Information Literacy Resources
What is Information Literacy?
Information literacy is a set of skills requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."
- American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.)
An information literate individual is able to:
1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed
This is includes the ability to articulate a research question or topic; expand or narrow it to a manageable focus; identify vocabulary terms associated with the topic; and the ability to identify a variety of types and formats of potential information sources, such as scholarly and popular journals.
2. Access needed information effectively and efficiently
This includes using appropriate methods to locate information, such as identifying relevant print sources and electronic databases, and formulating effective search strategies. Students should understand the structure and organization of the source (i.e., book index, database search parameters, etc.) and combine appropriate keywords, synonyms, and controlled vocabulary to locate information on their topic. They should be able to locate and use physical or electronic copies of the relevant information.
3. Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system
This includes the ability to understand the information, identify its main ideas, and use those ideas to construct new concepts. Students should evaluate the information to determine its reliability, accuracy, timeliness, and point of view or bias. They should be be able to keep track of the their research materials, document information as it is located, and refine their search processes and research topic as necessary in light of the new information.
4. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose, either individually or as a member of a group
This includes organizing and using selected information to plan and create a research project, and effectively communicating the final product to others.
5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; access and use information ethically and legally
This includes the ability to identify and discuss the legal and ethical aspects of information, such as intellectual property, copyright, plagiarism, privacy, freedom of speech and censorship. Students should follow laws, institutional regulations, and etiquette when using information, and acknowledge the information sources used in the creation of the research project.
Some questions to consider when creating course syllabi:
Can information literacy be infused into the content?
What information literacy skills are already part of the class and its assignments?
What basic information literacy skills do the students have?
How can students' information literacy abilities be assessed?
How can I incorporate library instruction into course assignments?
Are there existing assignments that could readily be adapted to include information literacy skills?
What interventions could be incorporated in order to increase students' success?
Adapted from the Information Literacy Competency Standards of Higher Education. 2000. http://www.ala.org/acrl/ilcomstan.html and the Delta College Library's Practical Guide To Infuse Information Literacy Into Your Course.