Information Literacy

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Westminster College Giovale Library's Information Literacy program's mission is to build a community of lifelong learners and collaborate with faculty to support the College Wide Learning Goals. The Information Literacy program empowers students to navigate a complex information environment by challenging them to ask questions; evaluate, analyze, and synthesize sources; and create new knowledge through their research. By encouraging them to approach research as a process of exploration and discovery, we will help students at different levels of ability as they become part of the broader academic mission and use information for their ongoing academic, professional and personal success.


Information Literacy Requirement in the WCore

Information Literacy is a requirement for all writing emphasis courses in the WCore. Librarians work with faculty to integrate library workshops and assignments into their classes. Information Literacy curriculum is course specific and serves as a basic introduction to college concepts. In all writing emphasis courses, Information Literacy assignments are developed and assessed by librarians and included as a part of the course grade.

Information Literacy Instruction elsewhere in the curriculum

Faculty are encouraged to contact a librarian about integrating information literacy into upper and lower division course. Librarians work with faculty to develop instruction that helps students perform research for a particular assignment while using resources and research methodologies appropriate to the discipline.

First-Year and Sophomore Learning Outcomes

  • WCore Courses with a Writing Emphasis
  • Satisfies college Information Literacy requirement
  • WCore Explorations and W-Seminar Courses without a Writing Emphasis
  • Lower-Division Courses within Undergraduate Academic Programs

Students will be able to:

  • Refine a broad research topic into a focused research question.
  • Create relevant search terms for a given information need.
  • Select an appropriate search tool (such as GriffinSearch or a subject database) and conduct an effective keyword search.
  • Refine a search as necessary by using alternative search terms, limiters, and subject headings.
  • Access electronic sources such as e-books and journal articles and use call numbers to locate books in the library’s print collection.
  • Differentiate between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.
  • Evaluate information in a variety of formats by asking relevant questions about the information's origins, authority, and purpose, and by considering the context in which it will be used.
  • Begin to synthesize multiple sources to develop an understanding of academic discourse.
  • Identify and use style guides to cite sources in a standard citation style.

Junior and Senior Learning Outcomes

  • Senior Seminar: Making Connections (WCore)
  • Upper-Division Courses within Undergraduate Academic Programs

Students will be able to

  • Identify the subject databases most useful for their academic discipline, and begin to develop a knowledge of the key literature, genres, and authors in their field.
  • Demonstrate high level search strategies, including but not limited to: citation tracking, boolean phrases, subject headings, thesaurus function and controlled vocabulary.
  • Discuss the limitations of library databases and information gathering in relation to their field of discipline and their professional careers.
  • Model their discipline’s approach to research by engaging in critical reading of research methodologies and beginning to employ those methods in their work.
  • Perform critical readings of scholarly literature, identifying how an author’s research contributes to the current knowledge and discourse surrounding a topic.
  • Summarize this information in annotated bibliographies and/or literature reviews.
  • Create a citation using the appropriate citation format for their field.
  • Understand the ethical issues surrounding information access and use.
  • Recognize prejudice, deception, and manipulation in sources.
  • Use raw data and primary sources to construct new knowledge.

What is Information Literacy?

In the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, the Association for College and Research Libraries defines Information Literacy as: "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." Developing core information literacy skills helps undergraduates become critical thinkers and prepares them to continue learning throughout their lives. If you would like to learn more about Information Literacy and its place within Higher Education, visit the Information Literacy Resources for Faculty section of this document.

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