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Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.

According to the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.),

Information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education: Eligibility Requirements and Standards for Accreditation, 2006, p. 42) defines information literacy as:

Several skills, collectively referred to as "information literacy," apply to all disciplines in an institution’s curricula. These skills relate to a student’s competency in acquiring and processing information in the search for understanding, whether that information is sought in or through the facilities of a library, through practica, as a result of field experiments, by communications with experts in professional communities, or by other means. Therefore, information literacy is an essential component of any educational program at the graduate or undergraduate levels.

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

The following standards are defined by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL):

  • Standard 1: Know
    The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
  • Standard 2: Access
    The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • Standard 3: Evaluate
    The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • Standard 4: Use
    The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Standard 5: Ethical/Legal
    The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.

For an overview, lists of performance indicators and outcomes, and suggestions for using the standards, see the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher EducationExternal Link.

Information Literacy Websites

Information Literacy at Wor-Wic Community College

General Education Objectives

  1. Express ideas effectively through oral and written communication;
  2. Think critically and reason logically;
  3. Read and analyze a written text;
  4. Apply mathematical models to the solution of problems;
  5. Evaluate individual, societal and cultural relationships;
  6. Use the scientific method in understanding the interdependence of humankind and the environment;
  7. Demonstrate the appropriate use of technology to obtain and communicate information; and
  8. Internalize the core values of the institution, including community, diversity, honesty, learning, quality, respect and responsibility.

Research-Related Guides

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