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Langsdale Library

Information Literacy

Information Literacy

Information literacy, sometimes called information fluency or digital literacy, is the ability to effectively identify, find, evaluate and ethically use information to support academic success and lifelong learning. The information literacy program should be considered an integral part of the way the university meets its goals of providing an educated and skilled student body capable of functioning both within the academic environment and in career and non-academic settings.

On this page you can read more about:
Student Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy
Information Literacy Education at UB
Information Literacy Assessment at UB
Information Literacy Program Mission Statement
Information Literacy – The Larger Picture

If you have questions, please contact Langsdale’s Head of Information Literacy Initiatives, Catherine Johnson, at cajohnson@ubalt.edu or 410.837.4276.

Student Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy

An information literate graduate from UB should be able to successfully:

  1. Determine the extent of an information need
  2. Access needed information
  3. Evaluate information and its sources critically
  4. Synthesize and use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  5. Recognize the complexities of information ownership and take responsible action

Information Literacy Education at UB

Students at the University of Baltimore arrive with a variety of experiences and the information literacy program is designed to meet their needs. Students receive library instruction in the following classes:

IDIS 110: Introduction to Information Literacy
This course, required for any student arriving at UB with fewer than 45 credits, teaches students the fundamentals of information literacy. Students will determine their research needs, develop a search strategy to select appropriate sources, access those sources, critically evaluate the material found for relevance and credibility, and synthesize that material into original work. In addition, students will learn about the legal and ethical issues surrounding information such as plagiarism, proper citation practices and copyright.

WRIT 300: Advanced Expository Writing
There is a librarian embedded in every section of WRIT 300.  That librarian works with the instructor to integrate information literacy instruction into the course. Librarians often respond to information literacy related online discussion threads, meet with the students for one or more class periods to improve their research skills related to a specific assignment and make themselves available for individual student research consultations.

Program-Specific Information Literacy Course
Every program at the University of Baltimore should have a course designated as fulfilling the information literacy graduation requirement. This course will help students apply the general skills learned in IDIS 110 or WRIT 300 to the kinds of information problems encountered in their specific program of study.  Naturally, this course will look different to a marketing major who focuses on researching market trends, industry reports and census data, as opposed to a psychology major who focuses on scholarly, empirical articles and literature reviews.

Other Courses
In addition to the courses listed above, there are a number of courses offered at the University that ask students to demonstrate information literacy. To help students be successful, librarians partner with faculty to plan one or more sessions in a library lab Faculty may request library instruction by completing a Library Instruction Class Request Form online, speaking to a librarian at the reference desk, or contacting Langsdale’s Head of Information Literacy Initiatives, Catherine Johnson.

Information Literacy Assessment at UB

In support of the University and Library strategic plan Members of the library faculty are actively involved in building a culture of assessment and what better place to start than information literacy. During FY13 a campus team is actively involved in assessing student information literacy skills in IDIS 110 and WRIT 300. This assessment involves a course pre- and post-test and an assessment of student artifacts using a rubric. The results should be available in Summer 2013 and will be shared with the campus community at that time.


Information Literacy at Program Mission Statement

The Langsdale Library Information Literacy Program will create students capable of successfully and responsibly finding, evaluating, synthesizing and using information. In partnership with faculty, information literacy will be intentionally scaffolded through the university curriculum using high-impact pedagogies. The program will be recognized as essential to students’ academic careers and lifelong success.


Information Literacy – The Larger Picture

Information literacy is not just a priority for librarians, it has been recognized as a valuable skill by the larger higher education community. Here are some examples:

Middle States, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education
Middle States’ Standard 11 notes, “Several skills, collectively referred to as “information literacy,” apply to all disciplines in an institution’s curricula. These skills relate to a student’s competency in acquiring and processing information in the search for understanding, whether that information is sought in or through the facilities of a library, through practica, as a result of field experiments, by communications with experts in professional communities, or by other means. Therefore, information literacy is an essential component of any educational program at the graduate or undergraduate levels.”

AAC&U, Liberal Education and America's Promise
As part of AAC&U’s LEAP campaign they have identified four essential learning outcomes.  Those outcomes include “Intellectual and Practical Skills, including information literacy.“

University of Baltimore Undergraduate Learning Goals
Information literacy is present through a number of UB’s Undergraduate Learning Goals but most notably in the following:

Apply strategies that enhance professional and personal competence.
This set of skills is demonstrated by the ability to:
- use digital technology to communicate and investigate
- find and judge the credibility of different sources of information.

Communicate effectively in various media.
This set of skills is demonstrated by the ability to:
- make efficient use of information resources and technology for personal and professional communication
- comprehend, interpret and analyze texts.

Think critically and creatively to solve problems and adapt to new environments.
 This skill is demonstrated by the ability to:
- generate and explore new questions
- analyze complex issues and make informed decisions
- synthesize information to arrive at reasoned conclusions
- evaluate the logic, validity and relevance of data.

University of Baltimore Information Literacy Graduation Requirement
Information Literacy is a priority for the University and as a result, is a graduation requirement for all students. From the catalog, “In addition to the general education requirements outlined in this section of the catalog, students are expected to develop information literacy throughout their four years of education. The ways in which this requirement may be met are specified by each academic program. Undergraduate students always meet this requirement if they have successfully completed IDIS 110: Introduction to Information Literacy (3). Students who have not successfully completed this course should discuss how to meet the requirement with their program director or adviser.”

Association of College and Research Libraries
This association sets standards for information literacy, which strongly influence our student learning outcomes for information literacy. According to the Association, “Information literacy is a key component of, and contributor to, lifelong learning. Information literacy competency extends learning beyond formal classroom settings and provides practice with self-directed investigations as individuals move into internships, first professional positions, and increasing responsibilities in all arenas of life. Because information literacy augments students’ competency with evaluating, managing, and using information, it is now considered by several regional and discipline-based accreditation associations as a key outcome for college students.”