Librarians and engineering faculty have long understood that design is one of the defining processes of the engineering profession. In an increasingly knowledge-driven society, students need to efficiently locate, assess and integrate relevant information into their design process so that they can develop innovation solutions to emerging complex, global grand challenges. Increasingly, engineering curricula are incorporating design as early as the first year, but a question remains as to how effectively information literacy is being integrated into these early experiences of design. For example, the Engineering Change study found there has been very little improvement to lifelong learning skills in engineering graduates over the last decade, and indeed lifelong learning, one indicator of information literacy skills, was the lowest rated of the ABET student learning outcomes.

Both librarians and engineering educators have studied the use of information in an engineering context, but our knowledge of the possible synergies between information literacy and engineering design is limited. This paper presents an integrated model of Information-Rich Engineering Design (I-RED), providing a detailed articulation of the specific information needs at different stages of the design process. Derived from both literatures, this model attempts to bridge the language and conceptual divide between librarians and engineering educators, to facilitate deeper and more meaningful collaborations between the two groups


engineering design; information literacy

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