Information Literacy at Temple University

Integrating Information Literacy into Temple Courses
What is Information Literacy?
Information Literacy Outcomes
Teaching Information Literacy

Information Literacy in Accreditation and Professional Standards 

What is Information Literacy?

"Information literacy" is the ability to recognize when information is needed, and to effectively locate, evaluate, and use that information. Note that the ability to locate information is only one small part of this definition. Information Literacy extends well beyond teaching students how to locate a book in the library. It emphasizes instead a spectrum of skills and abilities that must be developed over time as students engage in the curriculum. The need for information literacy is not particular to any one course or discipline, but rather is an essential part of lifelong learning and informed citizenship. In the 21st Century information literacy is essential for academic, professional, and personal success. For more on definitions and models of information literacy, try the following links.

Information Literacy Outcomes

Below are 22 information literacy outcomes that can be included in any course. You may find that many of these outcomes are already a part of your course, or are implied in some assignments. Carefully choose a few outcomes in order to build the learning activities and assignments that best meet your course goals. Clearly articulate to students how you will measure their achievement in these areas. Combine higher and lower order outcomes as appropriate, taking into consideration the level of the course and where it falls within the general education curriculum or major.

These are the Information Literacy Outcomes for Temple Students, organized in five broad areas of student performance:

In determining the nature and extent of information needed, the student...

  1. identifies key concepts and terms
  2. seeks background information
  3. focuses or broadens a topic
  4. identifies sources of various types and formats (encyclopedia, book, article, multimedia)
  5. differentiates between popular and scholarly sources
  6. differentiates between primary and secondary sources

To access the information effectively and efficiently the student...

  1. chooses most appropriate method or tool for accessing information
  2. identifies keywords, synonyms, and related terms
  3. recognizes and employs “subject” vocabulary as well as keywords
  4. constructs online searches using commands and operators
  5. recognizes and uses common functions in differing search interfaces

In order to evaluate information and sources critically the student...

  1. assesses the authority, accuracy, currency, bias, coverage, purpose of information sources
  2. recognizes social and cultural context in which information was created
  3. incorporates information into knowledge base; synthesizes main ideas to form new concepts and questions
  4. consults instructors, experts, and peers to validate their understanding of information

The student uses information effectively to accomplish a purpose when he or she...

  1. organizes information in a way appropriate to format of product
  2. effectively manages and manipulates digital information
  3. revises development process (logs research activities, reflects on what does and doesn't work)
  4. communicates product effectively (best medium and format for purpose, range of technology, communicates clearly in appropriate style)

The student does all of this with an understanding of the economic, ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding use of information when he or she...

  1. understands difference between free and fee-based sources
  2. acknowledges issues surrounding intellectual property, copyright, and fair use and legally obtains, stores and disseminates digital information
  3. understands what constitutes plagiarism and acknowledges use of sources through proper citation

Teaching Information Literacy

Assignments and Learning Activities: These links will provide overviews of the kinds of assignments that can be used to develop various information literacy competencies and, in some cases, the assignments themselves. Consult with your librarian if you would like support in developing such assignments.

Tutorials: There are countless tutorials that can be used in teaching information literacy competencies. Here are a few we recommend.


Plagiarism and Acknowledging Sources


Library Instruction Sessions: Schedule a session with a librarian in order to prepare your class for library research or realize information literacy objectives. The instruction session will be most effective when timed to take place right at the student's point of need. Contact the librarian well in advance of the session, and share your syllabus and assignments with the librarian. The session should be a dialog between the you, the librarian, and the students. The library is equipped with a hands-on computer classroom.


  • ITC Literacy Assessment from the ETS
    • see a demo of the assessment

    Project SAILS The purpose of Kent State's Project for Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS) is to develop a valid instrument for assessment of information literacy skills.

Information Literacy in Accreditation and Professional Standards


For further information, please contact the subject specialist for your academic department.