Information literacy

Information literacy

Several conceptions and definitions of information literacy have become prevalent. For example, one conception defines information literacy in terms of a set of competencies that an informed citizen of an information society ought to possess to participate intelligently and actively in that society (from [] ).

The American Library Association's (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report states that, "To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" [ (1989)] .

Jeremy Shapiro & Shelley Hughes (1996) define information literacy as "A new liberal art that extends from knowing how to use computers and access information to critical reflection on the nature of information itself its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural, and philosophical context and impact." (from [] )

Information literacy is becoming a more important part of K-12 education. It is also a vital part of university-level education (Association of College Research Libraries, 2007). In our information-centric world, students must develop skills early on so they are prepared for post-secondary opportunities whether that be the workplace or in pursuit of education.

History of the concept

A seminal event in the development of the concept of information literacy was the establishment of the American Library Association's Presidential Committee on Information Literacy whose final report outlined the importance of the concept. The concept of information literacy built upon and expanded the decades-long efforts of librarians to help their users learn about and how to utilize research tools (e.g., periodical indexes) and materials in their own libraries. Librarians wanted users to be able to transfer and apply this knowledge to new environments and to research tools that were new to them. Information literacy expands this effort beyond libraries and librarians, and focuses on the learner, rather than the teacher (Grassian, 2004; Grassian and Kaplowitz, 2001, pp.14-20).

Other important events include:
*1974: The related term ‘Information Skills’ was first introduced in 1974 by Zurkowski to refer to people who are able to solve their information problems by using relevant information sources and applying relevant technology (Zurkowski, 1974).
*1983: "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform"
**shows that we are "raising a new generation of Americans that is scientifically and technologically illiterate."
*1986: "Educating Students to Think: The Role of the School Library Media Program"
**outlines the roles of the library and the information resources in K-12 education
*1987: "Information Skills for an Information Society: A Review of Research"
**includes library skills and computer skills in the definition of information literacy
*1988: "Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs"
*1989: National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL), a coalition of more than 90 national and international organizations, has its first meeting
*1998: "Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning"
**Emphasizes that the mission of the school library media program is "to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information."

pecific aspects of information literacy (Shapiro and Hughes, 1996)

*Tool literacy, or the ability to understand and use the practical and conceptual tools of current information technology relevant to education and the areas of work and professional life that the individual expects to inhabit.
*Resource literacy, or the ability to understand the form, format, location and access methods of information resources, especially daily expanding networked information resources.
*Social-structural literacy, or knowing that and how information is socially situated and produced.
*Research literacy, or the ability to understand and use the IT-based tools relevant to the work of today's researcher and scholar.
*Publishing literacy, or the ability to format and publish research and ideas electronically, in textual and multimedia forms (including via World Wide Web, electronic mail and distribution lists, and CD-ROMs).
*Emerging technology literacy, or the ability to ongoing adapt to, understand, evaluate and make use of the continually emerging innovations in information technology so as not to be a prisoner of prior tools and resources, and to make intelligent decisions about the adoption of new ones.
*Critical literacy, or the ability to evaluate critically the intellectual, human and social strengths and weaknesses, potentials and limits, benefits and costs of information technologies. Ira Shor defines critical literacy as

habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse. []

Related terms are library orientation, library skills, bibliographic instruction, library use instruction or library instruction

National Forum on Information Literacy



In 1983, the seminal report, “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform”, declared that a “rising tide of mediocrity” was eroding the very foundations of the American educational system. It was, in fact, the genesis of the current educational reform movement within the United States. Ironically, the report did not include in its set of reform recommendations the academic and/or the public library as one of the key architects in the redesign of our K-16 educational system. This report and several others that followed, in conjunction with the rapid emergence of the information society, led the American Library Association (ALA) to convene a blue ribbon panel of national educators and librarians in 1987. The ALA Presidential Committee on Information Literacy was charged with the following tasks:

(1) to define information literacy within the higher literacies and its importance to student performance, lifelong learning, and active citizenship; (2) to design one or more models for information literacy development appropriate to formal and informal learning environments throughout people's lifetimes; and (3) to determine implications for the continuing education and development of teachers.

