Traditionally, information literacy instruction has been limited to library workshops wherein students are exposed to the major instruments of library research. This would generally include demonstrations of the library catalogue, specific databases, and in some cases the library’s bibliographic management systems. While a clear idea of the available information resources is important, what is often missed in these sessions is a deeper sense of how information is created and distributed, how authority is constructed, and how the student’s specific context or needs are reflected in their choice of sources. Without an understanding of these concepts, students will have a difficult time engaging meaningfully with the tools that are available. Conversely, students who have gained a broader conceptual understanding will also be more fluent in the use of the instruments of research, even if those instruments where not explicitly covered in class.
In addition to assisting in the discovery of academic resources, the UW librarians and library staff are here to promote a thoughtful and critical approach to using information. With this as the overarching goal, the library’s information literacy program has these major learning objectives:
These objectives have been loosely adapted from the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.