Skip to Main Content
Coronavirus Updates: Click here for the status of library operations and how to access resources & services remotely

Information Literacy Overview: Students

A broad overview of information literacy within the context of higher education institutions.


If you are a student seeking to improve your own Information Literacy skills, or otherwise interested in the topic in general and how it may apply to your own work, these resources may be able to help get you started.

Suggested Reading

Concise Guide to Information Literacy Cover

Concise Guide to Information Literacy

A very brief overview of critical topics in an easy to follow format.

Research Boot Camp

We do not have the time in class visits to cover the entirety of information literacy in depth, so instead we focus on a broad overview. If you would like to strengthen your research skills and improve you ability to find and evaluate information, you can schedule a tutoring session either individually or in a small group setting. 

Types of Resources

Databases are critical sources of information in the digital world. They function as large digital collections, often based on a specific field of research, that can be searched and accessed fully online. Some databases contain full texts of articles that you can access online, while others contain only abstracts of papers or a combination of both. If you find a citation for a helpful resource in a database but it does not provide access to the full text, consult with a librarian about the best ways of obtaining access. 


The Earl S. Richardson library subscribes to hundreds of these databases for the benefit of our patrons. Navigate to the link below to see the full list. You can sort by database Name or by Subject to ensure you are searching the database that best suits your needs. 

Scholarly journal articles are in depth dives into specific academic topics. They are typically peer reviewed and have a longer publishing cycle than many other materials. These sources are the bread and butter of academic writing. However because of their highly specific nature it is rare to find an article that covers your research question completely and exactly. When consulting journal articles, expect to need to compare many articles that work on similar topics in order to paint a complete picture or a topic. Search for scholarly journal articles on our library homepage's OneSearch, on Google Scholar, or in specific library databases.

If you need a resource that takes a deep dive into a specific topic, books may be what you are after. The time to publication for books is longer than that of Journal articles, as well as allowing for more length. On average, a book will give you a greater in depth examination of a topic, at the tradeoff of potentially being less cutting edge than article research. However this more comprehensive scope does not mean that you should only consult a singular source: a book may cover a topic in full, but it is only one perspective. Always compare and contrast several sources in order to fully comprehend your research question and the dialog that surrounds it. On topics that don't experience much change over time, such as History, books can be especially powerful resources.

The ERS Library hold thousands of books in its own stacks, but as a Morgan State affiliate, you are also able to request books from any university library within the University of Maryland System. If you still cannot find the title you are after, consider placing an Interlibrary Loan request to get books that are held in libraries all over the globe.

eBooks are much like traditional books in terms of scope and publication criteria, so in many cases you will want to use them for similar research needs. They are held in digital format by libraries, often with copyright license agreements that track the number of uses. For this reason, it is more difficult to obtain eBooks that are not held natively by your institution. Search MSU's eBook collection at the link below:

Accessing Databases Off of Campus

Library databases are a paid subscription that is made available to users and verified (by default) based on the location of your connection. This means that databases often check to see that a connection is coming from Morgan State before providing access. 

However, It is a common need for users to obtain access to library databases, even when not physically located on campus. University System of Maryland employs a routing system that allows users to access these resources, even when connecting remotely. If you are off campus and experiencing difficulties accessing library databases, it is recommended that you follow these three steps:

  1. First, try to access the database by navigating through our library A-Z database page, linked above. The links on this page are configured by default to encode Morgan credentials, so simply by accessing through those web links you are notifying the system that you are a Morgan affiliate (You may be asked to provide your Morgan credentials for verification).
  2. If the link above does not work ,you can try to manually attach our routing proxy before the database web URL that you are accessing copy and paste the following in front of the database webpage: "" If step 1 does not work but this does, it may indicate an improperly configured link on the database page; we would love to hear about this so that we can fix it!
  3. If neither step works, please reach out to us for assistance so that we can work with you on establishing access.


©2018 Morgan State University | 1700 East Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, Maryland 21251 | 443-885-3333 | Privacy | Accessibility