Location and Access Location and Access refers to finding and retrieving information sources as well as specific information within sources.
#3.1 Locate sources This is the stage where students find the sources physically or electronically. They need to determine where the sources are located—in the classroom, library, or online. How are the sources organized in those places—alphabetically by topic or author, by the Dewey Decimal Classification System, not at all? Are there electronic tools for access such as an online catalog or is the information itself available on the Web or some other electronic format? And, if the source is a person, can she be reached by telephone or e-mail, or is it best (or necessary) to meet her in person?
#3.2 Find information within sources This stage refers to actually getting to the information in a given source. Once the source is located, students must find the specific information they need. This is not the most glamorous of skills, but it is essential nevertheless. And, there is a key to this stage—it is learning to search for and then use . . . the INDEX! This is the library media specialist’s secret weapon. Library media specialists and teachers have traditionally taught students about indexes, but doing so within the Big6 process makes a lot more sense to children.
Location and Access should be the easiest stage, but it often is not. It is also not a very exciting or particularly interesting stage. But, it does need to be completed if your children are to succeed. The goal in this stage is to locate the sources selected under the Information Seeking Strategies stage, and then actually to get to the information in those sources. In the past, library media specialists and teachers spent a great deal of time on this part of the process. That’s changing because they realize that Location and Access is only part of the overall process.
Helpful questions for teachers to think through:
What skills do students need to access these resources?
Who can help students find these sources?
What do they already know?
What needs to be taught?
What is the appropriate age level focus?
Helpful questions for students to think through:
Where will I find these sources?
Who can help me find the sources?
What do I need to use to access this information?
• How can I sort the information I have found? • What information helps answers my questions or the questions of others? • What keywords help me make sense of the information I found? • Do I need to find out more information? • How is it connected to what I know? • What are my questions now? How have they changed? • What changes do I need to make to my inquiry? • How are my ideas changing? • What am I feeling about my inquiry at this phase?
Games such as scavenger hunts and mapping to practice locating sources.
Information may be obtained from many sources.
Determine which sources are available and usable.
Access appropriate information systems (online databases, electronic multimedia, CD-ROM, etc.).
Within a source, practice with table of contents, guidewords, index, bibliography, database searching, etc.
Basic Activities: keyword searching Help students improve their keyword searching skills by using a simple exercise that compares the results of a search using several search engines. Introduce younger students to search engines designed especially for them: KidsClick! web search for kids by librarians.
Student Resources Location and Access Guide developed by Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Boolean Operators Explains how to use Boolean operators to modify and refine searches. Reference Links Virtual library for student research Finding Books Online Tutorial (hit arrows at bottom of page to proceed) Finding Articles Online Tutorial (hit arrows at bottom of page to proceed) Finding Information Within Sources Tip sheet Searching the Web Online Tutorial (hit arrows at bottom of page to proceed) Once students find the information, they need to know that it is appropriate to the task, and they need to be able to use it effectively. This aspect of completing a project can frustrate students’ ultimate success because they have their own set of assumptions (e.g., about expectations, usefulness of information, clarity of instruction) that get in the way of effectively using the materials they found. The Big6 tackles this aspect of student learning by focusing them on engaging the information and extracting what is really relevant. That’s the next stage—#4, Use of Information.