Language
Fact-checked

At LanguageHumanities, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use information. It's a critical skill in our digital age, empowering individuals to discern credible sources and make informed decisions. As the internet burgeons with data, mastering this literacy is key to navigating the sea of knowledge. How might enhancing your information literacy change the way you interact with the world?
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Information literacy refers to a person’s ability to understand what information he or she needs to know and then find that information in an effective way. This is often related to other types of literacy or competency in libraries and computer use and is typically a vital part of performing research. While it is important for people to have usable knowledge about various subjects, this type of literacy governs how well someone can discover and process new information. Information literacy has evolved a great deal with the proliferation of personal computers and the Internet, and has become increasingly important to a wider range of individuals.

The foundation of information literacy is in the understanding that there are essentially two types of information a person can access and use. One type of information is what a person actually knows, the knowledge or skills that someone has learned and can practice at any time. The other type of information is knowledge that a person does not necessarily have, but that he or she can find and utilize within a relatively short amount of time. This second type of knowledge is based on that person’s information literacy and how well he or she is able to find accurate and useful information.

Information literacy begins at a young age.
Information literacy begins at a young age.

Information literacy can use aspects of computer and library literacy or competency. While libraries were often used as the primary means of gathering new information, the Internet has made computer systems extremely important for information gathering. This means that someone who is information literate typically has a good deal of computer knowledge and literacy, but someone who is technically skilled with computers is not necessarily information literate. Information literacy comes from an understanding of how to use a computer, library, or other system of information to find what someone is looking for and process that information effectively.

Information literacy is how a person processes texts as they read them.
Information literacy is how a person processes texts as they read them.

While information literacy is greatly impacted by a person’s ability to find new information, it begins with his or her ability to understand what information is needed in the first place. If someone is performing research, it is essential for him or her to understand what information he or she should be looking for, to eliminate distractions and unimportant data. This aspect of information literacy has become increasingly important as Internet search engines can find thousands of pages of information, but only a small number of them might actually be useful information for someone’s needs. Understanding what is needed, and learning to quickly filter out the unimportant or unrelated, is just as important as being able to search for the information.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Information literacy begins at a young age.
      By: JenKedCo
      Information literacy begins at a young age.
    • Information literacy is how a person processes texts as they read them.
      By: kjekol
      Information literacy is how a person processes texts as they read them.
    • Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of information literacy.
      By: 06photo
      Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of information literacy.
    • While libraries were often used as the primary means of gathering new information, the Internet has made computer systems extremely important for information gathering.
      By: stokkete
      While libraries were often used as the primary means of gathering new information, the Internet has made computer systems extremely important for information gathering.