Information literacy

Information literacy


The United States National Forum on
Information Literacy defines information literacy as “… the ability to know
when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate,
and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.” Other
definitions incorporate aspects of “skepticism, judgement, free thinking,
questioning, and understanding…” or incorporate competencies that an
informed citizen of an information society ought to possess to participate
intelligently and actively in that society.
A number of efforts have been made to better define the concept and its
relationship to other skills and forms of literacy. Although other educational
goals, including traditional literacy, computer literacy, library skills, and
critical thinking skills, are related to information literacy and important
foundations for its development, information literacy itself is emerging
as a distinct skill set and a necessary key to one’s social and economic
well-being in an increasingly complex information society. According to
McTavish, in order to increase and maximize people’s contributions to a
healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and maintain a prosperous and
sustainable economy, governments and industries around the world are
challenging education systems to focus people’s attention on literacy. In
Canada, because of a great focus on a supposed literacy crisis, it has caused
some alarm in some educational sectors. Brink researched government
organization, such as Human Resources and Skill Development Canada, claims
that almost half of working-age Canadians do not have the literacy
skills they need to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern life.
History of the concept The phrase information literacy first
appeared in print in a 1974 report by Paul G. Zurkowski written on behalf of
the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Zurkowski used the
phrase to describe the “techniques and skills” learned by the information
literate “for utilizing the wide range of information tools as well as primary
sources in molding information solutions to their problems” and drew a relatively
firm line between the “literates” and “information illiterates”.
The Presidential Committee on Information Literacy released a report
on January 10, 1989, outlining the importance of information literacy,
opportunities to develop information literacy, and an Information Age School.
The report’s final name is the Presidential Committee on Information
Literacy: Final Report. The recommendations of the Presidential
Committee led to the creation later that year of the National Forum on
Information Literacy, a coalition of more than 90 national and international
organizations. In 1998, the American Association of
School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communications and
Technology published Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning,
which further established specific goals for information literacy education,
defining some nine standards in the categories of “information literacy”,
“independent learning”, and “social responsibility”.
Also in 1998, the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy produced an
update on its Final Report. This update outlined the six main recommendations of
the original report and examined areas where it made progress and areas that
still needed work. The updated report supports further information literacy
advocacy and reiterates its importance. In 1999, the Society of College,
National and University Libraries in the UK, published “The Seven Pillars of
Information Literacy” model to “facilitate further development of ideas
amongst practitioners in the field … stimulate debate about the ideas and
about how those ideas might be used by library and other staff in higher
education concerned with the development of students’ skills.” A number of other
countries have developed information literacy standards since then.
In 2003, the National Forum on Information Literacy, together with
UNESCO and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science,
sponsored an international conference in Prague with representatives from some
twenty-three countries to discuss the importance of information literacy
within a global context. The resulting Prague Declaration described information
literacy as a “key to social, cultural, and economic development of nations and
communities, institutions and individuals in the 21st century” and
declared its acquisition as “part of the basic human right of life long
learning”. The Alexandria Proclamation linked
Information literacy with lifelong learning. More than that, it sets
Information Literacy as a basic Human right that it “promotes social inclusion
of all nations”. On May 28, 2009, U.S. California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-06-09, establishing a
California ICT Digital Literacy Leadership Council, which in turn, was
directed to establish an ICT Digital Literacy Advisory Committee. “The
Leadership Council, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, shall develop an
ICT Digital Literacy Policy, to ensure that California residents are digitally
literate.” The Executive Order states further: “ICT Digital Literacy is
defined as using digital technology, communications tools and/or networks to
access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information in
order to function in a knowledge-based economy and society…” The Governor
directs “…The Leadership Council, in consultation with the Advisory
Committee… [to] develop a California Action Plan for ICT Digital Literacy.”
He also directs “The California Workforce Investment Board… [to]
develop a technology literacy component for its five-year Strategic State Plan.”
His Executive Order ends with the following: “I FURTHER REQUEST that the
Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction consider adopting similar
goals, and that they join the Leadership Council in issuing a “Call to Action” to
schools, higher education institutions, employers, workforce training agencies,
local governments, community organizations, and civic leaders to
advance California as a global leader in ICT Digital Literacy”.
