David L. Rice Library Tutorials: Information Literacy in a Nutshell

David L. Rice Library Tutorials: Information Literacy in a Nutshell

When most people hear the phrase,
“Information Literacy,” they focus on the word literacy and assume that it has to do with being
able to read and write. In actuality, information literacy, sometimes called information fluency, focuses on an individual’s relationship with the information available to them in their daily life. Information is abundant and in
more formats than most people can utilize, and at some point we all suffer
from information overload. Information literacy is
critical in allowing individuals to skillfully and knowledgeably
take advantage of this new environment in their personal academic and professional lives. In this tutorial, the basic concepts of
information literacy will be explored; especially as they pertain to
students in higher education. The term “Information Literacy”
was coined in 1974 by Paul Zurkowski, who noted that those who were
information literate were able to mold information sources in order to find the solutions to problems. Fifteen years later, a definition was created that is still in use by many educators and
academic organizations today. The ALA’s Presidential Committee
on information literacy distinguished those qualities
that make one information literate; stating that a person must be able to
recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and
use effectively the needed information. nformation literacy applies to everyone
both inside and outside academia. It’s about learning the skills to understand
and navigate this new information world encountered on a daily basis. If one can utilize these skills and effectively use information, they have fulfilled the
primary goal of becoming lifelong learners; those who have learned how to learn, who can always find the information needed
for any task or decision at hand. Although it applies to everyone, information literacy will vary
according to the individual. An undergrad will use very different skills from
someone already in a career or those skills used in one’s personal life. We will look briefly at information literacy as it pertains to higher education. In 2000,
the Association of College and Research Libraries developed a set of five standards, performance indicators, and outcomes to define the
information literate student. These standards touch upon five major
components of information literacy: Need, Access, Evaluation, Use
and Ethics. The first standard focuses on determining
the need for information and recognizing what types,
and how much information are required. This includes
being able to define the need, such as in a thesis statement. It’s knowing what
resources are available for the particular subject and choosing those
that will be the most effective. This standard discusses recognizing the
feasibility of conducting certain research while also coordinating a
realistic timeline. The student should be willing to re-evaluate and clarify their information
needs throughout this process. The second standard focuses on
accessing information. It may seem that students would be adept at this because of the abundance of information and easy-to-use search tools. However, this standard is
really about getting the best information and not necessarily the
most or fastest. Students must be aware of the research
methods used in the particular subject field. They need to apply effective search strategies within appropriate tools to then access this information. Although there are always exceptions, it is important for them to try to
use variety of methods and systems; instead of relying on a single research tool like Google. and they must be willing to refine
their search strategies as needed. Finally, it is crucial that once found, students can manage these resources being able to extract and organize
the pertinent material, so that can be easily
accessed while working on their final product. The third standard focuses on
two types of evaluation. First, students need to evaluate sources to make sure they are legitimate and authoritative especially in an environment where
creating and distributing information can be done by practically anyone. It’s also critical that students recognize bias, prejudice, deception, and
manipulation within sources. Second, students need to evaluate the
information within their source. This requires them to be able
to understand the material, extract the main ideas, and know what parts would be
best utilized in the final product. They should be able to take this information and synthesize
it into their new ideas and concepts that can then be compared to prior knowledge; allowing them to test their ideas and theories. It is also important for students to
investigate differing viewpoints. They need to be willing to
discuss their findings in research with other individuals and practitioners. Finally, based on the information gathered, students need to evaluate their strategies to determine if modifications will be required to get better or more applicable resources. Standard four is about using this newly evaluated information to create a product such as a research paper. In general, this standard focuses on being able to
cohesively and adeptly incorporate and utilize the new and prior information, and effectively presented in a way that is understandable and clearly supports the main thesis. Finally, according to standard five, students need to be aware
of the ethics of information. This does not mean students simply need to cite
their sources to avoid plagiarism, (although this is an important point) students need to be aware of topics
that can affect their research and daily life, such as privacy and security, copyright, intellectual freedom, fair use, censorship,
and the freedom of speech. They must understand and follow the laws and
regulations surrounding information. They then need to acknowledge information sources using appropriate documentation style, and citing accurately and as needed. these standards may seem overwhelming to incorporate into a single course. However, the development
of an information literate student takes place over their entire academic career and will continue long
after. It’s up to the instructor to decide what standards apply and should be
taught within their course. Eventually, all the standards will come together. The information literate student
is not the creation of any single individual. [They have] been molded by a wide variety of people, including professors and librarians. Please consult the Rice Library
Information Literacy Libguide. This guide will provide you
with the full list of ACRL standards, performance indicators and outcomes, with corresponding sample activities. It also provides additional links and resources to make understanding
and incorporating IL skills easier. Please ask the reference librarians at Rice Library about what you can do to make information literacy
a more prevalent part of your classes.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. WELL….. IN A NUT SHELL!  ive twisted and sprained my back in my lumbar region! the doctor said there,s not much can be done for it other than giving it time to repair itself! if its still the same in a couple of weeks i might need  to start physiotherapy! ive had it before but not this bad ! but  dont worry foamy im slowly on the mend !!! 

  2. this is definitely helped me from my former university!,and my current university! awesome! And by Sam Cooke's river,living in that little tent,gonna come one gorgeous beautiful American Phychological Association genre of a pow paper yet! Soar Eagles!

  3. The standards developed by the ACRL to teach information literacy are arguably some of the best. However, they weren't specifically developed for online and distance learning. Are the methods and teachings they try to convey distorted when translated into electronic courses? Would it not be better for universities to offer a hands-on approach of finding and citing resources from a real library in the real world? Many students learn by doing exercises, and an electronic exercise for finding a physical book or resource may not make the same mental connections as a physical exercise in a real library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *