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Faculty Services

What is Information Literacy?

The new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education defines information literacy as “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.” (http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework)

At Bloomsburg University, information literacy is taught within the disciplines. It is also one of the ten BU General Education goals: Goal 2. Information Literacy - Find, evaluate, and ethically use information using appropriate technology.

Information literacy in practice requires:

  • competence in using information technology
  • understanding how information is created, published, organized, and accessed
  • being able to frame questions using subject-appropriate terms
  • applying appropriate criteria to evaluate and select relevant and authoritative sources
  • using information to create new knowledge, crediting others’ intellectual property in discipline-appropriate reference styles

How “information literate” are BU students?

The short answer is -- about as information literate as students at many other institutions. Data from the NSSE Special Topic Module on Information Literacy shows both BU freshmen and seniors are average in their information literacy competencies. So then the question naturally becomes, what does average look like? Project Information Literacy provides some answers to that question.

Project Information Literacy, a large-scale nationwide research study of undergraduate information-seeking strategies and research practices, found that students experienced difficulty with research when defining a topic, narrowing it, and filtering irrelevant results. And not surprisingly, in their follow-up studies PIL that “students lacked the research acumen for framing an inquiry in the digital age where information abounds and intellectual discovery was paradoxically overwhelming for them.”  The full report may be read here.

Information Literacy Rubrics & Curriculum Map

Traditionally, the term paper or research paper has been the most often used method of evaluating whether or not students can successfully apply information-seeking skills, but there are many alternatives to term papers that are just as (if not more) effective. The following list includes links to websites or articles that discuss alternatives to term papers for developing students' information literacy skills. Contact your library liaison for help or suggestions in designing assignments to develop students' information use skills.

How can faculty integrate the teaching of information literacy into their programs and courses? Have a conversation with your department's liaison librarian or browse the following Andruss Library links or those from the ACRL to explore ideas.

ACRL websites & information

Practical resources answering many of students' questions about identifying, finding, evaluating, and using information effectively. Students are also encouraged to contact the librarian for their discipline for help with their information search process.

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