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Library Support: Information Competency


Information Competency

"Information competency is the ability to find, evaluate, use and communicate information in all its various formats. It combines aspects of library literacy, research methods and technological literacy. Information competency includes consideration of the ethical and legal implications of information and requires the application of both critical thinking and communication skills." (Adopted by ASCCC, Spring 1998)

Information Competency @ VVC

In Fall 1996, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) passed Resolution 16.2.0 recognizing that information competency skills are integral to student achievement and success. Following in January 2000, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) published Information
Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. VVC library subsequently adopted the key competencies outlined in the ACRL Standards as the core of the Department's Information Competency (IC) program. The competencies include:

  • Determine the nature and extent of information needed and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources of information.
  • Utilize research tools such as online catalogs, databases, printed indexes, reference sources, and/or the Internet to effectively locate and retrieve information resources.
  • Analyze and evaluate information for criteria of credibility, relevancy, authority, currency, and point of view or bias.
  • Organize and clearly communicate information for a specific purpose and in accordance with legal and academic standards.

Beginning Spring 2008, information competency became a required general education learning outcome for all students receiving an associate degree from VVC.

Information Competency @ VVC
The information competency program at VVC is embedded in the curriculum for English 101, which is also required for the associate degree. All students enrolled in English 101 are required to complete a 45-minute library instruction session taught by a librarian and a hands-on workbook that students must complete in the library. The IC outcomes are accomplished through the combination of the library orientation, workbook--designed to teach and strengthen research and information competency skills-- and the English 101 curriculum. A web-based version of the assignment has been developed by the librarians to meet the IC requirement for English 101 online classes. Students who have completed English 101 or equivalent at another institution should contact the library to fulfill the IC graduation requirement prior to applying for graduation.

Information competency is also addressed on a secondary level through course specific library instruction sessions as well as instructional pages on the library’s website designed to reinforce IC outcomes. Faculty from across the curriculum can schedule instruction sessions that target objectives for research assignments or introduce library services and resources. Librarians create and distribute resource guides aimed at integrating IC skills into specific class outcomes for each session. In addition to instruction sessions, librarians continuously encourage students to develop IC skills while assisting them one-on-one at the Reference Desk.

Additional Resources
VVC Information Competency Graduation Requirement (VVC Catalog, under About VVC > Learning Outcomes)
Information Competency in the California Community Colleges (Adopted by ASCCC, Spring 1998)
Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Association of College and Research Libraries)

@ the Library

To complete the information competency library tutorial:

Click on English 101 Tutorial to start tutorialThe tutorial may take 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete. Please give yourself enough time to work on the assignment and review all instructions before starting. 

Note: Information competency is required curriculum in all VVC English 101 classes.