Badge it!

Emily Ford (University Library, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA)
Betty Izumi (School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA)
Jost Lottes (Institute on Aging, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA)
Dawn Richardson (School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 9 February 2015



The purpose of this article is to discuss the collaborative learning outcomes-based approach taken by a librarian and disciplinary faculty members to improve information literacy (IL) curriculum within disciplinary courses. To this end, the team aimed to award badges to certify IL skills.


This article considers relevant literature on competency-based curriculum, technological innovation in higher education, collaboration between library and disciplinary faculty and badges. This literature is used to frame the approach to plan a successful and sustainable project to embed IL in disciplinary curriculum using digital badges. The approach includes mapping learning outcomes and engaging in instructional design tasks – including planning for content delivery and student assessment.


An approach to technological innovation for instructional projects based on the principles of pedagogical design can result in improvements to IL pedagogy and collaboration between librarians and disciplinary faculty, whether or not a technological implementation is successful.

Practical implications

Librarians and disciplinary faculty can take a pedagogical and learning outcomes-based approach to embedding IL into disciplinary curricula. Further, despite administrative push for technological innovation, projects can succeed when focused on improvements to pedagogy rather than solely on the implementation of new technologies.


Planning for and implementing badges for IL curriculum is in an incipient phase in higher education. This paper uniquely addresses a collaborative approach to be used by librarians to plan and implement embedded library instruction in disciplinary courses, with or without the use of badging technology.



Ford, E., Izumi, B., Lottes, J. and Richardson, D. (2015), "Badge it!", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 31-44.

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