1.1 What is Information Literacy?


The choices you make in life often require you to find and use information.  Where do you go to find this information?  Is the information that you use trustworthy, accurate, timely, and relevant? How can you differentiate partisanship from impartial reporting? Truth from fiction? In a society where nearly everyone has the ability to reach an audience using a variety of media how can you be sure the information you use is authentic, valid, and reliable?

Information literacy forms the basis of lifelong learning.  It is a set of skills which enables you to find information using technology and other resources and to evaluate this information for reliability.  It also encompasses the ethical use of information, including correctly acknowledging your information sources. And finally, it means you are able to use the information you found in a meaningful way—such as communicating the information to others verbally or in writing or using the information to make a decision.

Information Literacy is a basic set of competencies, or skills, which will enable you to:

  • Identify an information need

  • Locate relevant sources of information to fit your need

  • Evaluate the information retrieved for currency, credibility, accuracy, authority, and purpose

  • Use the information in a ethical and legal manner