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Information Skills Study guide prepared by Laura Cram, Alice Dodd, Lyndall Lush, and Judy Styles


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Contents

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The structure of this Study guide ....................................................................................................................................... 16 Layout .............................................................................................................. 16 The Readings and key points .............................................................................................................. 16 Activities .............................................................................................................. 17 Additional reading .............................................................................................................. 17 How this course is laid out ....................................................................................................................................... 17 Chapter 1 (week 1) 22 Information and knowledge ....................................................................................................................................... 22 Technological discoveries ....................................................................................................................................... 24 What has information got to do with you? ....................................................................................................................................... 25

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Information as a resource or a commodity ....................................................................................................................................... 26 The information explosion ....................................................................................................................................... 28 Chapter 2 (week 2) 30 The need for information skills ....................................................................................................................................... 30 How do we begin the task of accessing and critically analysing the information we need? ....................................................................................................................................... 32 Chapter 3 (week 3) 38 Some useful techniques ....................................................................................................................................... 38 Mind maps ....................................................................................................................................... 39 Advantages of mind maps .............................................................................................................. 40 Although a number of the words in bold are not specifically concrete or sensory words, they are central words in this sentence, because they incorporate many of the vital elements of the message. Think how they could begin to be used in a mind map. .............................................................................................................. 41 Basic guidelines of mind mapping: .............................................................................................................. 41 Chapter 4 (week 4) 51 What’s so different about electronically stored information? ....................................................................................................................................... 51 How do we search online & CD-ROM resources? Searching for specific Information using the Internet What do we find on the Internet? 59 Evaluating Information on the Internet Information Skills Quiz ....................................................................................................................................... 60 When you have finished the quiz...

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....................................................................................................................................... 61 ....................................................................................................................................... 61 References for chapters 1 4. ....................................................................................................................................... 62 Chapter 5 (week 5) Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 69 General questions ....................................................................................................................................... 70 Finances .............................................................................................................. 70 Lifestyle .............................................................................................................. 70 Family and friends .............................................................................................................. 71 Employment prospects .............................................................................................................. 71 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 72 Getting prepared for action ....................................................................................................................................... 73 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 73 Chapter 6 (week 6) 77 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 77 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 78 Seeking advice .............................................................................................................. 78 Background information

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.............................................................................................................. 78 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 79 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 79 Prescription drugs .............................................................................................................. 79 Food additives .............................................................................................................. 80 Current research .............................................................................................................. 81 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 82 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 82 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 85 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 86 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 89 Using people as resources ....................................................................................................................................... 89 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 90 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 95 References for Introductory Scenarios ....................................................................................................................................... 98 Chapter 8 (week 8) Common law and legislation ....................................................................................................................................... 103

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What rights do you have regarding information about yourself? ....................................................................................................................................... 104 Right to privacy ....................................................................................................................................... 105 Privacy provisions .............................................................................................................. 105 Privacy legislation .............................................................................................................. 106 Growth in technology, data collection, and privacy concerns .............................................................................................................. 107 Breaches of privacy provisions .............................................................................................................. 108 Freedom of information (FOI) ....................................................................................................................................... 109 Westminster model of government .............................................................................................................. 109 What rights does FOI legislation provide? .............................................................................................................. 109 Methods of access .............................................................................................................. 110 How effective is FOI legislation? .............................................................................................................. 110 References for section ....................................................................................................................................... 113 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 119 Strategies .............................................................................................................. 119 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 119 Finding professionals and associations .............................................................................................................. 119

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The Yellow Pages can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.yellowpages.com.au .............................................................................................................. 120 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 120 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 121 Newspaper articles .............................................................................................................. 121 Finding statutes and case law .............................................................................................................. 122 Service SA Government Legislation Outlet (state legislation) Street Address: Ground Floor 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: 13 2324 Fax: 08 8207 1949 Email: servicesa@saugov.sa.gov.au..................................................................122 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 123 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 124 Chapter 10 (weeks 10-11) 126 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 126 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 126 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 130 Specific information requirements ....................................................................................................................................... 130 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 132 Chapter 11 (weeks 12-13) 134 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 134 General information

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....................................................................................................................................... 135 Legal .............................................................................................................. 135 Financial .............................................................................................................. 136 Social .............................................................................................................. 137 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 138 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 139 References for section ....................................................................................................................................... 143

Section 2 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Advanced information theories and concepts Chapter 8

Introduction to advanced theories and scenarios

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Understanding the law

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The structure of this Study guide ....................................................................................................................................... 16 Layout .............................................................................................................. 16 The Readings and key points .............................................................................................................. 16 Activities .............................................................................................................. 17 Additional reading

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.............................................................................................................. 17 How this course is laid out ....................................................................................................................................... 17 Chapter 1 (week 1) 22 Information and knowledge ....................................................................................................................................... 22 Technological discoveries ....................................................................................................................................... 24 What has information got to do with you? ....................................................................................................................................... 25 Information as a resource or a commodity ....................................................................................................................................... 26 The information explosion ....................................................................................................................................... 28 Chapter 2 (week 2) 30 The need for information skills ....................................................................................................................................... 30 How do we begin the task of accessing and critically analysing the information we need? ....................................................................................................................................... 32 Chapter 3 (week 3) 38 Some useful techniques ....................................................................................................................................... 38 Mind maps ....................................................................................................................................... 39 Advantages of mind maps .............................................................................................................. 40 Although a number of the words in bold are not specifically concrete or sensory words, they are central words in this sentence, because they incorporate many of the vital elements of the message. Think how they could begin to be used in a mind map. .............................................................................................................. 41 Basic guidelines of mind mapping:

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.............................................................................................................. 41 Chapter 4 (week 4) 51 What’s so different about electronically stored information? ....................................................................................................................................... 51 How do we search online & CD-ROM resources? Searching for specific Information using the Internet What do we find on the Internet? 59 Evaluating Information on the Internet Information Skills Quiz ....................................................................................................................................... 60 When you have finished the quiz... ....................................................................................................................................... 61 ....................................................................................................................................... 61 References for chapters 1 4. ....................................................................................................................................... 62 Chapter 5 (week 5) Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 69 General questions ....................................................................................................................................... 70 Finances .............................................................................................................. 70 Lifestyle .............................................................................................................. 70 Family and friends .............................................................................................................. 71 Employment prospects .............................................................................................................. 71 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 72 Getting prepared for action

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....................................................................................................................................... 73 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 73 Chapter 6 (week 6) 77 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 77 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 78 Seeking advice .............................................................................................................. 78 Background information .............................................................................................................. 78 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 79 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 79 Prescription drugs .............................................................................................................. 79 Food additives .............................................................................................................. 80 Current research .............................................................................................................. 81 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 82 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 82 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 85 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 86 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 89

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Using people as resources ....................................................................................................................................... 89 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 90 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 95 References for Introductory Scenarios ....................................................................................................................................... 98 Chapter 8 (week 8) Common law and legislation ....................................................................................................................................... 103 What rights do you have regarding information about yourself? ....................................................................................................................................... 104 Right to privacy ....................................................................................................................................... 105 Privacy provisions .............................................................................................................. 105 Privacy legislation .............................................................................................................. 106 Growth in technology, data collection, and privacy concerns .............................................................................................................. 107 Breaches of privacy provisions .............................................................................................................. 108 Freedom of information (FOI) ....................................................................................................................................... 109 Westminster model of government .............................................................................................................. 109 What rights does FOI legislation provide? .............................................................................................................. 109 Methods of access .............................................................................................................. 110 How effective is FOI legislation?

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.............................................................................................................. 110 References for section ....................................................................................................................................... 113 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 119 Strategies .............................................................................................................. 119 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 119 Finding professionals and associations .............................................................................................................. 119 The Yellow Pages can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.yellowpages.com.au .............................................................................................................. 120 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 120 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 121 Newspaper articles .............................................................................................................. 121 Finding statutes and case law .............................................................................................................. 122 Service SA Government Legislation Outlet (state legislation) Street Address: Ground Floor 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: 13 2324 Fax: 08 8207 1949 Email: servicesa@saugov.sa.gov.au..................................................................122 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 123 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 124 Chapter 10 (weeks 10-11) 126 Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 126

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General information ....................................................................................................................................... 126 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 130 Specific information requirements ....................................................................................................................................... 130 Summary of specific information requirements .............................................................................................................. 132 Chapter 11 (weeks 12-13) Scenario ....................................................................................................................................... 134 General information ....................................................................................................................................... 135 Legal .............................................................................................................. 135 Financial .............................................................................................................. 136 Social .............................................................................................................. 137 Summary of general information requirements .............................................................................................................. 138 Specific information ....................................................................................................................................... 139 References for section ....................................................................................................................................... 143 Summary

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Preface

Welcome! Welcome to the Study guide for Information Skills! For information on the staff who prepared this course, on the purpose of the course, and on the assignments, please refer to the Course information booklet which accompanies this Study guide. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The structure of this Study guide You will find a number of elements repeated on the pages of this Study guide. These elements have been designed to emphasise the interaction of the texts or ideas within the Study guide and Readings.

Layout This Study guide is broken into different parts in order to provide a logic and a pace to the presentation. There are two sections, with chapters breaking each of these into manageable segments. You may wish to work on one of these chapters every week; in fact, this is what we've suggested as an approximate target throughout the Study guide. Feel free to work at your own pace, however, as long as you get through the assessed work within the allotted time. As there are only eleven chapters, you will probably want to choose specific ones on which to work for longer than one week—the scenarios which you choose for your assessment, perhaps. For further details on the relationship between the structure and the content of this Study guide see the information included on pages 6-8 under the heading 'How this course is laid out'.

The Readings and key points As each required reading (from your Readings) is introduced, it is highlighted in the Study guide text. Many have 'key points' near them, which allows you to create an annotated bibliography or list of keywords. By using the notes you have taken, you will be able to move more quickly through the field of ideas which is presented to you, placing each in a sequence of your developing thoughts.

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Activities Throughout this Study guide, questions have been provided in order to orient your thinking in relation to the various topics being considered. These are not questions for which you are expected to provide us with answers. They are to focus your thinking on the topic and help you identify what knowledge and attitudes you already hold. You may wish to test your existing knowledge against the material provided. There are other activities which require you to actually use resources which may only be available at a library near you. The purpose of these activities is to give you hands-on experience in retrieving and assessing information and sources. You are not required to do all of these, but attempting them will help you to consolidate your learning. Consider it good practice. The knowledge you gain from each of the optional activities will help you to achieve a higher quality result in your assessable assignments. These optional activities are not to be submitted for marking. From time to time, you may come across an example in the activities or in the scenarios which does not pertain to you. For example, it may mention a consideration of children in the family, or the possibility of wanting to change jobs. If these examples don't apply to you, please treat them as they are intended—as hypothetical situations, some of which will be appropriate to you and others not.

Additional reading We have provided a list of additional sources which you may find useful in doing your assignments or optional activities. They are in the form of references at the end of each section. You are not required to read all of these references. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How this course is laid out As you might expect, in today's world, there is a great amount of information available concerning the development of information skills. Chapters one to four and eight of this Study guide have been designed specifically to review some of the key theories and concepts in this field. You should use these parts of the Study guide to become comfortable with these theories and concepts. As with learning any new skill, however, it is also necessary to approach the topics in a more practical manner. Since the students taking this course come from a variety of backgrounds and have different information needs, we have decided to create

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a number of scenarios for you, which you can explore to a greater or lesser extent, depending on your interest. These scenarios appear in chapters five to seven and nine to eleven. You will note that much of your assessment is linked to these scenarios. It is highly advisable that you read the preceding theoretical sections before going on to the practical sections. There are many clues in the theoretical sections which will help you to develop your ability to locate and use information. In this course you will discover some of the problem-solving techniques which will help you to identify the information you need in various circumstances. As part of this process, you will gain experience in recognising whether particular sources of information are appropriate or not. While not all the most useful information is found in libraries, there will be occasions when visiting your nearest library will be expected. If you do not know where it is, take a moment now to find out. How? Try the White Pages of the telephone book under your council's name, or the Yellow Pages under 'Libraries'. Alternatively, you could phone your local council and ask them about the library services which are available in your area. They might be able to tell you about such details as opening hours. Keep in mind that it may be a public, TAFE, joint-use (for example, a combined schoolcommunity one) or a university library. Any type of library will suit your purposes as you go through this course. If you are not living in the Adelaide metropolitan area, you will almost certainly need to use the Flexible Information Service which is provided by the University of South Australia Library. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of libraries, don't worry. Lots of people never get used to the logic of a library, and it confuses them. You don't really need to dredge up memories of learning the Dewey Decimal system in primary school. You just have to realise that to find a particular number, you have to first locate the general area (hopefully, there are signs pointing these out), and then work your way numerically up or down until you find the specific item you were looking for (eg., 629 is after 628.8 and before 629.26). While you are there, you can see what else is on the shelf near it, because often just by browsing, you can locate some useful material. Activity

To feel a bit more comfortable using the library you have chosen, why not read the chapter on 'Using Libraries and other information sources’ in Marshall and Rowland's book, A guide to learning independently. Copies of this book are available from the University Libraries. We hope that you enjoy the course, with its mixture of theory and practical exercises. There's something very satisfying about finding your own answer to particular questions or problems, and knowing that you could do so again in similar

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circumstances! If you have any questions, feel free to contact your course coordinator. Finally, in regards to this course, you may be asking why you are being asked to study information skills in the first place! To satisfy your curiosity, please read on ...

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Section 1

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Basic information theories and concepts _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Chapter 1 (week 1)

Information: what is it?

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Information and knowledge Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or know where we can find information upon it. (Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1775)

There are many interpretations of the term information which consider its meaning, its properties and its value. Samuel Johnson differentiated the two terms, seeing information as a fact or the raw data while knowledge indicated a substantial acquaintance with a subject. One useful definition is that information is that which is communicated or received about a particular fact or circumstance. In other words, it is what we otherwise call news, data, advice, or fact. It may be unorganised and unrelated in structure. Knowledge, on the other hand, is an organised body of information (that is, a discipline) or the understanding upon having acquired and organised a body of facts through research, study, or application. Wisdom is knowledge of people, facts, life coupled with discernment, judgement, and insight. (Debons, Horne and Cronenweth, 1988, p.6) The following diagram represents the relationships and development of the sequence from the smallest component of the

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equation, a symbol representing an event, to the universe of events which make up the whole of the knowledge spectrum.

Universe of events I Wisdom (knowledge and judgement given representation) I Knowledge (awareness and understanding given representation) I Understanding (application of meaning to awareness) I Information (awareness given representation) I Awareness (consciousness of data about event) I Data (organised representations of event, eg language) I Symbols (representations of the event, eg numbers, letters, pictures) I Events (occurrence, condition, or change in the state of the world) Adapted from Debons, Horne and Cronenweth (1988, p.7) chart of the knowledge system. The chart which has been included above is also a useful representation of the intellectual process of interpreting and understanding information. If we return to the practical application of information, it is worth noting that the development of civilisations has always been dependent upon new information which has resulted in changes in social and political attitudes, new products and services, and technological discoveries.

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Technological discoveries Barry Jones (1990, p.231) provides a useful summary of the enhancement (pluses) or degradation (minuses) of the quality of life resulting from technological discoveries in the last couple of centuries, leading to the vast social, political, and economic changes we are experiencing. It is adapted below. •

Mechanised agriculture

+ vast increases in output, generally at lower cost - rural depopulation leads to urban population explosion; high energy use and over-consumption (in rich countries), contributes to diseases of overindulgence •

Mass production

+ greater availability of cheap goods - destruction of craftwork; loss of personal sense of involvement (alienation); deskilling •

Motor cars

+ greater flexibility in transport; wider choice of job and home locations - urban sprawl; road trauma; pollution; increasing psychological and physical dependence on the car; increasing social costs; destruction of transport alternatives •

Drugs

+ relieve pain; permit major operations - create psychological dependence and physical destruction •

Telephone

+ provides instant, low cost, universal communication - provides the capacity for universal surveillance, violation of privacy and control •

Aviation

+ speedy (usually) safe access to all parts of the world - instruments for mass destruction in war; the increased stress and pace of modern life •

Television

+ instant access to the world and direct (one-way) contact with the political process - encouragement of a mass uniform response rather than individual responses; cultural norms set at the lowest common denominator, rather than the highest common multiple 24 _________


•

Pesticides

+ save crops and decrease insect-borne diseases - pollution of the environment (especially waterways); lead to the creation of newer, tough types of pests •

Atomic Power

+ thirty year supply of raw material; will avoid some problems caused by the exhaustion of fossil fuels - increases nuclear hazards by making atomic energy universal and reducing the emphasis on the development of alternative energy resources •

Miniaturization

+ lower costs; vastly greater capacity - massive reductions in labour requirements ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What has information got to do with you? Given the rapidity with which our world is changing, and considering the positives and negatives of the new age of information which is upon us, it is increasingly necessary for all of us to be able to stay in control of the technology which presses in on us. From politicians to teachers, business leaders to parents, there is certainly a growing awareness that the overabundance of information with which we must cope is a key to our future survival as individuals and as a society within the global environment. Statistics about Australia's economy make it very clear that the ability to access information is a vital aspect of an increasing number of jobs. Already 75 percent of the workforce is employed in the services sector of the economy, with 41 percent of those people working essentially with information (ABS 2007). In their book Future shop, Jim Snider and Terra Ziporyn argue that our economy has shifted from one of supply and demand to one of 'poverty amidst plenty'. Our problem is not that the supply of products doesn't exist, it's that this doesn't do us any good if we cannot find them. In a modern society, information is becoming as crucial to personal happiness and prosperity as are food and clothing. Information is the glue which shapes our lives; it is the means by which we choose a better life ... Whenever we complain about the problems of finding a spouse, a doctor, a job, or just about anything else, we are usually, at least in part, talking about the difficulty of obtaining information. (Snider and Ziporyn 1992, p. 281)

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New information technologies have the potential to change the economics of both product and service information. As more consumers begin to recognise this fact, their information-seeking behaviour will change. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Information as a resource or a commodity Information has now come to be regarded as a resource (although intangible) like any other, for example, natural resources, as well as a commodity. In other words, information has become something that can be traded, since a monetary value can be attached to it. Why can information be regarded as a resource and a commodity? Consider the following reasons: •

it can be made use of

it can be owned and traded

it expands the more it is used

the wider it spreads, the more it increases

access to salient, accurate and timely information improves the quality of decision-making

even though it may be given away, the giver retains it

without information, problem-solving and decision making become more difficult and are less likely to be successful

One other important point to consider, concerns Australia very closely, as it has long been seen as a rich country in terms of its vast mineral deposits and land masses. The resources back in the industrial age were things that you could mine, produce, buy or sell. It didn't take much to understand what you had to do to survive in society. However information is human. 'Unlike traditional resources, such as coal and timber, it does not exist independent of human perception'. (Cleveland cited in Tellis, 1989, p. 67) Blake (1989, p.174) has expanded on the concept of information as a commodity: Information is a commodity when it is gathered, stored, and distributed on a systematic rather than serendipitous basis. Its value is not intrinsic; it only becomes valuable in a financial sense if it can be sold. Unlike many products, information is both time and context sensitive. What may inform one person may be quite useless to another, or useless to the same person if delivered five minutes too late. It is different to other commodities in that it can be re-used, but this does not change the basic premise.

