The Importance of Information Literacy
by Linda Cornwell

Information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources. It is the foundational skill for life-long learning and the "survival" skill for the 21st century, where rich information environments and job requirements require adults to read for information.

A individual who is information literate can...

  • identify the need for information.
  • access information effectively and efficiently by:
    • activating prior knowledge about the topic,
    • framing appropriate questions to guide the search for information,
    • determining research strategies, and
    • identifying and evaluating potential information resources.
  • evaluate information critically and completely in terms of:
    • accuracy,
    • relevance,
    • currency,
    • point of view, and
    • application.
  • organize and process information effectively by:
    • connecting to prior knowledge,
    • integrating and synthesizing information from a variety of sources,
    • making inferences, and
    • summarizing.
  • applying information effectively and creatively to solve-problems and/or create new products.

Thus an individual who is information literate is...

  • an organized investigator.
  • a critical thinker.
  • a creative thinker.
  • an effective communicator.
  • a responsible user of information.

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