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Information Literacy: Guide for Students: What is Information Literacy?

A student launch page for traditional, hybrid, or online classes.

Question on image: Why do we need information literacy instruction?

Key Quotes: UNESCO & Boorstin

"Information literacy 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 in all nations."

 Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning. (2005). Information literacy | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved April 29, 2016.

“Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.” 

Daniel J. Boorstin, Quoted in: New York Times, 8 Jul 1983.

Gamarekian, Barbara. "Working Profile; Helping the Library of Congress Fulfill its Mission." New York Times 8 July 1983: n. pag. New York Times. Web. 13 July 2010.

Daniel Boorstin was a University of Chicago historian and one-time Librarian of Congress.

Getting Started

Image: What is college level research?Image: How do I choose a topic?Image: "How should I search for resources?"

Image: How do I find the best sources?Image: "Can I trust the information I've found online?"Image: "I've found my sources. Now what?"

Image: "How and why should I give credit in my assignments?"Image: "Why kinds of help do the Libraries offer?"Image: "How can I contact a librarian now?"

What's a good definition of 'information literacy'?

According to the American Library Association, "Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to 'recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.'"

Further, as academic libraries, Madison College Libraries are committed to moving students toward the Association of College & Research Libraries' new 'Framework for Information Literacy', adopted in January of 2016 by the ACRL Board.

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In the below diagram, you will notice that to be truly 'information literate' requires that you simultaneously develop:

  • awareness of how you engage with the digital world
  • how you find meaning in the information you discover
  • how to articulate what kind of information you require
  • how to use information ethically
  • understand the role you can play in the communication in your profession and
  • how you evaluate information for credibility and authority.

Image: Venn Diagram of intersecting literacies that contribute to information literacy

 Coonan, E., & Jane, S. (2014, April 29). "My dolly’s bigger than your dolly”, or, Why our labels no longer matter. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from