Skip to main content

Information Literacy Instruction

highlights library instruction sessions and resources for increasing students' information literacy

Information Literacy Definition & Framework

Information Literacy Defined (ACRL) 

Information literacy is described as a “set of integrated abilities encompassing the

  • reflective discovery of information,
  • the understanding of how information is produced and valued,
  • the use of information in creating new knowledge and
  • participating ethically in communities of learning.”

-- from the Association of College & Research Libraries' (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education | PDF Version

This definition highlights that our interactions with a complex information ecosystem go beyond skill development.  Information literacy growth involves “behavioral, affective, cognitive, and metacognitive engagement” (2).  

Information Literacy Frames

The Framework’s contents include six frames; these are the big ideas associated with information literacy. Each frame includes a description of the frame along with knowledge practices and dispositions (e.g. persistence and curiosity) representative of individuals who are developing their information literate abilities.

Research as Inquiry

  • Research is an ongoing process to uncover and investigate questions – from simple questions to much more complicated ones.  Inquiry extends beyond academia to personal, professional, and societal problems.

Searching as Strategic Exploration

  • Research is a nonlinear and iterative process that involves finding, accessing, and evaluating sources.   Your information need will influence where you seek out information. Expert searchers may employ more search strategies and investigate more resources than novice searchers.  

Information Creation as a Process

  • Knowing how information is created and produced helps you evaluate the quality of a resource and illuminates benefits (e.g. the peer review process for an article) & constraints (the lack of currency of a book) of those resources.

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

  • Information is created by authors with various levels of expertise and credibility.  Your information need (context) will determine the level of authority you need.   Authoritative resources may come in both traditional and unconventional forms.

Information Has Value

  • Information is intellectual property produced for different purposes (e.g. financial, reputational).  The value of information is based on various factors such as the producer, intended audience, and the content.  Both creators and consumers of information have responsibilities to ethically use information.   

Scholarship as Conversation

  • Experts consider and seek out different perspectives and interpretations.  Deeper involvement in academic communication involves increasing your familiarity in a field or discipline including its “sources of evidence, methods, and modes of discourse”.  Paying attention to previous research is a necessary and ethical obligation in this scholarly conversation.