What is information literacy?

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 08 October 2010 11:51

A conventional definition of information literacy is provided by CILIP: “Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner” . JISC’s definition of i-Skills is also helpful: “the ability to identify, assess, retrieve, evaluate, adapt, organise and communicate information within an iterative context of review and reflection” .

However, for the purposes of RIN’s approach to the issue, it is important to adopt a broader interpretation of information literacy, which (i) recognises that ‘information’ must be taken to include research data; and (ii) clearly also encompasses the ability to manage, and where appropriate preserve and curate one’s own information and data.

Information literacy should also be informed by higher order and more generic researcher competencies, such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, where intelligent use of information plays a key part; these are picked up in the Researcher Development Framework under the heading of cognitive abilities. The last three of the Seven Pillars of Information Literacy (comparison and evaluation; organisation, application and communication; and synthesising and creating new knowledge) also describe these broader competencies inasmuch as they relate to research information.

Finally, a useful and extensive gateway, providing much information and resources to help frame information literacy, is the Information Literacy website - well worth a look.

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