What is Information Literacy?

Content that youths receive through the public domain

Information literacy encompasses the capability of one person to understand, analyze and responsibly use the available information including the acknowledgment of the data source. This was composed of skills that analyzed and utilized gathered information effectively. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP, 2018) defined information literacy as the integration of critical thinking in using the information to make decisions considering the issues, such as legal, social, ethical, and political issues, that may incorporate with the collected information. This means that it is about good judgment in utilizing information for the awareness of the public. With various information available in the different formats and media, information literacy plays important role in identifying and examining new information to give logical decisions on certain situations.

Bundy (2004, as cited by Ranaweera, 2008) mentioned that there are three information literacy elements: generic skills, information skills, and values and beliefs. In generic skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills. These generic skills are important elements of information literacy since the collected information must be evaluated and selected to use effectively. For information skills, information literate individuals should have knowledge in information seeking, information use, and information technology fluency. The information skills are necessary to know and identify the appropriate format and media for collecting information. In connection to that, values and beliefs are part of information literacy. Knowing the proper use of the information without harming society is part of the social responsibility in spreading the right information and empowering the community. An individual should have these elements or skills to ensure that the gathered information is reliable and accurate to utilize these effectively and efficiently.

The twenty-first-century era is considered the “information era” which means that everyone encountered a large and diverse area of information from an endless number of sources and utilized these to make decisions in day-to-day situations.  CILIP (2018) also stated that information literacy coexists with other literacies such as digital literacy and media literacy since it is associated with these concepts in this era. The ability of a person to use information technologies effectively to locate and understand and analyze data for problem-solving use is becoming the newest description of information literacy (Philadelphia University, 2021). From its core concept, information literacy was recently acknowledged as directly related to technology s specifically the “new digital technology” “internet-use” and “computer skill” (Li & Chen, 2021). Furthermore, the information system on the internet or the worldwide web, limitless information from one document to another is available.

With the changing information behavior, the most common challenge is identifying the fact versus fake news, the spread of misinformation, and disinformation in many fields (De Paor & Heravi, 2020). The data explosion hindered the capability of the majority of students, teachers, researchers, and professionals to locate, evaluate, use, and communicate information. The advantage of easy access to information will only be beneficial if a person can provide quality information.

With that, enhancing information literacy skills will allow a person to cope with this limitless data.


Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). (2018) CILIP Definition of Information Literacy 2018. https://infolit.org.uk/ILdefinitionCILIP2018.pdf

De Paor S. & Heravi, B. (2020). Information literacy and fake news: How the field of librarianship can help combat the epidemic of fake news, The Journal of Academic Librarianship,Volume 46, Issue 5, 2020, 102218, ISSN 0099-1333, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102218.

Li, Y., Chen, Y. & Wang, Q. Evolution and diffusion of information literacy topics. Scientometrics 126, 4195–4224 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-03925-y

Philadelphia University (2021) What is Information Literacy? https://www.philau.edu/infolit/what_students.htm

Ranaweera, P. (2008). Importance of Information Literacy skills for an Information Literate society. In NACLIS 2008, Colombo (Sri Lanka), 24th June 2008. [Conference paper]. http://eprints.rclis.org/11956/1/Microsoft_Word_-_Prasanna_2.pdf

Daniel Shen

Daniel Shen