Information Literacy: A Portal for Faculty

Information Literacy in the Disciplines

Thus far, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) division of the American Library Association has published guidelines for information literacy/research competencies in four disciplines.

Research Competency Guidelines for Literatures in English

Political Science Research Competency Guidelines

Psychology Information Literacy Standards

Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology Students

Information Literacy Standards for Science and Engineering/Technology

In addition, the Instruction Section of ACRL has been collecting information about standards, links and citations to information literacy standards and curricula developed by other accrediting agencies, professional associations, and institutions of higher education:  Information Literacy in the Disciplines Wiki.

Project Information Literacy

Project Information Literacy is a national research project about early adults and their information-seeking behaviors, competencies, and the challenges they face when conducting research in the digital age. The goal is to understand how early adults conceptualize and operationalize research activities for course work and "everyday life" use and especially how they resolve issues of credibility, authority, relevance, and currency in the digital age.

The University of Puget Sound is one of the participating institutions in this ongoing project.


Information literacy lies at the core of lifelong learning.  It empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations.

The Alexandria Proclamation, UNESCO, 2006

A liberal arts education always has stressed the development of critical thinking skills to evaluate and then use information to create new knowledge.  The advent of the digital age, which rendered dizzyingly vast quantities of information easily available, has made the need for information literacy education even more acute.

The University of Puget Sound has as one of its core missions the development of lifelong learners.  The librarians at Collins Memorial Library are committed to supporting teaching and learning, and stand ready to partner with faculty to ensure that our students graduate with a sophisticated set of information literacy competencies.

Contexts and Definitions

Over the past two decades, several organizations and scholars have presented definitions of information literacy.  While these definitions may differ in their emphases on technology skills and their relationships to other "literacies" (media or visual literacy, for example), they have in common a recognition that information literacy encompasses the development of higher order critical thinking abilities.

Here are some of the most influential definitions of information literacy currently in circulation:

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.  Created by a committee of college librarians and educators under the auspices of the Association of College and Research Libraries, this set of standards was endorsed by the American Association for Higher Education in 1999 and by the Council of Independent Colleges in 2004.

The Seven Faces of Information Literacy in Higher Education (Summary)
.  Scholar Christine Bruce uses a relational and contextual model to explore how students do (or should) experience information literacy.

enGauge 21st-Century Skills for 21st-Century Learners:  One of the core rubrics in this model combines information literacy, media literacy, and ICT (Information, Communication, and Technology) literacy.  McMaster University librarians are using this model as part of their re-envisioning of library instruction.

"Information Literacy as a Liberal Art."
  A position paper written by Jeremy Shapiro and Shelley Hughes in 1996, this essay remains influential in the discussion of the place of information literacy in a liberal arts curriculum.

Participatory Culture Model:  Created by Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, this model advocates that the K-12 curriculum help students excel in multiple literacies, including the traditional literacies like reading, writing and numeracy, but also literacies unique to the digital age.   Jenkins proposes a new skill that he calls “transmedia literacy.”  A person with this skill has the ability to fluently and seamlessly follow the information trail across multiple media formats, and also has the ability to create new knowledge by making use of multiple media formats.

Last Update: 03 Apr 16:28 | Tagged with: Information literacy