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Activity

What value do you place upon access to information? Are there times in your life when knowing a certain fact could have changed the outcome of a particular situation? Do you prefer having accurate, timely information so that you gain control over all aspects of your life, or are you happy about leaving that role to others, for example, the authorities? If you were to be charged for information, say by a government department, or for the use of a library, which services would you be more inclined to pay for? Which services should be freely available and why? We all need to be prepared for this change and its effects on our daily lives. The best way to accomplish this is to be able to seek out and manipulate the information which touches our lives. Consider some of the ways in which information and resulting changes might affect us:

Reading 1.1

Dryden, Gordon and Vos, Jeannette 2001, The learning revolution: To change the way the world learns, Network Educational Press, Stafford, pp. 36-83. The 16 key trends to shape your future: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The age of instant communications A world without economic borders Four steps to a one-world economy Internet commerce and learning The new service society The marriage of big and small The new age of leisure The changing shape of work Women in leadership Your amazing brain rediscovered Cultural nationalism The growing underclass The active ageing of the population The new do-it-yourself boom Cooperative enterprise The triumph of the individual

(Dryden and Vos 2001, p. 36)

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Activity

The sixteen points above are elaborated upon in the Dryden and Voss reading. Choose those points which interest you and read through them. Can you see any relevance to your own work and leisure life? Is there any information in the pages which you read which might convince you of the value of being in charge of your own information-seeking? Write down some key points below as you read. Feel free to use more space to make notes than is provided here. Key Points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

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The information explosion More new information has been produced in the last 30 years than in the previous 5,000. About 1,000 book are published internationally every day, and the total of all printed knowledge doubles every eight years. (Large cited in Wurman 1990, p. 35)

And Information pollution is the nemesis of the information worker inundated with technical data. Some scientists claim that it takes less time to do an experiment than to find whether or not it has been done before. (Naisbitt cited in Wurman 1990, p.34)

The two authors quoted above, are both very concerned that in our enthusiasm to leap ahead into the future, we may lose sight of the value of the information that we seek. People have come to call this experience the information explosion. The concept of the information explosion refers to the exponential growth in published information. Technological developments allowing mass communication, which led McLuhan to coin the phrase, the global village, contribute to progress and development in all areas, but they also lead to information pollution and overload. Along with this dilemma, we also have the problem of the fragmentation and specialisation of knowledge. Only four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon was perceived as the archetypal 'Renaissance Man' owing to his claim to have in his possession all the knowledge of that time. The possession of such knowledge is no longer possible in our age. This is because there are so many changes and developments taking place constantly in all fields of endeavour. For example, it is generally thought that the knowledge gained in an engineering

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or computing degree will have a life-span of less than ten years. In other words, a lot of the information becomes outdated or obsolete very quickly and must be replaced regularly. Nevertheless, we need to question how much of this new information is useful or important. Of course, the information explosion provides benefits as well as difficulties, to those who are able to access and make use of the information. For example, today, access to the Internet is making it easier to locate information; and not only locate it, but retrieve it ... making it possible to anticipate a time when users of a comprehensive library system will have access not only to in-depth catalogs but to the information itself —every page in every book in every networked library. (Blair 1992, p.71)

In 2006-07, 64% of Australian households had home Internet access and 69% of people aged 15 years or over accessed the Internet from any location (ABS 2007b). Although access to information is increasing, we also need to consider the barriers which may inhibit that very access. Some of these barriers include • • • •

anxiety about using electronic media; information overload; computer illiteracy; and lack of money.

Anxiety and lack of computer skills may be remedied fairly simply by appropriate training. However, it is not so easy to solve the problem which some people face, in terms of their inability to afford the costs of the computer hardware, software, and access rights which are necessary to get onto the so-called 'information superhighway'. This problem is better addressed by the provision of such services via public institutions such as libraries or community information agencies so that the burden of payment is more equitably distributed. Indeed, some commentators have raised the concern that unless access to the new sources of computer-generated information is made more equitable, they may give rise to a new form of class distinction in society, between the information rich and the information poor. However, whatever the outcome in this latter respect, it is clear that the information explosion has already had, and will no doubt continue to have, major implications for our existing way of life in the years to come.

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Chapter 2 (week 2)

Information Literacy and the importance of developing information skills

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The need for information skills One thing that can be said about life in general is, that it is getting more complicated! Consider the following trends in society in the 21st century: •

Twice as many women are starting small businesses today.

•

Women tend to outlive their husbands, so training in the area of financial planning for families is of increasing concern in society; health-care issues such as prevention and selfdiagnosis information are important too, as are nutrition and other 'homemaker' topics.

•

The population is ageing at a great rate; the needs of the elderly require more research and a higher level of awareness among service-providers.

There are other issues to consider in identifying the information we need to help us go about our daily lives, as well. For example, if you live in a rural area, you may have to think about alternative sources of income for yourself and your children to

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those of traditional farming. Within this context, information, how to find it and use it effectively, will be extremely valuable. Thus, we are facing an era where information-seekers' needs are changing, and where the supply will outweigh the ability to use all of the information available. New information technologies have the potential to change the economics of both product and service information. As more consumers begin to recognise this fact, their information-seeking behaviour will change. It therefore becomes more necessary than ever before, to teach people 'how to learn'. This means that in whatever situation you find yourself (eg. studies, work, personal interests, etc) you will always need to be able to find and use information appropriately. The concept of 'learning how to learn' is not a new one. However, the term used to describe it is relatively new—most people now refer to the concept as information literacy. A useful definition comes from the business area. In discussing the increasing impact of technological change on the business world, the following points are made. The term information literacy expresses the broader need: the ability to acquire, process, use and communicate the right information. In a post-industrial society people need a level of literacy that will enable them to be effective consumers of information. Information literacy is built on computer literacy in the same way that successful human communication is built on the ability to read, write and speak. One must first understand the basics of the tools and how to use them. But one cannot stop there. Information literacy is described as the ability to identify, gain access to, manipulate, and effectively use information within the context of one's personal and professional lives. This includes the ability to critically evaluate the quality of information, and knowing when information is incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete. It is the ability to work with the information appropriate to one's task regardless of the form in which it arrives or the means by which it is processed. (Trauth 1991, p. 9).

Carol Kuhlthau (1987, p.22) says that 'essential to being literate in an information society is the ability to locate, comprehend, and apply information. These basic abilities involve thinking critically about information and about the ideas encountered in literature'. Why is it essential that we be able to locate and make use of information? Consider the following points. •

In the business world having access to appropriate information can provide the competitive edge.

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Pursuing your own information needs is more rewarding and leads to a continuing pursuit of knowledge.

Successfully completing information tasks increases self confidence and self esteem.

The information explosion requires that we know how to find and use information, because we will never be in a position to absorb even a tiny fraction of it.

There is an increasing need for all of us to be able to keep learning and retraining throughout our adult lives, as it becomes common for most people to have several jobs or occupations in the course of their lifetimes.

We don't want to be too gullible and be taken in by false information all the time. In other words, we can't afford to simply accept unquestioningly everything we're told.

If you are a parent, your child's education is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with many more technologies available to allow information to be used and disseminated. This will give parents some tools to help them help their children with homework, assignments, etc. But what is the best choice for money when buying expensive equipment for the home eg computers? We need information to feel confident in making the best decisions.

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How do we begin the task of accessing and critically analysing the information we need? Asking questions is the only way to begin. What those questions are is important, of course, but like any activity that you're not used to, exercise and practice are necessary to build up to asking creative or useful questions naturally. If you took the course, Introduction to Tertiary Learning, last semester, you will recall that some time was spent in stressing the importance of asking questions.

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Some good questions to ask might be: • • • • • • • • •

What do I already know about the topic? What do I want to know? Why do I want to know it? In what form, or, how do I need to know it? What do I know already about this? In what context has it been used? What do I anticipate finding? What effect will it have on me or my profession? (Or my family)? What if? (be creative!)

Ideally, through asking questions, we will begin to become more critical in our thinking. Barry Beyer equates this to being able to: •

distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims;

determine the reliability of a source;

determine the factual accuracy of a statement;

distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, claims or reasons;

detect bias;

identify unstated assumptions;

identify ambiguous claims or arguments;

recognise logical inconsistencies or fallacies;

distinguish between warranted or unwarranted claims; and

determine the strength of an argument.

(Beyer 1985, pp. 270-276) Essentially, you need to look at every information need as a problem solving exercise. Problem solving is where you define or describe a problem, determine the desired outcome, select possible solutions, evaluate the outcome, and revise where necessary. (Smith 1987, p.39) Many educators have developed a range of approaches to help you work through an information problem solving task.

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Bruce outlines the following steps Analyse the problem to be solved (or the situation you are in) | Identify important words (keywords), authors, other authorities | Create a strategy for finding information using these words | Find the sources you've identified as appropriate | Work out the best ways to use the information | Select only the information that you think is relevant; ignore the rest | Keep notes on where you found the information (Adapted from Bruce, 1992, p.17) Gawith suggests that there are 6 stages needed to complete any information task. These stages are not necessarily lockstep but in undertaking the task the learner may need to go back to an earlier stage to ask more questions and redefine the task before proceeding with the next stage. 1. Deciding: identifying information scope, need, purpose, and problem. 2. Finding: locating sources and resources, and retrieving information. 3. Using: analysing and interpreting information. 4. Recording: noting, and organizing notes appropriately. 5. Presenting: original, clear and accurate communication with a sense of purpose and who the audience is. 6. Evaluating: both the process of research and the progress as a researcher. (Gawith 1991, p.16)

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Eisenberg & Berkowitz (1988, p.101) also use a six stage approach. Their model for information problem solving is known as Big Six Skills Approach. 1. Task Definition – Determining the nature of the information problem and defining the purpose for the information search. 2. Information seeking strategies- determining the types of sources and strategies for acquiring the sources required to meet a previously defined information task. 3. Location and Access- finding sources and retrieving specific information from sources 4. Use of information –applying information to defined information needs 5. Synthesis –integrating, structuring, information to meet defined task

and

repackaging

6. Evaluation – judging the information problem- solving process and whether the information need was met Reading 2.1

Gawith, Gwen 1991, Ripping into research, Longman Paul, Auckland, pp.14-28

Activity:

Identify the similarities and differences between the approaches taken by Bruce, Gawith and Eisenberg. Read the extract from Gawith’s book where more details are supplied relating to each of the stages. Try to apply each of the stages to an information task you have been involved with lately. The approaches described above provide a systematic approach to information problem solving tasks. When you have worked through the process or the stages you have in fact completed a search strategy. The process or steps can be applied to any information task whether it is an academic, personal or work related one. In this course you will learn many strategies and skills which will assist you in working through an information task. You will learn some new skills, develop and refine others and hopefully become information literate. In other words you will develop the skills of learning how to learn. Learning how to take control of your learning is a challenging and ongoing exercise. Yet it is worth it, if for no other reason than that employers are keenly interested in ensuring that employees somehow keep up with the constant changes in the workplace. There never seems to be enough time or money to send staff on continuing education activities, so it needs to be learned 'on the

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fly' more often than not. Of course, as Tom Peters says in his book Liberating Management, 'create an institution where people aren't allowed to be curious, and people won't be curious' (Peters cited in Dryden and Voss, 1993, p.278). To be able to view the change as a problem or situation to be actively dealt with, requires that you acquire or fine-tune some complex skills, as identified in this chapter. It all comes back to your motivation and desire to take responsibility for your effectiveness in whatever you do at home and at work. When adults deliberately choose a challenging learning goal, the process of learning becomes even more special because they have knowingly placed themselves under the risk of failure ... With further reflection, they can build their self-confidence and experience the merit of their abilities and effort ... When there is success, there is good reason for jubilation and self-affirmation. When there is failure, the related issues can be explored through these questions: What has been learned from attempting to achieve the goal? Does the goal remain worthwhile? Is it reasonable to continue to strive for the goal? If not, what is the next best step? (Wlodkowski 1993, p.238)

In the next chapter, you will begin to work on planning strategies for finding and making the best use of information for all of your needs. While you have the opportunity to look at the some of the information sources available to you, complete the activity below. Activity Take some time to familiarise yourself with the University of South Australia Library web site, as the resources here will be useful in any future study that you choose to do. Look at the ’Virtual libraries’ and “Subject Resources”. These are in the third pillar under ‘Resources’ Which of these would be useful for finding information to research your scenario search strategies? http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/

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Chapter 3 (week 3)

Developing strategies for finding and presenting information

Some useful techniques There are many places or people we could turn to for information, but at this point, we will discuss how certain processes can be used to develop a search strategy in any information-seeking activity. In the last chapter we looked at the steps needed to complete an information task as outlined by Bruce, Gawith & Eisenberg. Apart from the fact that Gawith & Eisenberg go on to the presentation stage, there is a close resemblance between the approaches which Bruce, Gawith and Eisenberg take in getting the appropriate information. All authors start at the same starting point, which is to ask, 'How do I know what I need to know?' As discussed in the last section, asking questions of yourself, and of the situation in which you find yourself, is vital to the success of your search strategy. Start with the obvious questions, and then worry about the bits that haven't been covered.

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mind maps What are they? Many of us do not learn well simply by being shown or told how to do something or find something, and often, we find that even when we take notes, that we cannot really understand them, or work out what it is that we are supposed to be doing. One search strategy or learning strategy that works well for some people is the use of mind maps. We have already discussed the importance of questioning in relation to problem solving. One of the best ways to define your problem clearly enough in order to be able to ask the right questions about it is to map out the key ideas related to the problem. Gawith has written extensively on the subject of approaching and following through on the problem. She suggests that brainstorming is an appropriate way to discover most of the key ideas. It is amazing how much we really know about most of the problems that we are trying to solve. Sometimes brainstorming with someone else will bring out even more ideas as you bounce suggestions off each other and you begin to get quite creative. As the ideas come out, it is important to capture them in writing, so that they can later be reconsidered, discarded, or manipulated in some way. A mind map is simply a diagram drawn in a certain way which uses words, lines, shapes, colours and pictures to present ideas and information in a clear way, to improve our memory, approach and creativity to particular topics. A mind map starts with a single or major idea and works outwards in all directions to produce a growing and organised diagram made up of key words and key images. Buzan who developed the concept of mind maps provides this definition: The mind map is an expression of Radiant Thinking and is therefore a natural function of the human mind. It is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlocking the potential of the human brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance. (Buzan 1995, p. 59)

Reading 3.1

Buzan, Tony 1995, The mindmap book, BBC Books, London. Pages 143, 145, 146. Key Points:________________________________________ __________________________________________________ 39 _________


The reading by Buzan provides examples of mind maps. This Internet site will also provide examples if you enter the "Map Gallery" pages: http://www.mind-mapping.co.uk/mind-maps-examples.htm If you search on the Internet using the term ‘mind map’ you will find many examples. You can also find an example at page 19 of Reading 2.1 by Gawith. Mind maps are a very natural way to help you organise information, generate ideas, take notes, organise your search strategy, plan a talk or report, and for many other activities.

Advantages of mind maps Cacioppe has identified a number of advantages associated with mind mapping: • They are natural and fun—it's an easy process, which develops quite naturally as your thoughts and images occur. •

Visual recall and memory are accurate and faster—the visual impact and easy linking of ideas helps speed and accuracy in remembering certain points.

They stimulate creativity—because the map is open-ended, it helps us make intuitive or new connections to ideas. This can be really helpful in preparing a talk, or in problem-solving or brain-storming.

The main idea or point is central—as the main idea is the visual centre of the map, it is very easy to clearly emphasise and define it.

The relative importance of each idea is shown—each idea can be given a different emphasis by placing it close to the centre, putting certain words in capitals, or by using bold colours, symbols and/or pictures.

They use less space and time—points are made in the shortest form possible, so unnecessary words are not used—less space or time is taken in making notes or preparing a search strategy or talk.

They are easy to modify or add to—because the structure is nonlinear, information can be added or modified easily without erasing it or trying to squeeze it in.

Key concepts can be linked—links are easily made because of their proximity and connection to each other. Dotted lines might be used to connect ideas that are some distance apart on a mind map.

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Reading 3.2

Cacioppe, Ron 1992, Mind maps: an effective method to improve recall of information and ideas, study and learn better, help you plan, trigger creativity, present information with impact. Integra, Perth, pp. 1-8, 11. Key Points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

What does Cacioppe suggest in the above Reading about structuring your thoughts? Do you think that it's better to read some background material on a topic before you prepare a mind map? Can you see the value of thinking about key concepts right at the beginning and then working out the links between them, before you go off in search of the information you will need? In the last chapter the phrase 'key words' was mentioned. These are words which tend to have a strong impact, are more outstanding or of greater significance, and are the ones we tend to remember easily. Often they tend to be nouns and verbs in a sentence which capture the essential meaning of that sentence. They are tangible and concrete rather than abstract. They often create images and associations and are therefore more easily recalled. In last semester's course, Introduction to Tertiary Learning, key words were discussed in terms of their importance in writing essays at university. However, key words are useful for more than just that. Key words are demonstrated in bold in the following sentence: Surprisingly, the successful negotiator is more likely to express internal feelings, thoughts and motives, while the average negotiator gives more information about external events such as facts, clarifications, and general expression of opinions. (Cacioppe 1992, p. 13)

Although a number of the words in bold are not specifically concrete or sensory words, they are central words in this sentence, because they incorporate many of the vital elements of the message. Think how they could begin to be used in a mind map.

Basic guidelines of mind mapping: The following points represent some basic guidelines for effective mind mapping:

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Put the major subject or objective in the centre of the map.

Words should be printed. Printing gives a more photographic, more immediate and more comprehensive feedback. Again, those words to which you want to give special emphasis, should be in capitals.

Print words on lines, which are connected. These should be connected in such a way that the ideas which link to form clusters of similar ideas are clear. These clusters are probably the ones you will find are worth exploring further.

Words should be in concise 'blocks'. Each idea or point should be written in as few words as possible, usually no more than two or three words to a line. The fewer words used, the more free 'hooks' can spring from an idea, which gives greater flexibility.

Make your ideas free-flowing and spontaneous, not organized and planned. The main idea is to allow the mind to record everything it thinks is important around the main idea. Let your mind operate freely; don't worry about organisation, or the order of the map. That can come later.

Use different colours. Three to five colours should be sufficient. Use different colours to highlight different words, outline a major branch of the mind map, or to show how, with the same colours, ideas on different parts of the map are connected.

In the final analysis, mind mapping requires that you: • • • • •

Activity

Read, reread, and spend some time thinking about the ideas. Gather your thoughts. Once you get an overall view, determine the central aspects. Jot these down. Identify the related ideas. Jot these down. Establish the groups and cluster the ideas. Develop the map. Link the ideas, and label with statements of relationships. (Todd 1993, pp. 17-23) Try drawing a mini mind map around the idea of a “shoe” or “glove”. A mini mind map is a mind map that is only one level deep. Put the key word or concept in the centre of your mind map and quickly add 7 related words. Try this idea with a friend and compare the results. How many ideas were duplicated?

