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Serious games for information literacy: a scoping review and design recommendations

Alex C. Urban (School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 25 October 2019

Issue publication date: 25 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the literature on digital games designed or adapted for information literacy instruction, as well as practical design recommendations.


The paper presents an analysis of a compiled set of peer-reviewed articles on games in the provision of information literacy instruction published between 2013 and 2018, categorized by game mechanics utilized.


Application of the inclusion criteria led to 12 papers considered relevant. Synthesis of the papers suggests that although studies indicate positive outcomes for information literacy games, such games continue to rely on transcription of declarative tasks to digital environments.


While previous literature reviews provide summaries on information literacy digital games, this paper not only presents an up-to-date review but also provides step-by-step instructions and worked examples for aligning information literacy learning mechanics with game mechanics.



The author thanks Rose M. Marra, PhD and Heather Moulaison-Sandy, PhD of the University of Missouri, School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, who provided insight and comments that greatly improved the direction of this manuscript. The author is also grateful for the hard work of the design team at the University of Missouri’s Adroit Studios. The author would also like to show gratitude to Kimberly Moeller, Social Science Librarian, University of Missouri, for sharing her expertise in identifying the articles and databases referenced in this manuscript. Lastly, the author thanks the anonymous reviewers whose comments enhanced this manuscript.


Urban, A.C. (2019), "Serious games for information literacy: a scoping review and design recommendations", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 679-698.



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