Information literacy rose to national consciousness in the U.S. with President
Barack Obama’s Proclamation designating October 2009 as National Information
Literacy Awareness Month. President Obama’s Proclamation stated that
“Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to
acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation… Though
we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to
evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity
emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or
perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the
information marketplace. At the same time, 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.”
Obama’s proclamation ended with: “Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama,
President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority
vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim October 2009 as National Information Literacy Awareness Month. 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.” Presidential Committee on Information
Literacy The Presidential Committee on
Information Literacy was formed in 1987 by the American Library Association’s
president at the time Margaret Chisholm. The committee was formed with three
specific purposes to define Information Literacy within
the higher literacies and its importance to student performance, lifelong
learning, and active citizenship to design one or more models for
information literacy development appropriate to formal and informal
learning environments throughout people’s lifetimes
to determine implications for the continuing education and development for
teachers The American Library Association’s
Presidential Committee on Information Literacy defined information literacy as
the ability “to recognize when information is needed and have the
ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” and
highlighted information literacy as a skill essential for lifelong learning
and the production of an informed and prosperous citizenry.
The committee outlined six principal recommendations: to “reconsider the ways
we have organized information institutionally, structured information
access, and defined information’s role in our lives at home in the community,
and in the work place”; to promote “public awareness of the problems
created by information illiteracy”; to develop a national research agenda
related to information and its use; to ensure the existence of “a climate
conducive to students’ becoming information literate”; to include
information literacy concerns in teacher education; and to promote public
awareness of the relationship between information literacy and the more
general goals of “literacy, productivity, and democracy.”
In March 1998 the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy re-evaluated its
Final Report and published an update. The update looks at what the Final
Report set out to accomplish, its six main goals, and how far it had come to
that point in meeting those objectives. Before identifying what still needs to
be done, the updated report recognizes what the previous report and the
National Forum were able to accomplish. In realizing it still had not met all
objectives, it set out further recommendations to ensure all were met.
The updated report ends with an invitation, asking the National Forum
and regular citizens to recognize that “the result of these combined efforts
will be a citizenry which is made up of effective lifelong learners who can
always find the information needed for the issue or decision at hand. This new
generation of information literate citizens will truly be America’s most
valuable resource”, and to continue working toward an information literate
world. One of the most important things to come
out of the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy was the creation of
the National Forum on Information Literacy.
National Forum on Information Literacy =Background=
In 1983, the seminal report “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational
Reform” declared that a “rising tide of mediocrity” was eroding the very
foundations of the American educational system. It was, in fact, the genesis of
the current educational reform movement within the United States. Ironically,
the report did not include in its set of reform recommendations the academic
and/or the public library as one of the key architects in the redesign of our
K-16 educational system. This report and several others that followed, in
conjunction with the rapid emergence of the information society, led the
American Library Association to convene a blue ribbon panel of national
educators and librarians in 1987. The ALA Presidential Committee on
Information Literacy was charged with the following tasks: to define
information literacy within the higher literacies and its importance to student
performance, lifelong learning, and active citizenship; to design one or
more models for information literacy development appropriate to formal and
informal learning environments throughout people’s lifetimes; and to
determine implications for the continuing education and development of
teachers. In the release of its Final Report in 1989, the American Library
Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy summarized in its
opening paragraphs the ultimate mission of the National Forum on Information
Literacy: “How our country deals with the
realities of the Information Age will have enormous impact on our democratic
way of life and on our nation’s ability to compete internationally. Within
America’s information society, there also exists the potential of addressing
many long-standing social and economic inequities. To reap such benefits,
people—as individuals and as a nation—must be information literate. To
be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is
needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed
information. Producing such a citizenry will require that schools and colleges
appreciate and integrate the concept of information literacy into their learning
programs and that they play a leadership role in equipping individuals and
institutions to take advantage of the opportunities inherent within the
information society. Ultimately, information literate people
are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know
how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information
in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for
lifelong learning because they can always find the information needed for
any task or decision at hand.” Acknowledging that the major obstacle to
people becoming information literate citizens, who are prepared for lifelong
learning, “is a lack of public awareness of the problems created by information
illiteracy,” the report recommended the formation of a coalition of national
organizations to promote information literacy.”
