Patents have wide appeal to students, faculty, and employers and can be a potent tool for integrating information literacy (IL) into engineering and technology curricula. There is evidence to show that students use patents to assess the patentability of their design ideas, explore the state of the art in a given area of technology, and to inspire creativity in their work. Faculty use patents and other complementary forms of gray literature to go beyond the traditional IL world of scholarly literature and engage students with information problems that reflect real-world design challenges. Working with patents allows students to develop strategic, innovative and practical information skills that are valuable and attractive to employers in the modern technology workplace.
Putting these ideas of patent-related information literacy into practice, this paper will discuss the collaborative efforts between academic librarians and disciplinary faculty to integrate patent IL content into a scaffolded IL sequence in a technology-focused undergraduate curriculum. This sequence, which also covers scholarly information and technical standards, presents students with increasingly complex information problems over the course of their academic career. The entire IL sequence, which includes four design classes, will be described, with a primary focus on how patent IL fits into and enhances this model.
Patents, Information Literacy, Standards
Date of this Version
Zwicky, D. & Phillips, M. (2018). Inspiring Innovation with Patent Information Literacy in the Engineering Technology Curriculum. Presented at IATUL 2018, Oslo, Norway, June 2018.