Information Literacy Frameworks

Recently the Association of College and Research Libraries published the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The six Frameworks focus on big concepts in information literacy. Information Literacy is a general education requirement for all students at Milligan. Most Milligan undergraduates work on this concept in the two Composition courses and also in discipline specific sessions in upper division courses. These concepts should be part of almost every course at Milligan College.

If these concepts are important in a course or courses you are teaching, clearly articulate them in your course learning outcomes and in course assignments. If you would like to talk about how to do this, want ideas on how to tweak or create assignments or just want to chat about information literacy, contact Mary Jackson, Research and Instruction Librarian, mjackson@milligan.edu, 461-8697.


Scholarship is a Conversation

From the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Key sentence: Developing familiarity with the sources of evidence, methods, and modes of discourse in the field assists learners to enter the conversation. New forms of scholarly and research conversations provide more avenues in which a wide variety of individuals may have a voice in the conversation.

Knowledge practices:

  • Cite the contributing work of others in their own information production;
  • Contribute to scholarly conversation at an appropriate level, locally and within the field;
  • Identify barriers to entering scholarly conversation via various venues;
  • Critically evaluate contributions made by others in participatory information environments;
  • Identify the contribution that particular scholarly works make to disciplinary knowledge;
  • Summarize the changes in scholarly perspective over time in a topic or discipline;
  • Recognize that a given scholarly work may not represent the majority perspective.

Librarians help with:

  • Citation formats for various majors
  • Source evaluation and ways of approaching authority
  • How to identify notable scholars in a given discipline
  • Notion of scholarly consensus and dissension
  • Student and faculty scholarly submissions to MCStor, Milligan’s Institutional Repository

Information Creation is a Process

From the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Key Sentence: Novice learners begin to recognize the significance of the creation process, leading them to increasingly sophisticated choices when matching information products with their information needs.

Knowledge practices:

  • Articulate the capabilities and constraints of various creation processes;
  • Assess the fit between a creation process and an information need;
  • Articulate the processes of information creation and dissemination in a particular discipline;
  • Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on its format;
  • Recognize the implications of information formats that contain static or dynamic information;
  • Monitor the value that is placed upon different types of information products;
  • Transfer knowledge of capabilities and constraints to new types of information products;
  • Understand that their choices impact the purpose and message of information.

Librarians help with:

  • The information cycle in response to events
  • The nature of different types of internet sources
  • Citation in any research project
  • Preservation of projects in non-paper formats

Information has Value

Key sentence: The novice learner may struggle to understand the diverse values of information in an environment where “free” information and related services are plentiful and the concept of intellectual property is first encountered through rules of citation or warnings about plagiarism and copyright law.

Knowledge practices:

  • Give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation;
  • Understand that intellectual property is an important legal and social construct;
  • Articulate the purpose and distinguishing characteristics of copyright, fair use, open access, and the public domain;
  • Understand why some individuals or groups may be underrepresented or marginalized within information systems;
  • Recognize issues of access or lack of access to information sources;
  • Decide where and how their information is published;
  • Understand how the commodification of personal information and online interactions affects them;
  • Make informed choices regarding their online actions in full awareness of the above issues.

Librarians help with:

  • Assisting in the proper attribution and citation in a variety of bibliographic styles
  • Providing instruction and best practices on copyright compliance
  • Supporting open access sharing of academic works through MCStor, Milligan’s institutional repository
  • Facilitating the use of interlibrary loan
  • Evaluating open-source versus subscription resources
  • Promoting alternative publishing models to traditional models

Research is Inquiry

From the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Key sentence: Novice learners acquire strategic perspectives on inquiry and a greater repertoire of investigative methods.

Knowledge practices:

  • Formulate questions for research based on information gaps or existing information;
  • Determine an appropriate scope of investigation;
  • Deal with research by breaking complex questions into simple ones;
  • Use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry;
  • Monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses;
  • Organize information in meaningful ways;
  • Synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources;
  • Draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information.

Librarians help with:

  • Formulating research questions
  • Narrowing or broadening a research inquiry to match the assignment
  • Finding background research and appropriate database selection
  • Searching iteratively and managing results, including instruction in bibliographic managers (ie. Zotero)
  • Determining additional paths of inquiry and other sources of information

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

From the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Key Sentence: Novice learners may need to rely on basic indicators of authority, such as type of publication or author credentials, where experts recognize schools of thought or discipline-specific paradigms.

Knowledge practices:

  • Define different types of authority, such as subject, societal, or special;
  • Use research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources;
  • Understand that disciplines have acknowledged authorities: scholars and publications considered “standard”;
  • Recognize that authoritative content may include sources of all media types;
  • Acknowledge they are developing their own authoritative voices and responsibilities;
  • Understand the increasingly social nature of the information ecosystem where authorities connect.

Librarians help with:

  • Finding and evaluating information
  • Promoting benefits of discipline-specific databases
  • Discovering the information cycle and the nature of different information sources
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Using multiple source types for comprehensive evaluation

Searching is Strategic Exploration

From the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Key Sentences: Novice learners may search a limited set of resources, while experts may search more broadly and deeply to determine the most appropriate information within the project scope. Likewise, novice learners tend to use few search strategies, while experts select from various search strategies, depending on the sources, scope, and context of the information need.

Knowledge practices:

  • Determine the initial scope of the task required to meet their information needs;
  • Identify interested parties who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information;
  • Utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching;
  • Match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools;
  • Design and refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on search results;
  • Understand how information systems are organized in order to access relevant information;
  • Use different types of searching language (e.g., controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language) appropriately;
  • Manage searching processes and results effectively.

Librarians help with:

  • Understanding the complexity of the research process
  • Developing and refining research topics
  • Selecting search terms
  • Selecting the best resource for an information need
  • Using advanced searching in MCSearch and subject specific databases
  • Navigating discipline specific research tools
  • Utilizing archival materials
  • Facilitating the use of resources outside of the library resources