Thus, in 1989, the A.L.A. Presidential Committee established the National Forum
on Information Literacy which is a volunteer network of organizations
committed to raising public awareness on the importance of information literacy
to individuals, to our diverse communities, to our economy, and to
engage citizenship participation.=The forum today=
Since 1989, the National Forum on Information Literacy has evolved
steadily under the leadership of its first chair, Dr. Patricia Senn Breivik.
Today, the Forum represents over 90 national and international
organizations, all dedicated to mainstreaming the philosophy of
information literacy across national and international landscapes,and throughout
every educational, domestic, and workplace venue.
Although the initial intent of the Forum was to raise public awareness and
support on a national level, over the last several years, the National Forum
on Information Literacy has made significant strides internationally in
promoting the importance of integrating information literacy concepts and skills
throughout all educational, governmental, and workforce development
programs. For example, the National Forum co-sponsored with UNESCO and IFLA
several “experts meetings”, resulting in the Prague Declaration and the
Alexandria Proclamation each underscoring the importance of
information literacy as a basic fundamental human right and lifelong
learning skill. In the United States, however,
information literacy skill development has been the exception and not the rule,
particularly as it relates to the integration of information literacy
practices within our educational and workforce development infrastructures.
In a 2000 peer reviewed publication, Nell K. Duke, found that students in
first grade classrooms were exposed to an average of 3.6 minutes of
informational text in a school day. In October 2006, the first national Summit
on Information Literacy brought together well over 100 representatives from
education, business, and government to address America’s information literacy
deficits as a nation currently competing in a global marketplace. This successful
collaboration was sponsored by the National Forum on Information Literacy,
Committee for Economic Development, Educational Testing Service, the
Institute for a Competitive Workforce, and National Education Association. The
Summit was held at NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
A major outcome of the Summit was the establishment of a national ICT literacy
policy council to provide leadership in creating national standards for ICT
literacy in the United States. As stated on the Forum’s Main Web page,
it recognizes that achieving information literacy has been much easier for those
with money and other advantages. For those who are poor, non-White, older,
disabled, living in rural areas or otherwise disadvantaged, it has been
much harder to overcome the digital divide. A number of the Forum’s members
address the specific challenges for those disadvantaged. For example, The
Children’s Partnership advocates for the nearly 70 million children and youth in
the country, many of whom are disadvantaged. The Children’s
Partnership currently runs three programs, two of which specifically
address the needs of those with low-incomes: Online content for
Low-Income and Underserved Americans Initiative, and the California
Initiative Program. Another example is the National Hispanic Council on Aging
which is: Dedicated to improving the quality of
life for Latino elderly, families, and communities through advocacy, capacity
and institution building, development of educational materials, technical
assistance, demonstration projects, policy analysis and research.
The National Forum on Information Literacy will continue to work closely
with educational, business, and non-profit organizations in the U.S. to
promote information literacy skill development at every opportunity,
particularly in light of the ever growing social, economic, and political
urgency of globalization, prompting citizens to re-energize our promotional
and collaborative efforts. Global information literacy
=The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions=
IFLA has established an Information Literacy Section. The Section has, in
turn, developed and mounted an Information Literacy Resources
Directory, called InfoLit Global. Librarians, educators and information
professionals may self-register and upload information-literacy-related
materials According to the IFLA website, “The primary purpose of the Information
Literacy Section is to foster international cooperation in the
development of information literacy education in all types of libraries and
information institutions.” =The International Alliance for
Information Literacy=This alliance was created from the
recommendation of the Prague Conference of Information Literacy Experts in 2003.
One of its goals is to allow for the sharing of information literacy research
and knowledge between nations. The IAIL also sees “life-long learning” as a
basic human right, and their ultimate goal is to use information literacy as a
way to allow everyone to participate in the “Information Society” as a way of
fulfilling this right. The following organizations are founding members of
IAIL: Australian and New Zealand Institute for
Information Literacy; based in Australia and New Zealand. Official website
European Network on Information Literacy; based in the European Union.
