Information Literacy Goals and Outcomes

  1. Recognizes and articulates the need for information. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Formulates questions based on the information need.
    2. Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need.
    3. Uses background information sources effectively to gain an initial understanding of the topic.
    4. Recognizes that assistance is available from librarians.
  2. Understands how information is organized. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Describes differences between and demonstrates appropriate use of general and subject-specific information sources.
    2. Identifies research sources, regardless of format, that are appropriate to a particular discipline or research need.
    3. Recognizes the format (e.g., book, book chapter, periodical article, website) of a reference from its citation.
    4. Identifies characteristics of information that make an item a primary or secondary source in a given field.
    5. Identifies the purpose and audience of potential sources (e.g., current vs. historical, popular vs. scholarly,).
    6. Understands the differences between freely available Internet search tools and websites and subscription- or fee-based databases.
    7. Describes when different types of information (e.g., primary/secondary, background/specific) may be suitable for different purposes.
  3. Develops and implements an effective process or search strategy to meet the information need. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Selects appropriate resources (e.g., indexes, online databases, books, primary sources) to research a topic.
    2. Understands the content and period of time covered by the resources selected.
    3. Chooses relevant keywords, synonyms, and related terms for the information needed, recognizing that different resources may use different terminology for similar concepts.
    4. Formulates and uses search strategies appropriate to the resources, whether they be print or electronic.
    5. Constructs a search strategy using appropriate commands (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, proximity, limiting, field searching) when an electronic information retrieval system is used.
    6. Limits or expands searches by modifying search terminology or logic.
    7. Identifies when and where controlled vocabulary (e.g., descriptors, subject headings, assigned terms) is used in a bibliographic record, and successfully searches for information using that vocabulary.
  4. Locates, retrieves, and selects appropriate information. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Uses appropriate print and electronic resources (e.g., bibliographies, databases, indexes, search engines) to retrieve information in a variety of formats.
    2. Uses various classification schemes and other search strategies to retrieve appropriate information.
    3. Identifies the basic elements of different kinds of citations
    4. Examines footnotes and bibliographies from retrieved items to find additional sources.
    5. Understands methods for obtaining information not available in the library (e.g., interlibrary loan, community resources, document delivery).
    6. Selects information that provides evidence for or relates to the topic.
  5. Evaluates the information and the effectiveness of the search. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Reviews the initial information need and clarifies, revises, or refines the question as necessary.
    2. Gathers and evaluates information and appropriately modifies the research plan as new insights are gained.
    3. Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results and identifies gaps in the information retrieved.
    4. Narrows or broadens questions and search terms in response to results to retrieve an appropriate quantity and quality of information.
    5. Describes the differences in results when searching with a library-provided tool (e.g., web-based library catalog, full-text electronic journal, web-based article index) and a general web search engine (e.g., Alta Vista, Google).
    6. Examines and compares information from various sources to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, cultural context, and bias.
  6. Organizes and synthesizes the information and uses it appropriately. Competencies/Learning Outcomes:
    1. Understands the basic ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues (e.g., fair use, copyright, digital divide) involved in information and information technology.
    2. Demonstrates an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism.
    3. Understands that different disciplines may use different documentation styles (e.g., APA, MLA, CBE).
    4. Selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it correctly and consistently.

- Library Curriculum Committee, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage, July 2001