You will be asked to create a mind map for the the first assignment and two scenarios which you do for assignments 2-3, so start thinking about how you would like to create one. They 42 _________


do not all have to look alike. If you have your own method of comfortably linking ideas, you do not have to use colours or capital letters, etc. What is important, however, is that the map should not be linear, because to have the ideas flow in a straight line from one to the other, inhibits lateral thinking and the linking of similar concepts. There are many guides, including computer programs, some of which can be downloaded from the Internet, to help you with creating mind maps. You might like to access these sites on the Internet or try your own search to discover some more about mind maps. http://www.inspiration.com/ Activity

If you were considering buying a dictionary or perhaps even an encyclopedia, what would be some of the important factors which would help you to decide the best one for your (or your family's) needs? Cost need not be considered at this time. Using Gawith's and Cacioppe's readings (Readings 2.1 and 3.2) as a guide, brainstorm and map out some of the key points that you come up with. Don't forget that dictionaries and encyclopedias are not only available in one format, eg. large hardcover editions.

Locating information using the library catalogue When using a library to access information we can use the library catalogue to find out what is available. The catalogue is a master list of all of the materials that a library holds or to which the library has electronic access. These materials can be books, videos, DVDs, magazines, government reports, newspapers, kits and many other types of items. Most library catalogues will allow you to search in a variety of ways. You might be looking for an item that you have heard of or which has been recommended to you. If you know the title or author you can search using this information. If you are looking for material on a topic, such as ‘the impact of stress on studying’, you can search using keywords or subject headings. For example, you might want to find out if a library has the book Keys to effective learning: developing powerful habits of

43 _________


mind by Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop and Sarah Lyman Kravits. You could search like this: •

Author: Carter, Carol

Title: Keys to effective learning: developing powerful habits of mind

If you wanted to find other materials on stress and studying, you could search like this (remember to think of alternative terms!): •

Keywords: (stress or anxiety) and (studying or studies or learning)

Most library catalogues can be searched online, for example the University of South Australia Library catalogue , (http://catalogue.library.unisa.edu.au) so it is not necessary to visit the library in person to see if particular items are available. Requests for items can also be made online (placing the item ‘on hold’ for you). For help using the University’s Library catalogue have a look at the online workshop Library catalogue introduction. (http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learn/library/? PATH=/Resources/library %2Dmodules/Library+catalogue+introduction/&default=Overview .htm). Most catalogues have a help facility so don’t forget to use this if you are having difficulties. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the University of South Australia Library web site, (http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/) as the resources here will be useful in your studies. You may find the Australian Libraries Gateway (http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/) provided by the National Library of Australia useful to locate a local library. The Gateway can help you find all sorts of different libraries – public, school, state, university and more – and will give you some details and links to their websites and catalogues

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Report writing In this course you are required to write a number of reports as a way of presenting your findings.

What is a report? A report is a piece of writing that outlines the results of an investigation and sometimes makes recommendations . It is a form of writing used extensively in business and in industry. It is usually presented in a concise and precise manner to convey information in a simple and readily accessible form. There are various types of reports but for this course you will be writing an analytical report. That is you will be analysing a problem or situation to yield a conclusion or perhaps a recommendation for solving the problem (Tebeaux, E. 1991, p. 199).

Format of the report. The format of a report may differ depending on the audience, the type and purpose of the report and the conventions of presentation (the way the report is laid out). An important difference between a report and an essay is layout. A report is usually presented with headings and subheadings and uses decimal numbering or a number-letter system to convey meaning and information. In this course your reports are simple so the following format can be followed. Your report should include: •

Title Page

Introduction In the introduction you will state what the report is about and provide any necessary background information.

Body or main section This is the longest section of the report. The information is presented in a logical manner and broken up into sections using headings. Think about suitable headings for the main section of your reports. Below are some suggested headings.  Defining the task o

Using mind map

 Locating resources

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 Resources located  Evaluation of resources  Summary of findings •

Conclusion

In this section you should analyse how successful you were in solving the problem, comment about what you learnt from undertaking the task and provide suggestions for improving your search strategies in the future. • Appendices (if any) Include your mind map as an appendix. You may also wish to include examples of significant documents collected during your investigations. • Reference list and Bibliography Remember a reference list is the sources you have referred to in your report and a bibliography is the sources consulted but not referred to directly in the report. You must include a reference list in the reports and essay in this course. You may also include a bibliography; the bibliography is optional. Further guidance in report formats and style can be found in the references at the end of this section and in the Flexible Learning Centre guide called Writing reports. Activity

Access the Learning Connection Website and enter the 'Students' section. Locate the guide "Writing reports." Print this and use it as a guide in answering these questions or discussing them with your group. 1. How does a report differ from other forms of writing you have encountered at university or work? Consider format, purpose and writing style. 2. Identify the different sections of a report. What might you include in these for the reports that you will be writing for this course? Consider the point that the reports you are writing for this course are shorter and less formal than many; you will not be required to include a letter of transmittal or abstract for these reports, for example. http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learningconnection/

Reading 3.3 Windschuttle, K & Elliott, E 1999, 'Reports: writing and presentation', Chapter 26 in Writing, Researching, Communicating: Skills for the Information Age, 3rd edn, McGrawHill, Roseville.

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Activity What function do headings and subheadings perform in reports?

What function does the 'table of contents' perform? What should this include? What is the difference between inductive and deductive sequencing? Why would you include information in an appendix? How are appendices differentiated from the main matter in a report? How can you maintain an impartial tone in your writing? Why is precision so important in report writing? How can you be more precise in your writing?

The reports in this course are relatively short analytical reports using an inductive sequence. Note that use of personal pronouns ('I' 'we' 'my', and 'me') is acceptable in the reports for this course, however use them sparingly. Avoid falling into the habit of writing a narrative of events rather than an analysis of the information problem, sources and outcomes. You do not need to include a letter of transmittal or executive summary and Recommendations at the beginning of the report. Tip: If you are using Microsoft Office Word, you can automatically create a table of contents and update this. Type ‘table of contents’ into the ‘Help’ to find out how.

Referencing Learning to keep track of the sources you use as you research and to reference your work correctly is an important skill. In addition to demonstrating the depth and range of your research to others, it enables both you and your readers to locate and retrieve the sources of your information for further research. For this reason it is important to include particular details in your references and to follow conventions which help guide readers of public and scholarly writing. In this course we are using the Harvard author-date system. In your reports and essay for this course you need to include a reference list. You can include a bibliography if you wish; the bibliography is optional.

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Activity: Go to the Learning Connection Web site. Locate and print out the guide Referencing using the Harvard system (author-date system). Keep this handy and refer to it when writing your reports and essay. http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learningconnection/ Now answer these questions. pairs/groups in class, alone and discussion list if external. 1. When should you include a reference? 2. What is included in a reference in the text of your assignment? 3. Which details are included in the references at the end of your assignment? 4. How is a reference list arranged? 5. How do you list a reference if it has no author? 6. How do you list two works by the same author? How would you reference these? 7. The third edition of a book called Your own business: a practical guide to success, written by Wal Reynolds, Warwick Savage and Alan Williams. This book was published by Nelson, in South Melbourne in 2000. 8. An article called "Dietary components with demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing the severity of exercise induced asthma", written by T. Mickleborough and R. Gotshall from the journal Sports Medicine, volume 33 number 9, 2003, pages 671 - 81. 9. An electronic article found in the online version of newspaper, Australian Financial Review, page 47, called "Internet Fraud: a risk for business" written by Mark Fenton-Jones on the 14th October, 2003, and accessed through the data base Lexis Nexis, at http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe , on the 25th November, 2003. 10. A document found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' website called "Communications and Information Technology Internet activity", part of the Year Book Australia 2003, published 24 January 2003, accessed July 21, 2003 at http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs %40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/cb234bfed803e34 bca256cae0016342f!OpenDocument

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11. Place a number next to them to show the order they would appear in a reference list. When you have finished, check your answers against the ones below. How did you go? If you have questions, post them to our discussion list.

Activity Answers Answer to 7. Reynolds, W, Savage, W & Williams, A 2000, Your own business: a practical guide to success, 3rd edn, Nelson, South Melbourne. (4) Answer to 8 Mickleborough, T & Gotshall, R 2003, 'Dietary components with demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing the severity of exercise induced asthma', Sports Medicine, vol. 33, no. 9, pp. 671 - 81. (3) Answer to 9 Fenton-Jones, M 2003, 'Internet Fraud: a risk for business', Australian Financial Review , 14 Oct, p.47, viewed 25 Nov. 2003, <http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe> (2) Answer to 10 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003 , 'Communications and Information Technology Internet activity,' Year Book Australia, viewed 21 July 2003, <http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs %40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/cb234bfed803e34bca 256cae0016342f!OpenDocument > (1)

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Chapter 4 (week 4)

Using electronic information

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What’s so different about electronically stored information? We’ve all begun to take for granted that computers are the logical way to store data efficiently. We all know that computers can somehow hold a tremendous amount of information, and that retrieving that information is much easier than sifting through piles of paper files. Of course the downside of using computers for storage of information is that you have to learn a whole new set of ‘rules’ in order to make it do what you want it to do. In the course Introductory computing you may have looked at some of these rules and some of the changes that are occurring in our society because of the speed of technological change. Now we’re going to look at digital information which is stored in someone else’s computer (via the Internet). If you don’t have access to a computer at home or at work, try the public library or TAFE to access the Internet and a range of other databases. Also, the University of South Australia Libraries all have computers with Internet access on which you can try some 51 _________


searches, or look at some of the sites which have been suggested in this Study guide.

Growth of informa t ion digital format .

available

in

Developments in the electronics, telecommunication and computing industries have meant that increasingly vast amounts of information are available in digital format. Many of us are making use of e-mail, electronic discussion groups, chat and videoconferencing to communicate quickly and easily with others. We are using e-journals, electronic databases and other electronic networks to access information. On a daily basis we use networks such as ATMs and EFPTOS as a matter of course. The amount of information available to us is unprecedented. The challenge for us as users of information is how to manage what in effect is an information overload. To cope with this phenomenon we need a range of information skills which focus on applying, analysing, synthesising and critically evaluating the information presented to us so that we can become effective decision makers and problem solvers. The skills you have learnt in accessing print resources must be refined and enhanced when dealing with digital information sources and some new skills relating to the use of computers learnt. All the expertise that we have acquired with print no longer commands the respect that it did when we started our working lives. So much living and working experience is already computer-based that many of us are on a constant steep learning curve as we keep adjusting to technological innovations. (Spender 1995, p.15) Advantages of using digital information. The advantage of using an online database which is stored in a computer somewhere else in the world and which can be accessed by your computer is that it can be updated and made available to you in an instant. CD-ROMs store information in an encoded format but they cannot be as easily updated. New disks must be produced to update the information. Reading 4.1

University of South Australia Library 2006, Search Engines http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/resources/subject/engine.asp

Activity

Choose 3 different search engines you have never used before. Think of a topic you for which often search for information. Look at the Help facility and features in each of these engines. Are they different? Do some of the engines specialise in particular information? Do they use different syntax (the rules governing how you enter your search) to 52 _________


enter and combine search terms? How do they present the results? Enter a search for your topic in each engine and compare results. Which is your favourite and why?

If you would like more information about the internet and using search engines, have a look at the Libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s online workshop Introduction to the world wide web. You could also refer to another online workshop called Infogate, which has a section on Locating information through the web ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How do we search online & CD-ROM resources? Defining the problem or task As has already been pointed out in the previous scenarios asking questions, listing concepts and ideas in the form of a mind map then isolating keywords and questions is an essential first step. Information seeking strategies Once the information problem has been formulated you must consider possible and appropriate information sources as well as developing an understanding of how to search them. Searching Databases There is a large number of databases of various types which can be accessed either via the Internet or by CD-ROM at various libraries. There are over 300 databases accessible via the University of South Australia Library. These can be browsed by subject or title in order to find ones that may be useful for your purposes. An important step before you decide to use one is to read the database description page. Ask: does this cover the information content I require? What regions does the information cover and/or originate from? What format will the information be â&#x20AC;&#x201C; fulltext or bibliographic? The following online workshop, Locate information through databases, is one of a series collectively called InfoGate. These online workshops will help you to use your current skills and develop new ones so that you can access and utilise information effectively in your studies and other aspects of your life. This particular workshop provides you with guidance in searching different types of database. You may find it useful to complete all of the workshops, or choose those modules that suit your needs. Locate information through databases covers 53 _________


• • • •

databases search strategies evaluating/interpreting search results managing electronic information

Reading 4.2 University of South Australia Library 2007, “Locate Information through databases” InfoGate http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/infogate2/Modules/InfoDB/ default.asp Activity

Go online and take the link to the above mentioned 60 minute tutorial. Work through this. Be ready to answer your lecturer’s quick quiz at the end of this.

A great variety of databases are available. Some are international, with material from around the world. There are also a number of databases with a specifically Australian focus, and many of these have been drawn together by one publisher under the brand name Informit. These databases are all accessed through the Informit platform (interface), and this means that you can search two or more databases at the same time with the same search strategy. Once you've learnt to use one Informit database you can use them all! In fact, many databases have similar features. You may not find the same databases to be available at different libraries (your local public library may not have access to some Informit databases, for example, while the University does) but your database searching skills are transferable. AUSTROM contains 13 Australian databases It can be accessed online at http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/resources/dbpages/dbpage.a sp?pg=416345 Activity

Reading 4.3

Look at the Austrom selection of databases in the ‘database by title’ menu at the UniSA library web pages. Click on the link to reach the database description page. Would this be a useful collection of databases to research for your scenario search strategies or essay topic?

University of South Australia Library 2001, Connecting and Combining Search Terms, viewed 1 February 2005, <http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/infoskills/resourcesguid es.asp> 54 _________


Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Using Boolean searching In the above online tutorials and article you would have read about Boolean searching techniques. With hard copy resources, we tend to search in a linear or hierarchical fashion, starting with an author’s name or a subject heading which we believe will yield some results. We then proceed to search through sub-headings, or scan titles by the particular author until the right one is found. If we haven’t chosen the right heading to search under, then the process can become difficult. It is even worse if our topic combines two or more subjects which aren’t normally written about together, such as ulcers and chemotherapy. A different approach is often adopted if we are searching on a computer. This process is known as Boolean searching and is based on combining words with ‘Boolean operators’. These focus your search by telling the computer program that you want a particular combination of these search terms you’ve just typed in. For example, the term ‘AND’ in conjunction with ‘travel’ and ‘Australia’ will force the search tool on the database to come up with all items referring to travel in Australia, as opposed to all travel around the world. Similarly, using ‘NOT’ in the same situation will bring back a result of all travel items EXCEPT those regarding Australia. Most databases will allow you to ‘limit’ your results in different ways. For example, you may be able to specify a particular date range such as 2004 – 2007, which means that you will only retrieve records for articles published from 2004 to 2007. It’s wise to beware of searching for very common words. You may get one of two results depending on the database you’re searching on. Either you will get so many ‘hits’ (possible responses to suit your request) that you will have difficulty weeding out the good from the poor ones, or you will get no hits at all. For example, you may have already noticed that searching on the library catalogue for words in a title such as ‘the’ or ‘and’ don’t get you anywhere! Be prepared to change your search terms, depending on the results you get. If you have too many hits you may want to add additional words that must be included along with your original search term(s). Or you may want to adjust the Boolean operators so that you’re requiring a more restrictive search. “The important thing to realize is that this is a perfectly normal process. By running a 55 _________


search repeatedly, each time with an adjusted set of keywords, you strengthen the possibility of finding the information you need.” (Gilster, 1996, p.76) Activity

How would you go about searching for ‘the mating habits of the kookaburra’ online? What keywords would you use? What Boolean operators would you use? Think about a topic that you would like to research. What would be the best online source to do your initial research from? Do you think that it would be worth checking out a different online source as you progressed? What would you choose? Searching the Internet Using a Web Browser If you have never been on the Internet before this stage, you will need to have some idea of how a ‘browser’ works. A browser is software that enables you to easily access Internet sites and see/hear a visual representation of the information. The two most common browsers are Netscape and Microsoft Explorer. Both are available for free from a number of sources; the latter is also available with Windows if you happen to have that operating system on your computer. There are a number of companies in which allow local call dial-up. When searching the internet remember that the help option built into your web browser is also useful if you encounter any problems.

Searching for specific Information using the Internet In 1998 it was estimated that there were about 500 - 600 million pages of information on the Internet or World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW, or shortened simply to the Web). If we are to have any success in retrieving relevant information from this conglomeration of computer sites that are linked together in a quite disorganised manner from all parts of the world, then we must rely on research tools which are available on the Internet. Directories These are collections of resources organised into categories. They are easy to use and a safe method of finding relevant resources. Some examples of directories are Yahoo: http://www.yahoo.com.au Edna (Education Network of Australia) which specialises in educational resources: http://www.edna.edu.au

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The Internet Public Library which evaluates sites accessed: http://www.ipl.org/ WWW Virtual Library: http://www.vlib.org

Search engines. What is a search engine exactly? Well, it is a site which catalogues terms from other sites on the Web. It uses its catalogue to come up with a list of responses to your search request. “Searching the entire Web in real-time is (at the moment) impossible, so what search engines do is create a limited directory ahead of time using small automated pieces of software known as spiders, crawlers, bugs or some other unsavoury skittering thing to...catalogue what they find... The average search engine has about 30 to forty million pages on file. What matters is how up to date this information is, or how frequently the search engine reindexes its directory.” (Hollingworth 1996, p.48)

There is a large number of search engines available but they do not all operate in the same way. They differ according to the size of their database, types of pages indexed, method of indexing, search engines capabilities and the presentation of results. Some can be used for tracking down people, some for different types of media and some for different types of Internet resources such as Newsgroups and ftp sites. There are many sites on the Internet where you can discover everything you need to know about search engines and how to use them efficiently. Look at the following sites to get a sense of what is available http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/resources/subject/engine.asp http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=facts http://www.internettutorials.net/choose.html

__________________________________________________________ When searching the internet, consider the following advice. “The idea is to isolate a search keyword or phrase that specifically identifies what you are after. In this regard, it becomes more important 57 _________


than ever to bear in mind the nature of the engine you are using. A search engine that automatically inserts an AND between two terms (the Web Crawler is an example) will return hits with far more specificity than one that does not. The latter, for example, would encounter a search term like nuclear physics and return as hits any documents that contained either word. The former would return only those documents that contained both the term nuclear and the term physics, increasing the likelihood of success in your search.” (Gilster 1996, pp.75-76)

Some searching hints ♦ Plan your search, which includes defining keywords. ♦ Be specific. Using general search terms will result in a large number of ‘hits’ many of which will probably be irrelevant. ♦ Consider the type of information required. Do you require fact or opinion ? ♦ Consider where this information might be located, for example consider country of location and possible organisation who may provide such information. ♦ Use the best search engines. Through experience you will discover the most useful. New search engines are being developed constantly. Try the following Google:http://www.google.com Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com/ Use Google Scholar through the Univesity of South Australia Library Home page in order to gain full access to resources. ♦ Use the search engines advanced features such as are available on Altavista http://www.altavista.com/ Mamma http://www.mamma.com/ Where available, use the search engines’ advanced features (‘advanced search’, ‘power search’ or similar) as these give you a lot more control over your search, allowing you to make it more specific and avoid those millions of hits! Be aware of syntax - this is the rules governing how you enter your search. Some search engines use Boolean logic, some don’t care about CAPITAL LETTERS and punctuation, and some require quotation marks around

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the words that belong together. Use the help facilities of each search engine to make sure you are using the correct rules for entering your search terms.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What do we find on the Intern e t? There is some excellent material available on the Internet. If you learn how to access and locate information in key sites and gateways such as the Australian Federal Government site: http://www.australia.gov.au/index.php for example, you can reach state departments and local agencies by using site maps and indexes. Similarly, you can access services and information from across the globe. However, there is some questionable material, as well. Since virtually anyone with a computer can create a page of information that can be indexed and accessed by everyone who has access to the Internet, there are bound to be some problems with reliability, and with taste! â&#x20AC;&#x153;If all you knew of the Internet was from headlines in the mainstream media, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is little more than a global community of hackers, child molesters, and Oklahoma-bomb-making neo-nazi fringe groups.... The perception of the Internet as a seething electronic underworld in dire need of urgent intervention is a popular one. But the reality is a lot more complex. Most Internet users have never come across information on how to make a bomb, how to hack computer systems, or child pornography and yet few would deny that such material does actually exit on the Internet as it does in other media.â&#x20AC;? (West b u r y 199 6, p.47)

Evaluating Information on the Internet ____The main thing is to treat information on the Internet as cautiously as you would information you hear on television. However because there is so much information on the Internet and no one controls the type of information that is published it is very important to develop skills to evaluate Internet resources. Think about the following: Authority Who created the page? Is the author identified? What organization does the author belong to? What are the credentials of the author? Are the sources of information stated? Purpose What is the purpose of the resource? Is the purpose clearly stated? Is the information promoting a particular point of view?

