Definition of Information Competency and Information Literacy

There are a number of closely related definitions of Information Competency and Information Literacy. According to ACRL, the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/informationliteracycompetency.cfm)

Information literacy is 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."

Quote from: American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report.(Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.)

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:
  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
For further information about this vital component of lifelong learning, including how to incorporate information literacy into your assignments, see the ACRL Information Literacy page at http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlissues/acrlinfolit/informationliteracy.cfm.
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