What Is Information Literacy

“Knowledge is of two kinds: We know a topic for ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it”. – Dr. Samuel Johnson 1775

“To know where you can find anything that in short is the largest part of learning”. - Anonymous

Definitions Of Information Literacy

"One can have information without knowledge, but it is impossible to have knowledge without information.  Information literacy is knowing where and how to find the information sources as well as how to locate the information within those sources; how to determine whether the information found is accurate, reliable, and valid; and how to use that information to further knowledge."  (Waggoner)

"the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information to become independent life-long learners" - Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Criteria for Accreditation, Section 5.1.2 [Library and Other Information Resources] Services . 10th ed. Dec. 1996.

"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." American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report, 1989

Jeremy J. Shapiro and Shelley K. Hughes in Educom Review: entitled "Information Literacy as a Liberal Art" Volume 31, Number 2 Release Date: March/April 1996 (http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/review/reviewArticles/31231.html) also defines 7 aspects:

  • In its narrowest sense information literacy includes the practical skills involved in effective use of information technology and information resources, either print or electronic.
  • Information literacy is a new liberal art which extends beyond technical skills and is conceived as the critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural and even philosophical context and impact.
  • The information literacy curriculum includes:
    • Tool literacy - The ability to use print and electronic resources including software.
    • Resource literacy - The ability to understand the form, format, location and access methods of information resources.
    • Social-structural literacy - Knowledge of how information is socially situated and produced. It includes understanding the scholarly publishing process.
    • Research literacy - The ability to understand and use information technology tools to carry our research including discipline-related software.
    • Publishing literacy - The ability to produce a text or multimedia report of the results of research.

Synonyms

  • information competency
  • information fluency
  • information management
  • information skills 
  • inquiry-based learning
  • knowledge management
  • problem-based learning (PBL)
  • resource-based learning