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Trends in the literature on library instruction and information literacy, 2001‐2010

Claudene Sproles (Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Robert Detmering (Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Anna Marie Johnson (Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 15 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the literature on information literacy and library instruction from 2001‐2010 published in the annual, comprehensive topical bibliography published in Reference Services Review.


The authors examined 3,527 articles contained in the annual bibliography from 2001‐2010 and identified 2,052 which appeared in peer‐reviewed journals. Using the 2,052 articles identified as peer reviewed, the authors then determined the location of the primary author, the journal that published the article, whether the journal was from the discipline of library science, what type of research the article contained, and the key themes present.


The number of articles in peer‐reviewed journals has grown substantially over the ten‐year period. Most articles (70 percent) were published by authors residing in the USA, but articles from Asia and Africa are now being seen on a more consistent basis. Reference Services Review has published the most articles on this topic during the period, but information literacy has also branched out into other non‐library‐specific disciplines. Empirical or theoretical research articles make up less than 50 percent of the total articles published, while case‐study type descriptions of programmatic or teaching initiatives continue to be the most published article type. Key themes continue to be collaboration, assessment, and the application of technology to instruction efforts.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are limited to peer‐reviewed articles published in English‐language journals.


While other articles have examined aspects of the body of information literacy literature, this study encompasses a more comprehensive and thorough data set.



Sproles, C., Detmering, R. and Johnson, A.M. (2013), "Trends in the literature on library instruction and information literacy, 2001‐2010", Reference Services Review, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 395-412.



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