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Information Literacy  

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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5 Criteria of Evaluation


Is the information accurate?  Does the writing style, spelling, grammar, and language use promote an understanding of accuracy?  Are cited sources quoted and/or their information transmitted and used appropriately and in the correct context?


Who is the author?  Does it have an author cited?  Does that author have a background that supports his authority in the field being written about?  Does he have degrees from appropriately accredited and respected schools in the field?  Is the author's work cited by others in the field?  Does the author appropriately site other respected authors in the field?  Is the publishing authority that contains the work of a reputable/authoritative nature?  Does the publishing authority have vetting processes it employs for authors and works (peer reviewing, editorial functions, etc.?)


What is the objective of the work?  Is it promoting a particular set of ideologies or selling something?  Is its purpose to provide access to material without promoting a bias, or does it promote one paradigm of understanding over another?  How forthright is the author regarding promotional intent or personal/professional bias?  Is such bias supported and tested by cited research?


What is the date of publication?  Does it have a publication date? How does that currency relate to accuracy of the topic being discussed?  Have the ideas being discussed been tested and disproved/modified since publication (especially in the sciences?)


Is the topic sufficiently narrow or broad to meet the needs associated with its understanding?  Are major industries, fields, or expert research associated with the topic appropriately covered to glean accurate representation of the material?

(*Note: These five criteria interact with one another to produce an understanding regarding the evaluation materials.)


Information Literacy Defined (ACRL )

Promoting lifetime learning through the development of the following skills.

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

(ACRL Standards,



7 Components of Holistic Information Literacy Approach

Seven Components of a Holistic Information Literacy Approach

1.  Tools Literacy

The ability to effectively use the technologies, equipment, software, databases, and other information retrieval systems relevant to the educational/professional/personal information inquiry.

2.  Resource Literacy

The ability to understand and effectively utilize the classifications, organizational structures and systems, and formats of information delivery relevant to the educational/professional/personal information inquiry.

3.  Social Structural Literacy

The ability to understand how the located resource fits within the social structure of the communities by whom and for whom the material was created, and cognitively apply that social information to the use of the information inherent to that resource.

4.  Research Literacy

The ability to understand and use the quantitative and qualitative research tools (statistics, and qualitative evaluative activities) and the software necessary for hands-on, real-world evaluative research activity.

5.  Publishing Literacy

The ability to create works, appropriately cite included materials, and publish new works in a format appropriate to end use and user needs (paper, video, image, PowerPoint, etc.) 

6.  Emerging Technology Literacy

The ability to continually adapt to new information retrieval systems and information formats, to adapt to current modifications of old retrieval systems and information formats, and to evaluate new formats and retrieval systems regarding their appropriateness for adoption.

7.  Critical Literacy

The ability to evaluate through historical, philosophical, sociopolitical, and cultural perspectives, the strengths and weaknesses of information technology and recognize where limits or opportunities of use exist.


Shapiro, J. J., & Hughes, S. K. (1996). Information literacy as a liberal art. Educom Review, 31(2), 31. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


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