In the release of its Final Report in 1989, the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy summarized in its opening paragraphs the ultimate mission of the National Forum on Information Literacy:

“How our country deals with the realities of the Information Age will have enormous impact on our democratic way of life and on our nation's ability to complete internationally. Within America's information society, there also exists the potential of addressing many long-standing social and economic inequities. To reap such benefits, people--as individuals and as a nation--must be information literate. To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Producing such a citizenry will require that schools and colleges appreciate and integrate the concept of information literacy into their learning programs and that they play a leadership role in equipping individuals and institutions to take advantage of the opportunities inherent within the information society.

Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand."

Acknowledging that the major obstacle to people becoming information literate citizens, who are prepared for lifelong learning, "is a lack of public awareness of the problems created by information illiteracy," the report recommended the formation of a coalition of national organizations to promote information literacy.”

Thus, in 1989, the A.L.A. Presidential Committee established the National Forum on Information Literacy, a volunteer network of organizations committed to raising public awareness on the importance of information literacy to individuals, to our diverse communities, to the our economy, and to engaged citizenship participation.


Since 1989, the National Forum on Information Literacy has evolved steadily under the dedicated leadership of its first chair, Dr. Patricia Senn Breivik. Today, the Forum represents over 90 national and international organizations, all dedicated to mainstreaming the philosophy of information literacy across national and international landscapes, throughout every educational, domestic, and workplace venue.

Although the initial intent of the Forum was to raise public awareness and support on a national level, over the last several years, the National Forum on Information Literacy has made significant strides internationally in promoting the importance of integrating information literacy concepts and skills throughout all educational, governmental, and workforce development programs. For example, the National Forum co-sponsored with UNESCO and IFLA several “experts meetings”, resulting in the Prague Declaration (2003) and the Alexandria Proclamation (2005) each underscoring the importance of information literacy as a basic fundamental human right and lifelong learning skill.

In the United States, however, information literacy skill development has been the exception and not the rule, particularly as it relates to the integration of information literacy practices within of our educational and workforce development infrastructures. In October, 2006, the first national Summit on Information Literacy brought together well over a 100 representatives from education, business, and government to address America’s information literacy deficits as a nation currently competing in a global marketplace. This successful collaboration was sponsored by the National Forum on Information Literacy, Committee for Economic Development, Educational Testing Service, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, and National Education Association (NEA). The Summit was held at NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A major outcome of the Summit was the establishment of a national ICT literacy policy council, to provide leadership in creating national standards for ICT literacy in the United States.

In the final analysis, the National Forum on Information Literacy will continue to work closely with educational, business, and non-profit organizations in the U.S. to promote information literacy skill development at every opportunity, particularly in light of the ever growing social, economic, and political urgency of globalization, prompting us to re-energize our promotional and collaborative efforts here at home.


Prague Declaration: “Towards an Information Literate Society” -

Alexandria Proclamation: A High Level International Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning,

2006 Information Literacy Summit: American Competitiveness in the Internet Age

1989 Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report

1983 A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform

Gibson, C. (2004). Information literacy develops globally: The role of the national forum on information literacy. Knowledge Quest.

Breivik P.S. and Gee, E.G. (2006). Higher education in the internet age: Libraries creating a strategic edge. Westport,CT: Greenwood Publishing

Educational schemata

One view of the components of information literacy

Based on the Big6 by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz.