Official website National Forum on Information Literacy;
based in the United States. Official website
NORDINFOlit; based in Scandinavia SCONUL Advisory Committee on Information
Literacy; based in the United Kingdom. Official website
=United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
Media and Information Literacy=According to the UNESCO website, this is
their “action to provide people with the skills and abilities for critical
reception, assessment and use of information and media in their
professional and personal lives.” Their goal is to create information literate
societies by creating and maintaining educational policies for information
literacy. They work with teachers around the world, training them in the
importance of information literacy and providing resources for them to use in
their classrooms. UNESCO publishes studies on information
literacy in many countries, looking at how information literacy is currently
taught, how it differs in different demographics, and how to raise
awareness. They also publish pedagogical tools and curricula for school boards
and teachers to refer to and use. Specific aspects of information literacy
In “Information Literacy as a Liberal Art”, Jeremy J. Shapiro and Shelley K.
Hughes advocated a more holistic approach to information literacy
education, one that encouraged not merely the addition of information
technology courses as an adjunct to existing curricula, but rather a
radically new conceptualization of “our entire educational curriculum in terms
of information”. Drawing upon Enlightenment ideals like
those articulated by Enlightenment philosopher Condorcet, Shapiro and
Hughes argued that information literacy education is “essential to the future of
democracy, if citizens are to be intelligent shapers of the information
society rather than its pawns, and to humanistic culture, if information is to
be part of a meaningful existence rather than a routine of production and
consumption”. To this end, Shapiro and Hughes outlined
a “prototype curriculum” that encompassed the concepts of computer
literacy, library skills, and “a broader, critical conception of a more
humanistic sort”, suggesting seven important components of a holistic
approach to information literacy: Tool literacy, or the ability to
understand and use the practical and conceptual tools of current information
technology relevant to education and the areas of work and professional life that
the individual expects to inhabit. Resource literacy, or the ability to
understand the form, format, location and access methods of information
resources, especially daily expanding networked information resources.
Social-structural literacy, or understanding how information is
socially situated and produced. Research literacy, or the ability to
understand and use the IT-based tools relevant to the work of today’s
researcher and scholar. Publishing literacy, or the ability to
format and publish research and ideas electronically, in textual and
multimedia forms … to introduce them into the electronic public realm and the
electronic community of scholars. Emerging technology literacy, or the
ability to continuously adapt to, understand, evaluate and make use of the
continually emerging innovations in information technology so as not to be a
prisoner of prior tools and resources, and to make intelligent decisions about
the adoption of new ones. Critical literacy, or the ability to
evaluate critically the intellectual, human and social strengths and
weaknesses, potentials and limits, benefits and costs of information
technologies. Ira Shor further defines critical
literacy as “[habits] of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go
beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official
pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to
understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and
personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization,
experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse”.
Information literacy models =One view of the components of
information literacy=Based on the Big6 by Mike Eisenberg and
Bob Berkowitz. 1. The first step in the Information
Literacy strategy is to clarify and understand the requirements of the
problem or task for which information is sought. Basic questions asked at this
stage: What is known about the topic?
What information is needed? Where can the information be found?
2. Locating: The second step is to identify sources of information and to
find those resources. Depending upon the task, sources that will be helpful may
vary. Sources may include books, encyclopedias, maps, almanacs, etc.
Sources may be in electronic, print, social bookmarking tools, or other
formats. 3. Selecting/analyzing: Step three
involves examining the resources that were found. The information must be
determined to be useful or not useful in solving the problem. The useful
resources are selected and the inappropriate resources are rejected.
4.Organizing/synthesizing: It is in the fourth step this information which has
been selected is organized and processed so that knowledge and solutions are
developed. Examples of basic steps in this stage are:
Discriminating between fact and opinion Basing comparisons on similar
characteristics Noticing various interpretations of data
Finding more information if needed Organizing ideas and information
logically 5.Creating/presenting: In step five the
information or solution is presented to the appropriate audience in an
appropriate format. A paper is written. A presentation is made. Drawings,
illustrations, and graphs are presented. 6. Evaluating: The final step in the
Information Literacy strategy involves the critical evaluation of the
completion of the task or the new understanding of the concept. Was the
problem solved? Was new knowledge found? What could have been done differently?
