Information skills for foundation and first years

Welcome to Birmingham City University Library.

This page contains resources that will help you build the information skills required to meet the information literacy learning outcomes for year 1 or level 4.

During year one, students are expected to be able to identify, locate and evaluate the different resources and types of sources appropriate to their area of study and construct a search strategy using discipline specific keywords and search techniques in the ethical use of information.

Click on the headings below to reveal related resources.

Discover Library services and support.

Starter guide

Welcome! The Library and Learning Resource team gathered what you need to know to take advantage of the services offered by the library all in one place.


A short session where we welcome you to the University and introduce library services and staff who can help you along your academic journey.

Interactive induction video

If you cannot attend the live induction session, watch the video and practice new skills with guided online activities.

Discover your digital skills

To be digitally literate is hugely important in the modern world. BCU encourages all students to continually improve their Digital Literacy. In order to help each individual assess and improve their skills we have joined with JISC to provide the JISC Discovery Tool. Learn about yourself and get useful recommendations in 10 minutes.

Understand references and cite using the appropriate referencing style.

Referencing guide

Most BCU faculties use the BCU Harvard style while some disciplines use OSCOLA, APA 7th edn., MHRA, Chicago or Vancouver.

It is never too early to learn how to read references and cite using the appropriate referencing format. 

Identify, locate and evaluate resources and sources.

Reading lists

Your lecturer works with a subject expert librarian to identify key resources for your course. Search the online reading lists using the module's code or the tutor's name.

Subject guides

The subject-specialist librarians created guides to help you find resources related to your subject, academic skills or other topics such as:

  • Details of key books, journals and databases for your subject.
  • Staff contact details for specialist help.
  • Advice on how to use different types of resources.

The guides are all in one place: the A-Z of Resources page.

Construct a search strategy using discipline specific keywords and search techniques in the ethical use of information.

Library Search help

BCU Library gives you access to millions of physical and online resources. Discover how the powerful features of the BCU Library Search can help you navigate this world of knowledge.

Systematic searching techniques

This workshop or open-session will alert you to various searching techniques to ensure that you find all of the information available around your topic. It will also encourage you to search beyond the University’s collection.

Note: this session is optional. Reach out to your tutor or course lead for more information.

Preparing for your first assignment workshop

These workshops or drop-in session encourages you to consider what are the key components of your topic. Question whether there are differing perspectives and consider alternative terms and you will gain an insight into what the key focus of your research should be.

Get personalised support


With access to millions of resources, sometimes the library can seem like an intimidating place. Our specialist Librarians are here to help you make sense of it all by providing in-depth guidance and support in your chosen subject area. Tutorials are currently available online. They will take place via MS Teams, Skype, or our online chat service. There may be some limited appointments available on campus.