What is Information Literacy

Information literacy is a set of skills which enable students to find, retrieve, evaluate and use information.  It is a common skills to all disciplines and learning environments thus forming the basis for lifelong learning.  It enables students to moderate content, extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and to take greater control of their own learning.

The core information literacy skills are the ability to :

  • identify the needed information.
  • find information effectively and efficiently.
  • evaluate information.
  • apply information appropriately.
  • acknowledge information sources.


The information literate student establish the nature and extent of the information needed. He or she:

  • understands the project assignment and is able to communicate it to others.
  • formulates a research question that fits into the parameters of the project assignment.
  • explores and refines a topic using appropriate library and Internet sources.
  • explores general information sources (e.g., encyclopedias) to increase familiarity with the topic.
  • recognizes various types and formats of information and understands their value and differences.


The information literate student accesses information effectively and efficiently.  He or she:

  • develops a research plan.
  • identifies search words.
  • uses appropriate commands for on-line searching (Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity).
  • understands citation elements for different types of sources.
  • uses various search systems (library catalog, library databases, search engines, etc.) to retrieve a variety of formats.
  • uses various classification schemes and other systems for organizing information (call numbers, indexes, tables of contents, cross references).


The information literate student critically evaluates information and information sources. He or she:

  • evaluates information for currency, reliability, accuracy, authority, and point of view or bias of information sources.
  • summarizes the main points of information sources and knows when it is appropriate to paraphrase and use direct quotes.
  • sees relationships between concepts.
  • investigates differing viewpoints.
  • reviews the search strategy and changes it if necessary.


The information literate student uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. He or she:

  • synthesizes information from diverse sources to reach an informed conclusion.
  • utilizes information to create a product that meets the requirements of the assignment.
  • keeps a research journal or log that reflects on successes, failures, and strategies.
  • clearly communicates the product to others.


The information literate student has an understanding of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. He or she:

  • demonstrates an awareness of the social issues around the use of information (copyright, intellectual property, fee vs. free access, censorship, privacy, and security).
  • understands and avoids plagiarism.
  • understands and correctly uses the appropriate citation format.

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