From ACRL: The beginning of the 21st century has been called the Information Age because of the explosion of information output and information sources. It has become increasingly clear that students cannot learn everything they need to know in their field of study in a few years of college. Information literacy equips them with the critical skills necessary to become independent lifelong learners. Too often we assume that as students write research papers and read textbooks they are gaining sufficient IL skills. This is not so. IL skills may be introduced but what is needed is a parallel curriculum in IL forming a strong foundation of a college education. As the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.) says “Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.”
From the National Forum on Information Literacy, created in 1989 as a response to the recommendations of the American Library Association's Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. These education, library, and business leaders stated that no other change in American society has offered greater challenges than the emergence of the Information Age. Information is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and enormously rapid strides are being made in technology for storing, organizing, and accessing the ever-growing tidal wave of information. Cultural literacy is the ability to converse fluently in the idioms, allusions and informal content which creates and constitutes a dominant culture. From being familiar with street signs to knowing historical references to understanding the most recent slang, literacy demands interaction with the culture and reflection of it. Knowledge of a canonical set of literature is not sufficient in and of itself when engaging with others in a society, as life is interwoven with art, expression, history and experience. Cultural literacy requires familiarity with a broad range of trivia and implies the use of that trivia in the creation of a communal language and collective knowledge. Cultural literacy stresses the knowledge of those pieces of information which content creators will assume the audience already possesses. Technology Literacy involves: . "demystifying technology through conceptual understandings of the underlying science and mathematics principles . operational competence with modern technology systems. the ability to evaluate and use a variety of common technology applications. the ability to innovate and invent ways of applying technology in challenging new situations. an awareness of technology-related careers and of factors critical to success in those careers. understanding of and sensitivity to societal issues related to technology. Modern technologies rely on digital representation of information. They use mathematical and logical operations on these representations to access, create, manage, and communicate information. Information is accessed from a vast array of sources and is stored in a variety of formats and on a variety of media.Technology literacy that we require as a nation and as individuals involves conceptualization, engineering, production and testing." Thomas & Knezek. Technology Literacy for the Nation and for Its Citizens, 1995.
ALSO: --forms the basis for lifelong learning --common to all disciplines, all learning environments, and all levels of learning --enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.
From ACRL: Have you ever heard of Data Smog? A term coined by author David Shenk, it refers to the idea that too much information can create a barrier in our lives. This data smog is produced by the amount of information, the speed at which it comes to us from all directions, the need to make fast decisions, and the feeling of anxiety that we are making decisions without having ALL the information that is available or that we need. Information literacy is the solution to Data Smog. It allows us to cope by giving us the skills to know when we need information and where to locate it effectively and efficiently. It includes the technological skills needed to use the modern library as a gateway to information. It enables us to analyze and evaluate the information we find, thus giving us confidence in using that information to make a decision or create a product.
Why is it important? Who needs it? : The concept of Information Literacy may seem too broad and overwhelming. Why should students learn all this? Because we want to remove the obstacles to creativity which are caused by lack of understanding of the research process. This is not just for college students but all of us, as professionals, in the workplace and in our personal lives. Being information literate ultimately improves our quality of life as we make informed decisions when buying a house, choosing a school, hiring staff, making an investment, voting for our representatives, and so much more. MUST ALSO: Meet Univ. of Pitt’s learning outcomes & Middle States Commission standards to allow accreditation.
This is a description of a credit class that all undergraduates have to take at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Some colleges have begun to require a 1-2 credit course in IL be taken by all undergraduates. Pitt does not have this requirement, but it is part of the student learning outcomes that students are expected to learn these skills before they graduate. Classes are offered in the library, but they are voluntary. Some instructors require them as part of their classes, and some instructors can arrange for a librarian to have an IL session for their class and specific assignments. Charter Oak State College
Ethics in Research. Examines the legal and ethical issues of information use, including plagiarism, documentation of sources, and copyright Qualifying Print Sources (using indexes)
From the library at the University of Georgia
From ULS Information Literacy website/team.
