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Information Literacy: Definitions

This guide provides a definition of information literacy, information about SBCC's related student learning outcomes and Information Competency Graduation requirement, and suggestions for increasing information literacy.

Information Competency Defined

Information literacy/competency “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” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education). Information literacy is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change, proliferating information resources, preponderance of unreliable information, and “the diminishing role of facts and data in American public life” (RAND Corporation Truth Decay Project). It requires critical thinking, forms the basis for lifelong learning, and is common to all disciplines and learning environments. Information literacy encompasses “interconnected core concepts” (ACRL Framework) related to: how information is created; what determines authority and credibility; how power influences information; how information is valued and ethically used; the nature of the research process; how information is organized; the strategic searching for information; and the process of scholarly communication. Information literate/competent students:

  • Recognize themselves as active participants in the process of discovering, evaluating, using, and creating information within information communities, and identify the assistance available to them during that process.
  • Apply knowledge of different types of sources and their creation processes, and knowledge of authority and credibility, to analyze others’ claims and to select appropriate sources for specific information needs.
  • Identify the rights and responsibilities of information use and creation; analyze the power structures and other social factors affecting how information and misinformation may be shared or suppressed; and demonstrate academic honesty and ethical use of information.
  • Apply knowledge of the varied ways information may be organized to develop effective search strategies, and to conduct, evaluate, and revise searches in order to achieve relevant results.
  • Analyze the elements and characteristics of the research process and the processes of scholarly communication and knowledge building.

For more information about information literacy, including the complete SBCC Luria Library Program Student Learning Outcomes and how they map to SBCC Institutional Learning Outcomes, see the Student Learning Outcomes page of this guide.