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Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

Logo-acrlWhile looking for specific higher-ed competency definitions, I ran across http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency. About mid-way through the article, the authors include the section “Standards, Performance Indicators, and Outcomes” where five definitions appear. The first is as follows (some emphasis mine):

The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
    Outcomes Include:

    1. Confers with instructors and participates in class discussions, peer workgroups, and electronic discussions to identify a research topic, or other information need
    2. Develops a thesis statement and formulates questions based on the information need
    3. Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic
    4. Defines or modifies the information need to achieve a manageable focus
    5. Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need
    6. Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and/or analysis to produce new information
  2. The information literate student identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
    Outcomes Include:

    1. Knows how information is formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated
    2. Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines that influence the way information is accessed
    3. Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g., multimedia, database, website, data set, audio/visual, book)
    4. Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)
    5. Differentiates between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline
    6. Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources
  3. The information literate student considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
    Outcomes Include:

    1. Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process beyond local resources (e.g., interlibrary loan; using resources at other locations; obtaining images, videos, text, or sound)
    2. Considers the feasibility of acquiring a new language or skill (e.g., foreign or discipline-based) in order to gather needed information and to understand its context
    3. Defines a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information
  4. The information literate student reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need.
    Outcomes Include:

    1. Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the question
    2. Describes criteria used to make information decisions and choices

One Response to Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

  1. Avatar
    Tina Ulrich January 2, 2014 at 9:25 PM #

    This document has been the touchstone of the information literacy program at Osterlin Library ever since Charla Kramer began it back in 2006 (?). I even had these five points hanging on my office wall for awhile. And I often recite them at the beginning of my classes. ACRL (the academic library arm of the American Library Association) is in the process of gathering input from teaching librarians in order to update these standards. Ann Geht, our instructional librarian, attended ACRL’s information literacy immersion program in Seattle last summer. She has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening with these standards and will keep us updated.

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeff!

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