Information literacy guidance

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 15 April 2011 18:14

On behalf of the Information-Handling Working Group, and in close collaboration with Vitae and SCONUL, RIN has commissioned the drafting of a practical, hands-on guidance booklet to help researchers in Higher Education gain an appreciation of information literacy and its importance to the research process. This project got off the ground in April 2011, and it is anticipated that the guidance will be published towards the end of September.


The publication by Vitae of the Researcher Development Framework, in September 2010, provided a timely opportunity to reflect on the roles of different players in helping to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities of researchers. The RDF properly recognises the crucial importance of information-handling, not only in terms of obvious factors such as information seeking, information management and publication, but also with regards to more generic abilities, such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, where intelligent use of information plays a key part. The Working Group has helped to highlight and map the information literacy aspects of the RDF, thereby providing a basis for exploiting the Framework’s potential in the area of information handling and data management.

SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Information Literacy, whose revised version was issued in April 2011, provides a similar, albeit more focused guiding framework, with a ‘lens’ geared in particular to the needs of academic researchers.

Taken together, the RDF and the Seven Pillars therefore represent important resources for helping to frame how researchers might be best supported in their information literacy needs. The production of a guidance booklet stems naturally from both resources, and will serve to illustrate them in a practical and user-friendly manner. 


The current Vitae series of guides for researchers, The Creative Researcher, The Balanced Researcher and The Engaging Researcher have elicited positive feedback, as both point-of-need guides and as material to support workshops.  The proposed guide will be published to complement this series.

The guide will explain clearly and succinctly what information literacy means in the context of HE research; and how it can help researchers at different stages of their careers make the most out of the information that they handle both as an input to and an output from their work. For this purpose, information literacy is interpreted broadly, relating to such competencies as: information seeking, evaluation and assessment; data management, sharing and curation; awareness of the relevant legal context (data protection, FoI, IPR, copyright); and dissemination of research outputs – thus reflecting the different stages of the research lifecycle. The issues to be covered will reflect the content of the RDF and the Seven Pillars, but will not be bound exclusively by these two models. The style of the material will be in keeping with that of the above Vitae guides, that is to say, with a strong practical bias and written very much from the researcher’s perspective. 

The project is being overseen by an expert panel drawn from the Working Group, with representation from RIN, RLUK, SCONUL and Vitae. The preparation of the guidance will be an iterative process, with input sought from researchers, to ensure that the main intended audience is consulted and ideas are fully tested with the community.

For further information, please contact .

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