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Information Literacy: Information Literacy Framework


Authority as Constructed and Contextual


1.1  To assist students in understanding the differences between information sources and what gives them authority


1.1  To guide students in experimenting with various approaches to evaluating information and be able to apply it to their daily information uses


Information Creation as a Process


2.1  To introduce students to various published formats in order to know when to privilege information from one format over another


2.2  To understand that format and method of access are separate entities 


Information has Value


3.1  To explain the importance of citation and how to use appropriate citation in order that students can meet discipline specific requirements


3.2  To clarify the meaning and implications of intellectual property in the United States 


Research as Inquiry


4.1  To assist students in developing research skills to be used in the classroom and their daily life


4.2  To expose students to different search strategies and tools that will inform their research

Scholarship is a Conversation

5.1  To culture digital citizenship in students and explain why information integrity matters

5.2  To foster critical thinking in students as they evaluate resources and their contributions to a discipline or topic

Searching as Strategic

6.1  To clarify the research process and the necessary information resources required along the way

6.2  To inform smart information choices by teaching the importance of selecting authoritative information sources



ACRL Framework

The Association of College & Research Libraries has recently established a new Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education that includes six core concepts, also known as “threshold” concepts, which act as gateways to understanding information literacy. Learning about and engaging with these concepts is a starting point for becoming an expert consumer and creator of information. As described by the ACRL:

"This Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework) grows out of a belief that information literacy as an educational reform movement will realize its potential only through a richer, more complex set of core ideas-- ideals to serve as passageways or portals to enlarged understanding or ways of thinking and practicing within disciplines."

The new Framework consists of six core concepts:

  1. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  2. Information Creation as a Process
  3. Information Has Value
  4. Research as Inquiry
  5. Scholarship as Conversation
  6. Searching as Strategic Exploration


The Six frameworks


The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (abridged)




The Framework…is based on a cluster of interconnected core concepts, with flexible options for implementation, rather than on a set of standards, learning outcomes, or any prescriptive enumeration of skills…The Framework is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions.




1. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual


Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.




2. Information Creation as a Process


Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.




3. Information has value


Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.




4. Research as Inquiry


Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.




5. Scholarship as Conversation


Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations.




6. Searching as Strategic Exploration


Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.


From LOEX Conference Presentation:Reconsidering Threshold Concepts

The Six Frameworks

  1. Research as inquiry refers to an understanding that research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex questions whose answers develop new questions or lines of inquiry in any field.
  2. Authority is constructed and contextual - Authority of information resources depends upon the resources' origins, the information need, the context in which the information will be used. This authority is viewed with an attitude of informed skepticism and openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought.
  3. Format as process - format is the way tangible knowledge is disseminated. The essential characteristic of format is the underlying process of information creation, production, and dissemination, rather than how the content is delivered or experienced.
  4. Searching as exploration - Locating information requires a combination of inquiry, discovery, and serendipity. There is no one size fits all source to find the needed information. Information discovery is nonlinear and iterative, requiring the use of a broad range of information sources and flexibility to pursuit alternative avenues as new understanding is developed.
  5. Information has value acknowledges that the creation of information and products derived from information requires a commitment of time, original thought, and resources that need to be respected by those seeking to use these products, or create their own based on the work of others. In addition, information may be valued more or less highly based on its creator, its audience/consumer, or its message.
  6. Scholarship is a conversation refers to the idea of sustained discourse within a community of scholars or thinkers, with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of competing perspectives and interpretations.