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Audience Who is the intended audience?

Accuracy & Reliability How accurate is the information likely to be? Is the information biased? Currency Is this important? How recent is the information? When wasthe information last updated? Links to other resources Are there links to other resources? How up-to-date are the links? Accessibility Are there headings and sub-headings on the page so that the information is readily accessible? Is the title informative? Is the information readable and easy to understand? Do the links work? Does the page load quickly? Do the pictures enhance the text? Is the information laid out in a logical fashion? Usefulness Is the information useful for my purpose? Is there enough information provided? In summary always check to see if the information is accurate, reliable, relevant and authoritative. Check out this Internet site for a bibliography on evaluating Internet resources with links to many other sites. http://www.library.uq.edu.au/internet/inteval.html

Information Skills Quiz Well, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re now ready to tackle any information request that comes your way, which requires an online search strategy! Try to take advantage of these skills as you work your way through the next assignments. First, to see how you are going in the course try this online quiz. This quiz should take 30 to 45 minutes and will test your knowledge on the following topics:

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analysing a question using keywords; â&#x20AC;˘ features of the University of South Australia Library online catalogue and databases; â&#x20AC;˘ referencing using the Harvard author-date system. The answers you provide will not be viewed by anybody but yourself and will not affect your marks for Information Skills. The quiz is intended to give you some feedback on how you are going in understanding important concepts in the course. If you have difficulty answering the questions you can review the readings and online tutorials, post a question on the Online Discussion list or seek advice from your tutor. Click on the link below to access the quiz http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/Quiz/StartQuiz.asp? QUIZ=1513&SUBJECT=11287&SECTION=1812&FR=0 When you have finished the quiz... Well done! You have now finished the quiz. How did you go? Are you feeling confident? Or do you need to go back to the readings to clarify a few concepts? Don't forget you can always post a question to the Discussion list or seek advice from your tutor. Get ready to apply some of your skills in analysing questions, finding, evaluating and presenting information as we look at the scenario topics in chapters 5, 6 and 7...

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References for chapters 1 - 4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2007a, 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, ‘Services Industries Sector’, viewed 10 January 2008, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/productsbytitle/7D 92C121048E8948CA25723600046AD1?opendocument Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2007b, 8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, viewed 10 January 2008 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0/ Beyer, Barry 1985, 'Critical thinking: what is it?' Social education volume 49, number 4, April 1985, pp. 270-276. Blair, Joan 1992, 'The library in the information revolution'. Library administration and management, Spring 1992, pp. 71-76. Blake, Kate 1989, 'The bottom line: information as a commodity'. In The information investment: proceedings of the 3rd Asian Pacific special and law Librarians' conference, Adelaide: NSLS and ALLG, pp. 174-179. Bruce, Christine 1992, Developing student's library research skills, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Adelaide. Buzan,T 1995, The MindMap book, 2nd ed., BBC Books, London. Debons, Anthony; Horne, Esther and Cronenweth, Scott 1988, 'Perspective'. In Information science: an integrated view, Boston, Massachusetts: G K Hall, pp. 1-18. Dryden, Gordon and Vos, Jeannette 2001, The learning revolution: To change the way the world learns, Network Educational Press, Stafford, pp. 36-83. Dryden, Gordon and Vos, Jeannette 1993, The learning revolution: a lifelong learning programme for the world’s finest computer: your amazing brain, Profile Books, Auckland, pp. 36-77. Eisenberg, Michael and Berkowitz, Robert 1988, Curriculum Initiative: an agenda and strategy for library media programs, Ablex Publishing Corporation, Norwood, New Jersey. Eunson, Baden 1994, Writing and presenting reports. JohnWiley, Milton,Qld. Gilster, Paul 1996, Finding it on the Internet, McGraw-Hill, New York.

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Harrison, Kate and Cossins, Anne 1993, Documents, dossiers and the inside dope: a practical guide to freedom of information law, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, New South Wales. Hollingworth, David 1996 ‘Needles, haystacks and the Web’. Internet.au, December 1996, No.14, pp. 46-51. Jones, Barry 1990,'Information—who controls it?' In Sleepers, wake: technology and the future of work! Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 182-189. Kuhlthau, Carol 1989, 'Information search process'. School Library Media Quarterly, Fall 1989, pp.19-25. Learning Connection, University of South Australia 2006, Learning Guides, Referencing using the Harvard System (author -date) and Writing Reports viewed 20 December, 2006, <http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learningconnection> Mansell, Thelma 1990, 'Reports', How to write business letters and reports, 2nd edn, Pitman, Melbourne, pp.142 -151. Marshall, Lorraine & Rowland, Frances 2006, A guide to learning independently, 4rth edition, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne. Piternick, Anne 1990, ‘Decision factors favoring the use of online sources for providing information’, RQ, Summer 1990, pp. 534544. Sieburth, Janice 1988, Online search services in the academic library, American Library Association, Chicago. Smith, Jane 1987, 'Higher-order thinking skills and nonprint media', School library media quarterly, Fall 1987, pp. 38-42. Snider, Jim & Ziporyn, Terra 1992, Future shop: how new technologies will change the way we shop and what we buy, St. Martin's Press, New York. Spender, Dale 1995, Nattering on the Net: women, power and cyberspace, Spinifex Press, North Melbourne. Tebeaux, Elizabeth 1990, Design of Business Communications; The Process and the Product, Macmillan, New York. Tellis, Des 1989, 'Information has no value till required?' In The information investment: proceedings of the 3rd Asian Pacific special and law librarians' conference, NSLS and ALLG, Adelaide, pp. 6672. Todd, Ross 1993, 'Lifelong learning and information skills'. SCAN, July 1993, pp. 17-23.

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Trauth, Eileen M., Kahn, Beverly K and Warden, Francena 1991, Information literacy: an introduction to information systems, Maxwell Macmillan International, New York. University of South Australia Library 2001, Connecting and Combining Search Terms, viewed 1 February 2005, <http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/infoskills/resourcesguides.a sp> University of South Australia Library 2007 Infogate < http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/infogate2/default.asp> University of South Australia library 2004 Using the library Facilities. Westbury, Marcus 1996, ‘The underside of the Internet’. internet.au, June 1996, No.8, pp. 46-50. Wlodkowski, Raymond 1993, Enhancing adult motivation to learn: a guide to improving instruction and increasing learner achievement, Josey Bass Publishers, San Francisco. Wurman Richard Saul 1990, Information anxiety: what to do when information doesn't tell you what you need to know, Bantam, New York.

Further Reading McWilliam, Tom 1987, 'Report Writing' , Chapter 15 in Communication that works, Kevin E. Valence & Tom McWilliam, Nelson Wadsworth, Melbourne, pp. 242 – 25 Privacy International website 2006, viewed 22 December 2006, <http://www.privacyinternational.org > See also their report, Privacy and Human Rights 2000, viewed 20 May, 2001. Windschuttle, K., Elliott, K. 1999, Writing, Researching, Communicating: Communication Skills for the Information Age, 3rd edn., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Introductory scenarios _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Introduction to introductory scenarios

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In this section there are three chapters which provide you with some practical information for developing your skills in finding information. Each chapter discusses a different topic, so you are likely to find at least one that interests you! You will be taken through the pattern of developing a search strategy, and you will also be shown a number of sources where information might be found. Hopefully, as you read along, you will do the activities suggested so that you become comfortable with the strategies and sources which have been provided in each case. Some of the sources of information will be found in your communityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;at a bank or a travel agent, for example. Other sources may be found in a nearby library, or even in your own home. The hope is that you will make the effort to identify some of the sources at hand, and even interact with them. That way, the next time a need for information comes along which resembles something you have thought about in this course, you will be able to confidently meet that need. The three chapters, or scenarios, in this section look at information needs in the areas of employment and lifestyle, health, and travel. At the end of each chapter, there is a specific question related to its topic. As outlined in your Course information, for your major assignment, you will need to choose two of the specific scenarios from sections 2 and 4 of this Study guide and actually go out and find the information needed to answer these questions. Obviously, you will need to concentrate more time on the scenario questions which you intend to submit for your assessment. However, please attempt to spend some time working on all six scenariosâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;you will find that your approach to thinking about strategies and sources of information will get easier with each one. Clearly, this will make the scenarios which you hand up for assessment, of a much higher quality. We hope that you enjoy finding information on these topics. As you take information and turn it into your own knowledge, you will experience a strong feeling of satisfaction. In addition, you will also develop the confidence to help yourself and others to access information more effectively in the future.

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Chapter 5 (week 5)

New job, new lifestyle

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Scenario Consider the following scenario: I am made redundant or decide to quit my job and want to learn new skills to enhance my chances of getting a better job. What are the possible effects on my lifestyle, finances, and family and friends? Assuming that you have made a decision or have been forced into taking one of the above courses of action, what is your next step? First of all, you need to ask some questions which will give you a good idea of what you want to do with your life. It isn't always easy to think up the best questions. However, it takes considerable time to work everything out logically. Let's begin our look at search strategies in this subject area by identifying what might be some of the questions to be answered. If we adopt a strategy of problem-solving, we could look at each of the suggested areas below separately, bearing in mind that these will not be the only questions to answer or think about, and that there will probably be others as well. Essentially, they relate to finances, lifestyle, family and friends, and employment prospects.

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General questions Finances One of the first things you might consider is what the taxation implications may be. If you are lucky enough to have a tax consultant, speak to him/her as soon as possible. For example, there are rules on being/having a dependent spouse, and what may be claimed for childcare, if you need to spend some time at home whilst job hunting. The types of benefits available to you may differ, depending on your particular situation. Who should you contact to find out what's owing to you? Clearly Centrelink has a significant amount of information and might be a useful starting place. You should also do a thorough overhaul of the finances currently available to you, which applies whether you have a family or not. What are the assumptions you can make about finances? Things to consider here would include: •

Is anyone else in the immediate family still in a job? How much are they bringing into the general funds?

Are there school age children, i.e. are fees and education now and in the future a consideration?

Is there a mortgage to pay?

Are there any loans for cars, or household items still outstanding?

Do you have any savings accumulated?

Will the ongoing costs like car registration, household insurance, gas, electricity, council rates, taxes, and water rates be able to be maintained, for some specified time?

Lifestyle Needless to say, finances have somewhat of an effect on your lifestyle. You probably need to ask yourself if you will be able to give up some things in the short-term, in order to gain an advantage in the long-term. For example, can you cope without the Friday lunch with the gang at the local hotel? Is it possible that not going to the football, the movies or concerts will make you feel deprived and depressed?

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Family and friends Friends can be invaluable at a time like this, so think very carefully about your approach. Many may offer advice, some will think you are crazy or unfortunate, as the case may be. Will they stick by your decision and lend support, or as friends find again and again that you can't attend social outings because you can't afford it, will they eventually stop inviting you? It is to be hoped that you will take your family into your confidence and keep them informed—after all, this will affect them in various ways. Of course, if you have suddenly been retrenched with no warning, everyone will be in a state of shock, and some reassurance needs to be given, at least for the time being, to the children, so that they are not needlessly upset. It goes without saying that your spouse or partner will need reassurance as well—they can be a tower of strength at this time. Will family relationships be strained if your children do not have the latest trends in toys, clothes, etc.? And what if they are not able to attend every pop concert and school outing that their friends are going to? More importantly perhaps, how will this decision affect the family dynamics between husband and wife? While this sounds very negative, if you plan carefully, it may end up being the most positive thing you have ever done, not only for yourself, but also perhaps, for the family and the family finances!

Employment prospects Assuming you are having an 'enforced' holiday for a few weeks at least, it might not be a bad idea to spend some time reflecting on what skills you do have, and where you might like to progress, career-wise. In effect, you need to perform a personal 'skills-audit'. Things to also take into account are: •

Whether it is feasible to remain in the same geographic area or whether the family is going to have to move. This may depend on whether the training or the jobs you wish to undertake, are available to you, in your present location.

If you don't want to leave the area, what is the transport situation like where you live? Is commuting possible, or is there a bus route which will get you to various places conveniently? Obviously, a physical move is going to have enormous implications for the family and your finances!

Why did you leave the job? Or, if the parting wasn't desired, you need to get beyond the anger quickly and assess what are the positives of your situation. Clearly, there will also have to be a search for information on the courses available for

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retraining or brushing up on personal skills (such as preparing for interviews).

Summary of general information requirements

Reading 5.1

What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

Finances—What is the current situation?

financial adviser, tax office, superannuation fund, bank, Centrelink

Lifestyle—What will have to change, if anything, what can I do to help myself—how can I help family members, in the event of a major change?

local church, youth groups, counselling, including school counsellors

Family and friends—What will help them help me?

community centres, job clubs, volunteer organisations

Employment prospects—Will I need retraining?

Centrelink, , Employment agencies, local newspapers, TAFE, friends, personal contacts, the Internet

Bolles, Richard Nelson 1995, What color is your parachute? Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California, pages 182-201. Key Points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ The reading from Bolles' book incorporates a strategy of its own, similar to mind mapping. In this case, its focus is you, and what skills and knowledge you have, and in what ways you would like to apply them. As you read through these pages, think about what skills you use without even thinking about it. Does Bolles strike a chord with you in anything he says?

Activity:

Take a few moments now to brainstorm any ideas which come into your head, both positive and negative, about the general questions which have been discussed above, and jot down the issues which arise as a result.

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Before considering any more specific approaches, can you think of any other general questions you might want to ask? Where could you find answers?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Getting prepared for action Using people as a resource For these types of situations, there are going to be a lot of questions or information which can only be discovered by talking to other people. You are going to have to speak directly to some, to write letters and prepare resumes for others, and in some instances, send off applications or requests for more information. Looking back at the information contained in the last chapter on search strategies, you will remember that asking questions is a vital aspect of developing a strategy to solve the problems which you are investigating. You will also need to develop a mind map which reflects the information needs you currently have, as well as one relating to your own skills and abilities. This later mind map will be useful when you prepare to write or speak to people who can supply you with answers (or jobs!). You will need to have all this worked out before you get down to the serious business of ‘selling’ yourself and your skills to a prospective employer. Naturally the same advice would apply if you were heading to Centrelink, a job centre or a local library. Make sure that you have some questions written down to ask others who may have specialized knowledge. It is amazing how often we think we’ll never forget to ask that, and yet without writing it down, we often do! Sound preparation is essential before making contact with people or organisations. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Specific information Now we need to focus on the places and people who can help us to find specific information relating to our topic. Activity

Let your mind wander over all the places you've dealt with or have heard of in the past relating to training and job hunting. Write down three specific places, or people, that you think would be helpful to you in • •

finding suitable training for enhancing your job skills; and discovering job prospects.

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__________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Some suggestions Remember these are only suggestions and you may be able to access many more appropriate resources Your local library. DETAFE college libraries, school or public libraries, and university libraries may provide access to the following ♦ Job Guide available in hard copy or in electronic format. ♦ OZJAC -an easy-to-use computer program that can help you find the answers to job, course and career questions. ♦ Community information with leaflets from Centrelink, FACS (Family and Community Services) and employment agencies. ♦ Internet access providing access to online employment agencies, sample resumes and a large range of job & career information. ♦ Word processing facilities to complete job resumes and practice skills in this area to gain confidence and speed. ♦ Books, Videos & audio tapes on career planning, self esteem, budgeting, managing family finances, relationships, self sufficiency. ♦ Newspapers providing information on job vacancies, training and courses, and free or cheap forms of entertainment.

Internet Try out these Internet addresses for the following government agencies which will lead you to relevant and up-to-date information on financial management and career planning. http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ - Centrelink http://www.facs.gov.au/ - FACS (Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) http://www.myfuture.edu.au/ - ‘My Future: Australia’s Career Information Service’

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Other Agencies ♦ Centrelink. – use the telephone book to find the location of the nearest office to you. Centrelink services can provided you with information on employment, pensions and family allowances. Centrelink Career Information Service provides information on careers and further study. ♦ Business Enterprise Centres:- perhaps there is the possibility of going into business yourself? There are some Commonwealth Government schemes in place which aid people in setting up a business from scratch, and in some instances, an amount of funding will be provided. ♦ Small Business Associations These may provide advice re the feasibility of establishing your own business venture. ♦ COPE (Centre of Personal Encounter). This organisation has courses on self-help and confidence building, and they also have a library/bookstore with a variety of helpful material.

Analysing Informa tio n gather ed Having identified and accessed a range of appropriate information sources it is now time to ask some questions relating to these resources. ♦ Do these resources tell me what I need to know? ♦ Is the information presented clear and accessible? ♦ Do any of these resources present a biased viewpoint? ♦ Are they up-to-date, providing me with the most current information? ♦ Are all the resources accessed useful or should I discard some of them? ♦ Do I have enough relevant information or will I have to search for more? You should note the important points in each of the useful sources and then use the information gathered to assist you with making an informed decision relating to your particular problem.

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Assignment 2

Subject search number one You have taken the plungeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;left a dreary job and made the choice of either starting up your own business or changing careers. Whichever of these options you choose, though, you know that there are certain things you have to consider. For example, you've just done a pretty thorough examination of your financial situation, and you know that you've got enough funds to survive unaided for three months. That means that you are going to have to find out something about benefits for which you might be eligible. Probably before you do that, however, you need to decide exactly what you're best suited forâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a small, home business, or a professional career, perhaps? Given this situation, a personal skills-audit is necessary. Armed with your new-found knowledge about your abilities, it's time to decide on a career. What would you choose, and what retraining options are available? (For the purposes of this exercise, you should choose something that requires retraining for a period of over three months.) If you choose a new business, what are some of the other vital pieces of information you should know about (for example, how would you register your business?) Finally, consider whether you have the support of your family and friends. What are the consequences of your being at classes all day, studying all night, not going down to the pub as much, or generally being able to spend as much time with your family and friends as you'd like? Is there any strategy you can use to keep the lines of communication open, so that you can share and build on your experience? (Please see the Course information for further instructions regarding the completion of this assignment.)

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Chapter 6 (week 6)

Coping with illness

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Scenario Consider the following scenario: My child has been diagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD (also referred to as hyperactivity). The doctor has prescribed Ritalin to be taken for the foreseeable future. I am very concerned about my child being on this medication for a number of years, particularly since I have heard that there are numerous side effects. My doctor has assured me that there is very little likelihood of side effects in a healthy child, but I am not convinced. I have also heard that hyperactivity may be caused by food additives such as preservatives and colourings. Once again, my doctor has discounted this theory. Nevertheless, I want to find out more information, so that I can come to my own conclusions.

