"Information literacy is 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."
(Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, American Library Association, 2015)
Information Literacy in the U.S.
National attention has been called to the importance of information literacy. On October 1, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation that established October as "National Information Literacy Awareness Month," to "highlight...the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age."
Information Literacy in Higher Education
Information literacy plays a part in university accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education expressly requires that universities educate their students in information literacy. ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) notes that the university library must support the scholarly and professional work of both students and faculty.
Information Literacy at Stevens
On January 11, 2016, the Association of College & Research Librarians formally adopted the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The Framework informs the design of programs that promote information literacy in institutions of higher education. The Samuel C. Williams Library's information literacy program is anchored by the Framework’s concepts (see below). Stevens librarians teach and promote the critical information literacy skills that all students need to be successful at Stevens and as citizens of our information-rich society. If you would like to learn more about our information literacy program, please contact a librarian.
The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education
|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."|
|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."|
|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."|
|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."|
|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."|
|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."|