| Information Literacy | What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy: The Basics

Definition (2000)

An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social uses surrounding the use of information
  • Access and use information ethically and legally

Information literacy is recognized as:

  • A basic competency that ought to be incorporated into the educational mission
  • A foundation skill for academic success
  • A key component of independent, lifelong learning
  • An intellectual competency used to demonstrate mastery of a specific discipline
  • A distinct and broader area of competence than computer literacy
  • A competency centered on critical discernment and reasoning

(Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education)

Definition (2016)

Information Literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the:

  • Reflective discovery of information
  • Understanding of how information is produced and valued
  • Use of information in creating new knowledge
  • Ethical participation in communities of learning

The Six Frames (Core Concepts) for Information Literacy:

  • Authority is constructed and contextual
  • Information creation as a process
  • Information has value
  • Research as inquiry
  • Scholarship as conversation
  • Searching as strategic exploration

(Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education)

Key Resources

ACRL. (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

ACRL. (2010). Information Literacy Resource Gateway

ACRL. (2000). Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

ACRL. (2003). Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline

Fister, B. (2016, March).  Threshold Concepts and the New Framework for Information Literacy.  Library Issues, 36(4).

Information Literacy Instruction in Higher Education: Trends and Issues. (2002). ERIC Digest (ED465375).

Kent State University. (2008). About Project SAILS (Project for Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills).

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), (2016).  Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education LibGuide.

Shapiro, J. J. & Hughes, S. K. (1996). Information Literacy as a Liberal Art: Enlightenment proposals for a new curriculum. Educom Review, 31(2.)

Information Literacy Blogs

The Information Literacy Land of Confusion
Information Literacy Weblog

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