Foundational Information Literacy Curriculum Goals




Recognizes the variety of services and resources that the library provides

  • Identifies service points of the library
  • Identifies the variety of locations, formats, types, and classifications of library materials 
  • Utilizes library policies, including hours of operation, borrowing privileges, etc.
  • Selects information resources through the library homepage and catalog
  • Requests resources from other libraries through Connect NY and MyLoan when appropriate
  • Accesses and retrieves reserve readings

To engage in scholarly work effectively, it is beneficial to become aware of and utilize the resources made available through your academic scholarly community. 

Recognizes the diversity and complexity of the information environment

  • Distinguishes among sources of information, including books, journals, dissertations, print and electronic media, personal communication, etc.
  • Distinguishes among information sources that are formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated
  • Recognizes that information has different forms, such as narrative, opinion, observation, factual data, numeric data, etc.

Knowing the characteristics of scholarly discourse conventions is directly connected to understanding how knowledge is constructed and understood in particular contexts.

Defines and articulates a need for information

  • Explores general information sources to become familiar with topic
  • Identifies key concepts or terms
  • Determines the nature and extent of information needed
  • Recognizes when quantitative or observational data is needed
  • Differentiates between a topic and a thesis
  • Develops a thesis statement or research question

Building researchable questions from personal and academic interests is the foundation of scholarly inquiry.

Locates and retrieves information

  • Formulates an effective search strategy
  • Identifies resources specific to disciplines
  • Selects appropriate finding tools, which may include library catalogs, indexes, bibliographies, etc.
  • Identifies appropriate resources using the library catalog
  • Identifies and retrieves appropriate resources using article and citation databases

While it is not difficult to find sources that speak to one’s inquiry, finding appropriate and relevant evidence that aligns to one’s inquiry is essential for developing and communicating new understandings.

Critically evaluates information

  • Recognizes the cultural, physical, or other contexts within which information is created and understands the impact of context on interpreting information
  • Applies criteria for evaluation of resources, such as indicators of authority, validity of methodology and assertions, appropriate attribution, and bias. 
  • Understands the difference between scholarly and popular publications, as well as primary and secondary sources

The analysis and interpretation of scholarly discourse is necessary to develop nuanced understandings in academic settings and beyond.  Different approaches to reading texts enable different understandings to emerge.

Understands ethical and legal implications of information use

  • Understands the purpose (to provide an historical record of scholarship, to give proper attribution of ownership, to provide information for retrieval, etc.) of citations
  • Constructs an appropriate reference list or bibliography
  • Respects and understands Colgate’s definition of plagiarism as outlined in the Colgate honor code
  • Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material

Understanding and engaging in general academic and disciplinary-based conventions is part of being a responsible member of a scholarly community.

Communicates Effectively

  • Identifies appropriate genres, e.g., academic paper, academic poster, etc., for addressing purpose and audience
  • Selects evidence appropriate to audience and purpose
  • Synthesizes information sources to convey appropriate evidence
  • Demonstrates ability to utilize the structure of a particular genre  to purposefully address audience

New understandings are developed through writing or synthesizing ideas through other mediums, as well as a way of sharing knowledge.  Communicating ideas persuasively and effectively though general academic and disciplinary conventions draws on all the other goals.


In addition to the foundational competencies, the graduating senior should have mastered the following competencies:



1. Recognizes that intellectual thought is communicated through bodies of literature
  • Recognizes that bodies of literature are defined by disciplines, world view, philosophy, and theory
  • Understands the process of scholarly communication
  • Understands the role of publishers and information distributors
2. Recognizes that different bodies of literature are uniquely organized for specific purposes
  • Learns and uses vocabulary that is specific to an inquiry
  • Identifies primary and secondary source documents in a body of literature
  • Understands when currency is important and realizes the need for current vs. historical or archival information
3. Plans the research process
  • Develops a coherent plan that includes a timeline to identify and retrieve resources with an understanding that the success of the final product will be the culmination of primary and secondary research
  • Knows that all research begins with a question or hypothesis
  • Clearly states the research question or hypothesis
  • Understands both conceptual and operational definitions of key terms and concepts
  • Recognizes the common pitfalls to doing research in his/her field
  • Searches effectively for published information in various literature and formats as well as for unpublished information as appropriate
  • Identifies the resources that can best address the research question or hypothesis
  • Recognizes the limitations of online resources
  • Conducts research through literature, media, interpersonal communication, etc.
  • Documents the research plan or process
  • Understands how to find and use subject bibliographies
4. Develops a research strategy
  • Conducts a literature review and environmental scan
  • Systematically organizes information in a manner that can be managed by the individual
  • Creates retrievable records of information found that connect information both to its sources and to the research question
  • Knows that effective research may require an interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary approach
  • Focuses and refines searches across other disciplines, as necessary
5. Evaluates and reflects
  • Critically reads literature and defines the questions answered and those left unanswered
  • Recognizes that research has moral and ethical implications
  • Self-assesses the success of the project and identifies factors that contribute to its success


The list of goals and objectives is based on the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.