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Research Guides

INFO 2010: Information Literacy in the Disciplines

This guide contains some of the readings for INFO 2010: Information Literacy in the Disciplines.

What is Information Literacy?

What is information literacy? Why is it important enough to have an entire class dedicated to it?

Information literacy is defined as: "the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning" (ACRL 2015). So what does that mean for you?

This means it's a set of skills that you will be using not only for INFO 2010, but for the rest of your college experience and even the rest of your life.

Anytime you Google something, you are using information. Browsing social media and deciding if a post is worth reading or sharing is information literacy. Anytime you use a book or article as evidence for a paper, you are using information. Information literacy is knowing how and when to use what information to the best possible capacity.

Information literacy includes:

  • Recognizing your need for information
  • Knowing the appropriate place to find the information that meets your needs.
  • Searching strategically to find the most relevant information
  • Evaluating the information to ensure you use the best sources
  • Using the information appropriately, giving proper attribution through citations, etc.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) considers information literacy to be a basic human right. In light of this, it should not be surprising that information literacy is one of the essential learning outcomes of SUU.

Information literate people are prepared to use information to solve problems in different situations, such as: 

  • My professor asked us to find peer-reviewed research articles on a topic of choice and write a 5-page paper. Where do I start?
  • I want to buy a house. How do I make sure I'm prepared for this process?
  • It's voting season, and I want to know what each candidate's platform is and which is closest to my priorities and views?
  • Is this fake news or did it really happen?

A Framework for Information Literacy: A Librarian's Perspective

Librarians think a lot about how to help students learn and practice information literacy. INFO 2010 is a course created and taught by librarians. As a student, you can benefit not only from getting help from librarians, but also by learning to think of information the way they do. For this reason, you should familiarize yourself with information literacy from a librarian's perspective.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) introduced the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education early in 2016. Often referred to by librarians simply as "the Framework," this document outlines six "frames" that help us think about different aspects of information literacy. The six information literacy frames will inform what you learn in INFO 2010, so let's look at ACRL's descriptions of each here. You can follow the links for the different frames for more information.

The six frames are:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
    • "Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required" (ACRL 2015).
  • Information Creation as a Process
    • "Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences" (ACRL 2015).
  • Information Has Value
    • "Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination" (ACRL 2015).
  • Research as Inquiry
    • "Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field" (ACRL 2015).
  • Scholarship as Conversation
    • "Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations" (ACRL 2015).
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
    • "Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops" (ACRL 2015).

You don't have to be a librarian to appreciate the benefits of thinking of information literacy in terms of the Framework. You will find references to and applications of the Framework throughout INFO 2010, which will not only help you think a little bit more like a librarian, but will help you navigate the complexities of research in your major, a career in your discipline, and even your personal life.

Citation:

"Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education", American Library Association, February 9, 2015.

http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework (Accessed August 17, 2021)