Defining information literacy

This chapter provides an overview of key information literacy definitions and models which can help us understand the concept and inform our teaching planning.

According to the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), “Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner”.[1]

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has produced a new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education which provides a set of six frames “which are those gateway or portal concepts through which students must pass to develop genuine expertise within a discipline, profession, or knowledge domain”.[2]

The ACRL Framework is designed to offer institutions flexibility to define their own approaches.  The six frames enable us to think more deeply about information literacy and support us in developing higher level information literacy learning outcomes.

Another useful model for higher education, A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (pdf), includes 10 strands covering the themes of:

  • Learning to learn
  • Developing academic literacies
  • Subject-specific competencies
  • Key skills
  • Advanced information handling

The curriculum helpfully includes suggested learning outcomes, example activities and example assessments.

Further definitions and models are outlined on the Information Literacy website.

 

In the next section we will look at how information literacy fits within the wider concept of learning literacies.

 


References for this page

[1] CILIP. 2014. Information Literacy – Definition. London: CILIP. [Accessed: 23 June 2016]

[2] Association of College and Research Libraries. 2015. Framework for Information Literacy Appendices. Chicago: American Library Association. [Accessed: 23 June 2016]

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