Definitions & Models

What is information literacy?

How does information literacy relate to digital literacy, media literacy, information fluency, academic research skills?  This section of the information literacy website outlines the different information literacy definitions and begins to look at all the other terms that may be used.  Please contact us with all alternate definitions.

In the UK there are many definitions of Information Literacy:

  • CILIP have defined information literacy as “Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.”  They have also created more in depth guidance on the skills required to be information literate.
  • The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) developed the Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model in 1999. It was designed to be a practical working model that would help develop ideas amongst practitioners and generate discussion. It was updated in 2004 and again in 2012.  SCONUL define Information LIteracy as: ”
    ‘Information literate people will demonstrate an awareness of how they gather, use, manage, synthesise and create information and data in an ethical manner and will have the information skills to do so effectively.”
  • The Research Information Network (RIN) support the both CILIP and SCONUL’s definition of information literacy, but argue “it is important to adopt a broader interpretation of information literacy, which (i) recognises that ‘information’ must be taken to include research data; and (ii) clearly also encompasses the ability to manage, and where appropriate preserve and curate one’s own information and data.”  Find out more from their web page ‘What is information literacy‘.
  • A draft of the (Scottish) National Information Literacy Framework Scotland is now available as a pdf download. The draft framework is being developed with secondary and tertiary partners using SCQF (Scottish Credit Qualification Framework) aims, structure and key features and existing frameworks and models. The Framework lists information literacy skill levels for all SCQF levels from access (School) through to PhD.
  • NHS Education for Scotland have developed an information literacy definition and framework that can be used in the healthcare context.
  • The Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) uses the term i-skills to describe information literacy and IT skills. i-Skills are defined as: “the ability to identify, assess, retrieve, evaluate, adapt, organise and communicate information within an iterative context of review and reflection.