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Information Fluency Instruction Program: Home

What is Information Fluency?

The Association of Research and College Libraries has identified a core set of skills and knowledge critical to student success during undergraduate education and beyond. These standards form the basis of our Program's Student Learning Outcomes.

Upon graduation, Cal Maritime students will be able to:

  1. Define and articulate the information needed
  2. Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  3. Evaluate information and its sources critically
  4. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  5. Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

About the Program

The Library's Information Fluency Instruction Program is dedicated to ensuring that all graduates are able to effectively navigate the vast amount of information available in a digital society.

To meet this goal, the program provides instruction designed to meet the general and discipline-specific needs of students and faculty. This instruction includes curriculum-integrated sessions, a full-term class, online research guides, drop-in reference assistance, and individual research consultation.

The bulk of instruction takes place during the freshman year through General Education courses and LIB100. During that time, students are introduced to foundational skills:

  • Developing a research topic and focusing a research question
  • Searching book and article databases efficiently and effectively
  • Evaluating print and online materials for authority and purpose
  • Presenting information professionally using MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Citing resources in APA style
  • Understanding and avoiding plagiarism and copyright violations
  • Online communication etiquette

Information fluency is then reinforced and expanded upon via individual sessions in discipline-specific courses. For example:

  • Locating patents that affect the engineering design process
  • Using the Harmonized System to locate tariffs and trade statistics
  • Finding and interpreting marine accident reports
  • Locating federal regulations related to shipping and navigation
  • Understanding online privacy and avoiding online fraud
  • Compiling data and evaluating news regarding foreign companies


"We live in a blizzard of information without wisdom, content without context, and are being pulled a million ways by tech toys and a zillion cable channels and the multitudinous blogs. A white noise of data is the ambient soundtrack of our lives."

 John Schwartz, "Weapons of Mass Distraction" The New York Times, 2004


"Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise."

President Barack Obama, 2009

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."

Samuel Johnson, 1775




Cal Maritime Library