Core Information Literacy Competencies: Competencies

Access Information

On Campus Access: Electronic resources are accessible on-campus. Faculty, students and staff must register personal laptops and mobile devices with UNC Chapel Hill ITS.

UNC Hospitals Access: Always use links from Library websites. Onyen log-in is required when you select the first resource. Note: UpToDate is available within EPIC.

Off Campus Access: Always use links from Library websites. Onyen log-in is required when you select the first resource. Most electronic resources are accessible off-campus to students, faculty, and staff, including UNC Hospitals' staff.

Learn about off-campus access IDs.

Report an off-campus access or hospital access problem.

Competencies Development

The Health Sciences Library's Education Services is committed to working with faculty and students to determine what information literacy competencies students should demonstrate before graduating from one of the five health affairs schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, and to developing effective means for teaching the identified skills. Integration of these competencies into the curriculum gives them relevance and validity by allowing  students to use the skills as part of required learning activities that can be transferred from one setting (the university) to another (their profession).

There are several ways to define core skills or competencies. Many groups, such as the American College of Preventive Medicine, identify core competencies as discrete tasks. The main problem with this approach is the need for constant revision. We based our original thinking on the Medical Informatics Objectives prepared by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) which looked at broader concepts. Since tasks are concrete activities used to practice and demonstrate the learning of concepts, it is necessary to identify specific tasks related to the boarder competencies and incorporate them into the learning objectives of specific curricula.

In 1999, the AAMC Medical Informatics Advisory Panel considered what role the competencies would support. The roles they identified were

  1. Life-Long Learner
  2. Clinician (Professional)
  3. Educator/Communicator
  4. Researcher
  5. Manager

While the AAMC competencies have evolved into other discrete area, we feel that the orginal five competencies identify are the roles most of our graduates will fill to some extent;  it seems that most competencies are necessary for all areas. For our purposes, we use the term Professional for Clinician.

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UNC Health Affairs Competencies

Health Affairs graduates should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to identify and express an information need and plan a search strategy to
    meet it by:
    • Clearly articulating the question or issue
    • Outlining an action plan
    • Identifying how the information will be used:
      • Research
      • Decision making (patient care, community needs, etc.)
      • Consumer education
  2. Demonstrate knowledge about information resources relevant to their field by:
    • Identifying key resources(electronic and print)
      • Textbooks and reference sources
      • Databases (bibliographic and full text)
      • Internet sites
      • Journals
      • Accessing and retrieving information from on and off campus using relevant resources such as:
        • Online Catalogs
        • UNC-CH Health Sciences Library homepage
        • Internet
    • Selecting, filtering, evaluating, and reconciling information on a topic by:
      • Identifying the factors that influence the accuracy and validity of information
      • Discriminating among types of information sources in terms of:
        • Currency
        • Authority
        • Relevance
        • Availability
      • Using multiple information sources
  3. Exhibit good information skills by:
    • "Maintaining a healthy skepticism about the quality and validity of all information." (AAMC)
    • "Making decisions based on evidence, when such is available, rather than opinion." (AAMC)
    • Being aware of and correctly applying copyright and intellectual property guidelines and regulations
    • Adapting to the ever changing skills needed for information management
  4. Create and manage a personal database using a standard bibliographic formatting software, including:
    • Downloading information from a database or web site
    • Entering information not available by downloading
    • Using the information to create papers and bibliographies
  5. Refer to and use relevant information resources in courses, tutorials, or information pages by:
    • Using effective development and presentation skills for papers, posters and other methods for transferring information
    • Using web tools to incorporate excerpts from or links to information resources

Revised November 2010

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Heath Sciences Library's Role

    1. Work with faculty and students by providing:
      • Instruction based on sound educational principles
      • One-on-one assistance in person, electronically, or using other appropriate methods
      • Organized course integrated sessions with feedback to students and faculty
      • Web-based online modules, links to resources and instructional materials, or other relevant tools for general or course specific purposes
      • Transition skills between the academic and practice settings
    2. Evaluation
      • Observation of student behavior
      • Direct feedback to and from students and faculty
      • Testing mechanisms
      • Indications that alumni are using these skills

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      University of North Carolina's Role

      • Work with librarians to build information competencies
        • Adopt core information competencies
      • Provide opportunities for accomplishing the competencies within existing curricula
      • Require demonstrated evidence of achievement of the competencies by time of graduation
      • Promote the value of attaining these competencies as part of being a successful health professional

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      Steps to Literacy

      Click on the  MASCOT tab to see the steps in the information literacy process.

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