What was done well? The Big6 skills have been used in a
variety of settings to help those with a variety of needs. For example, the
library of Dubai Women’s College, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates which is an
English as a second language institution, uses the Big6 model for its
information literacy workshops. According to Story-Huffman, using Big6
at the college “has transcended cultural and physical boundaries to provide a
knowledge base to help students become information literate”. In primary
grades, Big6 has been found to work well with variety of cognitive and language
levels found in the classroom. Differentiated instruction and the Big6
appear to be made for each other. While it seems as though all children will be
on the same Big6 step at the same time during a unit of instruction, there is
no reason students cannot work through steps at an individual pace. In
addition, the Big 6 process allows for seamless differentiation by interest.
A number of weaknesses in the Big6 approach have been highlighted by Philip
Doty: This approach is problem-based, is
designed to fit into the context of Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive
objectives, and aims toward the development of critical thinking. While
the Big6 approach has a great deal of power, it also has serious weaknesses.
Chief among these are the fact that users often lack well-formed statements
of information needs, as well as the model’s reliance on problem-solving
rhetoric. Often, the need for information and its use are situated in
circumstances that are not as well-defined, discrete, and monolithic
as problems. Eisenberg has recognized that there are
a number of challenges to effectively applying the Big6 skills, not the least
of which is information overload which can overwhelm students. Part of
Eisenberg’s solution is for schools to help students become discriminating
users of information.=Another conception of information
literacy=This conception, used primarily in the
library and information studies field, and rooted in the concepts of library
instruction and bibliographic instruction, is the ability “to
recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and
use effectively the needed information”. In this view, information literacy is
the basis for lifelong learning. In the publication Information power:
Building partnerships for learning, three categories, nine standards, and
twenty-nine indicators are used to describe the information literate
student. The categories and their standards are as follows:
Category 1: Information Literacy Standards:
The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and
effectively. The student who is information literate
evaluates information critically and competently.
The student who is information literate uses information accurately and
creatively. Category 2: Independent Learning
Standards: The student who is an independent
learner is information literate and pursues information related to personal
interests. The student who is an independent
learner is information literate and appreciates literature and other
creative expressions of information. The student who is an independent
learner is information literate and strives for excellence in information
seeking and knowledge generation. Category 3: Social Responsibility
Standards: The student who contributes positively
to the learning community and to society is information literate and recognizes
the importance of information to a democratic society.
The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society
is information literate and practices ethical behavior in regard to
information and information technology. The student who contributes positively
to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates
effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.
Since information may be presented in a number of formats, the term
“information” applies to more than just the printed word. Other literacies such
as visual, media, computer, network, and basic literacies are implicit in
information literacy. Many of those who are in most need of
information literacy are often amongst those least able to access the
information they require: Minority and at-risk students,
illiterate adults, people with English as a second language, and economically
disadvantaged people are among those most likely to lack access to the
information that can improve their situations. Most are not even aware of
the potential help that is available to them.
As the Presidential Committee report points out, members of these
disadvantaged groups are often unaware that libraries can provide them with the
access, training and information they need. In Osborne many libraries around
the country are finding numerous ways to reach many of these disadvantaged groups
by discovering their needs in their own environments and offering them specific
services in the libraries themselves. Effects on education
The rapidly evolving information landscape has demonstrated a need for
education methods and practices to evolve and adapt accordingly.
Information literacy is a key focus of educational institutions at all levels
and in order to uphold this standard, institutions are promoting a commitment
to lifelong learning and an ability to seek out and identify innovations that
will be needed to keep pace with or outpace changes.
Educational methods and practices, within our increasingly
information-centric society, must facilitate and enhance a student’s
ability to harness the power of information. Key to harnessing the power
of information is the ability to evaluate information, to ascertain among
other things its relevance, authenticity and modernity. The information
evaluation process is crucial life skill and a basis for lifelong learning.
According to Lankshear and Knobel, what is needed in our education system is a
new understanding of literacy, information literacy and on literacy
teaching. Educators need to learn to account for the context of our
culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalized societies.
We also need to take account for the burgeoning variety of text forms
associated with information and multimedia technologies.
Evaluation consists of several component processes including metacognition,
goals, personal disposition, cognitive development, deliberation, and
decision-making. This is both a difficult and complex challenge and
underscores the importance of being able to think critically.