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General information Seeking advice Situations such as the above are quite common. We may go to a professional, whether it be a doctor, lawyer, or the like, for advice, but we also need to confirm or fill in the gaps in our own knowledge from other sources before we feel comfortable about taking a particular decision or course of action. The first step may be to seek a second opinion. This may be sought from ♦ another doctor ♦ alternative health professional such as a naturopath or nutritionist. To locate a suitable practitioner ♦ use the Yellow Pages, say under the term 'naturopaths'. ♦ Contact relevant associations, organizations or support groups such as Attention Deficit Disorder Support & Information Service. ♦ The AMA (Australian Medical Association) will also provide lists of doctors and surgeons who specialise in particular fields or are located in a particular geographic area. ♦ Look on the Internet http://www.atms.com.au/ Australian Traditional Medicine Society - lists Natural Therapy practitioners Activity:

Assume that you need to locate a doctor who specialises in children's medicine or some other area of specialisation. What are the steps that you would need to take in order to locate this practitioner, apart from asking for a referral from your GP? Also, how would you locate an alternative health practitioner? Remember that these may be naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, dietitians, and so on.

Background information Once you have consulted the doctor or other health professional you may find that you wish to know more about the affliction. A good place to start is with definitions of terminology and descriptions of the symptoms. Once again your local library maybe useful here. Consult medical encyclopedias and dictionaries such as ♦ Black's medical dictionary 2002, 40 th ed. 78 _________


♦ Gale’s encyclopedia of medicine 1998. This is an important starting point for continuing your research in greater depth as it may show that there are other terms which can be used to describe the illness. Activity

Find two or three different medical encyclopedias (often referred to as guides in the title) or dictionaries, and compare how they describe a health problem of your choosing. See whether the problem is actually listed in each, how much detail is provided, and what assumptions are being made about the reader, that is, is the information suitable for a layperson or for a professional?

Summary of general information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

How do you find a doctor?

Telephone Directories, AMA, word of mouth ,Internet

How do you find an alternative practitioner?

Directories, associations or support groups, Internet, word of mouth

How do you find what the jargon means?

encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, the Internet

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Specific information Prescription drugs The protagonist in the scenario has remembered hearing or reading somewhere that Ritalin may have serious side effects and that hyperactivity may be caused by food additives. There are many handbooks, some more comprehensive than others, which provide a description of the contents, usage and dosage, as well as details on the side effects of various drugs. 3 readily available guides are ♦ The Australian Drug Guide 2002, 6th ed. ♦ The Penguin consumer guide to medicines 2000, 5th ed. ♦ Australian Medicines Handbook 1998. Activity:

Find a source such as one of the above which describes the actions and possible side effects of prescription drugs. Look up the information on a medicine you are taking or may have taken. What are the side effects? 79 _________


Does the medicine have any warnings about when it should not be taken, for example, during pregnancy or when operating machinery or driving a car?

Food additives The parent concerned about food additives can use resources such as ♦ The New Additive code breaker by Maurice Hanssen and Jill Marsden ♦ Internet sites such as the CSIRO food science pages http://www.csiro.au/ (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation home page) ♦ The Australia New Zealand Food Authority's Food Additives Shopper's Guide , which is available online from their home page: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/ These can help identify which foods have particular additives and whether they are there for nutritional, preservative, or cosmetic purposes. For example, there is some medical research which suggests that there may be a link between hyperactivity and the consumption of the food additive, tartrazine. The New Additive code breaker lists which foods commonly contain tartrazine, allowing the parent to avoid giving these to the child. Reading 6.1

Hanssen, Maurice with Marsden, Jill 1989, The new Additive code breaker: everything you should know about additives in your food: complete number guide for Australia and New Zealand, Revised for Australia by Betty Norris, Lothian, Melbourne, pages 21-24. Key Points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________

Activity

Next time you go shopping or if you look in your pantry, take note of the codes which are found on food labels. Use the Additive code breaker to decipher what the codes stand for and see what types of foods

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they are used in, what their purpose is, and whether there are any side effects from eating foods which contain these additives.

Current research It is important to keep up-to date with the latest research findings in this particular area. New research findings may indicate different forms of treatment. This can be done by ♦ accessing journals such as New Scientist, Wellbeing, or Choice. ♦ Accessing newspaper articles ♦ Using the Internet Using Indexes and Abstracts You may find the information by looking at the current copies of journals or newspapers or by working back through previous ones, but this is likely to be tedious and not very effective. Searching in this way may cause you to miss important articles in journals you may not have considered. A systematic and efficient way of retrieving research results is to use indexes and abstracts. Indexing and abstracting databases provide access to articles in journals, newspapers, as well as conferences and research reports. Indexes provide the minimum detail required to locate the relevant article (bibliographic detail) such as name of author, title of article, name of journal, date of publication and page number. Abstracts provide these minimum bibliographic details as well as providing a summary or abstract of the contents of the article. Indexes and abstracts may be available in print (paper or hard copy), CD- ROM or online versions. Many of them have a thesaurus which is a listing of terms preferred for use with the particular database. This is useful as the terms or keywords that you use may not be specific enough and therefore you may not retrieve all the available sources even though they are there or you may retrieve sources which are totally irrelevant. Some examples of periodical indexing and abstracting services are ♦ Austguide – CD-ROM or hard copy format ♦ AUSTROM – CD-ROM OR Online format ♦ Ebsco World Magazine Bank – an online subscription service which is available in most public libraries in South Australia. Provides full text of some newspaper and periodical articles. ♦ Medline-a medical abstracting service which provides access to articles, reports, and conference papers publishing the results of medical research and aimed generally at the professional reader. Try the University Health Science databases.

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You may also like to look at this government funded site, which provides links to health information on the Internet: http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/ Another site, which is commercially funded, but adheres to government accreditation, provides information and access to health services. http://www.mydr.com.au/ Later in the semester you might like to consider how the new phenomenon of e-health has implications on information privacy.

Summary of specific information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

What research is there on this topic?

doctor, indexes, and abstracts, the Internet

What side effects does medication X have?

doctor, prescription drug handbooks, the Internet

Are preservatives and/or other additives harmful?

doctor, naturopath, Additive codebreaker, the Internet

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summary This scenario has illustrated the importance of being able to find information for yourself in order to become a more empowered and informed consumer of goods and services. It is very important that a registered health practitioner be consulted for any medical problem. However, there are differing opinions as to treatments and even diagnosis of an affliction. Therefore, it is sensible to retrieve as much information from a diverse range of sources, in order to be able to make the best decisions.

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Assignment 2

Subject search number two You have been diagnosed as having migraine headaches. Your doctor has given you medication to control the excruciating pain and has also advised you to avoid particular foods as they exacerbate the pain. You are feeling depressed as this medical condition means that you will no longer be able to eat some of your favourite food, and because you are also likely to experience intermittent and excruciating migraines for the rest of your life. However, one day, you see a program on television about research showing that some migraines may be alleviated simply by treatment with the botulinum toxin.. Your doctor is sceptical about the success of this treatment, a sentiment that was echoed by some of the other doctors interviewed during the television program. Nevertheless, you wish to try and rid yourself of this affliction and want to investigate further. How would you go about finding this information? You will have to start by finding out: •

what is generally prescribed for migraines;

what the side effects of your current medication are; and

whether there are any other alternatives.

Are there different types of migraines which respond to different medications? Finally, how will you locate the results of this latest research? (Please see the Course information for further instructions regarding the completion of this assignment.)

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Chapter 7 (week 7)

Travel information

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Scenario Consider the following scenario: I am planning a trip overseas. There are so many possibilities of things to see, and I want to be fully prepared and knowledgeable about them. What do I need to know, and how do I go about getting the background information I need? Overseas travel can be very exciting, and in some cases chasing up the background information can be almost as fascinating as the trip itself. But unless you create a plan of attack for gathering all of this information, you may well find that the one crucial piece of information eludes you and leaves you in a tricky situation somewhere overseas! Consider, for example, that there are a few countries which won't let you into their borders if you have just been travelling in an 'enemy' country. If you didn't know this, and had your heart set on visiting, for example, Syria, what would you do when they turned you away, after just having spent some time in Israel? You would have wasted a lot of valuable time and money, not to mention the disappointment you would feel.

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So what's the first step? As you know by now, drawing up all of the key points you want to find the answers to and approaching them in 'problem-solving mode' will allow you to figure out which are the broad areas of general information you need, and which specific things you need to go hunting for. What sort of questions do you need to ask? Mostly they will relate to time, money, location, hobbies or specific activities which interest you and which are likely to attract you to a particular place, procedural information (such as visas, airlines, etc.), and the reason why you want to go in the first place. This latter issue may seem pretty obvious to you—of course, you want to go to have a good time and to see the world! But there are underlying reasons that need to be identified, as well. Are you interested in doing or seeing particular things while you're there? Does the thought of waking up in the morning without any idea of what you're going to see or do appeal to your sense of adventure? Do you want to have lots of 'stories' to share with your friends? Activity

Take a few minutes now to brainstorm about •

why you would like to travel somewhere, (please make something up if you don't want to travel!); and

what sorts of questions will need answers before you can proceed to travel.

Draw a mind map to clarify and refine your thoughts, ideas and questions .

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General information Deciding where to go? First of all, you need to decide how much time you have and which part of the world you want to head off to explore. The latter may well be purely a matter of desire (you've always dreamed of seeing the ruins of Athens by moonlight), or it may be that you want to go to a specific place to visit family or friends. However, if you just want to get out and roam the world, it might be wise to look at an atlas to get a perspective on just how far you can get away, and to see the terrain of regions of the world. Atlases can also tell you quite a bit about historical sites or weather patterns. For example: There are atlases of nearly every place and thing: agriculture atlases, Bible atlases, country atlases, history atlases, celestial atlases, war atlases, and on and on. The Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, has more than 11,000 books containing the word 'atlas' in their titles

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—representing only books the library has cataloged since 1968! (The Map Catalog 1986, p. 184.)

If you have not spent much time with an atlas before, why not take a look at one in the library or one owned by someone you know? There are also electronic atlases on CD-Rom as well as atlases available on the Internet. Try accessing these sites on the Internet ♦ http://www.mapquest.com/ ♦ http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py ♦ http://www.atlapedia.com General information on places worth visiting can also be obtained by ♦ watching some of TV travelogues or videos. They often list sources of further information at the end. ♦ Browsing through travel magazines such as National Geographic ♦ Accessing the Internet. There are so many useful sites you can visit on the Internet. Some suggestions are; ♦ http://au.travel.yahoo.com/travel/ Here you can plan your trip by destination, lifestyle or activity ♦ http://www.travel.com.au ♦ http://www.travelworld.com.au/ ♦ http://eurotrip.com

Time available The time factor needs considering further. Are you taking time off from work, and do you intend to return? If so, how much holiday time is owing to you? Will they allow you to take extra time off without pay? Your supervisor or human resources officer can give you advice here. If you're not planning on returning to the job (or have no job at the moment anyway), then your time may be more flexible. Do you intend to work while you're overseas? If so, you will need to know whether the time of year you intend travelling is conducive to finding work. Summertime here is the perfect time to go to the Northern Hemisphere if you're an ace snow ski instructor, but probably not so good if you're a swimming lifeguard! It is also a less busy time for student travellers, which means that you might be able to pick up casual work more easily up there during their winter. This type of information is readily available from guidebooks such as Fodor's, Let's Go, Lonely Planet's or Rough Guide's series which may be found in bookstores, libraries or on the Internet.

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Will someone take care of your house, cats, children, while you're away? Family and neighbours need to be consulted, and perhaps a cattery.

Other general information you will need would be: costs (will you be flying somewhere in peak season or at a cheaper time of the year? How much are you willing to spend on accommodation—are youth hostels in order, or Hyatt's?)

duty free and quarantine information not only on the areas you're travelling to, but more especially coming back into Australia (you don't want to bring back six bottles of expensive wine from the Loire Valley only to discover that they won't let you bring it all into Australia with you!);

getting a passport, if you've never been out of the country before; and

possibly getting a bank loan to make it all happen.

Once you have decided on a region of the world where you would like to travel, it is time to visit a travel agent and pick up some brochures on that area. Travel agents can also give you useful information on travel costs although their brochures tend to highlight the fancier accommodation. If you're interested in hostelling, try the phone book to see if there's a hostel near you. If so, they will have maps and guides showing where all the Youth Hostel Association facilities in the world are, as well as costs for membership and lodging. You also need to have a pretty good idea of your own finances. Perhaps a financial adviser can help you determine how much you can afford to spend. Also, if quarantine and duty free information isn't available from your travel agent, there should be a White Pages index which lists government agencies—look under duty free, and quarantine for the nearest agencies, who will be happy to mail you their latest brochure. Passport information is available at your post office, and the bank loan ... well, good luck at your bank! While you are at the bank, you could ask them about purchasing traveller's cheques and overseas currency, plus using your credit card overseas to tap into your account back home. A further useful site to check out on the Internet is the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular advice. This also containsa very useful Hints for Australian Travellers guide. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/index.html

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Summary of general information requirements

Activity

What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

Where should I go?

atlas, travel agent, library magazines, TV, Internet

How much time can I be away?

supervisor or human resources officer at work, family and neighbours to watch over things

When is the best time to go?

encyclopedia, guidebooks, travel agent, Internet

What level of travel 'comfort' can I afford?

travel agent, phone book, financial adviser

What can I bring back with me?

phone book, travel agent, Internet

How do I get a passport?

post office

How will I finance this trip, and what shall I use for money while I'm over there?

financial adviser, bank

Before moving on to more specific information about the area or country you've decided to visit, can you think of any other general questions you might want to ask? Who or where might be the best places to find the answers?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Using people as resources As you can see, there is quite a bit of information which is best retrieved from other people, such as a travel agent, your supervisor, or the neighbours. While you may not need to go through all these procedures in order to ask your neighbours to look after your house and cat, there is a careful planning procedure which will ensure that all your questions get asked and answered in such a way that you can make best use of the results. For example, suppose you have decided to go to Japan and you have been told by a friend that someone in the next street has recently spent some time there. Here is a potential goldmine of information. But you don't know these people, and 89 _________


don't want to bother them with your questions. Actually, most people love to talk about their travels and will probably overwhelm you with information if given the opportunity. So, your preparation prior to interviewing them is very important— too much information can be as much of a problem as too little— so your questions will have to be fairly precise to get just what you need. To accomplish this, it's best to have enough background information on the region so that you have a rough idea of • •

what you're asking; and whether the information you're receiving is what you really need to form your travel plans.

Travel agents often play a key role in helping people decide on their travel plans. While it is assumed that they're there to help with the bookings, they are also a valuable source of information on places they have visited themselves or have studied about. If you have your interview questions jotted down before you go in to see them, you will be less likely to forget about asking them something. They have access to databases of information other than flights around the world (although be warned that they can't always retrieve or make bookings in some countries because their systems might be incompatible with ours). Are you dying to see the musical 'Cats' in London? A travel agent might even be able to make a theatre booking for you! They also have an extensive network of contacts across their profession which enable them to retrieve information for you. But you need to ask them the right questions in order to make the best use of them. You also need to remember everything they tell you. Taking notes, for most people, would be a very practical suggestion for making sure the information doesn't get lost, as you try to juggle hundreds of facts and suggestions about your trip.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Specific information You have now decided that you really would like to go to, say, Southern Europe for two months in their autumn. This is your light time at work and the supervisor has okayed an extended holiday. It's also a time when the hordes of students have gone back to school, leaving the beaches and hotels relatively quiet. What do you need to know now? If you begin to apply your initial questions about why you want to go in the first place, you might see a pattern of interest developing which can give you 90 _________


ideas. Are there any special interest tours that correspond with this interest? Are there package tours which cater for people in your age bracket? Perhaps independence is more for youâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are there any 'fly-drive' specials? These are all the sorts of questions which are best answered by a travel agent. However, be sure that you brainstorm and note down your ideas and questions, before you go in to talk to them about the details. Activity

Jot down three questions (which are not related to airline flights) which you would like to ask a travel agent. An example might be, 'Where can I get a great whitewater rafting experience?' __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ There are other important pieces of information you may prefer to pick up yourself. For example, if you're going because you would really like to visit some of the beautiful churches which date back many centuries, there are a number of books, magazines and videos which can provide you with facts, stories and photos of what you are soon going to see in reality. If you want to bring back lots of photographs from your trip but never quite learned how to use that camera you got for a gift last year, there are instructional materials available from libraries, camera stores, and news agents (in the form of magazines) and you can access Internet sites which will help you take pictures like a pro. e.g. http://www.fodors.com If you're feeling especially adventurous, you might even make contact with someone from the area where you will be travelling, via the Internet, and become their 'pen pal'! How would you find books and magazine articles on the particular area you are planning to visit? In previous scenarios you have already read about using catalogues and the reference collection in libraries, so you are aware that you can often find a book, video or audio tape or compact disc, by fine-tuning the words you use for your search in the catalogue. Likewise, the reference section of a library has information in atlases, encyclopedias and a number of subject-specific dictionaries. In the previous scenario magazine indexes were mentioned. These allow you to do similar word searches, only for specific magazine articles rather than whole works. Many magazines also have their own index either in each issue, or once a year. National Geographic is one which has a yearly compilation, so if the librarian (or a subscriber who owns the index) wants to find out

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anything about Southern Europe, all they have to do is look up the specific topic (for example, a specific city or festival). You can try a subject keyword browse in your local library catalogue. Another good way to find information is to use the catalogue to identify the Dewey decimal number where much of the material on a specific country (or your particular interest, such as the churches) is shelved, and then go to that spot on the shelves and browse through the material. It's amazing how much useful information you can pick up in this way. You might also find a guidebook there, as well. Guidebooks can provide you with a wealth of material on day trips around various cities or regions, best places to stay, all the little out of the way (as well as popular) places to visit, etc. They are indispensable at this stage of the planning, especially if you are travelling independently. Even if you are going on a tour, however, you can pick up so much more when you're there, if you have the background knowledge about certain places or events, prior to visiting them. TV travelogues and videos can be helpful in providing such information. There are also guidebooks for those travelling on a budget as well as for those who prefer to go in style. When you locate books which look useful, it's a good idea to read the table of contents or the foreword, to see if the approach is likely to be the one you want to spend time reading. For example: What should you wear to a business meeting in Milan, or a friend's wedding in Florence? How do you go about renting a flat in Rome, or buying a farmhouse in Umbria? Why are the best discotheques usually gay and the best art galleries usually closed? What's the most effective way of chatting up an Italian girl who's playing hard to get, and the easiest way of getting rid of an Italian boy who just won't go away? While there are already plenty of books about Italy, most of them represent it as an exotic, puzzling, even slightly dangerous place to go for your holidays; this is the first book to offer genuine insight and practical assistance in understanding the Italians: how they live, what they think, the way they work, and the country runs. It examines Italian attitudes to sex, money, religion, the family and the environment, as well as giving detailed, up-to-date information about politics, the economy, the arts and the media. Designed for those who want instant, easy access to useful information as well as a fuller background analysis of the facts, the book has two parallel texts laid out in separate columns, thus enabling the user either to consult at speed, or to read at leisure. Whether it is for holidays, for business, or for a longer-term stay, no visitor will be safe on the streets without Getting it Right in Italy. (Ward 1993, Foreword)

Another important aspect of planning your trip relates to visa requirements of the countries you will be visiting. Often

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your travel agent can give you this information; however, they have been known to be misinformed themselves. It really is your responsibility to make sure nothing is going to go wrong with your trip. The surest way to get accurate information about visas, and also, any restrictions relating to what you can bring in or take out of their country, is to contact the consulate or embassy itself. Unfortunately, unless you live in Canberra, or perhaps Melbourne or Sydney, you're unlikely to find too many which are a local phone call away. However, it is certainly worth looking in the White Pages of the phone book or Internet under consulate or consuls, or embassies. You may find what you're looking for! Try the site, EmbassyWeb.com: http://www.projectvisa.com/

There are also handbooks full of useful 'legal' information about various countries. ♦ Keesing's record of world events, which is updated monthly, is a useful tool for political and news events. ♦ CIA world factbook is one reference tool which is now readily available on the Internet at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-worldfactbook/ A very useful book for those who have the time to make contact with agencies and organisations in the areas they are planning to visit is the Worldwide travel information contact book. It comes out regularly, and covers approximately 45,000 sources of information on a country-by-country basis. A sample page appears on the next page. Would you like to know anything about the cost of food, etc. where you're going, so that you can be prepared? There are a number of sources of statistical information and travel guides such as Fodors, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides also provide this type of information. Also look on the Internet at sites such as • http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004372.html Info Please World Statistics • http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html Library of Congress Country Studies. (Note Australia is not included on the list) And what about your health? Are there any special diseases you want to watch out for? It would be well worth your while to find out if you need any vaccinations for the places you'll be visiting. Malaria, cholera, etc., can all be controlled through immunisation beforehand. The following maybe useful sources of information.

