Definitions of Information Literacy

infolit_logo_web_small.jpgInformation Literacy: a Critical Skill and a Strategic Commitment

Plattsburgh State is committed to graduating students who are information-literate. The definitions below clarify the meaning of this critical skill and indicate why it is important for individuals as students, scholars, and citizens.

As a strategic commitment, Information Literacy is articulated in the campus documents, Strategic Planning at Plattsburgh State University of New York, 1995-1999 (see: "Strategic Initiatives" section), and Mission Summary 1998 (see: Initiative #6, "Invest in Technology and Emphasize Information Literacy"). The materials are available through the SUNY Plattsburgh Provost's Office.

Campus Definitions

1. Information literacy is the ability to recognize the extent and nature of an information need, then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information. (Plattsburgh State Information and Computer Literacy Task Force, 2001)

2. An information literate Plattsburgh State graduate will be able to recognize when information is needed, and to locate, evaluate, effectively use, and understand ethical issues related to information in its various formats. This definition of information literacy conforms to the Information Literacy Initiative Committee of the SUNY Council of Library Directors, and the ALA definition, as well as that found in the Middle States Standards for Accreditation. (Plattsburgh State Library Faculty)

Further Definitions of Information Literacy

Information Literacy constitutes the abilities to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, effectively use, and communicate information in its various formats. (SUNY Council of Library Directors, Information Literacy Initiative Committee, Final Report, September 30, 1997)

To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Producing such a citizenry will require that schools and colleges appreciate and integrate the concept of information literacy into their learning programs and that they play a leadership role in equipping individuals and institutions to take advantage of the opportunities inherent within the information society. (American Library Association, Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report , January 10, 1989)

Each institution should foster optimal use of its learning resources through strategies designed to help students develop information literacy - the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information in order to become independent learners.... It is essential to have an active and continuing program of library orientation and instruction in accessing information, developed collaboratively and supported actively by faculty, librarians, academic deans, and other information providers. (Commission on Higher Education; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education; Standards for Accreditation, 1994 edition)

Information Literacy constitutes the abilities to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, effectively use, and communicate information in its various formats. (SUNY Council of Library Directors, Information Literacy Initiative Committee, Final Report, September 30, 1997)

To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Producing such a citizenry will require that schools and colleges appreciate and integrate the concept of information literacy into their learning programs and that they play a leadership role in equipping individuals and institutions to take advantage of the opportunities inherent within the information society. (American Library Association, Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report , January 10, 1989)

Contact Information:

Michelle Toth
FL 325
Phone (518) 564-5225
E-mail: tothmm@plattsburgh.edu