Information Literacy Curriculum

First-year Curriculum |Upper-Division Curriculum | Knowledge Practices and Dispositions

Mansfield Library's information literacy curriculum design includes curriculum-integrated instruction, Credo’s Information Literacy – Core, workshops, credit classes, and research services that complement the needs of specific disciplines and those of students and faculty. Our curriculum is based on the Association of College & Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Library instruction focuses primarily on the following:

  • instruction in first-year experience classes on the Mountain Campus and at Missoula College;
  • instruction in upper-division advanced writing-approved classes;
  • integration of Credo's Information Literacy – Core into undergraduate courses (began spring 2020);
  • workshops; and
  • individual research assistance and consultations.

First-year Curriculum

The strategic integration of information literacy into the curriculum begins with first-year initiatives that serve as the basis for information literacy instruction in the disciplines at the junior and senior levels (Tables 1-2). First-year curriculum integration decisions have been made on the basis of several factors:

  • integration into courses that are a part of the standard university curriculum;
  • integration into courses with a research component, usually smaller enrollment classes; and
  • integration into required courses with a large enrollment.

Specific standards and teaching strategies have been identified for targeted courses to establish quality learning opportunities for first-year students. At every opportunity, librarians seek to serve as research consultants to facilitate the successful delivery of information literacy content by teaching faculty in the disciplines.

Targeted First-year Courses

  • College Writing I
  • Introduction to Public Speaking
  • Freshman Seminar
  • Global Leadership Seminar
  • Introduction to Honors Seminar

Upper-Division Curriculum

At every opportunity, librarians seek to serve as research consultants to facilitate the successful delivery of information literacy content. Librarians may:
  • Collaborate with faculty to integrate required information literacy outcomes into the curriculum of advanced writing classes.
  • Provide consultative services to teaching faculty to develop research assignments.
  • Promote student research consultations at the Information Center and by appointment.
  • Promote the use of tutorials that are based on the information literacy curriculum.
  • Maintain regular office hours each semester to provide individual and small group research assistance.
  • Provide research assistance at the Information Center and via phone, email and live chat.
  • Offer workshops to the campus community that address information literacy knowledge practices and dispositions.

Information Literacy Modules

In spring 2020, the library began implementing Credo’s Information Literacy – Core into the curriculum design to address students’ foundational information literacy skills. The text, self-guided tutorials, multimedia and videos, and quizzes in each module are mapped to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, can be customized and integrated into courses in Moodle, include assessment options, and are discoverable by students for self-study on the website.

Knowledge Practices and Dispositions

The following information literacy knowledge practices and dispositions address all six frames of the ACRL Framework and are adapted to the learning environment at the University of Montana.

Table 1. Information Literacy Knowledge Practices by Course Level

100-level 200-level 300-level 400-level
Identify research questions; translate questions into keywords for searching Choose and state a research topic; use research to refine topic Choose the appropriate resources, sources, or investigative methods based on research need Identify important associations, publications, and scholars in the discipline
Critically evaluate information: assess the reliability, validity, accuracy, authority; timeliness, impact, and point or view or bias of information sources Manage research with keyword and subject searching; broaden and narrow search terms Combine new and prior knowledge to create original scholarship Understand the complexity of information production processes and organization
Recognize and Assess the value and distinctness of information resources (e.g. website sources, online journals, print material) Execute both keyword and subject searches; execute revised searches to refine results Recognize the ways in which sources are utilized by different disciplines; iidentify discipline-specific citation styles
Apply discipline-specific information resources and their organization and use
Identify key stakeholders who are interested in the topic and might produce information Trace citation data back to original source Identify gaps in research; compare and contrast research arguments, data, studies, and methodologies Use advanced search strategies (e.g., use of controlled vocabularies, Boolean operators, cited references)
Construct in-text citations and a bibliography, inclusive of all source types and formats (e.g. articles, images, music; print and electronic) Recognize the ethical issues related to information access Articulate the difference between copyright and plagiarism Follow ethical and legal guidelines when citing information

Table 2. Information Literacy Dispositions by Course Level

100-level 200-level 300-level 400-level
Recognize ethical, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information (e.g. academic freedom, right to privacy, free and fee-based information, intellectual property) Understand that intellectual property is a legal and social construct that varies by culture and across time Consider research an open-ended process Identify important associations, publications, and scholars in the discipline; explain the role of these resources in the discipline; explain the contributions of individual scholars to the discipline
Confer with instructors and librarians about appropriate research topics, information resources and search strategies Understand and explain why there is usually not one source that will meet all research needs Combine, relate, and reconcile new information with prior knowledge and beliefs Explain the economic, legal, political, and socio-economic impacts on information access and use (e.g.,censorship, constraints, costs, funded research, policies, scholarship)
Value the distinctness of information sources (e.g., popular, trade, and scholarly; primary and secondary; current and historical, etc.) Recognize different information sources and explain the value and differences between them, including their scope, audience and intent (e.g., archival collections; government information; popular, trade, and scholarly publications) Recognize the value of original scholarship; construct an original argument or position based on research findings Describe key discipline-specific information resources and how they are organized and used
Acknowledge biases that may privilege some sources of authority over others Recognize own rights as a member of the academic community to freedom of intellectual inquiry and inviolate privacy in accessing library collections and services Compare the use of information sources by discipline and value diverse ideas and worldviews Persist in information searches despite challenges
Recognize that different disciplines have different citation styles and style guidelines


October 2008, Updated August 2009, February 2015, January 2020

Prepared and updated in 2009 by:
Library Instruction Curriculum Task Force and Library Instruction Coordinator: Julie Edwards, Samantha Hines, Tammy Ravas, Sue Samson, and Kate Zoellner

Updated 2015 by:
Samantha Hines, Karen Jaskar, Sue Samson, and Megan Stark

Revised 2020