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Information Literacy: Goals & Objectives

Strategies used to incorporate research skills for the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School of Management.

Mission Statement, Definition, and Need for IL


When students, faculty, and staff come to Willamette, there are often a lot of assumptions about their past education and life experiences. Part of the Hatfield Library's role is to provide a solid structure of understand to students and faculty with how today's information world works and is evolving.  The Hatfield Library strives to provide the highest quality of in-person, online, and print instruction to teach the skills needed to identify, locate, evaluate, and use all types of information resources.

The core mission of the Mark O. Hatfield Library instruction program is to prepare Willamette students to be successful information seekers and critical consumers in a rapidly changing technological environment. Our commitment to the concept of information literacy is structured after the Academic College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Standards. It also aligns with Willamette's Mission Statement and the Mark O. Hatfield Library Mission Statement.


Information Literacy as defined by the American Library Association (ALA) is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

An information literate person is able to:

1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed.
a. Develop and refine research questions.
b. Identify key concepts and terms required to locate information.
c. Examine and assess potential resources specific to research purpose.
2. Access information effectively and efficiently.
a. Differentiate among keywords, subject headings, and other meta-data fields.
b. Differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
c. Implement a variety of information search strategies.
d. Use full array of library services to retrieve information.
3. Evaluate information and resources.
a. Determine accuracy of information by questioning source of data.
b. Analyze limitations of information gathering tools or strategies.
c. Investigate differing viewpoints in the information.
4. Integrate information ethically and legally.
a. Retrieve and manipulate information across contexts and in multiple formats.
b. Understand intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of information.
c. Cite sources using appropriate documentation style, without plagiarism or misrepresentation.



Information literacy skills continue to be increasingly important in the constantly evolving information and technology landscape. Information is more abundant and diverse than ever, and in this complex environment individuals encounter a nearly endless supply of information options in their academic studies, workplaces, and personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet.  An increasing amount of information comes through unfiltered formats, and raises questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. Information comes in many packages ranging from graphical, aural, and textual.  Each of these pose challenges for individuals in evaluation and understand.

The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively. Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.

Suggested Timeline

Below is the suggested timeline for a student's information literacy education while at Willamette. While we encourage departments to follow this strategy, this is certainly not a one size fits all; departments will have individual needs and some topics are more appropriately introduced at different stages of a student's academic experience or across the liberal arts curriculum. Librarians are able to cover additional topics or specific resources for your classes.

The ultimate goal is to graduate students with these fundamental skills to provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for after they leave Willamette. These fundamental skills may be taught as one-shot classes by librarians, or integrated into course curriculum and taught by faculty.  Established measurable outcomes are required to demonstrate the effectiveness of pedogogy and provide feedback for how to improve the learning experience.


  • Navigate the library's web site
  • Develop a research topic
  • Generate search terms
  • Evaluate resources
  • Understand the value of different view points
  • Cite sources, intellectual property, and fair use
    (knowledge about plagiarism)
  • Learn about databases
  • Use the library catalog (local & national)
  • Aware of Interlibrary loan services
  • Aware of citation tools (RefWorks & catalog)


  • Aware of research consultations with librarians
  • Identify popular and scholarly information
  • Identify & use primary, secondary, & tertiary literature
  • Analyze limits of info gathering tools or strategies
  • Define & use peer-review literature
  • Learn about subject databases
  • Use the library catalog (local & national)
  • Organize & cite sources (style guides & RefWorks)
  • Use interlibrary loan


  • Meet with librarians for research consultations
  • Identify & effectively use different types of literature
    (book chapters, articles, grey literature...)
  • Demonstrate skilled use of subject databases
  • Use bibliographies & citation databases to locate
    additional resources.
  • Locate and use statistics & government documents
  • Organize & cite sources (style guides & RefWorks)
  • Able to search the Hidden web (online archives)