Library Instruction and Information Literacy:
Information Literacy Competencies at Rutgers
Since true information literacy for students is a collaborative undertaking involving teaching
faculty, librarians, and administrators, this document should be recognized for what it is: an
initial, fragmentary list that we hope will serve as a springboard to further discussion.
In November and December 2003, the systemwide Instructional Services Committee at Rutgers met to
discuss and analyze the ACRL [Association of College and Research Libraries] Information Literacy
Competency Standards for Higher Education. Our purpose was to identify those issues most
applicable to the first two years of undergraduate education that could be addressed directly through
our library instruction program. This was an exercise to ground us as we moved forward with the task
of building an online information literacy tutorial,
To view the full list of ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, please visit
To speak with someone at Rutgers about these standards or our information literacy program,
Associate University Librarian for Public Services, firstname.lastname@example.org or your
campus instruction coordinator.
|Selected ACRL Standards
Instructional Services Committee
|Standard 1. The information literate student determines
the nature and extent of the information needed.
1.1. The information literate student defines
and articulates the need for information.
1.1e. Identifies key concepts and terms
that describe the
|1.2. The information literate student identifies a variety of
types and formats of potential sources for information.
1.2.a Knows how information is formally and informally produced, organized
1.2.b. Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines
that influence the way information is accessed.
1.2.c Identifies the value and differences of potential resources
in a variety of formats (e.g., multimedia, database, website, data
set, audio/visual, book)
|1.4. The information literate student reevaluates the nature
and extent of the information need.
1.4.a. Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the
|Standard 2. The information literate student accesses needed
information effectively and efficiently.
2.1. The information literate student selects the most appropriate
investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing
the needed information.
2.1.a. Identifies appropriate investigative methods (e.g. laboratory experiment,
2.2 The information literate student constructs and implements
effectively-designed search strategies.
2.2.a. Develops a research plan appropriate to the investigative method.
2.2.b. Identifies keywords, synonyms and related terms for the
2.2.c. Selects controlled vocabulary specific to the discipline
or information retrieval source.
2.2.d. Constructs a search strategy using appropriate commands
for the information retrieval
system selected (e.g., Boolean operators,
truncations, and proximity for search engines; internal organizers
such as indexes for books.)
|2.3. The information literate student retrieves information
online or in person using a variety of methods.
2.3.c. Uses specialized online or in person services available at the institution
to retrieve information needed (e.g., interlibrary loan/document delivery,
professional associations, institutional research offices, community resources,
experts and practitioners.)
|2.4. The information literate student refines the search strategy
2.4.a. Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results
to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative
methods should be utilized.
2.4.b. Identifies gaps in the information retrieved and determines
if the search strategy should be revised.
2.4.c. Repeats the search using the revised strategy as necessary.
|2.5. The information literate student extracts,
records, and manages the information and its sources.
2.5.c. Differentiates between the types of sources cited and understands the
elements and correct syntax of a citation for a wide range of resources.
2.5.d. Records all pertinent citation information for future reference.
|Standard 3. The information literate student evaluates information
and its sources critically and incorporates selected information
into his or her knowledge base and value system.
3.2. The information literate student articulates and applies
initial criteria for evaluation both the information and its sources.
3.2.7. The information literate student determines whether the
initial query should be revised.
3.7.a. Determines if original information need has been satisfied or if additional
information is needed.
3.7.b. Reviews search strategy and incorporates additional concepts
3.7.c. Reviews information retrieval sources used and expands
to include others as needed.
|Standard 4. The information literate student, individually
or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish
[This standard is primarily the province of the teaching faculty. Librarians
can assist with this effort, but not address it independently with our existing
|Standard 5. The information literate student understands many
of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of
information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
5.1. The information literate student understands many of the
ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information
and information technology.
5.1.a. Identifies and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access
5.1.d. Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property,
copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material.
|5.3. The information literate student acknowledges the use of
information sources in communicating the product or performance.
5.3.a. Selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently
to cite sources.