We are always seeking information, for both course work and "real life." Information helps us reach conclusions, make choices, and communicate more effectively.
In today’s information environment, finding reliable answers to questions can be difficult. In order to decipher and use the information we find effectively, we need to develop information literacy skills.
From Information Literacy
What Is an Information Literate Student?
In a complex and rapidly changing environment, higher education must help students to become information literate. Information literacy enables students to recognize the value of information and use it to make informed choices in their personal, professional and academic lives. An information literate student effectively accesses, evaluates, organizes, synthesizes and applies information from a variety of sources and formats in a variety of contexts. Information literacy requires an ongoing involvement in learning and in evaluating information so that life long learning is possible.
The student who is information literate is able to:
- Identify and articulate needs which require information solutions.
- Identify and select appropriate information sources.
- Formulate and efficiently execute search queries appropriate for the information resource.
- Interpret and analyze search results and select relevant sources.
- Locate and retrieve relevant sources in a variety of formats from the global information environment.
- Critically evaluate the information retrieved.
- Organize, synthesize, integrate and apply the information.
- Self-assess the information-seeking processes used.
- Understand the structure of the information environment and the process by which both scholarly and popular information is produced, organized and disseminated.
- Understand public policy and the ethical issues affecting the access and use of information.
WAAL Information Literacy Committee, Fall 1998
Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
Complete information including performance indicators and outcomes available from ACRL http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency.cfm
Types of Information
Pertains to something that actually happens or exists (It is cloudy.)
Interprets and assigns meaning to factual information (It looks like it will rain.)
Impartial analysis that is understood to represent different perspectives on a topic (Some people do not enjoy the rain.)
Biased analysis, reflects personal opinion that generally represents one perspective (I hate the rain.)
Types of Sources
First-hand accounts (diary, interview, photograph, etc.)
Interpretation, description, and analysis of a primary source (journal article, scholarly book)
Collection of primary and secondary sources (textbook, almanac)