Information Literacy

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It’s a noisy world, information-wise, and growing noisier all the time. We help students find their way through it.

What do we do in the library to support our students as they become information literate?

Trinity instruction librarians…

are educators

  • Develop assignments and sessions in conjunction with faculty in order to meet instructional and curricular goals;
  • Lower barriers to information access by familiarizing students with libraries, librarians, specialized resources and collections on campus and online;
  • Provide opportunity to develop research skills;
  • Focus on understanding information as well as finding;
  • Focus on creating information as well as using;

are coaches and mentors

  • Provide strategies and expertise;
  • Explicate the often divergent and recursive process of seeking information;
  • Support the acquisition of resources that students will learn to use effectively, accurately, and creatively;

support life-long learning

  • Contextualize the value of information resources and skills beyond the university;
  • Support students engaged in independent research activities outside the classroom;
  • Empathize with students in order to better prepare them to address the challenges they face as citizens, practitioners, and scholars.

In our sessions, we…

make connections

  • Relate learning outcomes to information needs, definitions and concepts
  • Help students better understand specific aspects of their assignments, including:
    • Their information needs as they relate to their topics and final products
    • Baseline concepts such as standard terminology, contextualized definitions, and units of measure
    • The scope, scale, and direction of their topics
    • The contexts of and differences between the appropriate information sources
    • Applications to the real world

develop students’ skills

  • Instruct students in the use of information skills, including:
    • Developing search strategies for different information resources
    • Applying principles and criteria for evaluating information
    • Selecting the best sources, not just the most convenient sources
    • Understanding the nature of copyright as users and creators of information
    • Creating knowledge from diverse information sources
    • Developing models of themselves as researchers with agency in the research process

teach progressively

  • Utilize a variety of student-focused learning tools and activities

Information Literacy Learning at Trinity: Six Principles

The six principles that follow serve as the foundation for information literacy teaching and learning at Trinity University. Accompanying each are learning outcomes associated with that principle. These outcomes are not intended to be stipulative; additions may be made to these categories depending on the course or context.

Learning Outcomes

The first outcomes listed under each principle may be most appropriate for first and second year students, progressing to outcomes achievable by individuals with more academic experience.

Research is a process of inquiry.

Students will be able to…

  • identify their information needs.
  • synthesize information sources into their thinking to complete research tasks and assignments.
  • demonstrate sophistication in their critical and creative syntheses, resulting in original arguments, conclusions, and products.
  • design and refine search strategies, while also recognizing the iterative and messy elements of research as they learn to manage the discomfort and anxiety (often through practice and reflection) that is typically associated with the research process.

Inquiry involves exploration.

Students will be able to…

  • explore background information in preparation for making decisions/solving problems related to tasks and challenges.
  • locate and access information in the library (in various formats).
  • identify differences between peer-reviewed articles, popular articles, and other types of texts.
  • recognize the differences between primary and secondary sources.
  • navigate and use effectively a variety of information sources.
  • recognize the value of browsing and other serendipitous methods of information gathering.

Primary sources are unique.

Students will be able to…

  • Use appropriate, efficient, and effective search strategies in order to locate primary sources.
  • Recognize and understand the policies and procedures that affect access to primary sources.
  • Examine a primary source, which may require the ability to read a particular script, font, or language, to understand or operate a particular technology, or to comprehend vocabulary, syntax, and communication norms of the time period and location where the source was created.
  • Situate a primary source in context by applying knowledge about the time and culture in which it was created; the author or creator; its format, genre, publication history; or related materials in a collection.
  • As part of the analysis of available resources, identify, interrogate, and consider the reasons for silences, gaps, contradictions, or evidence of power relationships in the documentary record and how they impact the research process.
  • Demonstrate historical empathy, curiosity about the past, and appreciation for historical sources and historical actors.

Scholarship is a conversation.

Students will be able to…

  • learn the structure of a scholarly article and read such a text as outsiders to its discipline.
  • recognize the relationship between sources as part of a scholarly conversation on a topic.
  • recognize the relationship between sources as part of scholarly communication practices within a discipline.
  • recognize the aesthetic conversation that can happen when information is used for inspiration and motivation.
  • recognize their social and scholastic networks as information-rich and information-producing sources.
  • identify seminal works and recognize the most respected journals, database, and websites in a discipline.
  • represent accurately the major/leading opinions on a topic and recognize the place of their own arguments within this discussion.

Authority is constructed and contextual.

Students will be able to…

  • determine whether a source is credible and relevant to their research needs.
  • determine that sources are credible and relevant to their research in a particular disciplinary context.
  • draw on people as knowledge sources (librarians, scholars, advanced peers) for guidance and opinion in exploring research options.
  • question traditional notions of granting authority and recognize the value of diverse ideas and worldviews.
  • assess information with an informed skeptical stance and with an awareness of their own biases and worldview.
  • acknowledge they are developing their own authoritative voices in a particular area and recognize the responsibilities this entails, including seeking accuracy and reliability, respecting intellectual property, and participating in communities of practice.

Information has value.

Students will be able to…

  • recognize the ethical value of citing sources accurately.
  • recognize the intellectual value of information as they quote, summarize, paraphrase, or otherwise present information in written, oral, or visual forms that faithfully reflect the intent of the original source.
  • recognize the intellectual value in the work of organizing information sources, along with the evaluation and selection of citation management resources.
  • recognize the social value of information by understanding the norms for citation practices (style, integration method, etc.) in a specific discipline.
  • recognize the social and economic value of information reflected in issues related to open access, copyright, fair use, and the public domain.
  • recognize the economic value of information by understanding the costs involved in creating, disseminating, archiving, and using information.