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A guide to Information Literacy Instruction and Assessment at WCU
Last Updated: Nov 4, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Information Literacy Assessment Print Page

Defninitions of Information Literacy


West Chester University Definition                                                                                                                                      Information literacy is the array of knowledge and skills necessary to identify the information needed for a task and then to locate, understand, evaluate, and use that information efficiently and effectively within appropriate ethical and legal limits.                         

(p. 76, Middle States Commission on Higher Education Periodic Review Report, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, June 2006)


Middle States Commission on Higher Education Definition

Several skills, collectively referred to as “information literacy,” apply to all disciplines in an institution’s curricula. These skills relate to a student’s competency in acquiring and processing information in the search for understanding, whether that information is sought in or through the facilities of a library, through practica, as a result of field experiments, by communications with experts in professional communities, or by other means. Therefore, information literacy is an essential component of any educational program at the graduate or undergraduate levels.

These skills include the ability to:

  • determine the nature and extent of needed information;
  • access information effectively and efficiently;
  • evaluate critically the sources and content of information;
  • incorporate selected information in the learner’s knowledge base and value system;
  • use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose;
  • understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and information technology; and
  • observe laws, regulations, and institutional policies related to the access and use of information.

(p. 42, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, March 2009)



Standards for Specific Disciplines

Looking for information literacy standards for your discipline?  The Association of College and Research Libraries has put together a web page on Information Literacy in the Disciplines.  They have compiled existing standards and guidelines, as well as articles and other information, for each disciplines. 

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