What is Information Literacy Anyways?

Posted by: on October 10, 2013   |Comments (0)|Tips and Tools

informationtechnologyWhat is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy (IL) can be a tricky concept to understand for those of us working in a library environment, never mind for those outside of “library-land”!  The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) has an excellent definition of IL, but here I will attempt to give you the SparkNotes version.

IL is the ability to combine the following skills in order to meet academic, professional or personal goals:

  • The ability to recognize when you need informationWhat sources do I need to complete my research paper? Articles? Books? Primary sources? etc.

  • Understanding the ethical use of information – Respecting copyright & citing your sources

  • Evaluating information – Is this article scholarly or not? Is this relevant to my topic? Is this a reputable source? Is this research valid? Is it reliable?

  • & synthesizing the needed information – Being able to pull multiple sources together to form an argument or support your thesis

Why should I care?


IL is an essential survival skill in a world that is overloaded with information.  As the amount of information that is readily available at our fingertips continues to grow, how can we tell what can be relied upon and what can’t?

Who and what can we trust?  Despite arguments to the contrary, Google won’t always be able to meet our information needs.  Our library alone subscribes to over 250 databases – how can you figure out how to navigate them?  As technology advances, how much will the way we access information now change?

Whether you realize it or not, you will hone your IL skills as you progress through your time at PC and be able to apply them to your future careers and academic ventures.

Additional Resources:


American Library Association. (1989). Presidential committee on information literacy. final report. Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential

Information Literacy. (2004). In Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning. Retrieved from http://0-literati.credoreference.com.helin.uri.edu/content/entry/sagedl/information_literacy/0

The Association of College and Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago: American Library Assocation. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/standards/standards.pdf

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Posted by: on October 10, 2013   |Comments (0)|Tips and Tools