Critical thinking is an important educational outcome for students.
Education institutions have experimented with several strategies to help foster
critical thinking, as a means to enhance information evaluation and information
literacy among students. When evaluating evidence, students should be encouraged
to practice formal argumentation. Debates and formal presentations must
also be encouraged to analyze and critically evaluate information.
Education professionals must underscore the importance of high information
quality. Students must be trained to distinguish between fact and opinion.
They must be encouraged to use cue words such as “I think” and “I feel” to help
distinguish between factual information and opinions. Information related skills
that are complex or difficult to comprehend must be broken down into
smaller parts. Another approach would be to train students in familiar contexts.
Education professionals should encourage students to examine “causes” of
behaviors, actions and events. Research shows that people evaluate more
effectively if causes are revealed, where available.
Some call for increased critical analysis in Information Literacy
instruction. Smith identifies this as beneficial “to individuals, particularly
young people during their period of formal education. It could equip them
with the skills they need to understand the political system and their place
within it, and, where necessary, to challenge this”.
Education in the US =Standards=
National content standards, state standards, and information literacy
skills terminology may vary, but all have common components relating to
information literacy. Information literacy skills are critical
to several of the National Education Goals outlined in the Goals 2000:
Educate America Act, particularly in the act’s aims to increase “school
readiness”, “student achievement and citizenship”, and “adult literacy and
lifelong learning”. Of specific relevance are the “focus on lifelong
learning, the ability to think critically, and on the use of new and
existing information for problem solving”, all of which are important
components of information literacy. In 1998, the American Association of
School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communications and
Technology published “Information Literacy Standards for Student
Learning”, which identified nine standards that librarians and teachers
in K-12 schools could use to describe information literate students and define
the relationship of information literacy to independent learning and social
responsibility: Standard One: The student who is
information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
Standard Two: The student who is information literate evaluates
information critically and competently. Standard Three: The student who is
information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
Standard Four: The student who is an independent learner is information
literate and pursues information related to personal interests.
Standard Five: The student who is an independent learner is information
literate and appreciates literature and other creative expressions of
information. Standard Six: The student who is an
independent learner is information literate and strives for excellence in
information seeking and knowledge generation.
Standard Seven: The student who contributes positively to the learning
community and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance
of information to a democratic society. Standard Eight: The student who
contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information
literate and practices ethical behavior in regard to information and information
technology. Standard Nine: The student who
contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information
literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate
information. In 2007 AASL expanded and restructured
the standards that school librarians should strive for in their teaching.
These were published as “Standards for the 21st Century Learner” and address
several literacies: information, technology, visual, textual, and
digital. These aspects of literacy were organized within four key goals: that
“learners use of skills, resources, & tools” to “inquire, think critically,
and gain knowledge”; to “draw conclusions, make informed decisions,
apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge”; to “share
knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our
democratic society”; and to “pursue personal and aesthetic growth”.
In 2000, the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the
American Library Association, released “Information Literacy Competency
Standards for Higher Education”, describing five standards and numerous
performance indicators considered best practices for the implementation and
assessment of postsecondary information literacy programs. The five standards
are: Standard One: The information literate
student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
Standard Two: The information literate student accesses needed information
effectively and efficiently. Standard Three: The information literate
student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates
selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
Standard Four: The information literate student, individually or as a member of
a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
Standard Five: The information literate student understands many of the
economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and
accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
These standards are meant to span from the simple to more complicated, or in
terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, from the “lower order” to
the “higher order”. Lower order skills would involve for instance being able to
use an online catalog to find a book relevant to an information need in an
academic library. Higher order skills would involve critically evaluating and
synthesizing information from multiple sources into a coherent interpretation
or argument.=K-12 education restructuring=
Today instruction methods have changed drastically from the mostly
one-directional teacher-student model, to a more collaborative approach where
the students themselves feel empowered. Much of this challenge is now being
informed by the American Association of School Librarians that published new
standards for student learning in 2007. Within the K-12 environment, effective
curriculum development is vital to imparting Information Literacy skills to
students. Given the already heavy load on students, efforts must be made to
avoid curriculum overload. Eisenberg strongly recommends adopting a
collaborative approach to curriculum development among classroom teachers,
librarians, technology teachers, and other educators. Staff must be
encouraged to work together to analyze student curriculum needs, develop a
broad instruction plan, set information literacy goals, and design specific unit
and lesson plans that integrate the information skills and classroom
content. These educators can also collaborate on teaching and assessment
duties Educators are selecting various forms of
resource-based learning to help students focus on the process and to help
students learn from the content. Information literacy skills are
necessary components of each. Within a school setting, it is very important
that a students’ specific needs as well as the situational context be kept in
mind when selecting topics for integrated information literacy skills
instruction. The primary goal should be to provide frequent opportunities for
students to learn and practice information problem solving. To this
extent, it is also vital to facilitate repetition of information seeking
actions and behavior. The importance of repetition in information literacy
lesson plans cannot be underscored, since we tend to learn through
repetition. A students’ proficiency will improve over time if they are afforded
regular opportunities to learn and to apply the skills they have learnt.
