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Information Literacy @ UWW


Information Literacy has been an active concept since it was coined in Australia in 1965. It was first used in the United States in 1974 by Paul Zurkowski, former President of the U.S. Information Industry Association and UW-Whitewater alumn, embraced by the American Librarian Association (ALA) as part of bibliographic instruction in 1977, incorporated into the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's Standards for Accreditation in 1989, and acknowledged as a critical skill by EDUCOM in 1994. 

Recognizing the role of critical thinking in the learning process, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Board established in 1998 a Task Force on Information Literacy Competency Standards and charged it to develop standards in this area for higher education. These standards were approved in January 2000. In 2005, the Association of American Colleges and Universities established Liberal Education, America’s Promise (LEAP), a framework for assessing educational programs. In October 2009, President Barack Obama issued a Proclamation designating that month as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.

Information Literacy Awareness Month Proclamation

The Proclamation states in part that,

Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation... Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge... Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise... This month, we dedicate ourselves to increasing information literacy awareness so that all citizens understand its vital importance. An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society, and I encourage educational and community institutions across the country to help Americans find and evaluate the information they seek, in all its forms... I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the important role information plays in our daily lives, and appreciate the need for a greater understanding of its impact.