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♦ Your doctor will probably have these facts, if not the vaccinations themselves. ♦ Travellers Medical & Vaccination Centres ♦ International travel and health, published by The World Health Organization.

Australian government publishes health information for international travel, which should also be available in some libraries, doctor's offices, and Commonwealth Government Bookshops in each state. 94 _________


♦ Books such as Beat jet lag by Kathleen Mayes which help you look after your health. ♦ Internet Check out these sites: http://www.tripprep.com/ Travel Health Online http://www.cdc.gov’ U.S. National Centre for Disease Control http://www.who.int/en/ World Health Organization Don't forget to think about insurance, too. Where you travel, has a bearing on the cost for travel and health insurance. If you have insurance at home you should check with your company to see if you can suspend you payment here while you're overseas. Most travel agents recommend a particular travel insurance company but feel free to shop around. Australia has health agreements with 7 countries in Europe (including the United Kingdom) and with New Zealand. You still need travel insurance but the cost maybe less. Get the Medicare brochure Thinking of travelling overseas to find out more details. A final place you might want to think about checking for information relates to specific events which may be going on while you're in the area. You may never have thought about going to a bull run before, but if you happen to be in Pamplona a week after the big event of the year, you will probably be kicking yourself for having missed the excitement, unless of course, you planned it that way to avoid the crowds! A number of sources will provide you with this information, ranging from travel guide information (eg., Fodor's or Lonely Planet's series) to encyclopedias, the Internet, and agencies in the country you plan to visit.

Summary of specific information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

Are there any special tours/deals which interest me?

travel agent, the Internet

Where can I find information on my hobbies or interests to follow up on while overseas?

libraries, news agents, the Internet, neighbours

How can I brush up on my skills, such as photography?

specialty stores, libraries, Internet

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Reading 7.1

Where should I stay? What should I see?

guidebooks, travel agent, libraries, TV, Internet

Do I need any visas? Where do I get them?

consuls—check the phone book, travel agent, Internet

What restrictions are placed on me when I visit a particular country?

guidebooks, consuls, Internet and CD-Roms

How do I get background information on where I'm going?

CD-Roms, Internet, libraries, statistics

What about vaccinations? Do I need them?

doctor, library

Franz, Del and Hernandez, Lazaro, (editors) 1992, Chapter 5, 'Making your travel plans'. In Work, study, travel abroad: the whole world handbook, 1992-9, 11th edition, St. Martin's Press, New York, pages 44-56. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

As you read the above reading, think about any travel plans you may have made in the past. How did your plans compare with those suggested by Franz and Hernandez? Do you think that it's worth all the time to prepare so thoroughly before embarking on such an adventure?

Reading 7.2

Braue, David 1999, ‘Cyberspace Travel’, The Bulletin , November 24th, pages 50, 51. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ We have included the above reading by Braue to give you an idea of the vast amount of travel information which is available from the Internet. Where possible check the Internet for details of

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the place you intend visiting. Much of this information is current and provides details not available from other sources. You will perhaps have noticed that the Internet has been referred to frequently throughout this scenario as a possible source of information. By using the Internet it is possible to make all travel arrangements – book flights, accommodation, purchase tickets to special events and make contact with a range of relevant organisations and people. There is a wealth of information available but the problem is locating what is relevant and useful for your particular information purpose. In the next section we will be looking in more detail at using the Internet as a tool for accessing information. In the meantime, think carefully about the information you locate and ask yourself questions such as ♦ Who put the information there? ♦ What is the purpose of the information – to inform, to advertise or promote a product? ♦ How up-to-date is the information provided?

Assignment 2

Subject search number three You have been selected by your place of employment to spend five months as an exchange worker in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Your supervisor has specifically requested that you know as much as possible about Malaysian culture and politics, so that you don't make any unfortunate mistakes while you are visiting and working with the Malaysians. You have four weeks to learn something about Kuala Lumpur, the people you will be working with there, and some of the necessary or useful information about Malaysian politics, geography, food, transport, etc which would enable you to settle in and work effectively with your hosts. Describe how you would structure your search for information. Who would you contact and talk to? What other sources will you find valuable in retrieving the needed information? Identify at least three sources, and give a brief description of their value to you in preparing for working in Malaysia. (Please see the Course information for further instructions regarding the completion of this assignment.)

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

References for Introductory Scenarios Note: Internet references mentioned in the previous pages have not been cited Australian Medicines handbook 1998, 1st ed., AMH., Adelaide. Black's medical dictionary 2002, Edited by Gordon McPherson, 40th edition, Barnes & Noble, Lanham, Maryland. Brooks, B David and Dalby, Rex K. 1990, The self-esteem repair & maintenance manual, Edited by Paula J. Hunter, Kincaid House, Newport Beach, California. Commonwealth Department of Health, Housing and Community Services 1991, Health information for international travel, 3rd edition, Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra. Galeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s encyclopedia of medicine 1998, Gale, Detroit. Inchley, Di 1992, Resumes for results: a complete guide to preparing resumes and written applications, The Business Library, Melbourne. International travel and health 1989, [annual], World Health Organization, Geneva Keesing's record of world events. 1994, [monthly], Longmans, London. Makower, Joel (ed.) 1986, The map catalog: every kind of map and chart on earth and even some above it, Vintage Books, New York. Mayes, Kathleen 1991, Beat jet lag: arrive and stay alert, Thorsons, London. MacKenzie, Frances 1997, The Penguin consumers guide to medicine. 4th ed., Penguin, Ringwood,Victoria. Tepper, Ron 1992, Power resumes, 2nd edition, Wiley, New York. Upfal, Jonathan 2002, The Australian Drug Guide , 4th ed., m2m Direct , Melbourne. Ward, William 1993, Getting it right in Italy: a manual for the 1990s, 2nd edition, Bloomsbury, London. Worldwide travel information contact book, 1993-94. 1993, 2nd edition, Burkhard Herbote, Gale Research, Detroit.

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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Advanced information theories and concepts _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Introduction to section 2

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In this section, we will look at the more specialised form of information which describes legal issues and the law. We will consider the ways in which we can increase our understanding of Australian laws, as well as locate and understand the meaning behind legal terminology and jargon. By having this information skill we are able to understand how legal language and issues impact on our lives in a practical way. There is also a focus on investigating such issues as privacy legislation and freedom of information, particularly in the context of rapidly developing information technology. And now let's stretch our logical thinking abilities ...

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Chapter 8 (week 8)

Understanding the law

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Common law and legislation The law is a complex discipline to understand. The terminology is alien to most lay-people and the structure has its roots in ancient English history. In order to understand how to retrieve information relevant to the case in hand, it is important to gain some background knowledge on how laws are created and applied. This type of information can be gleaned from sources such as The Macquarie Dictionary of Australian law and the Law Handbook. Both of these sources will provide definitions, but the handbook is more encyclopedic in approach, providing much more detail in the explanations. This is particularly useful as a starting point if you are not familiar with the concepts at all. The Law Handbook is freely available on the Internet at the Legal Services Commission of South Australia website:

http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au

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Common law or case law arises from decisions made by judges during court cases. These decisions or judgements are dependent on the tradition of precedent which requires that cases where the facts are the same as those of earlier cases should arrive at the same outcome or judgement. Where the facts of the case are not entirely the same, the judge may compare the circumstances and apply a common principle or develop a new principle to take into account the new facts. This is called 'setting a precedent'. The judgements or decisions of the courts are published regularly in various law reports. Statutes or acts are created by parliament. Laws made by the Commonwealth or state parliaments are binding on all courts and judges. Where case law and legislation apply in the same area, the act overrules case law. It is more likely, however, that the two types of laws complement each other. Finally, bodies such as local government or public authorities may be empowered to make by-laws, regulations, and policies which are known as subordinate or delegated legislation. Reading 8.1

The Law Handbook: the easy to use practical guide to the law. 1995, 3rd edition, Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Adelaide, Chapter 1 'The legal system', pages 421. ( The most recent edition is freely available online at http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/) Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

How many courts are there in the Australian legal system? Name them. What is the jurisdiction (that is, what sorts of matters do they deal with) of each court? What sorts of time limits are imposed for dealing with legal matters?

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What rights do you have regarding information about yourself? Just as it is important to understand something about the law in order to protect yourself and your interests, it is also important to be aware that information about your activities is being held by government and other agencies. For example, if you own a business, are unemployed, receive Austudy, use credit cards, use the Internet or even if you're a taxpayer, you can be

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sure that there is significant data being gathered and stored about you. As an illustration, if you were to apply for some form of social security benefits, your entitlements would be assessed in the light of information not only that you provide, but also which comes from other sources. These include your tax returns, Medicare claims, land title information and savings information provided by the bank. Do you have any control over how this data is used, and how accurate it is? There are two principles in law which attempt to provide you with protection from intrusion as well as the right to access information about yourself. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Right to privacy The 'right of privacy' means the right of any person to be protected from intrusion upon himself, his home, his family, his relationships and communications with others, his property and business affairs, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such an intrusion by: (a) spying, prying, watching or besetting; (b) the unauthorised overhearing or recording of spoken words; (c) the unauthorised making of visual images; (d) the unauthorised reading or copying of documents; (e) the unauthorised use or disclosure of confidential information, or facts (including his name, identity or likeness) calculated to cause him distress, annoyance or embarrassment, or to place him in a false light; (f) the unauthorised appropriation of his name, identity or likeness for anothers' gain. (Privacy bill 1974, number 150, (South Australia) In Tucker, 1992, p. 1)

Privacy provisions Through the ages, governments or those in power have usually made it their business to collect information about their citizens. Over a century ago in the US, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote a famous article urging the recognition of a general right to privacy to safeguard the security and dignity of individuals. This led to a common law doctrine of personal information privacy which has since been enshrined to a certain extent in privacy legislation. In 1980, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a

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document entitled Guidelines on the protection of privacy and transborder flows of personal data. This document outlined a set of principles designed to promote information privacy. These principles have now been adopted in some form by most western industrialised countries. The principles incorporated in the OECD document were as follows: •

Collection limitation: information should be collected in a fair and lawful manner where possible with the knowledge or consent of the individual.

Data quality: information should be accurate, up to date, and complete.

Purpose specification: the purpose(s) for which the data is collected should be specified no later than at the time of collection.

Use limitation: information should only be used for the purpose(s) specified and only disclosed with the consent of the data subject or by lawful authority.

Security safeguards: responsible security measures should be taken to guard against unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure of the data.

Openness: data controllers should establish mechanisms so that individuals can ascertain the existence and use of information held about them.

Individual participation: individuals should have the right to obtain details of data relating to themselves and to be allowed to challenge any denial of access. They should also be able to modify any data which may be inappropriate or inaccurate.

Accountability: data controllers should be accountable for complying with the other principles.

(Tucker 1992, pp. 3-4)

Privacy legislation In Australia, these principles have been broadly adopted in the Privacy Act 1988. In addition, the Australian legislation includes conditions for the use of tax file numbers and consumer credit information held by credit providers and credit reporting agencies in the non-government sector. This is covered by the Privacy Amendment Act 1990. It should be noted here that until recently, with the introduction of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000, the federal privacy legislation dealt only with personal

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information collected and held by Commonwealth government departments and bodies and not commercial data, except as covered in the Privacy Amendment Act 1990. Thus, private sector corporations were not included in the ambit of the act. An example of this is Telecom, now known as Telstra, which was subject to the Privacy Act until 1992. When partially privatised however, it was no longer subject to these provisions, a development which has caused considerable concern because of the corporation's primary involvement in the collection, storage, and transfer of data. In its new merged form, Telecom had already behaved questionably in relation to the security of consumer information. Two examples are the use of 0055 services to retrieve silent numbers and the secret monitoring of the telephone conversations of disgruntled subscribers (O'Connor 1994, p.184).

Growth in technology, data collection, and privacy concerns It is evident that the rapid growth in technology has allowed for information gathering about the dealings and affairs of the individual to be much more efficient and pervasive. The capability to cross-reference and transfer data between databases can be beneficial in detecting discrepancies or crimes, but it also increases the potential for abuse of the information by parties other than those who were responsible for the initial collection of data. For example, such cross-matching of data, regularly and legitimately takes place in the areas of taxation, welfare, and law enforcement, where claimed cash flows as provided to the Centrelink may not tally with the information provided to the Tax Office. Yet, access may just as readily be gained for nonlegitimate purposes. For example, taxation clerks have obtained information about the financial positions of individuals and passed this on to third parties who have used this for their own purposes. Reading 8.2

Vernon, Ken 2001, 'Making privacy into bureaucracy', Gold Coast Bulletin, 21 Dec. 2001, p. 25. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

The Privacy Amendment Act (Private Sector Act) 2000 was introduced to protect the individual's rights to privacy in a rapidly changing technological and business environment. Do you believe the major

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elements of the new law can achieve this? What are some of the exemptions to the new law? Reading 8.3

Cant, Sue & Barker, Gary 2001, 'Privacy Claws', The Age, 4 Dec. 2001, p.1. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity:

Reading 8.4

Activity

Consider the way in which your privacy has been affected by technology and incidents such as those mentioned in Reading 8.3 Do you agree with Clarke's argument that the laws are "anti-privacy"? Why/why not? Gliddon, Josh 1999, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A case for protectionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Bulletin, May 11th, p. 90. Who do you think should be responsible to protect the privacy of individuals?

Breaches of privacy provisions Data collectors are required to observe the obligations of the legislation. Breaches are subject to fines or compensation for loss and damages. For example, a fine of $30,000 applies for contravention of the limitations placed on the use of information gained by a third party from a credit provider. Fines and compensation for specified breaches are considered to make data collectors more accountable and redress more accessible to individuals than proceeding through civil claim avenues. Of course, individuals who are concerned about invasions to their privacy may also have reason to camouflage their dealings and affairs because they have something to hide. There have been some famous and sometimes laughable examples of failed entrepreneurs and criminals who have used privacy provisions to stop access to information such as where they may have hidden assets which should rightly be returned to their creditors. Criminals may also be shielded by privacy provisions which do not allow disclosure of previous convictions to potential employers. So, for example, a convicted child molester who seeks employment in a childcare facility may be protected from having to reveal this tendency. The legitimate concerns for the protection of the individual therefore must be balanced with the need to protect society.

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Freedom of information (FOI) The concerns for protection of the individual's rights have resulted in privacy legislation which attempts to provide security against unreasonable intrusions into private affairs. Conversely, freedom of information legislation attempts to allow each citizen access to information about themselves and their activities held by governments and their instrumentalities. This includes public hospitals, the police, libraries, and educational institutions. Theoretically, access includes the right to alter any information which may be inaccurate, out of date, or incomplete.

Westminster model of government The idea of access to information held by government is contrary to the belief of executive secrecy about the conduct of public administration which is a feature of the Westminster model of government. In other words, the English model held that government information belonged to the Crown and a thirty year period of closed access applied to records of Commonwealth government departments. The US has been more liberal in this sense, having enacted freedom of information legislation in 1966. The Australian Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act followed the US model and was finally enacted in 1982. Most of the states of Australia now also have state freedom of information (FOI) legislation.

What rights does FOI legislation provide? FOI legislation is designed to promote openness and accountability of government, both features considered necessary for a democratic society. It provides for public access to documents relating to the services and activities of governments and their instrumentalities as well as access to documents held about the personal affairs of members of the public. There are a number of exemptions to access and these are usually justified on the grounds of national security, protection of information about third parties, and law enforcement. An important feature of FOI legislation is that information about the operations of government and instrumentalities is

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supposed to be made publicly available. This includes the rules and practices which are followed in dealings with the public.

Methods of access Access to documents may be provided in one of the following ways: •

a reasonable opportunity to inspect the document;

provision of a copy of the document;

arrangement for the individual to hear sound images or view visual images; and

provision of a written transcript of a sound recording or shorthand writing. (Ardagh 1991, p. 373)

How effective is FOI legislation? There is considerable debate about the actual effectiveness of freedom of information legislation, particularly since costs have risen dramatically and arbitrarily, and since previous ceilings on costs have been lifted. The obligation to abide by time limits, is also often ignored with the result that information may be valueless when provided months later. Since there are no provisions for fines or compensation as with the privacy legislation, and since recent amendments have dramatically increased the costs of access, the indications are that this seems to be a means of subverting the original intentions of the legislation (Dalton 1994, p.850). Thus the public's right to access to information about their governments and about information held about themselves is once again being curtailed. This is cause for concern as we consider the complexity of a post-industrial society which is highly technologically oriented and which should continue to uphold democratic principles. Nevertheless, there are benefits resulting from the legislation as many agencies and government departments are now willing to provide information without a formal request being made. There are also indications of a better understanding by the public of the roles and workings of the various government departments (Harrison and Cossins 1993, p.19). Reading 8.5

Monk, Paul 2002, 'Breaking the Addiction to Secrecy', Australian Financial Review, 1 March 2002, p. 6. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

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Activity

Reading 8.5 raises international examples and suggests that genuine freedom of information would assist in better research and more accountable policy and decision making. Do you agree with this? Can you provide any Australian or other international examples where this might be the case?

