A Sequential Curriculum Plan

The information literate student:

  1. Appreciates the value of information in decision-making, recognizes when information is needed, and understands how information is produced, organized and disseminated.
  2. Determines information needs for the task at hand.
  3. Accesses needed information effectively and efficiently, using appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems.
  4. Critically evaluates the information retrieved.
  5. Understands the legal, economic, and social issues surrounding the use of information; accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Information Literacy Competencies and Objectives

The information literate student:

  1. Appreciates the value of information in decision-making, recognizes when information is needed, and understands how information is produced, organized and disseminated.
    1. The information literate freshman:
      1. Appreciates the importance of information in his/her daily life.
      2. Understands that the library is part of a large network of information sources that s/he will continue to use in the future.
      3. Understands that information searching requires time, diligence, and practice, and that skills are developed over time.
    2. The information literate sophomore:
      1. Is aware that as his/her information needs grow more complex, s/he will need a greater variety of sources to satisfy individual aspects of his/her research questions.
      2. Understands that knowledge is organized into subject disciplines, which directly affect the manner in which information is collected, evaluated, and communicated within that discipline.
    3. The information literate junior/senior:
      1. Understands how information is produced and disseminated, including the influence of political and technological forces -- who generates, controls, and disseminates information, etc.
      2. Describes the methods of scholarly communication in his/her discipline.
  2. Determines information needs for the task at hand.
    1. The information literate freshman:
      1. Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with topics; selects and refines a topic.
      2. Understands that some types of sources (books, magazines, newspapers, web sites, recordings) may be more useful than others for a given research need.
    2. The information literate sophomore:
      1. Formulates research questions from a topic.
      2. Analyzes research questions to determine information needs:
        1. identifies key and tangent issues
        2. targets need for appropriate types of information
      3. Understands how information is affected by the perspective of its producer; identifies the subject orientation, date of publication, intended audience, and geographic coverage of the information being used.
      4. Understands how information is prepared and used by scholars and professionals, and how scholarly/professional information sources differ from consumer information sources.
    3. The information literate junior/senior:
      1. Realizes that information may need to be compiled with raw data from primary sources.
      2. Decides when either primary or secondary sources would be appropriate for a given research need.
      3. Understands how information is prepared and used by scholars and professionals in a given discipline.
  3. Accesses needed information effectively and efficiently, using appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems.
    1. The information literate freshman:
      1. Feels comfortable and confident in asking for assistance in the library.
      2. Is familiar with services, departments and personnel available to help.
      3. Successfully navigates within Steely Library (the physical and virtual facilities) and locates major collections.
      4. Is aware of the LRC and Chase Library as well as other SWON libraries.
      5. Understands that information is organized and that there are standard systems for retrieving it.
      6. Begins to understand the differences in scope among various types of access tools (online catalogs, indexes, bibliographies, search engines, etc.).
      7. Investigates the scope, content, and organization of the print and electronic information retrieval systems being used.
      8. Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need.
      9. Begins to understand the differences between controlled vocabulary and keyword searching.
      10. Understands basic Boolean searching (e.g., how to narrow using AND) and practices using it in the search process.
      11. Utilizes database "help" screens to identify proper commands and correct syntax.
      12. Interprets citations in order to identify the material they represent (book, chapter, article, web page, government document, etc.).
      13. Records all pertinent information for future reference.
      14. Retrieves materials, using search systems to retrieve full-text information in electronic formats, classification schemes and the online catalog to locate sources within the library, and SourceFinder, document delivery or direct borrowing services for sources outside the institution.
      15. Consults experts for assistance when needed.
    2. The information literate sophomore:
      1. Constructs an information-seeking strategy appropriate to the scope and complexity of the research question:
        1. develops search parameters
        2. identifies and selects appropriate access tools (general vs. specialized indexes, local vs. non-local databases, published vs. unpublished sources)
      2. Understands that the process of information seeking is not necessarily linear and that steps may have to be repeated as the process evolves.
      3. Develops the ability to use controlled vocabularies and keywords effectively in searching.
      4. Understands more advanced Boolean searching concepts (OR, NOT, and proximity operators) and uses them effectively in searching.
    3. The information literate junior/senior:
      1. Selects research tools appropriate to the discipline and related disciplines, including:
        1. Primary indexes/databases
        2. Bibliographies and subject guides to the literature
        3. Major web sites, search engines, or web directories
        4. Organizations
        5. Scholarly & professional journals
        6. Other appropriate reference tools, including handbooks, directories, atlases, specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, style manuals.
      2. Develops search strategies for specific databases using controlled vocabularies (often listed in a separate thesaurus).
      3. Improves specificity in search results using field searching.
      4. Understands and applies other advanced searching techniques such as truncation, nesting, and limiting in a wide variety of search engines and databases.
      5. Uses help screens for advanced searching to identify correct syntax and functions.
      6. Identifies and uses databases for specialized sources of information, such as technical reports, conference proceedings, legal and government documents.
  4. Critically evaluates the information retrieved.
    1. The information literate freshman:
      1. Knows that careful scrutiny of information sources is essential.
      2. Is aware that certain factors affect the quality, reliability, or usefulness of information (authority, intended audience, point of view or bias, timeliness, format, accuracy).
      3. Describes criteria to be used in making information decisions and choices, and evaluates information based on those criteria.
    2. The information literate sophomore:
      1. Develops the ability to analyze sources according to concrete factors such as date of publication, subject orientation, and geographic coverage.
      2. Begins to judge the validity of information in a broader context -- in light of such factors as currency, authority, bias, and relevance.
      3. Develops the ability to distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
      4. Questions the sources of data, the limitations of the information gathering tools or strategies, and the reasonableness of conclusions.
      5. Evaluates the information-seeking process. Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether the search strategy should be revised.
      6. Repeats the search using the revised strategy as necessary.
    3. The information literate junior/senior:
      1. Recognizes the cultural, physical, or other context in which information was created.
      2. Recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation.
      3. Analyzes the structure and logic of supporting arguments or methods.
      4. Uses a variety of criteria, such as author's credentials, peer review, and reputation of the publisher, to asses the authority of a source.
      5. Recognizes and evaluates documentation for the information source, such as research methodology, bibliography or notes.
      6. Recognizes and accepts the ambiguity of multiple points of view.
  5. Understands the legal, economic, and social issues surrounding the use of information; accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
    1. The information literate freshman:
      • Legally obtains and stores text, data, images, or sounds, respects intellectual property rights, and posts permission granted notices, as needed, for copyrighted material.
    2. The information literate sophomore:
      1. Acknowledges works of others through accurate citations; selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources.
      2. Can discuss issues related to privacy in the electronic environment.
      3. Can discuss issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information.
      4. Can discuss issues related to freedom of speech.
    3. The information literate junior/senior:
      1. Recognizes that each discipline develops a form of citation that is acceptable for publication in that discipline.
      2. Uses the appropriate citation format for the discipline.

Steely Library phone number:  859.572.5457