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Information Literacy: What is Information Literacy?

What is Infomation Literacy?

The Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) define information literacy as:

“a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” 

They set five standards for assessing the information literacy skills of students in higher education.

1. Determine the extent of information needed.
2. Access the information effectively and efficiently
3. Evaluate the information and sources critically.
4. Use information effectively for a specific purpose.
5. Use/incorporate information ethically and legally.

The standards are intentionally broad based so that differences in the application of information seeking skills can vary based on the discipline involved.  Their goal can be summarized as:

‘developing students’ skill at ‘critically evaluating and using information correctly’.

To this we can add the importance of lifelong learning:

‘ensuring that students use this knowledge throughout their lives.’

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