Reading 8.6

Harrison, Kate & Cossins, Anne 1993, Chapter 1 'General information'. In Documents, dossiers and the inside dope: a practical guide to freedom of information law, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, New South Wales pages 1-18. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

The Commonwealth and state FOI acts require each agency and department to make available information and documents about their functions, operations and decisions. What examples of the sorts of details required for inclusion in these statements can you find in Reading 8.6? What factors mentioned in Reading 8.6 may prove a deterrent in accessing information for the public? Knowing how to find out about and protect information relating to oneself is a fundamental democratic right. Equally important is a basic knowledge of how the laws which govern and protect the community operate in this country. As life continues to become more complex, so more laws are created to deal with the new situations and issues that arise. Ignorance of the law is not a defence and it is often true that defending a case before the courts using the services of a lawyer can be prohibitively expensive. Hence the saying: 'One law for the rich, one for the poor'. Thankfully, if you know how the law is structured, you may be capable of mounting your own defence or making an informed choice on whether or not to proceed. Of course, even if you make use of the expertise of the professional, familiarity with the law will enhance your input and control over the situation. In the next section, you will be introduced to the development, structure, and operations of Australian law, and you will also be shown how to find supporting material to deal with a minor but quite common 'on-the-spot' fine.

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References for section Ardagh, Anne 1991, 'Freedom of information: what does it mean for Australians?' Australian library review, volume 8, number 4, pages 371-379. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Commonwealth). Cant, Sue & Barker, Gary 2001, 'Privacy Claws', The Age, 4 Dec. 2001, p.1. Monk, Paul 2002, 'Breaking the Addiction to Secrecy', Australian Financial Review, 1 March 2002, p. 6 O'Connor, Kevin 1994, 'Globalisation and adequate privacy protection', Search, July 1994, volume 25, number 6, pages 182185. Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth). Privacy Amendment Act 1990 (Commonwealth). The CCH Macquarie concise dictionary of modern law 1988, CCH Australia by arrangement with Macquarie Library, North Ryde, New South Wales. Tucker, Greg 1992, Information privacy law in Australia, Longman, Melbourne. Vernon, Ken 2001, 'Making privacy into bureaucracy', Gold Coast Bulletin, 21 Dec. 2001, p. 25.

Further Resources Australian Government 2006, Office of the Privacy Commissioner, viewed 20 December 2006, <http://www.privacy.gov.au/> Australian Privacy Foundation 2006, Australian Privacy Foundation viewed 20th December 2006, <http://www.privacy.org.au/>

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Advanced scenarios _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Introduction to advanced scenarios

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As with section 1, this section contains three scenarios for you to work through. These scenarios relate more closely to the material you read in chapter 8, and deal with legal issues, consumerism, and house purchasing. The information you need to find when dealing with these sorts of needs is often more likely to be presented in jargon or 'hype' than we might hope for. You will get to sample a bit of this jargon, but we promise you won't be overwhelmed by it! The main reason for going into this type of information at this stage is to allow you to realise that despite the unusual forms of presentation you will encounter, the need for answers is still there to be satisfied. The information is available to fill that need, and it isn't all that difficult to understand once the new 'rules of the game' are observed. Jargon is sometimes unnerving, and it would be nice if it weren't used. As it is used, however, it is a good idea to learn to feel more comfortable with it by sampling some of it. You will also be able to practise using electronic databases and the Internet as outlines in chapter 4. And now on to chapter nine's scenario ...

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Chapter 9 (week 9)

Legal assistance

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Scenario Consider the following scenario: I have received an on-the-spot fine for entering a 'Buses only' road. The restriction of access forces motorists to travel an extra kilometre or so along major roads. I feel this is unjust as there seems to be no valid reason for blocking off the streets I need to use. I recall reading in the press some time ago about a man who has successfully challenged a similar on-the-spot fine. I wish to stand up for my rights and realise that I will need as much information as possible in order to defend myself.

Strategies The above situation can be handled in a number of ways. The person can simply pay the fine and avoid court costs and the attendant trauma; defend the charge using the services of a lawyer; or defend the charge with which he/she is confronted. Choosing the second or third option, the defendant is still best served by being as aware as possible of the relevant legislation, previous court cases, and other useful information, in order to defend the charges. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General information Finding professionals and associations In the first instance, it is very likely that professional advice would be sought. Relevant professionals may be located through 119 _________


the Yellow Pages under the keyword, lawyers. The Legal Services Commission of South Australia also provides: •

a telephone help line, free advice (with conditions);

lists of lawyers who specialise in particular areas (although they do not provide advice about which one is best); and

a listing of associations, government bodies, and community legal services.

The Law handbook, published by the Legal Services Commission, also lists this information. Thus, with a traffic offence, the defendant may be directed to the RAA Legal Advisory Service for advice in the first instance. The Yellow Pages can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.yellowpages.com.au Activity:

Try a search in the Yellow Pages using the key words ‘legal services’. Locate some useful legal services in your area. What have you found?

Activities:

Access the Legal Services Commission of South Australia website: http://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/ Browse through this site. What services do the LSCSA provide? Look at their publications. Would any of these be useful to you? Look at the Law handbook: http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ Browse through the chapter headings. Would any of these be useful for you either in the above mentioned scenario or in the remaining three scenarios, ie. dealing with noisy neighbours, setting up a business or buying a house? What are Community Legal Centres? http://www.saccls.org.au/index.html Would these be useful for you if you wanted to dispute a traffic offence on-the-spot fine? Would they be useful if you had a problem with a noisy neighbour?

Summary of general information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

How do I find a lawyer?

Yellow Pages, Legal Services Commission, Internet

How do I find other sources of

Legal Services Commission,

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advice, for example, a mediator?

Law Handbook (the most recent edition is freely available on the Internet).

Where can I learn briefly how the Australian legal system works?

Library, Law Handbook, dictionaries and encyclopedias or guides to the law

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Specific information Newspaper articles The protagonist of the above scenario recalls reading a newspaper article about a man who had challenged successfully an on-the-spot fine but does not recall the exact date or article. A search on Newstext a database indexing the full text of articles in the local press, including The Advertiser, The Messenger, and select newspapers from the eastern states, should retrieve the relevant article. A Newstext search is usually carried out by the librarian and may attract a charge. There are now a number of newspaper databases available on the Internet and you may like to practise using the Internet to find these. The University of South Australia Library currently provides access to Australian newspapers and journals in the Newsbank database. Activity

Access a newspaper database such as Newsbank. Choose some key words to locate articles about any past cases dealing with noisy neighbours or legislation which applies in these cases. Could these be relevant if you were addressing this scenario? Another useful source may be APAIS (Australian Public Affairs Information Service), a current affairs subject index which covers journals and some newspapers dealing with matters of a political, social, economic, and cultural nature. APAIS is one of the databases accessed using AUSTROM which was discussed in Chapter 4. Unlike Newstext, APAIS often only provides bibliographic details (that is, title, name of author, date of publication, name of journal or newspaper, page number) and not the full text of the article for most of the articles it indexes. In other words, articles must be retrieved from the original print journals. APAIS also indexes scholarly journals, conference papers and books in the area of social sciences and humanities. APAIS is available online, on CD-ROM, and in print (that is, in a paper copy). A thesaurus,

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that is, a listing of preferred terms to search for in the database, is available to make searching more successful. Other relevant databases for retrieving information to do with the law, particularly Australian law, are AGIS (Attorney General's Information Service) and CINCH (The Australian Criminology Database). Both of these databases index articles, reports, conference papers, and certain books, as well as statutes (acts), cases (common law) and such delegated statutes as regulations and by-laws. Access is available through a variety of means including keywords, names and titles. These databases are also available on AUSTROM. Activity:

Think of a legal matter that you may be interested in. Search databases such as CINCH, AGIS, and APAIS for up to date articles relating to the area. Identify the problem, the search terms or keywords that you could use, and then provide the bibliographic details of about five articles that you have found. Set out the bibliographic details as directed in the Learning Connection's Learning Guide, Referencing using the Harvard (author-date) system.

The Internet Check out the following Internet sites or try searching for relevant information yourself. 'The Law Portal' requires registration but use is free. http://www.lawportal.com.au/full_screen.asp The Law Portal http://www.austlii.edu.au. The Australasian Legal Information Institute http://www.aussielegal.com.au AussieLegal

Finding statutes and case law All legislation is published in statute books during the year that it has been passed. These acts are available from ♦ Commonwealth Legislation: http://www.publications.gov.au/index.php?legislation

♦ Service SA Government Legislation Outlet (state legislation) Street Address: Ground Floor 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: 13 2324 Fax: 08 8207 1949 Email: servicesa@saugov.sa.gov.au

♦ Other sites on the the Internet (at the Australasian Legal Institute site) ♦ some libraries.

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Reprints of earlier legislation are also available. In order to find relevant cases that have been decided by the courts, law reports are a useful tool. There are different types of law reports, depending on the jurisdiction of the court they are referring to. For example, there are the Commonwealth law reports (CLR) and the Australian law reports (ALR). Refer to chapter 1 in the Law Handbook on how to locate these. The Australian legal monthly digest or Australian current law reporter are a means of accessing cases according to topic or subject matter. Another means of accessing cases and acts is through the Australian digest, published by the Law Book Company, which arranges cases according to broad subject category. For example, the relevant category for the opening scenario would be Vehicles and traffic in volume 41. This arrangement allows ready access to the historical development of the common law in relation to the area in question. Of course, it is also important to make reference to the regulations and by-laws which may also be relevant. These can be found in the South Australian government gazette. Activity

Think of a legal problem, perhaps the same as the one for which you found journal articles. Identify and locate the relevant legislation and the most important cases. Make sure that you identify any amendments to the legislation and that the circumstances in the cases are as similar to your own as possible. This is as important as currency, although remember that because of the principle of precedent, an old case may still be relevant and apply in your situation.

Activity

Bodies such as local government have the power to make delegated statutes such as by-laws and regulations relating to the management of activities such as parking, the keeping of animals in domestic premises, and commercial enterprises within their jurisdictions. Within your local government area, identify the by-laws and regulations which apply to an activity of your choice, for example, the keeping of animals.

Summary of specific information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

What by-laws and regulations should I be aware of in my suburb?

local council, South Australian Government Gazette

How do I find case law relevant to my circumstances?

library, law reports, Australian legal monthly digest, the Internet

How do I find the Acts relevant to my circumstances?

library, books of statutes, Commonwealth Legislation on the Internet, Service SA outlet,

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the Internet How do I find articles from the press and from journals which could help me interpret the law and my particular circumstances?

Newstext, APAIS, AGIS, Newsbank Internet

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Summary In this chapter we have examined the sorts of strategies which you could adopt in order to familiarise yourself with the relevant laws and how they may have been applied in the past. This background should give you some indication of how they might be interpreted and applied in your situation. Even if you engage the services of a lawyer, you will be better informed and therefore have more control over the situation. In other words, you will be able to make more informed decisions by following through on some case law and Acts relating to your problem.

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Assignment 3

Subject search number four Your neighbours have a teenage son who insists on playing the stereo very loudly for long periods during the day and evening. You have approached the son and his parents on a number of occasions, politely pointing out that this near constant cacophony is very disturbing. This only appears to delight the neighbours who speak of their rights and their freedom to do as they please. They evidently have no concern or sympathy for the effect that this is having on you. The other neighbours do not wish to become involved in the dispute for a variety of reasons, particularly if it means having to deal with the police or appear in court as witnesses. One of the suggestions is that you go out of the house when the noise gets very loud! You have spoken to the police, but they are rather reluctant to act. A couple of times when they have gone around to investigate, the neighbours have cunningly left the house before the police arrived. Even when they have finally been spoken to by the police, they resume their playing even more loudly after they have gone. You have turned to the local council for help and advice, but they say that this is a police matter. You are starting to dread being in the house and notice a dramatic need to resort to pain killers for the splitting headaches that you are now experiencing as a result of this noise. You have no intention of moving house because of this problem as you cannot afford it, and there is no guarantee that the same problem won't happen elsewhere. You also feel that your rights to the enjoyment of your home are being trampled and that the system appears to be ineffectual in dealing with this increasing problem. What can you do? You have turned to the police, but what other avenues are open to you? Is court action the only other option? Is there some other body which can give advice and support? Identify the relevant legislation which would be involved in a court action, and consider what other options are available to you. (Please see the Course information for further instructions regarding the completion of this assignment.)

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Chapter 10 (weeks 10-11)

Establishing a Small Business

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Scenario Consider the following scenario: I'd like to build up my own business, perhaps running it from home. Is this possible in my community? What are some of the other legalities I have to be aware of? Can I afford to do this alone, or will I need a partner? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General information There are huge numbers of Australians going into business for themselves today. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated that there were 1,233,200 private sector small businesses in Australia in 2000-01 employing almost 3.6 million people (Trewin 2001, p.1). By June 2004 there were an estimated 1,269 000 small businesses operating in Australia (ABS, 2004). Some people want to be their own bosses and invest their money, time and talents into their own profit-making venture. Owning your own business can be very rewarding but there are risks involved, too. There are financial risks, of course, but there

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are some non- financial ones to consider as well. Some of the risks include: •

Day-to-day financial operations of the business- can you cover immediate costs?

Profitability factor- will the rate of return be sufficient?

Site location- is it adequate for your needs?

Personal lifestyle- can you cope with the long hours and changes to your lifestyle?

Personality type- are you the type of person who can be entrepreneurial, market oriented, creative, energetic, decisive, and aware of business trends?

Knowledge of the laws surrounding all aspects of business practice- how do you keep out of trouble?

One of the first tasks of any potential business owner should be to look at ways to reduce risks as much as possible. According to Darralyn Cusack and Russell Ives (1994, p.14), we can successfully reduce our risks if we follow these basic rules: Recognise the danger. Be aware that the action carries some degree of risk and analyse whether the risk is worth taking Investigate the options. There are always alternative options available to any action. Create a list of alternatives which reduce the risk faced. Select the best option. Choose the option which best achieves the level of risk you are prepared to take. Know future risks. Continue to assess the ongoing nature or the risk and determine how this will affect your continuation of the current option. This chapter will concentrate on Investigating the Options. Activity

Think of some business activity that suits your skills, abilities and interests. For example, if you like making things with your hands (eg. woodworking or painting) you might think about opening a craft gallery in your community. Use the business that you have come up with to investigate the various aspects discussed below. The first thing that you will want to find out is whether a business venture is viable in the area in which you live or wish to establish your business. What is the strength of competition? What is the size of your potential market? Checking the Yellow

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Pages is the best way to start. Be sure to look under all possible headings. They can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.yellowpages.com.au. How many similar businesses are listed? The Australian Bureau of Statistics also provides statistical information relating to types of businesses in any given area. A 4-site report prepared for a particular local government area will provide a wealth of social and economic information about a given area as well as a break down of existing local industries. You can find this information in many libraries. You will also want to contact places such as the local Chamber of Commerce (check with your local government authority for contacts), and any organisations dealing with your special interests (check the Yellow Pages under Organisations- Business & Professional). Ask these business people and other experts about the potential of the market and future business prospects for your product here. You will want to consider a business plan, as well. "A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm's resumeâ&#x20AC;Ś. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications and make the right decisions." One strategy often used in business planning is a SWOT Analysis. This allows you to analyse your internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats. At this stage all you can really look at are the external factors likely to affect your potential business. "External research into opportunities and threats should reveal the enterprise's position in relation to competition and market niche and the current and future economic, political and social issues and changes which may influence the business. Technological and environmental issues which will provide the opportunity for development and growth or which will hamper future potential will also be identified." (Cusack, D. & Ives, R. 1994, p.18)

Activity

Think of two factors beyond your control that might have a positive impact on your potential business, and two factors that might have a negative impact. (Examples might be the GST, drought, extended shopping hours, parking restrictions, etc.) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

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Next you will want to consider whether your financial situation is such that you can go it alone, or whether you will need to investigate a partnership arrangement with someone. If you are going to operate as a sole trader you will need to consider what capital you have available and whether this is enough to establish your business. If you have to borrow money you will need to be aware of what loan arrangements might currently exist with the banks and other financial institutions. There are other agencies that can offer assistance as well. For example, The Business Centre provides banking, leasing and finance advice for a small fee. There are numerous Business Enterprise Centres around Australia that offer advice and information about finances and other concerns. See if you can find one in your local area. A partnership, on the other hand, may offer some financial advantages if you and another can put up sufficient money between you to establish the business. A partnership is "the relationship that exists between persons carrying on business in common with a view to making a profit. In essence, partners are owners of the business, with roughly equal status. Unlike a company, a partnership is not a separate legal entity but is simply an arrangement between the individuals who comprise it." (Bowen, J. 1998, p.14) However, it is always advisable to get legal advice on such matters. Places such as local Community Advisory Services, the Department of Economic Trade and Development (DETD) or solicitors who specialise in small business activity can provide you with legal advice for a fee. The Department of Econonomic Trade and Development provides a series of information sheets. Access these at http://www.southaustralia.biz/home_page.htm

Reading 10.1

Bowen, Jan 1998, Your business and the law, 2nd ed., Allen & Unwin, St.Leonards, N.S.W., p.14-21 Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

After Reading 10.1 do a RISK analysis on setting up a partnership with a friend. Refer to the Figure on p.114. Do you think this business arrangement is an appropriate one for you?

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Summary of general information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

What similar businesses exist in my area?

Yellow Pages, Chambers of Commerce, business experts. Australian Bureau of Statistics

Who can offer me the best loan?

Banks and other financial institutions, Business Enterprise Centres

Is a partnership the way to go?

Community Advisory Services, The Business Centre, solicitors

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Specific information requirements Partnerships may be one legal aspect of your business venture, but there are many other legalities to be concerned about as well. "In fact, small business operators can feel besieged by the number of regulations with which they must comply. Overworked, and overregulated could be a small business proprietor's catch cry!â&#x20AC;Ś Of course, as with most laws, ignorance is no excuse, failure to abide by those laws is a crime and criminal action is subject to penalty." (Cusack, D & Ives, R. 1994, p.49)

Laws relating to business vary from state to state and from type of business to type of business. But there are some Commonwealth Laws that apply to all business. These include the Trade Practices Act and taxation legislation, including income tax, capital gains tax, and sales tax. All Acts of Parliament can be located on the Internet; you might want to take a look at http://www.austlii.edu.au. (Australasian Legal Information Institute) http://law.gov.au (Australian Law Online) http://scaleplus.law.gov.au (Australian Attorney Generals Department collection of legal databases on the Internet) http://www.accc.gov.au Australian Competition and Consumer Commision

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(Information about the Trade Practices Act and authorised Codes of Practice) A very useful starting point for research into legal requirements and general business advice is the Australian Federal Government’ Business Gateway: http://www.business.gov.au/Business+Entry+Point/ Activity

Reading 10.2

Spend some time looking at this site. How useful is it as a reference to further information in setting up your business?

Laurence, Michael 1998,’Tax reform: life in Costello’s brave new world’, Business Review Weekly, vol 20, issue 18. (18th May) p.40. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Activity

Reading the above article, list any points which you are unclear about. How do you think the GST will affect your small business? Each state has a number of laws relating to small business operations. In South Australia you can find out more about these laws from The Business Centre or access them on the Internet. Some of the laws you need to be aware of include Registration of Business Name, Shop Licences (eg. not selling cigarettes to minors), Industrial Relations (rates of pay and conditions), Health and Occupational Safety Regulations, Consumer Affairs (for complaints). The following Internet sites can provide more specific information. Safework SA: www.safework.sa.gov.au (for award information, safe workplace advice and trading hours) Office for Consumer and Business Affairs: www.ocba.sa.gov.au (for consumer information and information about the Fair Trading Act) Work Cover Corporation: www.workcover.sa.gov.au (for workers compensation & occupational health & safety advice)

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Locally, Councils can pass regulations and bylaws which can have an effect on the operation of your business. These may include Planning and Zoning (to determine the use of premises and the hours of operation in a given area of your community), site development and renovations, signage, and health codes. Activity

Contact your local Council and find out whether you live in a zone which allows business activity within the home. Do they set any limits on that activity? Can you erect a sign outside your premises? Are there any restrictions as to size, etc.? There is so much to think about in setting up a business and so much information to gather. You can find additional information in databases that are available in many libraries. You have already read about Austrom and other Informit databases, which would have some good information relating to business. One database which might be particularly useful for this topic is Business Australia on disc. You may also wish to regularly read periodicals such as Business Review Weekly and Australian Financial Review to keep up-to date with changes in legislation, tax reform and marketing trends. Some periodicals and newspapers can now be accessed on the Internet. For example http://www.brw.com.au (Business Review Weekly) There are now many Internet sites dedicated to small business matters. Try Maus Business Systems: http://www.maus.com.au/intro.asp

Summary of specific information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

What are the Federal Laws that will have an impact on my business?

library, Law Handbook, Internet, Business Centre,

What state laws do I need to be aware of?

