Physical and Basic Sciences Librarian Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA Los Angeles, California
Background: Issues of personal privacy protections are increasingly important, and typically not addressed in traditional university coursework. Students bound for public-facing positions in the health sciences need to be particularly aware of their online visibility as they move into the professional landscape. A library within a large research institution piloted workshops aimed at addressing this information need among patrons at various levels. Issues of privacy, professionalism, and internet hygiene worked well as in a one-off workshop offered to undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.
Description: A desire to increase library-sponsored programming in the Biomedical library led librarians to create an interactive poster and twitter poll to gauge interest in several subjects. A combination of “Internet Hygiene and Professionalism” and “Cookies” received the most combined votes, so we decided to discuss both subjects in one workshop. Attendance had been an issue for past workshops, so in an effort to increase attendance we scheduled a shorter workshop during lunchtime. Course content outlined why privacy was important, recent legislation, and how the cookie impacts online experiences. We also examined password protection best practices. To make the workshop more engaging, we used Sesame Street characters to outline themes. For example, Oscar the Grouch represented forgotten accounts left vulnerable to hacks. Bert & Ernie represented professional and personal internet personas. A Libguide was created to compliment the presentation.
Conclusion: So far, there has been one successful workshop reaching undergraduate, graduates, and post-grads -- the course will repeat quarterly. The themes and information were well received, and students left excited to take steps toward improved internet hygiene. In evaluations, all claimed the workshop provided them with new information. Other research institutions can take steps to adopt a similar curriculum for one-shot workshops, meeting this information need for their patrons.