What is Information Literacy?
Information Literacy may be conceptualized as
- a competency, the ability to recognize “when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use the needed information” (American Library Association, 1989)
- “a cluster of interconnected core activities, frameworks” that constitute information ecosystems (ACRL 2015)
- a subject of study
What is Information?
Information is everything your senses perceive, including visual, auditory, or kinesthetic data.
Information Literacy may also be called
- Data Information Literacy
- Science Communication
- STEM Literacy for Learning.
Related Concepts: Copyright; Critical Literacy; Evidence; Plagiarism; Rhetorical Analysis; Rhetorical Reasoning; Semiotics: Sign, Signifier, Signified; The CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose)
Why Does Information Literacy Matter?
In order to thrive, much less survive in a global information economy, people need to be strategic about how they consume and use information.
The cluster of competencies associated with information literacy are a prerequisite to survival in an information economy. Information Literacy competencies can protect you from
- being spammed, tricked, or fooled by bad actors
- making decisions based on emotions rather than reason, being overly swayed by appeals to pathos
- being uninformed about the best information on a topic
- making poor decisions, contrary to the decisions you would make if you had been informed, evidence-based decisions.
What Competencies are Associated with Information Literacy?
Most generally, Information Literacy refers to a cluster of competencies, including the ability
- to recognize when you need information
- to understand the type of information you need
- to know how to search for information
- to know how to interpret information
- to know how to engage in critical research practices
- to know how to engage in the research methods sanctioned by your targeted audience
- to know how to use and cite information
- to know how to remediate texts in new media
By using critical perspectives when consuming, evaluating, or producing information, people develop competencies that have been conceptualized as “a basic human right in a digital world” (Alexandria Proclamation 2005).
|Be conscious of when you need information.|
|Learn to adeptly research information to inform and solve problems, entertain, or persuade.|
|Evaluate information critically (e.g, distinguish fake news from real news).|
|Be aware of ethical and unethical uses of information, including plagiarism.|
|Weave sources strategically into your text without undermining your purpose or losing your intended voice or tone.|
|Establish the credibility of your sources for your audience. Avoid patchwriting.|
|Cite sources correctly.|
Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education
ACRL Frameworks (aka Threshold Concepts) for Information Literacy
In Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, the ACRL imagines six critical frameworks, aka mindsets, that inform clear and persuasive acts of communication:
- Authority is Constructed & Contextual
- Information Creation as a Process
- Information Has Value
- Research as Inquiry
- Scholarship as a Conversation
- Searching as Strategic Exploration