Information Literacy

From Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


In 1989 the American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy issued a Final Report which defined four components of information literacy. According to that report, Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information [1]."

Alternative definitions for information literacy have been developed by educational institutions, professional organizations and individuals. In 1998, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) created a report describing the attributes of information literate students. These standards were revised in 2000 [2]. There are five standards with multiple performance indicators and outcomes under each. Taken together, the standards, performance indicators, and outcomes describe what students must master to be considered information literate.

Some educators argue "information literacy" suggests only the ability to decode information and, therefore, that "information fluency" more accurately describes the set of abilities needed for effective use of information [3]. According to Danny Callison, Professor and and Executive Associate Dean of the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, information fluency is the ability to apply the skills associated with information literacy, computer literacy and critical thinking to address and solve information problems across disciplines, across academic levels, and across information format structures [4] (in press).

Mandy Lupton, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the Queensland Institute of Technology, has argued that the idea of information literacy lacks any formal pedagogical framework because of its origins in academic librarianship. According to Lupton, information literacy is a not a pedagogy in its own right, but simply a learner-focused set of abilities that can vary from context to context. She suggests inquiry learning is a preferable concept, as it incorporates the pedagogy and curriculum design elements that allow for the successful implementation of standard information literacy learning outcomes[5].

Questions have arisen as to whether information literacy, as it is currently defined in ALA and AASL standards, reflects present digital realities. Mackey and Jacobson suggest redefining information literacy as "metaliteracy" in order to capture the importance of new technologies, and the production and sharing aspects of new technologies left out by older standards[6].

Success Stories

  • University of Idaho Information Literacy Tutorial
  • University of New England - eSKILLS UNE

Information Literacy Models

Information Literacy Models help to define the steps of the information literacy process. In using a information literacy model, librarians and teachers can help to teach the research process and to help identify problem areas that a person may have. Some examples of information literacy models are provided below:

  • Big6- Created by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, this model covers a six-step process that defines the information literacy process and problem solving. The six steps are: Task Definition, Information Seeking Strategies, Location and Access, Use of Information, Synthesis, and Evaluation
  • Seven Pillars of Information Literacy- Developed by the Society of College, National, and University Libraries (SCONUL), this model focuses on the information literacy process within higher education.
  • Information Search Process- Developed by Carol Kaulthau, this model has six stages, which are initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection, and presentation.
  • PLUS Information Skills Model- Developed by James Herring, the PLUS model has four stages, which are purpose, use, and self-evaluation.

List of Stand Alone Information Literacy Classes

  • University of Rhode Island: Introduction to Information Literacy

Tips for Teaching Information Literacy Classes

  • 10 Tips for Teaching Your First Information Literacy Course
  • University of Notre Dame Faculty Toolkit for Teaching Information Literacy
  • S.O.S. for Information Literacy: A Virtual Idea Factory for Teaching Information Literacy Skills

Information Literacy Standards

The following entities have set aside standards for teaching students a curriculum rich in Information Literacy skills.

  • American Association of School Librarians: Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning
  • Information Literacy: Florida's Library Media/Curriculum Connections
  • Association of Colleges and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

Learning Object Repositories

  • ALPS LInK: Academic Librarians in Public Service, Library Instruction Knapsack The mission of ALPS LInK is to be a repository of learning objects to support academic librarians in their instructional role. The vision is that through sharing learning objects we can help librarians save time, eliminate duplicated effort, and develop their instructional skills.
  • ANTS: Animated Tutorial Sharing ProjectThis project was designed to enable librarians to share in the development of point-of-need animated tutorials for a multitude of e-products. The project makes use of new Collaborative Information Technology (CIT) via an Open Source Institutional Repository (DSpace), a Wiki, RSS Feeds and Web Pages. This enables participants to (1) identify tutorials for development and (2) keep others up to date on their work. Initially only COPPUL librarians could add content to the Repository; but as of October 2006, any librarian can add content as well as download open source tutorials. It should also be noted that as its list of e-resources for tutorial development is on a Wiki, the list is considered to be a starting point for development. Anyone can add new e-products to the list of tutorials for development. Similarly, other types of library tutorials are welcome. One need only indicate that it exsists on the wiki and ensure that the source code for the tutorial is uploaded into DSpace.
  • CORIL "After five years in existence, the CORIL Editorial Board announces the end of the CORIL project. We would like to thank all the Board members who served during CORIL’s existence and to all those who contributed material to the repository. Material in the repository will remain available for the foreseeable future however no new content will be added to the collection. Sincerely, CORIL Editorial Board May 2008." A small but growing Canadian repository of interactive tutorials, lecture slides and handouts sponsored by the Ontario Council of University Libraries.
  • LICW: Library Instruction Case Wiki An open repository of case studies for use as lesson plans, promoting the application of case method teaching to library and information literacy instruction.
  • PRIMO A database of links to "peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians to teach people about discovering, accessing and evaluating information in networked environments". Produced by the Instruction Section of the ALA/ACRL.
  • RAILS: Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy Skills A research project involved in the study of rubrics for information literacy assessment at the college level. Rubrics available for download.


  • ACRL Information Literacy Resources
  • Information Literacy Explorer

Curriculum Maps

  • Information on Curriculum Mapping from the University of Windsor


  • Brock University, Canada
  • University of Windsor, Canada
  • York University, Canada
  • University of Texas, USA
  • University of Sydney, Australia
  • IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations

Related Articles

Blogs/Websites to Watch

  • Information Literacy Weblog
  • Information Literacy Land of Confusion
  • Adventures in Library Instruction podcast
  • A New Curriculum for Information Literacy
  • National Forum on Information Literacy

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

  • A Library Advocate's Guide to Building Information Literate Communities
  • Information Literacy: Undervalued or Ubiquitous?
  • Blue Skies: a new definition of information literacy

Techniques to Integrate Information Literacy into the Academic Curriculum

  • Integrating Information Literacy into the Academic Curriculum
  • Integrating Information Literacy into the Classroom
  • Proposal for Integrating Information Literacy into the General Education Curriculum
  • Information Literacy SLMPE Rubric

State preK/K-12 Information Literacy Recommendations

  • Massachusetts School Libraries preK-12 Information Literacy Recommendations