ICT Literacy in Biology

Compiled by Dr. Lesley Farmer, California State University Long Beach


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2006). Information literacy standards for Science/Engineering/Technology:

Useful information literacy wiki on biology (includes professional associations, articles, presentations, and curricula) 

Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state content standards also refer to K-12 ICT competencies (sometimes listed as information literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, or research skills).



Key terms: biology, biological sciences, life sciences, more specific aspects of biology (e.g., genetics, cytology)

·       Science and Technology / Biology

·       Science and Technology / Health Sciences

·       Mathematics and Statistics / Mathematics / Mathematical Modeling / Mathematical Biology

·       Academic Support Services/ ICT literacy

·       Academic Support Services/Library and Information Service




· San Jose State University bibliography including websites, tutorials and tools, open access resources, images, and help on writing research papers

· Brown University guide for finding articles, data, images, videos; also includes web resources, protocols and methods, and writing help; links to guides in related subjects

· Regis University Biology research guide, noting relevant databases (general and specific, including images and pharmacy

· Brenau University reference guide to general biology, molecular biology, genetics, organismal biology, cell biology, population biology and ecology, science education, and ethics. Also has ICT literacy assignments in biology courses

· East Carolina University biology information literacy online tutoria

· Camden County College biology information literacy assignment (good research steps with guidance)


 OTHER WEBSITES and ARTICLES: Biology Labs On-Line, a collaboration between the Center for Distributed Learning and Benjamin Cummings, offers some of the most intuitive, interactive, and robust laboratory experiences available on the web Biocompass projects bring together CSU faculty and industry experts to provide resources, workshops, internships, courses and programs that are designed to close the gap between CSU-based learning and life sciences industry practice World Library of Science provided by UNESCO and Nature education i-Biology: explains major ICT tools, and links to free software for biology ICT in biology: gives hyperlinked examples of ways that ICT is used in biology for data collection and processing in IB Biology ICT in IB biology wiki: includes starting sites and ICT tasks LeMoyne University information literacy online assignments for searching biological literature ICT in biology teaching: lists 12 web tools to enhance biology classes

Bryan, J., & Karshmer, E. (2015). Using IL threshold concepts for biology. College & Research Libraries News, 76(5), 251-255.

Fuselier, L., & Nelson, B. (2011). A test of the efficacy of an information literacy lesson in an introductory biology laboratory course with a strong science-writing component. Science & Technology Libraries, 30(1), 58-75.

Hartman, P., Newhouse, R., & Perry, V. (2014). Building a sustainable life science information literacy program using the train-the-trainer model. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (Summer).

MacMillan, D. (2015). Developing data literacy competneices to enhance faculty collaboration. LIBER Quarterly, 24(3).

Pelaez, N., Maybee, C., & Slebodnik, M. (2013). Developing first-year students' biological information literacy: Collaboration between libraries and disciplinary faculty in IMPACT classrooms. IMPACT Presentations. Paper 13.

Perry, H. (2017). Information Literacy in the Sciences: Faculty Perception of Undergraduate Student Skill. College & Research Libraries, 78(7), 964. doi:

Thompson, L., & Blankinship, L. A. (2015). Teaching information literacy skills to sophomore-level biology majors. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 16(1), 29—33. 

 Yu, S. H. (2017). Just curious: How can academic libraries incite curiosity to promote science literacy? Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 12(1).


Ask students to research a plant or animal in terms of evolution or adaptation.

Ask students to create a timeline of a biology concept (e.g., theories about pregnancy, disease).

Ask students to research the design, manufacturing, marketing, dissemination, and sales of some “green” biotechnology product.

Ask students to use drawing or image editing software to make variations of a biome.

Ask students to compare biomes around the world by curating images of its flora, fauna, and impact on human daily life.

Ask students to research the cultural connotation of flora and fauna in different cultures.

Ask students to research historical or cultural influences of cuisine.

Ask students to research intellectual property law (both copyright and patents/trademarks) as it applies to biology.

Ask students to interview personnel in different jobs that build on biology.

Ask students to research the total cost of a garment, from growing the fiber (e.g., sheep, flax) to its processing, including all manufacturing/production costs, marketing and sales.

Ask students to research the same topic in two database aggregators (e.g., Biological Abstracts, Science Direct, PubMed, Web of Science), and compare the process and results.

Ask students to analyze the representation of biology in movies (e.g., Jurassic Park, Multiplicity).

Ask students to research the impact of technology on biology.

Ask students to research the impact of biology on technology (e.g., Genome Project).

Ask students to create an infographic about a biology topic.

Ask students to research famous biologists, and their connections/influences on each other by developing an annotated concept map/web.

Ask students to create a virtual museum exhibit about an aspect of biology.

Ask students to research how biology has impacted wars.

Ask students to investigate the impact of biology (e.g., environment, conservation, farming, disease) in U.S. history using primary sources (e.g., the Library of Congress’s American Memory collections:

Ask students to create a population graph over time for an animal that has been on the endangered species list at some point. 

Ask students to create a public service announcement that is related to a biology topic (e.g., health practice, recycling, conservation). 

Ask students to research the impact (social, economic, environmental) of some recycling effort. 

Ask students to create a field guide for a local nature walk.

Ask students to take photos of a biology concept, and annotate them in terms of locale, evidence of the concept, and implications.