The process approach to education is requiring new forms of student
assessment. Students demonstrate their skills, assess their own learning, and
evaluate the processes by which this learning has been achieved by preparing
portfolios, learning and research logs, and using rubrics.
=Efforts in K-12 education=Information literacy efforts are
underway on individual, local, and regional bases.
Many states have either fully adopted AASL information literacy standards or
have adapted them to suit their needs. States such as Oregon [1] increasing
rely on these guidelines for curriculum development and setting information
literacy goals. Virginia, on the other hand, chose to undertake a comprehensive
review, involving all relevant stakeholders and formulate it own
guidelines and standards for information literacy. At an international level, two
framework documents jointly produced by UNESCO and the IFLA developed two
framework documents that laid the foundations in helping define the
educational role to be played by school libraries: the School library
manifesto,. Another immensely popular approach to
imparting information literacy is the Big6 set of skills. Eisenberg claims
that the Big6 is the most widely used model in K-12 education. This set of
skills seeks to articulate the entire information seeking life cycle. The Big6
is made up of six major stages and two sub-stages under each major stages. It
defines the six steps as being: task definition, information seeking
strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation.
Such approaches seek to cover the full range of information problem-solving
actions that a person would normally undertake, when faced with an
information problem or with making a decision based on available resources.
=Efforts in higher education=Information literacy instruction in
higher education can take a variety of forms: stand-alone courses or classes,
online tutorials, workbooks, course-related instruction, or
course-integrated instruction. One attempt in the area of physics was
published in 2009. The six regional accreditation boards
have added information literacy to their standards, Librarians often are required
to teach the concepts of information literacy during “one shot” classroom
lectures. There are also credit courses offered by academic librarians to
prepare college students to become information literate.
=Distance education=Now that information literacy has become
a part of the core curriculum at many post-secondary institutions, it is
incumbent upon the library community to be able to provide information literacy
instruction in a variety of formats, including online learning and distance
education. The Association of College and Research Libraries addresses this
need in its Guidelines for Distance Education Services:
Library resources and services in institutions of higher education must
meet the needs of all their faculty, students, and academic support staff,
wherever these individuals are located, whether on a main campus, off campus, in
distance education or extended campus programs—or in the absence of a campus
at all, in courses taken for credit or non-credit; in continuing education
programs; in courses attended in person or by means of electronic transmission;
or any other means of distance education.
Within the e-learning and distance education worlds, providing effective
information literacy programs brings together the challenges of both distance
librarianship and instruction. With the prevalence of course management systems
such as WebCT and Blackboard, library staff are embedding information literacy
training within academic programs and within individual classes themselves.
Information literacy assessment tools iCritical Thinking, former variation
known as iSkills, and before that ICT Literacy Assessment, from the
Educational Testing Service Standardized Assessment of Information
Literacy Skills developed and maintained at Kent State University in Ohio
Information Literacy Test developed collaboratively by the James Madison
Center for Assessment and Research Studies and JMU libraries
Research Readiness Self-Assessment from Central Michigan University originally
designed by Lana V. Ivanitskaya, Ph.D. and Anne Marie Casey, A.M.L.S. and
developed in collaboration with many of their colleagues.
