The Cardiff IL Framework

A framework for Subject Librarians supporting learning literacies: information literacy

Cardiff University Library has developed a Framework for library staff to use as a guide to the areas of learning literacies where you can contribute and support academics.  It is largely focused on information literacy but overlaps academic and digital literacies aligned with library staff expertise.  In this Handbook, whenever we refer to the term ‘information literacy’ we are defining it in accordance with this Framework.

Derived from the New Curriculum for Information Literacy and the Digidol Project, the Framework illustrates how Subject Librarians can contribute to the development of learners’ awareness, skills and practices in the following areas:

  • The information landscape
  • Finding and retrieval
  • Managing information / data
  • Producing and communicating
  • Developing / enhancing professional identity

It is designed to facilitate writing learning outcomes and preparing learning activities.  It is also used as the basis of an annual measure of the extent of the information literacy teaching we provide.

Using the Framework

The ideal scenario is that learning literacies are integrated into the learner’s subject curriculum.  A fully integrated approach involves the intentional design of learning literacy into learning outcomes, activities and resources throughout the course so that they are seamlessly developed and assessed together with subject knowledge and skills

Where an integrated approach is not possible, an embedded form of provision aims to incorporate learning literacies as a component learning activity within the core subject curriculum. Resources and activities are designed in such a way to be timely and include examples, questions and tasks to make the learning as authentic and meaningful as possible.

Standalone learning opportunities are disconnected from the subject matter of the curriculum and are thus less effective. It is challenging for learners to apply knowledge and skills that have been learnt in a generalised manner to subject specific tasks and situations. It is therefore always desirable to contextualise as much as is possible standalone learning resources and activities.

In this video, Joe Nicholls (Senior Consultant: Digital Enablement and former member of the Digidol Project Team) explains the difference between integrated, embedded and standalone learning literacies in more detail and suggests ways in which learning literacies could be effectively integrated into the curriculum.


In the next chapter we look at advocating information literacy to staff and students.