CORE 112: Context, or the Lives of Texts

Library instruction activity: Putting Texts in Context

Activity: Putting Texts in Context

  1. Choose a text from the syllabus that was published at least two years ago.
  2. Use the Google document below and edit it based on the text you're using.
  3. Give an overview of how to search using year of publication limits, and how to search for an author or title as a subject. (This exercise works best with the libraries' main Search, because it asks for different types of sources.)
  4. Have students break into groups and complete the questions on the Google doc below.
  5. Use their answers to discuss the cycle of scholarly information, including how different trends in scholarship have treated the same text, the length of time it takes to publish different sources, and the different purposes that books, scholarly articles, and reviews serve.
  6. Discuss the challenges students may have if they are writing about a recently-published text, and strategies (like expanding to author or genre) they might employ.


Using the Google Document template:

  1. Before the session, log in to USC Google Drive using your USC credentials. Click on the Putting Texts in Context template. Select "File" and then "Make a Copy" from the dropdown menu.
  2. Retitle and edit the copied document as you see fit. Choose sources with different perspectives on the same topic, depending on the topic of your seminar.
  3. Double check your "Share" settings in the top right corner. You want anyone to be able to edit the document if they have the link. This is not the default setting, so you will need to change it. Copy the shareable link. Shorten the URL using a URL shortener like or to the Google Sheet. This is the link you'll share with the class.
  4. Assessment: After class, share the Google Sheet with using the Share button in the top right corner. Please notify by email and include the section information to ease in assessment data collection. Please share your artifact as soon as possible and by the end of the semester.

Information Literacy Outcomes

  • Articulate the capabilities and constraints of various processes of information creation
  • Select a source that best meets an information need based on the audience, context, and purpose of various formats