Having recently used Zappos, I’m wondering if there’s an information literacy activity buried in there: Zappos (and many other commercial websites) use faceted search to allow customers to narrow down the products they are looking at.
Scholarly articles databases (your EBSCOhosts, ProQuests,…
Yes! I’ve done exactly this. It was in a credit class, not a one-shot, and we did a day on what metadata is and does (with just a little database searching) in advance of a day with lots of database searching.
I brought in actual shoes and had them work in groups to describe them & then to discuss which features they thought would be most useful for searchers. Then we played with Zappos so they could see how their “metadata” translated to the searching/browsing environment.
I think an interesting related activity would be to have the groups start out by describing different things — to get them also thinking about how you can use more (and more useful) limiters when you’re searching a collection of similar things than you can when you’re searching a collection that includes everything and the kitchen sink.