More Assessments of Information Literacy WASSAIL, an open-source assessment
platform for storing questions and answers, producing tests, and generating
reports. Information literacy conferences
There are several national and international conferences dedicated to
information literacy. There is an annual satellite conference associated with the
IFLA World Library and Information Congress organised by the IFLA
Information Literacy Section. Within the UK, since 2005 there has been a
Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference, or LILAC for short,
organised by an Information Literacy Group that is now a special interest
group of CILIP. The European Conference on Information Literacy, or ECIL held
its first conference during October 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Most recently, the
14th annual Information Literacy Summit was held at Moraine Valley Community
College in Palos Hills, IL. See also
Library instruction Web literacy
References 45. Bruce, C.S.. ¹he Seven Faces of
Information ¸iteracy. Adelaide: Auslib Press
Sources Prague Declaration: “Towards an
Information Literate Society” Alexandria Proclamation: A High Level
International Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning
2006 Information Literacy Summit: American Competitiveness in the Internet
Age 1989 Presidential Committee on
Information Literacy: Final Report 1983 A Nation at Risk: The Imperative
for Educational Reform Gibson, C.. Information literacy
develops globally: The role of the national forum on information literacy.
Knowledge Quest. Breivik P.S. and Gee, E.G.. Higher
Education in the Internet Age: Libraries Creating a Strategic Edge. Westport,CT:
Greenwood Publishing. Further reading
Association of College Research Libraries. The First-Year Experience and
Academic Libraries: A Select, Annotated Bibliography. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
Barner, R.. Seven changes that will challenge managers-and workers. The
Futurist, 30, 14–18. Breivik. P. S., & Senn, J. A..
Information literacy: Educating children for the 21st century.. Washington, DC:
National Education Association. Carpenter, J. P.. Using the new
technologies to create links between schools throughout the world: Colloquy
on computerized school links.. Doty, P.. Bibliographic instruction: The
digital divide and resistance of users to technologies. Retrieved July 12,
2009, from uwebsite_spring_03BiblioInstruction.html
Doyle, C.S.. Outcome Measures for Information Literacy Within the National
Education Goals of 1990. Final Report to National Forum on Information Literacy.
Summary of Findings. Eisenberg, M.. Information literacy: The
whole enchilada [PowerPoint Presentation]. Retrieved July 14, 2009,
from http:www.big6.comsreb/ Eisenberg, M., Lowe, C., & Spitzer, K..
Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. 2nd. edition.
Libraries Unlimited. Ercegovac, Zorana.. Information
literacy: Search strategies, tools & resources for high school students and
college freshmen.. Columbus, OH: Linworth Books..
Ercegovac, Zorana.. “Letting students use Web 2.0 tools to hook one another on
reading.” Knowledge Quest, 40, 36-39.. Grassian, E. Information Literacy:
Building on Bibliographic Instruction. American Libraries, 35, 51–53.
National Commission of Excellence in Education.. A Nation at risk: The
imperative for educational reform. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. National Hispanic Council on Aging..
Mission statement. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from National Forum on Information
Literacy Web site. Nierenberg, E. & Fjeldbu, Ø. G.. How
much do first-year undergraduate students in Norway know about
information literacy? Journal of Information Literacy, 9(1),15-33.
Retrieved from l.lboro.ac.ukindex.phparticlePRA-V9-I1-2
Obama, B.. Presidential Proclamation: National Information Literacy Awareness
Month, 2009. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved
October 27, 2009 from se.govdocuments/2009literacy_prc_rel.pdf
Osborne, R… From outreach to equity: Innovative models of library policy and
practice. Chicago: American Library Association.
Presti, P.. Incorporating information literacy and distance learning within a
course management system: a case study. Ypsilanti, MI: Loex News,2–3, 3-12-13.
Retrieved February 3, 2004 from http:www.emich.eduloexln290202.pdf
Ryan, J., & Capra, S.. Information literacy toolkit. Chicago: American
Library Association. Schwarzenegger, S.. Executive order
S-06-09. Sacramento, CA. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from
http:gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=12393 SCONUL.. The Seven Pillars of
Information Literacy model. Retrieved November 3, 2010 from
onul.ac.ukinformation_literacymodel.html Secretary’s Commission on Achieving
Necessary Skills External links
ELD information literacy wiki, U. Cal. Davis

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