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Information Literacy Guide: Cost of information


After completing this SECTION, you will be able to:

  • define your need for information,
  • think critically about your topic and need,
  • read about your topic and start making notes,
  • define keywords by:
    • drawing a mind map,
    • selecting broader and narrower subject terms,
    • identifying different spellings or words
  • understand that the financial cost of information is an important issue.

Cost of Information

When choosing the information resources that you are going to use for searching, bear in mind that some resources are free and others are at a cost.

Free resources

Most of the information resources in your Library are free and this is where you should start your search. These information resources include books, periodicals, audio-visual material, databases (incl. cd-roms), Internet, etc.

Information at a cost

  • Internet searching might be free at your institution or at a cost. Ask your Librarian!
  • Certain databases (such as Dialog) are extremely expensive and only Librarians are allowed to use them. If you need more information than that which is freely available in your Library, speak to a Librarian. They know the best and most cost-effective ways of finding information. The cost of these databases is normally carried by the Library and not the user.
  • If you need information from another Library, the information or services are also at an extra cost. This cost is normally carried by the Library, but in some cases by the user. Ask your Librarian for assistance.