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The business model canvas as a platform for business information literacy instruction

Terence William O'Neill (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to describe how the graphic organizer the Business Model Canvas can be used as a platform for business information literacy instruction.


This paper is a case study of the application of the Business Model Canvas in business information literacy instruction in an academic setting.


Entrepreneurship students can struggle to differentiate between the purposes of databases and to integrate research findings into the planning of their business. The Business Model Canvas (BMC) provides a common framework for entrepreneurship students to understand the different purposes of the many information sources available and imposes the iterative process of making and testing assumptions against research.

Research limitations/implications

The findings discussed here are used in business and entrepreneurship classes, and thus far this process has been used with that group in mind. This case study also discusses relatively new processes; the teaching described has not yet been rigorously assessed.

Practical implications

This process gives students practice integrating library resources into their work and understanding the use of specific resources. This model for instruction could be applied to business information literacy in entrepreneurship classes and courses in other disciplines which also incorporate project planning.

Social implications

This process has the potential to improve the opportunity assessment process for student entrepreneurs and to enrich information-seeking practices for entrepreneurs.


Little has been written about the use of graphic organizers to differentiate between information resources. This research helps address this gap, while also helping to further explore how entrepreneurship students can best use library resources while developing their business plans.



O'Neill, T.W. (2015), "The business model canvas as a platform for business information literacy instruction", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 450-460.



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