» Information Literacy

Information Literacy Defined

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report

Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. 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 issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

from Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education


  • Assessment Forum: 9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning [LINK NEEDED] from the American Association for Higher Education.
  • Assessment of Information Literacy: Lessons from the Higher Education Assessment Movement
    by Lois Pausch and Mary P Popp.
    This paper reviews higher education assessment methods; identifies useful theories and practices; describes assessment programs in academic libraries; and makes recommendations for changes in library education.
  • ACRL Information Literacy website [LINK NEEDED] by The Association of College and Research Libraries.
  • The ACRL Information Literacy Coordinating Committee's gateway to resources on information literacy. These resources will help you understand and apply the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to enhance teaching, learning, and research in the higher education community.
  • Information Literacy Library Instruction Outcomes [LINK NEEDED]from Florida International University Libraries.


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