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September 3, 2008

Libraries, Information Technology at Purdue to assist in online fact-finding contest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A contest in which competitors look up hard-to-find information in obscure places in an Internet scavenger hunt is scheduled for Sept. 10 at Purdue University.

 The third Digital Literacy Contest will be 6-8 p.m. in campus computer laboratories. Purdue Libraries will provide food, and the Office of Information Technology at Purdue will provide facilities. It is free and open to the public to participate as contestants.

"Information resources available either through subscriptions provided by the Libraries or through readily available Web sites are so ubiquitous that it becomes a challenge for students to 'drill-down' in order to find the best and most authoritative answer to a research question. In today's global, digital society it is increasingly important that each of us knows how to locate information, access and evaluate it, and then apply it,” said James L. Mullins, dean of Purdue Libraries. "The contest is a fun event where the importance of information literacy is highlighted for our students.”

Purdue alumnus Daniel Poynter created the contest last year and, with the help of many other students, attracted 50 competitors to the first contest in August 2007. The second contest drew 120 people last January. It is now spreading to other campuses. The libraries at Brown University, Indiana University and the University of Florida will host the contest this fall.

During the contest, competitors will be given a seat at a computer and 30 minutes to use the Internet to answer a list of questions. A sample question, according to Poynter: "'How much did Loews Corp. donate to Rep. Lamar Alexander's campaign during the 2002 cycle?" This question can be answered using," said Poynter, who graduated in the spring with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

Those who wish to register for the contest can do so online at For more information, contact Poynter at (765) 425-6033 or e-mail him at

"ITaP is pleased to support this interactive learning experience where contestants can use technology to gather and evaluate information to answer questions or solve problems," said Nancy Wilson Head, executive director of teaching and learning technologies in the Office of Information Technology at Purdue.

Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077,

Sources:   James Mullins (765) 494-2900,

Nancy Wilson Head, 496-3685,

Daniel Scott Poynter, 425-6033,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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