Information Literacy

To ensure success at the University of Minnesota, Morris and beyond, students need to be able to thrive in an information intensive environment. Today’s college students use online technology and access electronic information on a daily basis. However, the vast amounts of information readily available present a new dilemma requiring purposeful strategies for finding, evaluating, selecting, and using resources.

Information Literacy Standards at the Morris campus

By the time students graduate, they will understand how knowledge is organized and transmitted, especially within their majors. They will be able to assess an information need, identify the key concepts, and develop a search strategy, including the selection of appropriate print and electronic resources. After successfully locating materials using multiple retrieval systems, students will be able to critically analyze and integrate the information gathered into their academic experience.

See Meeting Information Literacy Standards below.

Teaching Methodologies and Logistics

Flexibility in adapting the information literacy component to the syllabus envisioned by a particular instructor is a key element in the success of library instruction. Each class will focus on specific information needs and the process involved in meeting and assessing those needs.

Integration with First Year Courses

It is critical for information literacy to be an integral part of the initial college experience. Integrating information literacy into any first year courses that require research or writing, such as Writing for the Liberal Arts (ENGL 1601) and Intellectual Communities (IC), provides a systematic mechanism through which all students learn information literacy skills. Library sessions for 1000-level courses introduce students to the basic concepts of information literacy including determining the appropriate information needed, searching the library catalog and subscription databases, and discussing criteria for critically assessing information.

For 1000-level courses with a research project, instructors are encouraged to have at least one session early in the semester for the purposes of introducing students the resources and services available through the library. Then, since information literacy sessions are most useful when connected to an assignment or research need a second session on focused research resources offers both class and individual guidance. Faculty should sign up for sessions before the beginning of the semester as classes are scheduled on a first-come basis. To schedule sessions, contact Reference Coordinator Peter Bremer.

Developing Students’ Information Literacy Skills After the First year

To successfully fulfill the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) Information Literacy VALUE Rubric, students should be learning and improving their information literacy skills every year. We recommend bibliographic instruction sessions be a part of any class requiring research. While this may not always be possible, there are two areas where these sessions seem to fit logically—in the introduction to research methods classes required by many majors and during the senior seminars. Students can hone the skills they have already developed by working more in-depth with the librarian instructing the class. Library instruction sessions associated with research methods focus on searching using Boolean/proximity operators, using thesauruses to better understand how databases are structured, and developing organizational skills by learning to use EndNote. In addition to working on information literacy skills, the advanced sessions will include a discussion of the ethical use of information, including a discussion of plagiarism and the importance of proper citations.

Information literacy sessions for senior seminars could take on a number of information literacy issues including in-depth discussions of the specific types of research that may be required for the project beyond traditional library research or how to construct a literature review. Again, a discussion of the importance of using research and results ethically would be included along with a review of good research techniques.


In partnership with faculty, the library is responsible for ensuring all students meet the UMM Student Learning Outcomes as they related to information literacy, as well as the AACU Information Literacy VALUE Rubric.

Meeting Information Literacy Standards

Information literacy learning goals at Rodney A. Briggs Library and their corresponding AACU VALUE Rubric.

AACU VALUE Rubric 1: Determines the extent of the information needed

1xxx Courses

  • Identifies research topic and general reference sources
  • Understands how information is generally organized and can determine which type is needed when (scholarly v. popular; primary v. secondary)
  • Knows when and is able to order items through ILL

Research Methods
2xxx or 3xxx Courses

  • Focuses information need to develop a thesis statement and appropriate keywords
  • Recognizes information’s purpose influences and influences how it’s accessed
  • Identifies the value and purpose of different information formats
  • Defines a reasonable plan and timeline for acquiring the needed information, including additional time for possible information need revisions

Senior Seminar

  • Recognizes information may need to be constructed from raw data
  • Knows how to combine existing information with original thought to produce new information
  • Assesses when a new skill set is needed to gather information and understand its context

AACU VALUE Rubric 2: Accesses needed information effectively and efficiently

1xxx Courses
  • Uses various systems and classification schemes to retrieve information
  • Uses specialized services online and in person to meet information need
Research Methods 2xxx or 3xxx Courses
  • Explores various investigative methods and corresponding information retrieval systems to determine the most effective and efficient method of accessing information
  • Designs searches using Boolean/proximity operators, keywords and thesauruses
  • Assess the results of the search to determine if/what modifications are needed
  • Creates a system for organizing the information including the pertinent citation information
  • Delineates the elements of a citation from a variety of citation styles
Senior Seminar
  • Identifies discipline appropriate investigative method
  • Creates appropriate forms of inquiry (survey, letters, etc.) for conducting primary research
  • Modifies research organizational skills to more efficiently and effectively organize and retrieve information

AACU VALUE Rubric 3: Evaluates information and its sources critically

1xxx Courses

  • Reads the text and extracts the main ideas determining if it satisfies the information need
  • Recognizes prejudice, deception or manipulation
  • Recognizes how cultural, ethnic, political, etc. contexts effect information creation and interpretation
  • Investigates differing viewpoints and determines whether to reject or integrate those viewpoints
  • Starts quoting and citing information

Research Methods
2xxx or 3xxx Courses

  • Summarizes text in own words, selecting data accurately and quoting appropriately
  • Compares information from a variety of sources to evaluate structure of the argument, reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness and point of view
  • Identifies interrelationships among concepts, creating primary statements with supporting evidence
  • Determines, based on consciously selected criteria, whether the information contradicts or validates other findings
  • Reviews findings to determine if information need has been met

Senior Seminar

  • Analyzes the structure and logic of an argument and its methodology
  • Expands upon initial information to construct new hypotheses requiring new information
  • Uses technology to study the interaction of ideas (if needed)
  • Tests theories with discipline-appropriate techniques
  • Seeks expert opinion when needed

AACU VALUE Rubric 4: Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose

1xxx Courses

  • Organizes information in a way that supports the assignment
  • Uses an appropriate medium for transmitting the information

Research Methods
2xxx or 3xxx Courses

  • Integrates new and prior information, including quotations and paraphrasing, and skills to support the assignment
  • Utilizes a range of applications
  • Communicates clearly with the intended audience

Senior Seminar

  • Manipulates digital text, images or data as needed to produce the necessary format for the assignment
  • Incorporates principles of design and communication

AACU VALUE Rubric 5: Accesses and uses information ethically and legally

1xxx Courses

  • Discuss privacy issues in an online world, including passwords, institutional policies and the dissemination of information

Research Methods
2xxx or 3xxx Courses

  • Discuss issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information, censorship and copyright
  • Understands what constitutes plagiarism, uses the appropriate citation style and does not misrepresent his/her work

Senior Seminar

  • Uses appropriate online etiquette
  • Preserves the integrity of information sources and equipment
  • Introduced to institutional policies regarding research with human subjects


Information literacy competency standards for higher education. 2000. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.
Kellie Meehlhause, Instruction Coordinator, Rodney A. Briggs Library
September 2014, 10th revision