Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information
." Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report
Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.
Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content 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 extent of information needed
Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
Evaluate information and its sources critically
Incorporate selected information into ones knowledge base
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
ACRL Information Literacy website
by The Association of College and Research Libraries.
The ACRL Information Literacy Coordinating Committee's gateway to resources on information literacy. These resources will help you understand and apply the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to enhance teaching, learning, and research in the higher education community.