Stephanie Davis-Kahl; Merinda Kaye Hensley

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Common Ground at the Nexus of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication


Association of College and Research Libraries

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Chicago, IL

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Graduate students embarking upon a new phase in their educational careers may not realize the range of expectations, particularly the cocurricular or extracurricular expectation to participate in the scholarly communication process. Unforeseen faculty expectations may include a requirement to publish or copublish an article in order to pass a graduate course or to engage in grant-funded research that will result in conference presentations or publications. Learning about the publication process provides a key transitional experience between the independent intellectual endeavor of conducting research for course assignments and the social dynamics of being a professional researcher or scholar, interacting with a complex human system that encompasses significant variations of protocol. The initiate author must learn to decode and conform to the varied requirements of specific journals, using critical analysis and attention to detail. These lessons come to light and are made personal for the novice author as she transitions from being primarily a consumer to being a creator of published materials.

A widespread assumption is that faculty members mentor graduate students through the transition, however, research on graduate education indicates that the practice of mentorship varies widely. Librarians who are seeking hooks for information literacy connections with graduate programs are advised to look closely, yet discreetly, into the cultural dynamics of their liaison departments, as well as to gain familiarity with their department’s resource requirements. Understanding the extent to which publication by graduate students is encouraged and supported through mentorship in specific departments or programs is vitally important for planning and implementing services around both information literacy and scholarly communication. Librarians who facilitate professional exchange between faculty and graduate students around the publication process can contribute developmentally to a key transformative experience whereby a graduate student begins initiation into the mores and intellectual habits of his or her discipline.


Graduate students; Information literacy; Scholarly publishing – Study and teaching; Universities and colleges – Graduate work


Education | Educational Methods | Information Literacy | Library and Information Science




This work originally appeared in “Common Ground at the Nexus of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication” edited by Stephanie Davis-Kahl and Merinda Kaye Hensley. Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2013. Any use of this work must be accompanied by this notification.