What is Information Literacy?
Information literacy is a set of skills that enables individuals to recognize when information is needed and to have the ability to locate, evaluate and effectively use the needed information. According to the Association of College & Research Libraries, an information literate individual is able to:
In practice, information literacy utilizes critical thinking through skills in evaluating information. Information literacy also incorporates and supplements other forms of literacy such as computer literacy, media literacy, and research literacy.
Information literacy can be applied in any subject or area of study. It can be tailored to build knowledge within a specialized area, although its emphasis is on developing skills that can be applied to academic, professional, and personal uses.
Why is Information Literacy important?
Handling Rapid Changes in Information. Information literacy emerged because of the inundation of information available through books, journals, broadcast media, and, the Internet. Information literacy skills enable students to effectively use and discern information they find from various sources.
Ethical Use of Information. Information can be put to positive as well as negative use, so information literacy includes skills and standards involving the ethical use of information. Students learn about plagiarism and copyright, and why they matter. Other topics may include using ethical standards defined by discipline-specific organizations, and legal, social and proprietary issues that surround the use of information.
Preparation for the Workforce. Many business and industrial leaders want employees whose skills go beyond a subject area. They want employees with problem-solving skills who are able to navigate rapid changes in information and technology.
Lifelong Learning. Information literacy promotes lifelong learning. With information literacy skills, students are able to self-direct their learning while in school and throughout their lives. While such skills are used in classes and assignments, they are also applicable to personal decision-making and lifelong learning.
Civic Participation. Information literacy provides skills essential for making informed decisions and effective civic involvement. It enables students to fully participate in a democracy.
How do I incorporate Information Literacy into my course?
Before incorporating information literacy components into your course or assignments:
Resources from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL):
ACRL’s Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education
The Association of College & Research Libraries identifies 5 information literacy standards and provides examples of performance indicators and learning outcomes. Outcomes move from lower-order to higher-order skills so that you can pinpoint which outcomes will be most applicable to your assignment and your students.
The Standards Toolkit
The Standards Toolkit is a set of tools, web pages and other resources that will help you use the standards by providing examples of outcomes in practice.
Information Literacy in the Disciplines
Some discipline-specific information literacy standards have been adopted. See how your discipline has adapted the standards.
Faculty Guide for Student Library Assignments – UWF Libraries
Examples of Assignments, Information Literacy & Writing Assessment Project: Tutorial for Developing and Evaluation Assignments – from the University of Maryland
Other Library Resources
Consider assigning one of the Libraries’ tutorials for a class. Each has a quiz. You may ask that your students forward you their scores for use in grading or curriculum assessment.
Library Instruction Request Form
Request a library instruction session for your class
Updated 06/19/12 cdw
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