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a national research study based in the University of Washington’s Information School. Purpose to study how college students function in the digital age—their tasks, their situations, their solutions, and their systems. 1. Collect quantitative data about the student research process to obtain a more systematic and formal understanding of the existence of research contexts and test our typology further. With a goal of finding out more about the “early adult” research process, including when the needs for different context arises, under what conditions and in what order, if one applies, and how students obtain contexts for satisfying their information needs through pedagogical methods, and self-taught workarounds, such as Wikipedia. 2. Understand how and why the design of online resources used by campus libraries and produced by database vendors, enhances or detracts from early adults’ research experiences. With a goal of finding out when certain resources work best for helping students find the contexts they need for carrying out research. 3. Make recommendations, based on quantitative and qualitative data, for how faculty, librarians, and others involved in transferring, teaching, information literacy competencies to early adults, may be able to have a deeper understanding of what happens on the student side of the research process equation.
From Project Information Literacy
Students value libraries for giving them the information-gathering context that they need to carry out course-related research. We found students valued libraries, and librarians, especially in assisting them with their strategies for retrieving “citable stuff” and for helping them navigate complex information spaces, especially on larger campuses. Participants in our sessions reported they valued libraries (i.e., library resources and librarians) for the following reasons:
Building on the University of Pittsburgh Student Learning Outcomes, our goal is that all University of Pittsburgh students are capable of: Gathering and evaluating information effectively and appropriately; Identifying information sources appropriate to their discipline; Critically evaluating and incorporating information to address a specific information need; Utilize appropriate information technology; Understand the principle of intellectual property, and the legal and ethical uses of information.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation. Middle States accreditation instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education aspires to be the preeminent resource for institutions of higher education striving to achieve excellence in fulfilling their missions. It also intends, through voluntary assessment and adherence to high standards for student learning outcomes and operational behavior, to assure higher education’s publics that its accredited institutions are fulfilling their stated purposes and addressing the publics’ expectations.
Tied to SAILS skill sets & Building on the University of Pittsburgh Student Learning Outcomes
A rubric is a scoring tool for subjective assessments. It is a set of criteria and standards linked to learning objectives that is used to assess a student's performance on papers, projects, essays, and other assignments. Rubrics allow for standardized evaluation according to specified criteria, making grading simpler and more transparent. The rubric is an attempt to delineate consistent assessment criteria. It allows teachers and students alike to assess criteria which are complex and subjective and also provide ground for self-evaluation, reflection and peer review. It is aimed at accurate and fair assessment, fostering understanding and indicating the way to proceed with subsequent learning/teaching. This integration of performance and feedback is called "ongoing assessment." Increasingly, instructors who rely on rubrics to evaluate student performance tend to share the rubric with students at the time the assignment is made. In addition to helping students understand how the assignment relates to course content, a shared-rubric can increase student authority in classroom, through transparency. The following rubrics were developed by the Instruction Subgroup of the ULS Information Literacy & Assessment Working Group to establish a basis for instruction across the ULS. The rubrics contain suggested concepts to be covered for each skill level (as identified in the ULS Information Literacy Rubric http://www.library.pitt.edu/services/classes/infoliteracy/ulsinfoliteracy.pdf). For example, the Novice Rubric lists tasks that might be taught in any freshmen-level class such as Public Speaking or a freshmen seminar course (such as IAS). The rubric also shows how each information literacy concept corresponds with the eight SAILS skill sets. ULS instructors are encouraged to use the rubrics in planning lessons.
These rubrics are flexible; the concepts covered at each skill level may vary according to class constraints and/or faculty input.
Structured classes may take place in the library, or with the librarian coming to a specific class, as per a faculty’s request.
Scholarly Information Developing a Research Topic
Surfing the Cyber Library
While SAILS test results showed that the average Pitt student performed at the same level as the average student from all other testing institutions, the results also indicated several areas where students struggled with such information literacy concepts, including:
ULS is proposing some courses for the OCC program at Pitt, where students are able to gain credit taking part in programs, activities, and experiences that complement students’ degrees – like “life experience.” This shows how prevalent information literacy is in all aspects of life and provides learning opportunities for students to utilize these skills in areas other than typical research for classroom assignments. Intro to ULS: services and tools the library offers How to Write and Communicate Clearly and With Authority: working with the writing center to improve students organizational strategies, synthesis of data and information within an argument, and best citing practices. Interview that Get Jobs: showing job seekers resources and methods to help them prepare for job searching, interviews, such as researching a future employer and learning more about a city that a job might be located. Perhaps a collaboration with the Career Center to have a consultant go over interview techniques. Managing Your Information: introduction to free web tools used to organize and manage information, such as bookmarking, tagging, RSS feeds, Google Docs, new search engines, file transfer applications, screen capture applications, and discussion of information quality and privacy issues.
