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Library | USC Upstate
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Library Instruction

Information literacy is a way of defining, thinking about, and teaching the research process. Put simply, information literacy involves not only research skills, but also problem-solving and critical thinking.

The USC Upstate Library Information Literacy Program supports the strategic initiative of creating career relevant and accessible education through partnership with classroom faculty, educational support staff, and administrators. The Program supports the following Spartan Ready competencies:

(1) Communication; (2) Creativity and Problem-solving; and (3) Application of Information Technology.

With increasing confidence, students will develop the following skills as they learn to search, read, think, and contribute in an engaged and iterative process.

100-Level Classes - Goal: Novice > Basic Proficiency

  • Understand how to navigate the physical library and library website, as well as obtain research help (Ask a Librarian).
  • Recognize that various types of information sources exist (i.e. books, magazines, and government websites) and that not all sources are freely available online.
  • Locate and retrieve information sources physically and electronically through the Library Catalog and multidisciplinary databases.
  • Examine and compare information from magazines, newspapers, and Internet sources (websites, blogs, Wikipedia) to determine reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias.
  • Grasp the essentials of searching effectively and efficiently.
    o Select relevant keywords and synonyms from a broad topic.
    o Assess the quantity, quality, and relevance of search results.
    o Understand the ethical importance of citing sources.

200-300 Level Classes - Goal: Basic > Intermediate Proficiency

  • Reinforce how to navigate the physical library and library website, as well as obtain research help (Ask a Librarian).
  • Understand how information is created and disseminated in their discipline.
  • Begin to distinguish and critically evaluate primary and secondary information sources specific to their discipline, such as empirical and review articles, data sets, archival and manuscript resources, and images.  
  • Locate and retrieve primary and secondary information sources physically and electronically at USC Upstate through discipline-specific databases, indexes, and finding aids.  
  • Understand how to obtain materials such as books and journal articles from other libraries through PASCAL (consortium of academic libraries in South Carolina) and Interlibrary Loan. 
  • Begin to use refined search techniques, such as search operators, subject headings, and cited reference searching.
  • Begin to document sources according to the citation style in their discipline.

400-500 Level Classes - Goal: Intermediate Proficiency > Expert (Spartan Ready)

  • Reinforce how to navigate the physical library and library website, as well as obtain research help (Ask a Librarian).
  • Formulate focused research questions.
  • Find and analyze primary and secondary sources in their discipline using advanced search skills.
  • Assess the recent scholarly perspectives on topic of interest, such as theses and dissertations.
  • Utilize collections beyond USC Upstate through Interlibrary Loan, PASCAL, and outside archives/special collections (i.e South Caroliniana Library).
  • Use the citation style required by their discipline to properly document sources.   
  • Understand the significance of copyright, fair use, and intellectual freedom.


University of Arkansas at Little Rock – “Scaffolded Framework for Information Literacy Skills”

University of Colorado Colorado Springs – “Information Literacy Skills Progression for Undergraduate Students”

Last Updated: 04/2019 (JS)