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Stony Brook University

Information Literacy

What is information literacy?

"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

How to Engage with Information

In order to nurture your ability to participate in ever-changing information environments:

  • Ask questions about authority and expertise:
    • Who authored/created the information?
    • How does knowing about the authors/creators impact how you understand the information and how you might use it?
    • Why did the author create the information -- what is its purpose?
    • In what areas do you, as a creator, have authority and expertise?
  • 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, news article, tweet, book, documentary, a peer-reviewed journal article?)
    • How does understanding the process and format of a given piece of information impact how you understand the information and how you might use the information or create within 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?
    • What is intellectual property, public domain, copyright, fair use, and open access?
    • How does understanding the value of information impact how you use and create information?
  • Challenge yourself to be reflective of your own research process:
    • How can you engage with information that already exists in order to produce new knowledge?
    • How can you be sure to include an array of perspectives and ideas throughout the research process and in your final project?
    • How to organize information in meaningful and ethical ways, and how to draw reasonable conclusions based on analysis?
  • Understand how experts communicate and produce new knowledge:
    • How do experts communicate with each other?
    • How can you locate expert communications?
    • 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 you match your information need with appropriate tools, search terms, formats, and strategies?
    • Do you 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?
    • Are you aware of the lengthy process that is often required to find results that are relevant to your search needs?