundamentals of Database Searching

Patrons will learn the main skills needed to search a variety of databases at the Library. This session will cover basic definitions, how to select the right database for the sort of information being sought, how to develop the search strategy that corresponds to the target information needed, how to view search results, and take benefit of these results for the best use of the specific search facilities of each database in particular.

Patrons learn about all databases available at BA, such as EBSCOhost, ScienceDirect, and many others. They will know about the coverage of each database, which subjects they treat, and how to use each one of them.

This hands-on session will cover the contents of the databases, how to develop and apply a search strategy, and tips on using specific functions.

Practical training is included at the end of this module.

Module 5. Writing and presenting research

A Research is a written work containing the results of research on a specific topic prepared by a candidate for a bachelor's or master's degree.

What is a thesis? For whom is it written? and how should it be written?

This class gives the patrons a system to break down the thesis or dissertation into manageable tasks.

Patrons will learn the thesis structure that include introduction, methods, discussion, recommendations, references, appendices, results, conclusions and more.

Patrons will be able at the end of this class to develop the needed skills to write down a thesis professionally.

By the end of the "Information for All Program", patrons will be able to...

  • Develop skills to use library resources correctly and effectively.
  • Look up & retrieve all types of information they require efficiently.
  • Evaluate information sources in order to decide upon the best resources to use that would sufficiently serve their specific research needs.
  • Use print and non-print sources of information effectively to accomplish a specific assignment or research.

Sessions of the "Information for All Program" are held:

  • According to a pre-announced schedule.

Prior registration is required at the General Reference Desk at the entrance of the library (E level). or via e-mail to: .