#The first step in the Information Literacy strategy is to clarify and understand the requirements of the problem or task for which information is sought. Basic questions asked at this stage:
##What is known about the topic?
##What information is needed?
##Where can the information be found?
#Locating: The second step is to identify sources of information and to find those resources. Depending upon the task, sources that will be helpful may vary. Sources may include: books; encyclopedias; maps; almanacs; etc. Sources may be in electronic, print, social bookmarking tools, or other formats.
#Selecting/analyzing: Step three involves examining the resources that were found. The information must be determined to be useful or not useful in solving the problem. The useful resources are selected and the inappropriate resources are rejected.
#Organizing/synthesizing: It is in the fourth step this information which has been selected is organized and processed so that knowledge and solutions are developed. Examples of basic steps in this stage are:
##Discriminating between fact and opinion
##Basing comparisons on similar characteristics
##Noticing various interpretations of data
##Finding more information if needed
##Organizing ideas and information logically
#Creating/presenting: In step five the information or solution is presented to the appropriate audience in an appropriate format. A paper is written. A presentation is made. Drawings, illustrations, and graphs are presented.
#Evaluating: The final step in the Information Literacy strategy involves the critical evaluation of the completion of the task or the new understanding of the concept. Was the problem solved? Was new knowledge found? What could have been done differently? What was done well?

Another conception of information literacy

This conception, used primarily in the library and information studies field, and rooted in the concepts of library instruction and bibliographic instruction, is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information" (Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. 1989, p. 1). In this view, information literacy is the basis for life-long learning, and an information literate person is one who:

* Recognizes that accurate and complete information is the basis for intelligent decision making.
* Recognizes the need for information.
* Knows how to locate needed information.
* Formulates questions based on information needs.
* Identifies potential sources of information.
* Develops successful search strategies.
* Accesses sources of information including computer-based and other technologies.
* Evaluates information no matter what the source.
* Organizes information for practical application.
* Integrates new information into an existing body of knowledge.
* Uses information in critical thinking and problem solving. (Doyle, 1992)
* Uses information ethically and legally.

Since information may be presented in a number of formats, the term information applies to more than just the printed word. Other literacies such as visual, media, computer, network, and basic literacies are implicit in information literacy.

Evolution of the economy

The change from an economy based on labor and capital to one based on information requires information literate workers who will know how to interpret information.

Barner's (1996) study of the new workplace indicates significant changes will take place in the future:
*The work force will become more decentralized
*The work force will become more diverse
*The economy will become more global
*The use of temporary workers will increase

These changes will require that workers possess information literacy skills. The SCANS (1991) report identifies the skills necessary for the workplace of the future. Rather than report to a hierarchical management structure, workers of the future will be required to actively participate in the management of the company and contribute to its success. To survive in this information society, workers will need to possess skills beyond those of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Effect on education

Because information literacy skills are vital to future success:
*Information literacy skills must be taught in the context of the overall process.
*Instruction in information literacy skills must be integrated into the curriculum and reinforced both within and outside of the educational setting.

Education in the USA


With the passage of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (1994), subject matter organizations were able to obtain funding to develop standards in their respective subject areas. Information literacy skills are implicit in the National Education Goals and national content standards documents.

Three of the eight National Education Goals demonstrate the critical nature of information literacy to an information society:
*Goal 1: School Readiness
*Goal 3: Student Achievement and Citizenship
*Goal 6: Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning

An analysis of national content standards documents reveals that they all focus on lifelong learning, the ability to think critically, and on the use of new and existing information for problem solving. In K-12 education, national standards of the American Association of School Librarians that reference information literacy and are inclusive of national content standards include:
*The student will access information efficiently and effectively.
*The student will evaluate information critically and competently.
*The student will use information accurately and creatively.

Individual states are creating initiatives to ensure that students attain information literacy skills by the time they graduate from high school. Kentucky (1995), Utah (1996), and California (1994) are but three examples of states that have publications depicting these initiatives.

National content standards, state standards, and information literacy skills terminology may vary, but all have common components relating to information literacy.

In 2000, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), released the "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education". There are five standards which are directly linked to a host of performance indicators. These standards and performance indicators are often considered the best practices against which institutions of higher education can implement and assess information literacy programs. The standards are:

*Standard One: The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

*Standard Two: The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.

*Standard Three: The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.

*Standard Four: The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

*Standard Five: The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

These standards are meant to span from the simple to more complicated, or in terms of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, from the "lower order" to the "higher order". Lower order skills would involve for instance being able to use an online catalog to find a book in an academic library. Higher order skills would involve critically evaluating and synthesizing information from multiple sources into a coherent interpretation or argument.

