"Information literacy 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." --Association of College and Research Libraries, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education
To develop and nurture these skills in a variable information environment, we must be able to be both information consumers and creators who:
- Ask questions about authority: Who authored/created the information? How does knowing about the authors/creators impact how we understand the information and how we might use it? In what areas do we, as creators, have authority?
- Ask questions about format: What process does information go through in order to be created? What container is it presented in (for example, is it a YouTube video, an advertisement, a blog post, a tweet, a book, a song, or a peer-reviewed journal article?) How does understanding the process and format of a given piece of information impact how we understand the information and how we might use or create information in that format?
- Ask questions about the value of information: How does this information have value? Is the value socioeconomic? Educational? Aesthetic? Political? What about commodification of personal information? And what about intellectual property laws? How does understanding the value of information impact how we use and create information?
- Challenge ourselves be reflective of the research process: How can we engage with information that already exists in order to produce new knowledge? How can we be sure to include an array of perspectives and ideas throughout the research process and in our researched creations? How to organize information in a way that is meaningful and ethical, and how to draw reasonable conclusions based on analysis?
- Understand that all scholarship is a conversation: How do experts communicate with each other? How can we locate expert conversations and join in? How does a diverse array of perspectives and opinions within a scholarly community work to create new knowledge and understanding?
- See the importance of effective search strategies: How can we match our information need with appropriate tools, search terms, formats, and strategies? Do we understand how search results are generated and that searching for information often requires thoughtful planning and a willingness to change course with respect to search results? How are information systems organized? How can we be aware and reflective of the lengthy process that is often required to discover results that are relevant to our search needs?