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Information Literacy: About Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is the set of skills and behaviors necessary to find, access, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically. This definition and the following associated learning outcomes are guided by and adapted from the published information literacy standards of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA), and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL).

An information literate student will be able to:

  • define the nature and scope of information needed to accomplish a task
  • distinguish among various information types and sources--and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of each
  • develop a research strategy that will yield the most appropriate, relevant information needed
  • construct an effective search query when using databases or discovery/retrieval systems
  • effectively use a search engine’s limiters, facets, and/or filters to narrow or broaden a search as necessary
  • analyze search results to identify ways a search might be productively revised or expanded
  • evaluate individual information sources to assess credibility and appropriateness for the task at hand
  • properly cite information sources according to recognized conventions and/or style manuals
  • recognize plagiarism and demonstrate ways to avoid it

Standards & Competencies

The information literate student:

  1. Determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

  2. Accesses the needed information effectively and efficiently.

  3. Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base.

  4. Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

  5. Understands the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Information Literacy Defined, ACRL

Information Management Competency:

Students will:

  • perform the basic operations of personal computer use;
  • understand and use basic research techniques; and
  • locate, evaluate and synthesize information from a variety of sources

SUNY General Education Requirements

Standard III.b:  offers a curriculum designed so that students acquire and demonstrate essential skills including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy

Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation

Information Literacy Toolkit

The goal of the Information Literacy Toolkit is to provide a one-stop place for SUNY Cobleskill faculty to access information, services and resources that can enhance the teaching of information literacy on campus. The toolkit is for faculty, librarians, and anyone who teaches or advises students. Tutorials, screencasts, handouts, and other tools will be posted on the Tutorials page for faculty to use as they see fit as part of a broader strategy for teaching information literacy skills.


About the Sponsors

Former Instructional Design Librarians Katie DeRusso and Don LaPlant designed and developed this Toolkit as a joint project of SUNY Cobleskill's Van Wagenen Library and the Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT).


                         Van Wagenen Library