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Information Literacy Defined


What is information literacy?


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.

(Information literacy competency standards, 2000)


Information Literacy Competencies


  • Decide what is required to answer this question/what is required to do the assignment/what the question, assignment, etc. means to you


  • Select appropriate search tools and information sources
  • Design search strategies
  • Implement search strategies to find information
  • Assess and select search results/found information
  • Manage and record relevant search results/found information
  • Refine search strategies, if necessary, by repeating "know" and/or "access" processes


  • Recognize and summarize main ideas from search results/found information
  • Identify/create evaluation criteria
  • Assess search results/found information with evaluation criteria
  • Judge in comparison to existing knowledge
  • Refine search strategies and/or evaluation criteria, if necessary, by repeating "know," "access" and "evaluate/incorporate" processes

Use/Incorporate Ethically/Legally

  • Apply new information ethically and legally
  • Integrate and synthesize new and existing information ethically and legally into paper, project, performance, etc.
  • Acknowledge new information used in paper, project, performance, etc. without plagiarizing and by appropriately attributing and citing sources
  • Share paper, project, performance, etc. with others using appropriate communication medium, format, technology, etc.


  • Transfer knowledge gained from this process to future questions, assignments, etc.

(Information Literacy Criteria courtesy of Milner Library Illinois State University)




Another definition from UNESCO:

"Information literacy means the set of skills, attitudes and knowledge necessary to know when information is needed to help solve a problem or make a decision, how to articulate that information need in searchable terms and language, then search efficiently for the information, retrieve it, interpret and understand it, organize it, evaluate its credibility and authenticity, assess its relevance, communicate it to others if necessary, then utilize it to accomplish bottom-line purposes; Information Literacy is closely allied to learning to learn, and to critical thinking, …"

(Information literacy: a primer, 2007)

Information Literacy
for Faculty



Created by Name / Updated on September 25, 2017 by Name

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