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College of Textiles
College of Engineering
Textiles Library

Toolkit Administration

Instruction Toolkit for
Textiles and Engineering Services

Information Competencies for Engineering Students


Information-oriented assignments given to freshmen should be highly-structured, with expectations (as to sources used, citation style, and formatting or presentation) clearly stated. Assignments should help orient students to the NCSU Libraries' physical and virtual presences and spaces.

By the end of their first year, students should:

  • Be comfortable using the physical library to find needed resources and staff members
  • Be comfortable using the library web site to access resources and services
  • Be proficient in accessing and using the library catalog and related tools ("request it," "text it," placing holds, etc.)
  • Be proficient in accessing course reserves
  • Understand the difference between a popular, trade, and scholarly journal


Information-oriented assignments given to sophomores should be very structured, with expectations clearly stated. Assignments should reinforce and build on the information skills of the freshman year.

By the end of their second year, students should:

  • Be able to formulate a keyword search in the library catalog or database, and to refine that search
  • Know the names of some of the key resources in their field of study
  • Be aware of search tools for engineers (such as Compendex) and know how to use a database to search an engineering topic
  • Understand the importance of citing sources and be able to use basic tools (Citation Builder, web sites with examples, books, etc.) to properly format citations


Information-oriented assignments for juniors should be less structured, with more open-ended expectations. They should build and expand on the information skills obtained during the freshman and sophomore years.

By the end of their junior year, students should:

  • Be able to name a few of the major reference works, journals, and databases in their field of study, and be proficient accessing and searching them
  • Have a basic awareness of other types of information sources (standards, patents, conference proceedings) important to engineers
  • Have a basic awareness of publications and literature in other subject disciplines
  • Be able to present a verbal or written strategy for solving an information problem.
  • Be thoroughly comfortable with all major library services (checkout, return, online renewal, check borrowing record, Tripsaver, device lending, etc.)
  • Be able to use more sophisticated citation management tools (such as Refworks or Zotero) with proficiency


Information-oriented assignments for seniors should build advanced searching skills and a firm understanding of the "information universe." Seniors should graduate with information competencies sufficient for functioning in the working world or for beginning a graduate degree program.

By the end of their senior year, students should:

  • Know what patents are and how to find them
  • Know what engineering standards are and how to find them
  • Have a sense of the economics of information
  • Be fully prepared to research across subject disciplines
  • Be able to identify an information source from a citation