Information literacy

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Definition and Importance of Information Literacy
– The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as a set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, understanding how information is produced and valued, and using information to create new knowledge and participate ethically in learning communities.
– The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK also emphasizes the importance of knowing when and why information is needed.
– The 1989 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy formally defined information literacy as the ability to recognize when information is needed and effectively locate, evaluate, and use the needed information.
– Lori Arp’s paper in 1990 questioned the distinction between information literacy instruction and bibliographic instruction, calling for further studies to clarify the parameters of the question.
– The Alexandria Proclamation of 2005 defined information literacy as a basic human right in the digital world, empowering individuals to seek, evaluate, use, and create information effectively.
– Information literacy is closely related to traditional literacy, computer literacy, research skills, and critical thinking skills.
– It is considered an emerging topic of interest and countermeasure among educators and librarians due to the prevalence of misinformation, fake news, and disinformation.
– Scholars argue that supporting and funding educational initiatives in information literacy is essential for maximizing people’s contributions to a democratic and pluralistic society.
– Other efforts have been made to better define the concept and its relationship to other skills and forms of literacy.
– Educators should challenge governments and the business sector to prioritize information literacy education.

History and Development of Information Literacy
– The phrase ‘information literacy’ was first used in a 1974 report by Paul G. Zurkowski, president of the Information Industry Association, to describe the techniques and skills learned by information literate individuals for utilizing information tools and primary sources.
– In 1976, Lee Burchina identified a set of skills needed to locate and use information for problem solving and decision making.
– M.R. Owens applied the concept to political information literacy and civic responsibility, emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making.
– The concept of information literacy has evolved over time, with definitions focusing on thinking, skills, and social practice.
– The American Library Association released a report in 1989 outlining the importance of information literacy and led to the establishment of the National Forum on Information Literacy.
– In 1998, the American Association of School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology published ‘Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning,’ establishing specific goals for information literacy education.
– The Presidential Committee on Information Literacy updated its final report in 1998, outlining recommendations and examining areas of challenge and progress.
– In the UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) published ‘The Seven Pillars of Information Literacy’ in 1999, modeling the relationship between information skills and IT skills.
– In 2003, an international conference sponsored by the National Forum on Information Literacy, UNESCO, and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science emphasized the importance of information literacy in a global context.
– Information literacy was prioritized in the United States in 2009, with President Barack Obama designating October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.

Presidential Committee on Information Literacy
– The American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy defined information literacy as the ability to recognize when information is needed and effectively locate, evaluate, and use the needed information.
– The committee highlighted information literacy as a skill essential for lifelong learning and the production of an informed and prosperous citizenry.
– The committee’s report in 1989 led to the establishment of the National Forum on Information Literacy, a coalition of national and international organizations.
– The committee’s recommendations were further developed in subsequent reports and publications.
– Information literacy is considered crucial for individuals to navigate the information age and fulfill their civic responsibilities.

National Forum on Information Literacy
– A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform report in 1983 highlighted the need for educational reform in the United States.
– The American Library Association (ALA) convened a panel of educators and librarians in 1987 to address the issues raised in the report.
– The Forum collaborated with UNESCO and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to organize expert meetings.
– The Prague Declaration (2003) and the Alexandria Proclamation (2005) emphasized information literacy as a fundamental human right and a lifelong learning skill.
– The National Forum on Information Literacy was established as a result of these efforts.

Global Efforts in Information Literacy
– The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has established an Information Literacy Section.
– The Information Literacy Section developed and maintains InfoLit Global, an Information Literacy Resources Directory.
– Librarians, educators, and information professionals can self-register and upload information-literacy-related materials on InfoLit Global.
– The primary purpose of the Information Literacy Section is to foster international cooperation in the development of information literacy education.
– IFLA recognizes information literacy as a crucial skill for all types of libraries and information institutions.
– The International Alliance for Information Literacy (IAIL) was formed based on the recommendation of the Prague Conference of Information Literacy Experts in 2003.
– One of the goals of IAIL is to facilitate the sharing of information literacy research and knowledge among nations.
– Lifelong learning is considered a basic human right by the IAIL.
– The ultimate goal of IAIL is to enable everyone to participate in the Information Society through information literacy.
– Founding members of IAIL include organizations from Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, the United States, and Scandinavia.

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as a "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". In the United Kingdom, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' definition also makes reference to knowing both "when" and "why" information is needed.

The 1989 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy formally defined information literacy (IL) as attributes of an individual, stating that "to be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information". In 1990, academic Lori Arp published a paper asking, "Are information literacy instruction and bibliographic instruction the same?" Arp argued that neither term was particularly well defined by theoreticians or practitioners in the field. Further studies were needed to lessen the confusion and continue to articulate the parameters of the question.

The Alexandria Proclamation of 2005 defined the term as a human rights issue: "Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations." The United States National Forum on Information Literacy defined information literacy as "the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand."

A number of other efforts have been made to better define the concept and its relationship to other skills and forms of literacy. Other pedagogical outcomes related to information literacy include traditional literacy, computer literacy, research skills and critical thinking skills. Information literacy as a sub-discipline is an emerging topic of interest and counter measure among educators and librarians with the prevalence of misinformation, fake news, and disinformation.

Scholars have argued that in order to maximize people's contributions to a democratic and pluralistic society, educators should be challenging governments and the business sector to support and fund educational initiatives in information literacy.

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