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Basic Information Literacy Learning Outcomes

The information literate student at the basic level (taking 100 and 200 level courses) can:

  • Select and focus a research topic.
  • Use background information sources effectively to gain an initial understanding of the topic.
  • Know how and when to narrow or broaden a topic.
  • Understand that s/he can seek help from a librarian.
  • Can define a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information.
  • Understand that various types of information are available.
  • Identify the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g., book, journal, website, multimedia, data set)
  • Effectively use the organizational structure of a typical book (e.g., indexes, tables of contents, user's instructions, legends, cross-references) in order to locate pertinent information in it.
  • Understand the differences between popular and scholarly (peer-reviewed) materials.
  • Create an effective search strategy.
  • Identify keywords or phrases that represent a topic.
  • Identify alternate terminology, including synonyms, broader or narrower words and phrases that describe a topic
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of keyword searching and use it appropriately and effectively
  • Demonstrate when it is appropriate to search a particular field (e.g., title, author, subject).
  • Determine whether the initial query should be revised and demonstrate how searches may be limited or expanded by modifying search terminology or logic.
  • Use various search systems to retrieve information in a variety of formats
  • Explain the difference between the library catalog and a periodical index.
  • Use different research sources (e.g., catalogs and indexes) to find different types of information (e.g., books and periodical articles).
  • Choose appropriate databases to search for the research topic (general or subject specific databases)
  • Determine when some topics may be too recent to be covered by some standard tools (e.g., a periodicals index) and when information on the topic retrieved by less authoritative tools (e.g., a Web search engine) may not be reliable.
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Determine if the quantity of citations retrieved is adequate, too extensive, or insufficient for the information need.
  • Assess the relevance of information found by examining elements of the citation such as title, abstract, subject headings, source, and date of publication.
  • Evaluate the quality of the information retrieved using criteria such as authorship, point of view/bias, date written, citations, etc
  • Retrieve a document in print or electronic format
  • Recognize the format of an information source (e.g., book, chapter in a book, periodical article) from its citation.
  • Use call number systems effectively (e.g., demonstrates how a call number assists in locating the corresponding item in the library).
  • Initiate an interlibrary loan request by filling out and submitting a form either online or in person.
  • Identify and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information
  • Demonstrate an understanding that not all information on the Web is free, i.e., some Web-based databases require users to pay a fee or to subscribe in order to retrieve full text or other content.
  • Demonstrate awareness that the library pays for access to databases, information tools, full-text resources, etc., and may use the Web to deliver them to its clientele.
  • Describe the differences between the results of a search using a general Web search engine (e.g., Yahoo, Google) and a library-provided tool (e.g., Web-based article index, full-text electronic journal, Web-based library catalog).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material
  • Understand the basic issues about plagiarism and properly citing information sources.
  • Locate information about documentation styles either in print or electronically, e.g., through the library's Web site.
  • Select an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources.

Basic Skills

  • Use the RU online catalog to locate a known book by author or title and find it on the shelf.
  • Use the RU online catalog to locate books by subject and find it on the shelf.
  • Search the I-Share consortium to locate books at other libraries and place a request for a book.
  • Create a search strategy to find articles on common, popular topics in interdisciplinary indexes (e.g, Academic Search Premier, Academic OneFile, etc.)
  • Differentiate between popular and scholarly articles.
  • Evaluate information resources found in library resources.
  • Evaluate Web sites.
  • Understand the parts of a citation.
  • Basic information about citing sources.