ICT Literacy in Earth Sciences

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 geology (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: earth sciences, geoscience, earth and space science, geology, atmospheric science, climatology, astronomy, planetary science, oceanography, paleontology, more specific aspects of earth sciences (e.g., mineralogy, geophysics, hydrology, meteorology)

  • Science and Technology / Geoscience
  • Academic Support Services/ ICT literacy
  • Academic Support Services/Library and Information Service


  • Dougherty, K. (2013). Getting to the core of geology LibGuides. Science & Technology Libraries, 32(2), 145-159. This paper examined geology LibGuides from 40 U.S. academic institutions; data on their structure and resources are presented.
  • CUNY University guide to earth and atmospheric science resources: tutorials, databases, reference sources, government information, associations, maps, translating tools, writing tips, career and grant information, and sources for specific topics (caves, glaciers, environment, meteorology, mineralogy, paleontology, plate tectonics, space weather, structural geology, time scales, tsunamis, volcanoes)
  • Arizona State University guide to general resources for earth sciences (databases, maps, citation tools), and a range of resources such as reference tools, websites, associations, for 50 specific topics (e.g., education, El Nino, petrology, physical geography, software)
  • UC Davis geology and geophysics subject guide to resources, including arts and reports, USGS publications, reference resources, geologic maps, earthquakes, volcanoes, organization, data management, citation management
  • UC Davis astronomy and astrophysics resource guide, including articles, proceedings, report, reference sources, data and properties, and solar system sources
  • Northwestern University guide to databases, reference tools, websites, and organization related to earth and planetary sciences
  • CalTech University guide to geological and planetary sciences resources including databases, maps, geological surveys, California geology, earthquakes, mineralogy, societies and publishers
  • Denison University basic information about types of sources, search strategy, evaluation, intellectual property; also lists websites, maps, audio/visual sources, and patents about geosciencs
  • University of Iowa guide to geoscience, including databases, news, websites, and citation help
  • Princeton University digital data repository by subject: astronomy and astrophysics, atmosphere sciences and climatology, earth and planetary sciences, geoscience and geospatial data
  • Indiana State University guide to astronomy research, including scientific reports, searching techniques for databases, websites, apps, and writing
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill guide to astronomy resources, including background information, arts, handbooks, data and standards, patents and technical reports




  • Ask students to research a geographic location in terms of geologic changes.
  • Ask students to create a timeline of an earth science concept (e.g., formation of continents, origin of the universe).
  • Ask students to use drawing or image editing software to illustrate an earth science concept (e.g., earthquakes).
  • Ask students to compare land masses around the world in terms of natural disasters, “pinning” results on Google Earth. For instance, small groups could identify floods around the world, and then jigsaw with other groups who researched earthquakes, volcano eruptions, etc. Then the class can identify emerging patterns.
  • Ask students to research the cultural connotation of land features (e.g., mountains, rivers) in different cultures.
  • Ask students to research historical or cultural influences of astronomy.
  • Ask students to research intellectual property law (both copyright and patents/trademarks) as it applies to earth sciences.
  • Ask students to interview personnel in different jobs that build on earth sciences.
  • Ask students to research the same topic in two database aggregators (e.g., GeoScienceWorld, Science Direct, Web of Science), and compare the process and results.
  • Ask students to analyze the representation of earth sciences in movies (e.g., see; how accurate are the representations? What role do earth scientists play — and how competent are they? Ask students to research the impact of technology on earth sciences.
  • Ask students to research the impact of earth sciences on technology (e.g., astronomy instruments).
  • Ask students to create an infographic about an earth science topic.
  • Ask students to research famous earth scientists, 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 earth science.
  • Ask students to investigate the impact of earth sciences (e.g., economy (e.g., petrology, drought), disasters) in U.S. history using primary sources (e.g., the Library of Congress’s American Memory collections:
  • Ask students to create a public service announcement that is related to an earth science topic (e.g., disaster preparedness).
  • Ask students to create a field guide for a local geology walk.
  • Ask students to take photos of an earth science concept, and annotate them in terms of locale, evidence of the concept, and implications.