Library, Internet, Business Centre, Small Business Advocate

What local government regulations will affect me?

Council, library

How to I keep up to date with changes in business practice?

Informit databases, Periodicals, Newspapers, Internet

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There are other issues that need to be considered in establishing a small business. For example, with the growing need to manipulate information in many ways, having a computer to assist with the running of your business maybe essential. Inventory requirements, increased customer expectations, rising costs and intense competition make a computer a necessity. The possibility of setting up your business on the web and entering the world e-commerce may appeal to some as well. Assignment 3

Subject search number five You have just won $100, 000 in a lottery, and you have been thinking for some time about establishing your own business. You now have the opportunity to do something about it. Your brother-in-law has told you about a company that is interested in establishing a food franchise in your community. This seems to you to be the chance of a lifetime, because you enjoy meeting people and working with food. You also think you have the skills to manage the staff and finances and to promote the new business venture. Before leaping in you need to consider whether this would be a viable venture in your community. A feasibility study would give you this information. You also have to investigate legal issues associated with the purchase. What is a franchise? What are the advantages of owning a franchise? What risks are associated with this type of business venture? Are there any restrictions associated with the way you conduct this type of business, for example in the preparation and choice of food? How much leeway do you have when it comes to promoting your products? What type of contract needs to be entered into? Are there any statutes or legislation that you need to be aware of? Are there other legal aspects that need to be considered? There are financial considerations as well. You know that the franchise will cost $70,000. Will you have enough left over to cover such things as: initial rental of premises, insurance, establishment of an initial stock of ingredients, hiring and training of staff prior to opening, and promoting the grand opening. (Please consider rough estimates only .You don't need to go to great lengths to ascertain specific costs.) Now that you've completed your investigation, should you go ahead with the purchase?

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Chapter 11 (weeks 12-13)

Buying a house

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Scenario Consider the following scenario: I'm thinking about moving to a new community, but I want to make sure I choose the right time and place to move to. Are there lots of young families in the area? Are there good neighbourhood playgrounds? Is there a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in place? Is it a good time to buy or sell? Will new mortgage rates be a problem for me? Should I go through a real estate agent, or buy or sell privately? There is a lot to consider when it comes to one of the major decisions in our livesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that of buying a house. There are financial considerations, of course, but also such factors as the effect of a new community on our lifestyles, schooling for children, and our stress levels (at least initially). We also need to understand the legal issues involved, and to decide whether we want to purchase to move in immediately, or perhaps to invest for negative gearing purposes (at least for awhile). Planning all the steps carefully is a vital part of the exercise, as timing is crucial to the success of the whole venture. There is also a significant amount of jargon attached to the legal and financial side of the

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process, and this alone is often enough to make many people think twice before embarking on this major activity. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

General information Legal When you decide to buy or sell a house, there are certain legal documents which must be prepared. There has to be a contract, and the transfer of the title to the property has to be arranged. The contract should be worded to suit your special requirements. If you are borrowing money to buy the property, the contract should be subject to the finance being obtained. If you require Council approval to use the property for a particular purpose, or …want the property inspected by an architect or builder, the contract should be subject to obtaining the approval or receiving a satisfactory report from the inspector. (Law Society of South Australia, date unknown)

There are also contracts in which some builders and developers define special terms, which are occasionally unfair to the buyer. (There is a video tape recording available at the University of South Australia Library entitled Building contracts, which would give more information on this aspect of legal documents.) You also need to know that, unless you are going to buy at an auction, you have a cooling-off period of at least two clear business days after signing the contract. If you choose to use this time to get out of the deal, you are entitled to receive all your money back, less the deposit. If you are selling and decide to auction your existing property, you will have to pay auction and advertising expenses, plus a licensed agent's fee if it sells. It is also important to have someone examine the contract to make sure that it isn't unfair from your point of view. This person should not be the same for both buyer and seller. Lawyers or land brokers (or conveyancers) typically prepare contracts and supporting documents, and complete sales and settlement (the point in time when the title and money exchange hands). Lawyers can also give legal advice; conveyancers cannot. Although you can legally do all of these activities yourself, it is a highly specialised area of law and few attempt to do so. However, there are many aspects of the work that can be undertaken by you if you wish to avoid some of the major costs, such as commission. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of time and energy spent versus dollars spent to decide if you would like to sell your own home privately.

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For a taste of the challenge involved in dealing with 'legalese', read the following (simplified!) version relating information on 'options to purchase': Reading 11.1

Lang, Andrew G 1988, Conveyancing precedents: Australia & New Zealand, CCH Australia, North Ryde, New South Wales, pages 169-171. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Financial A house is an expensive purchase; in December 2007, the median price for a house in metropolitan Adelaide was $422,000 (Real Estate Institute of Australia, 2007). There are also other costs to be considered including the commission paid to the real estate agent for selling the house. While agents fees are now totally deregulated and the price is negotiated between agent and vendor the cost can still be considerable. Then there is the cost of advertising, the contract, searches, and conveyancing, all adding up to at least another $2,000 And then there is the stamp duty and registration fees which the purchaser has to pay. On an average home in Adelaide, this would add up to another $20,000. If you are a first home buyer there maybe some concession depending on the purchase price of the house. A useful place to contact for more information is the Real Estate Institute of S.A. They have a resource centre and an Advisory Service. Activity

Access the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (or your own state) web site: http://www.reisa.com.au Browse through the information they provide. Locate information on median house prices. What is the current median house price for the suburb of your interest? Has it risen or fallen in the last quarter? You will also need to consider the amount of your income which will have to go toward the mortgage payment and the amount of down payment you can afford to pay up-front. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2005-6, the proportion of income spent on housing by home purchasers averaged 20 percent (28 percent for low income earners). Comparing this with the proportion of income spent on housing by private renters, the average for low income earners was 29 percent, (ABS Housing occupancy costs, Australia 2005-06).

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Perhaps you're happy with where you're living at the moment, but know that within a few years, you are going to want to live closer to work, school, or public transport, etc. You've heard that there are tax advantages to owning a place which you rent out and would like to consider investing in property for that purpose. Aside from getting information from the Australian Taxation Office or a financial adviser on 'negative gearing', you have other considerations such as management of the property, and the economic climateâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is it a good time to invest in property? The Australian Bureau of Statistics puts out information on Investors in rental dwellingsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it would be useful to look at the trends locally before making any decisions. The following reading gives you a taste of financial jargon, as it discusses why it's important to analyse the information available to you, to have some knowledge of the structure of capital markets and financial leverage, and to measure the return and risk involved in investing. Reading 11.2

Rowland, P J 1993, Property investments and their financing. Law Book Co., Sydney, pages 1-3. Key points: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Of course, there are many other financial considerations related to moving to a new house. These include the costs of transport involved in travelling to work and other habitual haunts, the cost of actually moving, and perhaps more interest to pay on other debts such as credit cards (because all your money is now tied up in the house).

Social You may be removed from your friendsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;your favourite pub could be too far away now to get to. Your mum may not be so readily available to look after the children some evening when you want to go out. The children may have to adjust to a new school, just as you will all have to adjust to new neighbours. If you move into a strata title property, you may not have fully considered the problems of communal living. 'Unless most of the owners agree with you on an issue, you may find your right to enjoy the property will be limited' (Legal Services Commission of South Australia, 1993). Of course, all of these things will have been considered by you already! After all, you want to fit into a socially comfortable

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environment. For example, if you have young children, you would probably want to find other young children in the neighbourhood, and a Neighbourhood Watch in place, as well. (Check the White Pages for the phone number of the Neighbourhood Watch Administrator within the Police department. The police may also be able to give you local crime statistics for your new council area.) Check also for the location of the community centre, library, council parks, public swimming pools or any other activity you would like to make use of. The council can supply you with all of this information. Schooling may well deserve special attention, as well. You may have heard all sorts of rumours about the quality of various schools, but it pays to check out teacher-student ratios, average SACE scores of high school graduates, etc. with the state's Education department. And of course, transport is important, too. Is there good public transport if you need it, or is there convenient access to the major routes you usually drive on?

You can also access the White Pages on the Internet at http://www.whitepages.com.au/.

Summary of general information requirements What do you need to know?

Where can you find out?

Is my contract fair to me?

Citizens' Advice Bureau or Yellow Pages for 'Solicitor', land agent, Housing Industry Association, (South Australian Division)

How much will the fees come to?

Real Estate Institute of Australia, banks, conveyancers, lawyers

How much is the house likely to cost in the area where I want to buy?

Land Titles Office, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Presscom, Internet

How much will the mortgage be?

bank, Home Start Finance Ltd (for South Australia)

How do I find out about buying to rent?

Australian Taxation Office, financial adviser, library

What services are offered by the local council?

local council, library

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Activity

Is this a good environment to move to?

Australian Bureau of Statistics, police, Education department

What is the transport like here?

local public transport authority, street directory

Before moving on to more specific information about the area you've decided to move to, can you think of any other general questions you might want to ask? Who or where might be the best places to find the answers?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Specific information Suppose you have decided on a particular area which you would like to move to, because a lot of your friends live there and they seem to really like the community. Before making any final decisions, however, there are a few things you can find out about that community. The various state governments and local councils publish reports from time to time on different topics, and it would be worthwhile checking at the library which serves your potential new community to see if they have anything which would interest you. For example, the Engineering and Water Supply Department (E&WS) published a report on water quality and storm water drainage for the Paddocks area of northern Adelaide (Tomlinson, Fisher and Clark, 1993). Another extremely valuable source of information is the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Updated versions of the publications mentioned below are available from their website http://www.abs.gov.au). (Remember to go through the University Libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Database page in order to access publications otherwise you may be charged for these). From the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, we can get a variety of facts about our potential council area. One publication, which is very useful, is Adelaideâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a social atlas (they are available for each capital city). Here we find, for example, that over 86 percent of employed residents in regions such as Paralowie and Aberfoyle Park travel to work by car. The average for the Adelaide region is 81% of the employed population. Since the percentage for these areas is a slightly higher figure, one might assume that public transport is not as well established as in other parts of Adelaide. We also find that a high figure of over 21 percent of mothers in Aberfoyle Park are in the labour force. Areas in the outer southern and northern suburbs which had undergone extensive residential developments over the last 15 years 139 _________


had high percentages of mothers in the labour force. These areas also had a high proportion of school- aged children and dwellings being purchased. (Crettenden 2002, p.33)

And indeed, when looking up mortgage rates we do find that Aberfoyle Park is in a high mortgage area. Finally, we can also find out average ages in Aberfoyle Park from this source. Between 14 and 18% percent are between five and fourteen years old, where the average for the Adelaide area is 12.8 percent. There are also statistics on every single council area in Australia available from the Bureau of Statistics. Many libraries have copies of the information, at least for their specific area. Australian Bureau of Statistics has published their Census data on a CD-ROM called CLIB. This is available in most libraries. You will also find updated publications at the Australian Bureau of Statistics web site. (Remember to go through the University Libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Database page in order to access publications otherwise you may be charged for these). Perhaps you'd like to get an indication of how much houses are selling for in your chosen area. Real Estate sales are listed in local newspapers or you can pick up a regional Realtors' weekly paper and check out average prices. You can also use the same strategy to determine the selling price of your own home, if applicable. Your own council capital value rates can also give you an indication of how much your own place might be worth. Are you a person who likes to make lots of noise, and party every weekend into the wee hours of the morning? Well, some councils have specific requirements regarding excessive noise. Even if they don't have such requirements, you would not make many neighbours happy if you moved into a quiet Neighbourhood with lots of young children who go to bed somewhat earlier than you! Check with the council, and observe the 'culture' of the potential new neighbourhood before making any decisions. The same is also true, by the way, if you are a person who likes quiet. It is a good idea to check with the neighbours and even the police to see if there are frequent complaints on that street. How do you begin to choose a house if you don't have a particular reason for selecting a particular neighbourhood? The statistics mentioned above can be a big help. Sometimes just driving around will give you a feel for an area. But if you aren't able to do this because of time or distance constraints, there are realtors who can look further afield than their own region. And, if you happen to be interested in purchasing in an area distant from you, you can use the Internet to do your shopping! Once again, there is a great deal you can learn by looking at council web sites. Many councils and their services are now online. This South Australian Local Government Asssociation site provides

140 _________


links to most council web sites. Look under ‘Local Government in SA’ in the main menu. http://www.lga.sa.gov.au (Local Government Association) Activity

Locate the local government council website of the area of your interest. What kinds of services are available in the area? For example, is there a mobile library? Community bus for senior citizens? Local swimming pool or sports facilities? Find the ‘community profile’ or other information on the demographics of the area. Would these be a useful indication of the kind of community into which you might be moving? Finally, is it a good time to buy in this community? Financial advisers can often provide general forecasts, concerning the stability of the housing market. In fact, every three months, new information comes out from the Commonwealth which makes everyone reassess interest rates, housing starts, etc. It would be worthwhile checking with an adviser, not only to assess whether it's a good time to buy, but also, to assess whether you can arrange your finances to meet the new responsibilities you may face. There are many places on the Internet where information can be obtained in relation to purchasing a home. Try out your skills and see what appropriate sites you can find. The Web provides phenomenal exposure and scope, and it has added a whole new dimension to the services we can offer our vendors (Braue 1999, p.52) Assignment 3 Subject search number six You have an elderly parent who has decided that he/she doesn't wish to live alone in a big old house anymore. Your parent would like to move somewhere a bit closer to you, and probably rent, although if the price was right, he/she might buy something. If your parent rents, you think that he/she can get rental assistance from Centrelink.. This is certainly something which needs to be looked at. You would like to find out more about the availability of government-owned housing. Do many elderly people live in this form of accommodation? How could you find this out? Or, perhaps a retirement village would be suitable if it were not too stodgy—your parent really likes to be active! If your parent buys, it might be a strata title property, or it could be a Torrens title place. What is the difference? Your parent will have to sell their old house, too. And of course, you will have to arrange most of the details of this, as your parent is only concerned with getting into a new place and making new friends. 141 _________


However, at this point in time, you've found someone who would like to rent the place, so you just need information on negative gearing for tax purposes now. Finally, you have to help them find some place which is suitable. How are you going to go about it? (Please see the Course information for further instructions regarding the completion of this assignment.)

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References for section Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002, CLIB 2001(CD-ROM), ABS, Canberra. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004, 8127.0 - Characteristics of Small Business, Australia (Reissue), 2004 , viewed 16 January 2008, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/0/E49E3B4DC35 95C92CA2568A900139377?OpenDocument Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007, 4130.0.55.001 - Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia, 2005-06, viewed 16 January 2008, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4130.0. 55.001Main%20Features22005-06? opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4130.0.55.001&iss ue=2005-06&num=&view= Australian current law. Reporter 1991, Butterworths, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australian digest 1988-, volume 41, 3rd edition, Law Book Co. , Sydney. [see contents page under 'Vehicles and traffic']. Australian law reports 1973-, Butterworths, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australian legal monthly digest 1994-, Law Book Co., Sydney. Bowen, Jan 1998, Your Business and the Law, 2nd ed, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, NSW. Braue, David 1998 ,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Home aloneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, The Bulletin, November 24th , p. 52. Building contracts (video recording) 1989, College of Law, Continuing Legal Education Department, Sydney. Commonwealth law reports 1986, Law Book Co., Sydney. Cusack, Darralyn & Ives, Russell 1994, Taking care of business, Jacaranda, Milton, Qld. 4-site: Pinpointing places for profit 1998, Report prepared for Noarlunga Library, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra. Hanly, Garry, (ed.) 1993, Standard building and construction contracts: users' guide, Construction Industry Development Agency, Sydney. Law Society of South Australia. [date unknown]. 'Buying and selling house and property', Adelaide 143 _________


Legal Services Commission of South Australia 1993,'You and your neighbours', Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Adelaide

Real Estate Institute of South Australia 2007, Real Estate Magazine , viewed 16 January 2008, http://wic003lc.serverweb.com/~admin417/uploads/Documents/Prop%20stats %20Dec07.pdf South Australian government gazette 1839-, State Print , Adelaide. Small Business and the law 1997, rev. ed., Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra Legal Services Commission of South Australia 1995, The law handbook: the easy to use practical guide to the law 1995, 3rd edition, Legal Services Commission of South Australia, Adelaide. 'Thirty most asked questions about small business', viewed July 1999 <http://www.bizoffice.com/library/files/busquest.txt> Tomlinson, G W, Fisher, A G and Clark, R D S 1993, The paddocks. Engineering and Water Supply Department, [Adelaide]. Trewin, D. 2002 Small Business in Australia, Australian Bureau Statistics, Canberra.

of

Further Reading Cobcroft, S. 2003, The Australian Consumer Handbook, Department of Treasury, Canberra, viewed 21 December, viewed 22 December 2006, <http://www.consumersonline.gov.au/>

CISA 2002, Directory of Community Services 2007, 17th ed., Adelaide. Available online at Community Information Support Services Australia web site, viewed 22 December 2006, <http://www.infosearchweb.com>

Commonwealth Government of Australia 2006, Seniors.gov.au, viewed 22nd December 2006, <http://www.seniors.gov.au/>

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summary

Congratulations! You have just completed an intensive semester of critical thinking and strategising, no easy task! The good news is that you are now more prepared than many university students are to make the best of your continuing studies, and to make informed decisions throughout your life. Hopefully you found the search for information to be an enjoyable one, like a treasure hunt when you're given just a few clues to start off with. The difference is that you tend to generate the next set of clues yourself, dependent upon the choices you make. The subject matter within each of the scenarios was chosen in the expectation that most of you would have experienced (or be likely to experience) at least two of these situations in the not too distant past (or future). With the added interest level which this would generate, we hoped that you would find the searches to be relevant and useful as well as fun. If any of you had an opportunity to try out new technology while you were looking for interesting and useful sources of information, we hope that you found this an exciting experience rather than a confusing one! CD-ROM and Internet technology puts information at our fingertips; the problem is then coping with all this information and turning what we want into useful knowledge! Please keep in mind that this technology is changing as we speak. So if you did get to enjoy a 'cruise' on the Internet, for example, remember that the next time you have the opportunity the scenery may look quite different. If you were unable to access any of the new technologies during this semester, don't worry. By the time you do they will be so much easier to navigate that you will have missed out on a lot of the growing pains. Enjoy your holidays!

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LIBR1008/SG/01/VER9

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Information Skills studyguide  

LIBR 1008 Information Skills studyguide

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