Basic Information Literacy Skills

First & Second Year Students

By the end of their second year all Smith students will be able to:

determine the nature and extent of the information needed by

  • defining and articulating the need for information and
  • identifying a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.

access needed information effectively and efficiently by

  • selecting the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
  • constructing and implementing effectively-designed search strategies.
  • retrieving information online or in person using a variety of methods.
  • extracting, recording, and managing the information and its sources , especially recording all pertinent citation information for future reference.

evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into her knowledge base and value system by

  • summarizing the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  • articulating and applying initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
  • validating understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.

use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose individually or as a member of a group by

  • applying new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance.
  • communicating the product or performance effectively to others.

understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally by

  • understanding many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.
  • following laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
  • acknowledging the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.

Writing Intensive Students

On March 23, 2005 the Smith College faculty adopted language describing Smith College Writing Intensive classes to have (among others) the following objectives:

  • when appropriate, to identify and to evaluate suitable primary and secondary sources for scholarly work, demonstrating awareness of library catalogues and databases and of the values and limitations of internet resources
  • to incorporate the work of others (by quotation, summary, or paraphrase) concisely, effectively, and with attention to the models of citation of the various disciplines and with respect for academic integrity

In order to achieve the objectives of a writing intensive class students who participate in completing an assignment stressing information literacy will be able to:

  • define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of
    types and formats of potential sources for information beyond the web search engine. [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to identify and locate the two most appropriate types of information needed to complete their assignment.]
  • articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources. (AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to distinguish between popular and scholarly materials in a variety of formats such as books, periodical literature, and web sites.)
  • acknowledge and cite the sources used in conducting research for an assignment using an acceptable style guide. (AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to locate the appropriate style guide & emergency online help).

[Smith College Information Literacy Subcommittee Report, Revised May 2003; Revised 2004 by Smith College Libraries Information Literacy Team]