K-12 education restructuring

Educational reform and restructuring make information literacy skills a necessity as students seek to construct their own knowledge and create their own understandings.

Educators are selecting various forms of resource-based learning (authentic learning, problem-based learning and work-based learning) to help students focus on the process and to help students learn from the content. Information literacy skills are necessary components of each.

The process approach to education is requiring new forms of student assessment. Students demonstrate their skills, assess their own learning, and evaluate the processes by which this learning has been achieved by preparing portfolios, learning and research logs, and using rubrics.

Much of this challenge is now being informed by the American Association of School Librarians that published new standards for student learning in 2007.

Efforts in K-12 education

Information literacy efforts are underway on individual, local, and regional bases.

Imaginative Web based information literacy tutorials are being created and integrated with curriculum areas, or being used for staff development purposes.

Library media programs are fostering information literacy by integrating the presentation of information literacy skills with curriculum at all grade levels.

Information literacy efforts are not being limited to the library field, but are also being employed by regional educational consortia.

Parents are encouraging their children to develop information literacy skills at home by contacting KidsConnect, the Internet help and referral service for K-12 students. Parents are also helping students work through the information problem solving process as they assist their children with their homework!

Efforts in higher education

The inclusion of information competencies as a graduation requirement is the key that will fully integrate information literacy into the curricula of academic institutions.

Information literacy instruction in higher education can take a variety of forms: stand-alone courses or classes, online tutorials, workbooks, course-related instruction, or course-integrated instruction.

State-wide university systems and individual colleges and universities are undertaking strategic planning to determine information competencies, to incorporate instruction in information competence throughout the curriculum and to add information competence as a graduation requirement for students. Librarians often are required to teach the concepts of information literacy during "one shot" classroom lectures. There are also credit courses offered by academic librarians to prepare college students to become information literate.

Academic library programs are preparing faculty to facilitate their students' mastery of information literacy skills so that the faculty can in turn provide information literacy learning experiences for the students enrolled in their classes.


Information Technology is the great enabler. It provides, for those who have access to it, an extension of their powers of perception, comprehension, analysis, thought, concentration, and articulation through a range of activities that include: writing, visual images, mathematics, music, physical movement, sensing the environment, simulation, and communication (Carpenter, 1989, p. 2).

Technology, in all of its various forms, offers users the tools to access, manipulate, transform, evaluate, use, and present information.

Technology in schools includes computers, televisions, video cameras, video editing equipment, and TV studios.

Two approaches to technology in K-12 schools are technology as the object of instruction approach, and technology as the tool of instruction approach.

Schools are starting to incorporate technology skills instruction in the context of information literacy skills. This is called [ technology information literacy]

Technology is changing the way higher education institutions are offering instruction. The use of the Internet is being taught in the contexts of subject area curricula and the overall information literacy process.

There is some empirical indication that students who use technology as a tool may become better at managing information, communicating, and presenting ideas.

Distance education

Now that information literacy has become a part of the core curriculum at many post-secondary institutions, it is incumbent upon the library community to be able to provide information literacy instruction in a variety of formats, including online learning and distance education. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) addresses this need in its Guidelines for Distance Education Services (2000):

"“Library resources and services in institutions of higher education must meet the needs of all their faculty, students, and academic support staff, wherever these individuals are located, whether on a main campus, off campus, in distance education or extended campus programs -- or in the absence of a campus at all, in courses taken for credit or non-credit; in continuing education programs; in courses attended in person or by means of electronic transmission; or any other means of distance education.”"

Within the e-learning and distance education worlds, providing effective information literacy programs brings together the challenges of both distance librarianship and instruction. With the prevalence of course management systems such as WebCT and Blackboard, library staff are embedding information literacy training within academic programs and within individual classes themselves (Presti, 2002).

