In January 2016, the Association of College and Research Libraries Board adopted the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, replacing the fifteen year old Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Between 2001, when the Standards were published, and 2016, when the Framework was adopted, much had changed in library pedagogy specifically, and in higher education generally.
The Standards are presented here for informational purposes only, particularly since the current Information Literacy rubric used by Adelphi University relies on the terminology used in the Standards.
Standards, Performance Indicators, and Outcomes
The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
Confers with instructors and participates in class discussions, peer workgroups, and electronic discussions to identify a research topic, or other information need
Develops a thesis statement and formulates questions based on the information need
Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic
Defines or modifies the information need to achieve a manageable focus
Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need
Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and/or analysis to produce new information
The information literate student identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
Knows how information is formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated
Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines that influence the way information is accessed
Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g., multimedia, database, website, data set, audio/visual, book)
Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)
Differentiates between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline
Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources
The information literate student considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process beyond local resources (e.g., interlibrary loan; using resources at other locations; obtaining images, videos, text, or sound)
Considers the feasibility of acquiring a new language or skill (e.g., foreign or discipline-based) in order to gather needed information and to understand its context
Defines a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information
The information literate student reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need.
Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the question
Describes criteria used to make information decisions and choices
The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
The information literate student selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
Identifies appropriate investigative methods (e.g., laboratory experiment, simulation, fieldwork)
Investigates benefits and applicability of various investigative methods
Investigates the scope, content, and organization of information retrieval systems
Selects efficient and effective approaches for accessing the information needed from the investigative method or information retrieval system
The information literate student constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies.
Develops a research plan appropriate to the investigative method
Identifies keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed
Selects controlled vocabulary specific to the discipline or information retrieval source
Constructs a search strategy using appropriate commands for the information retrieval system selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity for search engines; internal organizers such as indexes for books)
Implements the search strategy in various information retrieval systems using different user interfaces and search engines, with different command languages, protocols, and search parameters
Implements the search using investigative protocols appropriate to the discipline
The information literate student retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
Uses various search systems to retrieve information in a variety of formats
Uses various classification schemes and other systems (e.g., call number systems or indexes) to locate information resources within the library or to identify specific sites for physical exploration
Uses specialized online or in person services available at the institution to retrieve information needed (e.g., interlibrary loan/document delivery, professional associations, institutional research offices, community resources, experts and practitioners)
Uses surveys, letters, interviews, and other forms of inquiry to retrieve primary information
The information literate student refines the search strategy if necessary.
Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative methods should be utilized
Identifies gaps in the information retrieved and determines if the search strategy should be revised
Repeats the search using the revised strategy as necessary
The information literate student extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.
Selects among various technologies the most appropriate one for the task of extracting the needed information (e.g., copy/paste software functions, photocopier, scanner, audio/visual equipment, or exploratory instruments)
Creates a system for organizing the information
Differentiates between the types of sources cited and understands the elements and correct syntax of a citation for a wide range of resources
Records all pertinent citation information for future reference
Uses various technologies to manage the information selected and organized
The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
The information literate student summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
Reads the text and selects main ideas
Restates textual concepts in his/her own words and selects data accurately
Identifies verbatim material that can be then appropriately quoted
The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias
Analyzes the structure and logic of supporting arguments or methods
Recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation
Recognizes the cultural, physical, or other context within which the information was created and understands the impact of context on interpreting the information
The information literate student synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts.
Recognizes interrelationships among concepts and combines them into potentially useful primary statements with supporting evidence
Extends initial synthesis, when possible, at a higher level of abstraction to construct new hypotheses that may require additional information
Utilizes computer and other technologies (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, multimedia, and audio or visual equipment) for studying the interaction of ideas and other phenomena
The information literate student compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information.
Determines whether information satisfies the research or other information need
Uses consciously selected criteria to determine whether the information contradicts or verifies information used from other sources
Draws conclusions based upon information gathered
Tests theories with discipline-appropriate techniques (e.g., simulators, experiments)
Determines probable accuracy by questioning the source of the data, the limitations of the information gathering tools or strategies, and the reasonableness of the conclusions
Integrates new information with previous information or knowledge
Selects information that provides evidence for the topic
The information literate student determines whether the new knowledge has an impact on the individual’s value system and takes steps to reconcile differences.
Investigates differing viewpoints encountered in the literature
Determines whether to incorporate or reject viewpoints encountered
The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.
Participates in classroom and other discussions
Participates in class-sponsored electronic communication forums designed to encourage discourse on the topic (e.g., email, bulletin boards, chat rooms)
Seeks expert opinion through a variety of mechanisms (e.g., interviews, email, listservs)
The information literate student determines whether the initial query should be revised.
Determines if original information need has been satisfied or if additional information is needed
Reviews search strategy and incorporates additional concepts as necessary
Reviews information retrieval sources used and expands to include others as needed
The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
The information literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance.
Organizes the content in a manner that supports the purposes and format of the product or performance (e.g. outlines, drafts, storyboards)
Articulates knowledge and skills transferred from prior experiences to planning and creating the product or performance
Integrates the new and prior information, including quotations and paraphrasings, in a manner that supports the purposes of the product or performance
Manipulates digital text, images, and data, as needed, transferring them from their original locations and formats to a new context
The information literate student revises the development process for the product or performance.
Maintains a journal or log of activities related to the information seeking, evaluating, and communicating process
Reflects on past successes, failures, and alternative strategies
The information literate student communicates the product or performance effectively to others.
Chooses a communication medium and format that best supports the purposes of the product or performance and the intended audience
Uses a range of information technology applications in creating the product or performance
Incorporates principles of design and communication
Communicates clearly and with a style that supports the purposes of the intended audience
The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.
Identifies and discusses issues related to privacy and security in both the print and electronic environments
Identifies and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information
Identifies and discusses issues related to censorship and freedom of speech
Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material
The information literate student follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
Participates in electronic discussions following accepted practices (e.g. "Netiquette")
Uses approved passwords and other forms of ID for access to information resources
Complies with institutional policies on access to information resources
Preserves the integrity of information resources, equipment, systems and facilities
Legally obtains, stores, and disseminates text, data, images, or sounds
Demonstrates an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and does not represent work attributable to others as his/her own
Demonstrates an understanding of institutional policies related to human subjects research
The information literate student acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.
Selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources
Posts permission granted notices, as needed, for copyrighted material