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Information Literacy: Formal Information Literacy Skills

Skills of Information Literacy

The skills listed on this page are the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association.5

Information Literacy Skill 1

1. Determine the nature and extent of the information needed:

  • Define and articulate the need for information
  • Identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources
  • Consider the costs & benefits of acquiring needed information
  • Reevaluate the nature & extent of the information needed

Information Literacy Skill 2

2. Access needed information effectively & efficently:

  • Select the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing needed information
  • Construct and implement effective search strategies
  • Retreive information online or in person using a variety of methods
  • Refine search strategy as necessary
  • Extract, record, and manage information and its sources

Information Literacy Skill 3

3. Critically evaluate information and its sources, and incorporate selected information into your knowledge base & value system:

  • Summarize the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered
  • Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information & its sources
  • Synthesize the main ideas to construct new concepts
  • Compare new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information
  • Determine whether new knowledge has an impact on your value system & take steps to reconcile differences
  • Determine if the initial query should be revised

Information Literacy Skill 4

4. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose:

  • Apply new & prior information to planning and creating a particular product or performance
  • Revise the development process for the product or performance
  • Communicate the product or performance effecively to others

Information Literacy Skill 5

5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding information and access & use information ethically and legally:

  • Understand many ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues surrounding information & information technology
  • Follow laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to access & use of information resources
  • Acknowledge the use of information sources in communicating product or performance

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