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, 2002, p. 32) defines information literacy as:
...an intellectual framework for identifying, finding, understanding, evaluating and using information.
It includes determining the nature and extent of needed information; accessing information effectively
and efficiently; evaluating critically information and its sources; incorporating selected information
in the learner’s knowledge base and value system; using information effectively to accomplish a specific
purpose; understanding the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and
information technology; and observing laws, regulations, and institutional policies related to the access
and use of information.
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,
ACRL's Standards Toolkit.
Information Literacy Websites
Information Literacy at Wor-Wic Community College
General Education Objectives
- Express ideas effectively through oral and written communication;
- Think critically and reason logically;
- Read and analyze a written text;
- Apply mathematical models to the solution of problems;
- Evaluate individual, societal and cultural relationships;
- Use the scientific method in understanding the interdependence of humankind and the environment;
- Demonstrate the appropriate use of technology to obtain and communicate information; and
- Internalize the core values of the institution, including community, diversity, honesty, learning, quality, respect and responsibility.
Information Literacy Across the Curriculum
Library Services Research Training Sessions