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SMU Libraries Information Literacy Program

Our mission is to support the teaching, learning, and research goals of the university by empowering all students to become lifelong learners with the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information knowledgeably and ethically. To achieve this mission, librarians collaborate with faculty and provide customized, student-centered instruction and research support.

Definition of information literacy

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

Program objectives

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Identify different types of authority for a specific topic
  • Recognize the indicators of authority within the discipline
  • Articulate when authority might be challenged
  • Evaluate how personal bias may impact a determination of authority
  • Compare evaluations of authority between disciplines

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Identify the uses, intended audience, advantages, disadvantages, and means of access for various disciplinary information types
  • Distinguish between format and means of access
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources
  • Match information needs to information types
  • Recognize perceived disciplinary value of different information types

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Give credit to others’ work through proper citation
  • Define plagiarism and recognize good paraphrasing
  • Compare types and quality of information in free and proprietary sources
  • Identify perspectives that might be missing from certain information systems
  • Articulate the purpose and characteristics of copyright, fair use, open access, and public domain
  • Analyze issues of information privacy and commodification of information

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Formulate questions for research based on information gaps or reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting, information
  • Break complex research into simpler ones, limiting the scope of inquiry
  • Ask research questions that reflect the spectrum of information needs for a specific project
  • Identify multiple perspectives as possible avenues for research
  • Reframe or refine research questions as needed

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Construct a citation trail and analyze the range of perspectives
  • Compare perspectives of authoritative sources that do not agree
  • Evaluate and synthesize competing perspectives
  • Track the evolution of understanding on a specific topic

Example student learning outcomes may include...

  • Identify how information systems are organized
  • Match information needs to appropriate search tools
  • Develop and refine search strategies and terminology appropriate to the tool
  • Identify alternate search strategies and tools when needed
  • Manage and organize searching processes and results

The Information Literacy Program objectives are derived from the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education from the Association of College & Research Libraries.