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Information Literacy Overview: Home

A broad overview of information literacy within the context of higher education institutions.

Overview: Extracting Meaning from Data

In 2000, the ACRL released a document titled Information Literacy: Competency Standards for Higher Education. Information Literacy had been discussed in Libraries before for some time, broadly defined as "[the ability to] recognize when information is needed, and [...] to locate, evaluate, and use effectively that needed information" (ALA, 1989). 

However the turn of the century brought rise to digital materials, vastly changing the information landscape. Competency Standards brought a formalized language to define Information Literacy specifically and explain how it applies to students within higher education. It outlines 5 formal standards to evaluate students on their ability to locate, process, and think critically about information that the find both in print and online. 

In 2015, these standards were revised again in the document Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (ACRL). This second modernization of information literacy concepts is designed to challenge students ideas about how we think about and interact with information in a digital world. We now live in an age of data abundance, which has made the ability to extract meaning from that data more relevant than ever before. Each of the six frames developed in this work represent a shift in how we think about information as a part scholarship in an ecosystem where data can be published literally at the speed of light. 


Information Literacy Competency Standards

Below are the two major systems for defining Information Literacy as it applies to students in Higher Education. Although the "Six Frames of Information Literacy came later as a revision to the original Standards, that doesn't mean that the original work has no use. It remains especially valuable as a tool to evaluate literacy standards in students. 

Information Literacy Standards

  1. The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information. 
  2. The information literate student selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information. 
  3. The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into their knowledge base and value system. 
  4. The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  5. The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.


Instruction & Digital Initiatives Librarian

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Jason Riggin
Earl S. Richardson Library
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(443) 885 -1706
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