Information Literacy, Part II

What is information literacy, and why should you care?  Part II

Here’s a link to Part I, in which you became convinced of the importance of information literacy.

The American Library Association defines an information literate individual as one who is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

So in your daily deluge of data, how do you gain these skills?

Well – one place is your local library, where people trained in these skills are available, free for the asking, to help you.  Remember, libraries aren’t just about books; they’re about connecting people with information.

 Here’s a one-page summary for grown-ups offered by the San Francisco Public Children’s Library; and another from Washington State University.

We’ve focused on evaluating websites here, but there are lots more areas that every web user needs to know.  Privacy, consumer saavy, and Internet safety are other issues for which we need education.  Critical thinking skills, information ethics, and how to find the information you need are other areas.  Be careful out there!

-Mary Beth


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