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Information Literacy Guide: What Is It?

A guide to support faculty in incorporating General Education Learning Goal #4 into the curriculum.

Definition at Carroll Community College

According to the Carroll Community College Academic Council Proposal on Information Literacy Across the Curriculum which was passed on June 13, 1997,

“Information Literacy is the ability to access, comprehend, evaluate, utilize, and communicate information.  It involves thinking critically to apply information to the resolution of issues/problems in academic, personal, and community life.”  (Proposal Identification Number 9612)

The college catalog provides the following description for General Education Learning Goal #4, Information & Technology Literacy:

"Students will research, create, and communicate information through appropriate technology or media.  Toward attaining this goal, students will:

  • Select appropriate search methods for gathering information
  • Evaluate the authority, reliability, accuracy, and currency of information sources
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical, legal, and cultural issues and responsibilities in the uses of information and technology
  • Design, develop, and produce media that effectively comunicates information and ideas"

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Definition

This video from the Suffolk County Community College Library provides an excellent overview of the abilities & skills that a student must acquire in order to be considered "information literate".

ACRL Definition

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

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