Definition of Information Literacy

From the American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy:

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 student should be able to:

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information needed.

    • Define the scope of the research question or thesis.
    • Determine key concepts.
    • Identify information that is directly related to concepts or answers the research question.
  • Access needed information effectively and efficiently.

    • Understand how information is organized and retrieved.
    • Design search strategies and utilize them in the most appropriate information sources.
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically.

    • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate information currency, relevancy, accuracy, authority, and purpose.
    • Evaluate sources using discipline specific criteria.
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

    • Communicate, organize and synthesize information to fully achieve a specific purpose.
  • Access and use information ethically and legally.

    • Select appropriate citation style and follows proper conventions.
    • Exhibit full understanding of ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published information.
    • Understands University policy on plagiarism. See the University of Jamestown’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Information adapted from the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education