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For Rhetoric Instructors

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Our librarians work collaboratively with faculty and instructors to help students develop information literacy skills in support of academic coursework and lifelong learning goals. We believe that information literacy is an integral part of a liberal arts education. Our profession has been actively engaged with developing a definition of information literacy for higher education for many years. Currently, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education offers this definition:

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

Our ongoing collaboration with the Rhetoric Department is an ideal partnership:

  • We understand that you have a lot to cover in your semester already, and we know from experience that information literacy is essential for students to be successful in your courses. We're experts in information literacy instruction and can help integrate information literacy learning into your coursework so it's not an add-on and something additional to cover.  
  • We also know that it's integral for students to develop an early, foundational understanding of information literacy, and collaborating with Rhetoric faculty and instructors helps us lay this foundation, and to do so in creative and engaging ways.

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education is a recent (Feb. 2015) addition to the "constellation of information literacy documents" available from the Association of College and Research Libraries. It includes the following six frames: 

  1. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  2. Information Creation as a Process
  3. Information Has Value
  4. Research as Inquiry
  5. Scholarship as Conversation
  6. Searching as Strategic Exploration

Project Information Literacy

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education help us identify information literacy in students and provide a framework for assessment. Information literacy applies to all levels of education, learning environments, and disciplines, forming the basis for lifelong learning. The standards break down the broader concept, making it easier to identify information literacy skills in college students.

Each standard comes along with a detailed list of performance indicators and outcomes. To simplify things quite a bit, listed below is each standard with a few examples of demonstrable tasks, skills, or outcomes that can be attached to each one.

1.) The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed


  • The ability to identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information
  • Identifying the value and differences between resources in a variety of formats (database, website, data set, etc.)
  • Identifying the purpose and audience of resources (for example, popular vs. scholarly, and current vs. historical)

2.) The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently


  • The abilities to construct and implement effective search strategies, to retrieve information online or in person, and refining the search strategy
  • Identifying keywords and using various search systems (online catalogs, databases, search engines, etc.) to retrieve information
  • Identifying gaps in the information retrieved and determining if the search strategy should be revised

3.) The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system


  • The ability to apply criteria for evaluating information
  • Evaluating reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and bias
  • Analyzing the logic of supporting arguments, and recognizing prejudice or manipulation
  • Recognizing the context within which the information was created, and understanding the impact of context on interpreting the information

4.) The information literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance


  • The application of new and prior information to the planning and creation of a product, such as an outline, draft, storyboard, research paper, etc.
  • Organizing the content and integrating new and prior information (including quotations and paraphrasing) in a manner that supports the product
  • Rreflecting on successes, failures, and alternative strategies in the development of the product
  • Communicating clearly and with a style that is appropriate for the intended audience

5.) The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally


  • Acknowledging the use of information sources in communicating the product, and appropriately citing sources
  • Understanding many of the ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology
  • Understanding intellectual property, copyright, and fair use