Alumnae Library
Michael Smith


Information Literacy

What is information literacy?

Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically. It is an essential component in the educational development of each student-- both for success in school as well as later in life. The research process has become increasingly challenging, with technology contributing to information overload. Students should be aware of the range of print and electronic resources-- including networked databases, the World Wide Web, and traditional print resources. Students need to be prepared to evaluate and make informed choices about the best sources for their research needs.

What characterizes an information literate person?

The information literate person is able to: "Determine the extent of information needed; access the needed information effectively and efficiently; evaluate information and its sources critically; incorporate selected information into [his/her] knowledge base; use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; [and] understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally."

Is information literacy the same as computer literacy?

No, an information literate person is one who has developed an effective information gathering style. Information literacy goes beyond the skills used to manipulate computer databases; it involves decision-making about the appropriate information sources to use and making judgments about the validity and relevancy of information.

What is the Information Literacy Competency?

The Information Literacy Competency consists of two components. The first part is a library information session, which is usually completed during Rhetoric classes. The second part is completion of a 20 question exam. Completion of the Information Literacy Competency is required for graduation.

Where do I take the Information Literacy Exam?

The exam is taken online within a week of attending a library information session and taking the online Information Literacy Tutorial "Searchpath." A passing grade for the exam is 75% or higher. If you receive a grade of less than 75%, you must re-take the test. Your grade from this exam is added to your final grade for your Rhetoric class.

From Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education - Association of College & Research Libraries