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A Definition of Information Literacy
Information literacy is a series of critical thinking skills that guides an individual through the process of collecting and using information. The process involves determining a need for information, identifying possible sources, and developing search strategies to locate the appropriate information. Further, information literacy offers a framework to evaluate and use this information to accomplish a specific purpose.
In an information-intensive world, information literacy enables individuals to master content, refine and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:
- Determine the type and extent of information needed;
- Choose from a variety of sources and formats to select and access the information effectively;
- Evaluate the information and its sources for appropriateness and credibility;
- Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base;
- Use the information effectively to accomplish an identified purpose;
- Understand the economic and social issues surrounding the use of the information;
- Use the information ethically and legally.
Adopted from the Association of College and Research Libraries: “Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education”
Information Literacy peer reviewed articles from Project Information Literacy (below):
"What Information Competencies Matter in Today's Workplace?" Alison J. Head, Michele Van Hoeck, Jordan Eschler, and Sean Fullerton, Library and Information Research, May 2013, vol. 37, no. 114, 75 - 104 (29 pages).
"How College Students Use the Web to Conduct Everyday Life Research," Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, First Monday, April 2011, vol. 16, no. 4 (23 pages).
"How Today's College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-Related Research," Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, First Monday, March 2010, Volume 15, Number 3 (16 pages).
"Information Literacy from the Trenches: How Do Humanities and Social Science Majors Conduct Academic Research?" Preprint publication, Alison J. Head, College and Research Libraries, September 2008, vol. 69, no. 4 (39 pages).
"Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research?" Alison J. Head, First Monday, July 2007, vol. 12, no. 7 (11 pages).