Information Literacy 2009
Assistant to the Director on Research & Special Projects
University of Pittsburgh
What is Information Literacy?
A set of
needed to find,
and use information
And more. . .
Why is Information Literacy
Information literacy is
increasingly important in the
of rapid technological
change and proliferating
Is IL a Required Course?
Some colleges require a course for undergraduate programs:
Information Literacy Requirements
Information literacy is an intellectual framework for identifying, finding,
understanding, evaluating, and using information. The mastery of these
skills is essential for lifelong learning and is the foundation of Duquesne
University’s special trust of seeking truth and disseminating knowledge
within a moral and spiritual context. Courses within the student’s major will
build on the introductory skills learned in the basic Information Literacy
Charter Oak State College
How is IL Taught?
Ethics in Research
Using print indexes
The Big 6 - dedicated to teaching using the Big6 - the most
widely-known and widely-used approach to teaching
information and technology skills
Connecting Librarian - "connecting new ideas and
technologies"; though not specifically about information
literacy, the concept is a frequently discussed topic
Information Literacy Round Table (ILRT)
Information Literacy Weblog - addresses IL from a global
Information Literacy Instruction
ACRL's College Libraries Section List
Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Lit
Institute for Information Literacy
Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT)
Library Orientation Exchange (LOEX)
National Forum on Information Literacy
Project Information Literacy
A report of preliminary findings and analysis from student discussion groups
held on 7 U.S. campuses in Fall 2008
Results suggest that conducting research is particularly challenging
Students’ greatest challenges are related to their perceived inability to find
Figuring out how to traverse complex information landscapes may be the most
difficult part of the research process
Findings also suggest that students create effective methods for conducting
research by using traditional methods, such as libraries, and self-taught, creative
workarounds, such as “presearch” and Wikipedia, in different ways.
Purpose of Report
To better understand how
early adults define and
conceptualize the process of
To discover the steps that
early adults take to locate,
evaluate, select, and use
resources required for
course-related research and
for everyday research
Students Value Libraries
1. For the library website, which they used, usually off-site, as
gateway to scholarly research databases.
2. For librarians as “navigational sources,” which they used most
often used for making sense out of the complex library system
3. For librarians as “information coaches,” who they used for
refining thesis statements or helping them locate hard-to-find
resources (i.e., statistics or government documents).
IL at ULS
IL Working Group
Core to the mission of the University Library
System (ULS) is partnering with faculty in each
department and program to foster information
literacy through a variety of educational
The ULS seeks to ensure that students at the
University of Pittsburgh are equipped to navigate
an increasingly complex information
Student Learning Outcomes for
the University of Pittsburgh
Think critically and analytically
Gather and evaluate information effectively and appropriately
Understand and be able to apply basic, scientific and quantitative
Communicate clearly and effectively
Use information technology appropriate to their discipline
Exhibit mastery of their discipline
Understand and appreciate diverse cultures (both locally and
Work effectively with others
Have a sense of self, responsibility to others, and connectedness to the
Middle States Commission on
Several skills, collectively
referred to as “information
literacy,” apply to all disciplines
in an institution’s curricula.
These skills relate to a student’s
competency in acquiring and
processing information in the
search for understanding.
Objectives of IL at ULS
To ensure that University of Pittsburgh students will be
Gathering and evaluating information effectively and
Identifying information sources appropriate to their
Critically evaluating and incorporating information to
address a specific information need;
Utilize appropriate information technology;
Understand the principle of intellectual property, and the
legal and ethical uses of information.
IL Working Group
created in Spring 2006
charged with developing an information
literacy assessment program for the ULS
And developing new ways to market the
information literacy program to faculty
creating online tutorials (and revising existing ones)
finding new ways to promote information
SAILS Results Indicated that
students struggled with:
• Developing a research strategy
• Using appropriate information
• Identifying and finding scholarly
• Plagiarism and ethical use of
How the ULS is Using SAILS Data
• To identify specific IL gaps of
• Demonstrate to departments
the specific IL needs of their
students and partner to
• Eventually use this base data
as a means of measuring the
impact of IL instruction
Need to comprehensively
review the data collected from
the current SAILS testing
Identify gaps in order to
identify competencies of
Work with other
departments to integrate
findings into curricula
Outside the Classroom
Introduction to ULS
How to Write &