Global Information Literacy

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has established an Information Literacy Section. The Section has, in turn, developed and mounted an Information Literacy Resources Directory, called InfoLit Global. Librarians, educators and information professionals may self-register and upload information-literacy-related materials (IFLA, Information Literacy Section, n.d.)

See also article on library instruction, considered by some a more general topic.


American Association of School Librarians and Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1988). "Information power: Guidelines for school library media programs". Chicago: Author. (ED 315 028)

American Library Association and Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1998). "Information power: Building partnerships for learning". Chicago: Author.

American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. (1989). "Final report". Chicago: Author. (ED 315 028)

Association of College Research Libraries. (2000). "Information literacy competency standards for higher education." Retrieved November 3, 2007, from

Association of College Research Libraries (2007). "The First-Year Experience and Academic Libraries: A Select, Annotated Bibliography." Retrieved April 20, 2008, from

Barner, R. (1996, March/April). Seven changes that will challenge managers-and workers. "The Futurist", 30(2), 14-18.

Breivik. P. S. & Senn, J. A. (1998). "Information literacy: Educating children for the 21st century". (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: National Education Association.

Carpenter, J. P. (1989). "Using the new technologies to create links between schools throughout the world: Colloquy on computerized school links". (Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom, 17-20 October 1988).

Doyle, C.S. (1992). "Outcome Measures for Information Literacy Within the National Education Goals of 1990. Final Report to National Forum on Information Literacy. Summary of Findings".

Eisenberg, M., Lowe, C., and Spitzer, K. (2004). "Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age." 2nd. edition. Libraries Unlimited.

Grassian, E. (2004) Information Literacy: Building on Bibliographic Instruction. "American Libraries", 35(9), 51-53.

Grassian, E.S. and Kaplowitz, J.R. (2001). "Information Literacy Instruction: Theory and Practice". New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Hashim, E. (1986). Educating students to think: The role of the school library media program, an introduction. In Information literacy: Learning how to learn. A collection of articles from "School Library Media Quarterly", (15)1, 17-18.

IFLA, Information Literacy Section. n.d. InfoLit Global. Retrieved February 23, 2008 from

Kuhlthau, C. C. (1987). "Information skills for an information society: A review of research". Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. (ED 297 740)

Lorenzen. M. (2001). The Land of Confusion? High School Students and Their Use of the Web for Research. "Research Strategies" 18(2): 151-163.

National Commission of Excellence in Education. (1983). "A Nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform". Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. (ED 226 006)

Presti, P. (2002). Incorporating information literacy and distance learning within a course management system: a case study. Ypsilanti, MI: "Loex News", (29)2-3, 3-12-13. Retrieved February 3, 2004 from

Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills. (1991). "What work requires of schools: A SCANS report for America 2000". Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. (ED 332 054)

Shapiro, J. and Hughes, S (1996). Information Literacy as a Liberal Art:Enlightenment proposals for a new curriculum. "Educom Review" (

Koechlin, C., & Zwaan, S. (2003). "Build your own information literate school". Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research & Publishing.

Ryan, J., & Capra, S. (2001). "Information literacy toolkit". Chicago: American Library Association.

External links

* [ IFLA. InfoLit Global]
* [ Information Literacy. American Library Association]
* [ National Forum on Information Literacy.]
* [ Objectives for Information Literacy Instruction. American Library Association.]
* [ The Big6] , The most widely used model of information literacy in K-20 education.
* [ Information Literacy. Plotnick, E. ERIC Digest. ED42777, 1999] The original version of this Wikipedia article is from this public domain site.
* [ Information Literacy in an Information Society. ERIC Digest.]
* [ Information Literacy Instruction in Higher Education: Trends and Issues. ERIC Digest.]
* [ Information Literacy and Teacher Education.]
* [ Information Literacy]
* [ Information Literacy] : a literature review by the Scientific Watch Department of INRP (Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique : National Institute for Educational Research)
* [ LOEX Clearinghouse for Library Instruction]

ee also

* Critical reading
* Information and media literacy
* Media literacy
* Media education
* Media studies
* Internet research
* Source criticism

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

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