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Information Competency - Spr 2014   Tags: ic, information_competency  

compiled by A. Enright
Last Updated: May 14, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Definition Adopted by the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges, 1998

Information competency is the ability to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in all its various formats. It combines aspects of library literacy, research methods and technological literacy.  Information competency includes consideration of the ethical and legal implications of information and requires the application of both critical thinking and communication skills.



Information Competency - Academic Senate for California Community Colleges


ln order to be able to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information, students must be able to demonstrate the following skills in an integrated process:

  • State a research question, problem, or issue.
  • Determine information requirements in various disciplines for the research questions, problems, or issues.
  • Use information technology tools to locate and retrieve relevant information.
  • Organize information.
  • Analyze and evaluate information.
  • Communicate using a variety of information technologies.
  • Understand the ethical and legal issues surrounding information and information technology.
  • Apply the skills gained in information competency to enable lifelong learning.

Some of these components may already be included in curriculum. lt is recommended that faculty review their curriculum to assure that these components are covered.

"Information Competency in the California Community Colleges" The Academic Senate for
     California Community Colleges.  Adopted Spring 1998.
  [accessed 30 April 2014]


Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education- Association of College and Research Libraries

Information Literacy Defined

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
“Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.” 2000.
     Association of College & Research Libraries. [accessed: 30 April 2014]
Also see:

Please note: ACRL is in the process of reviewing and updating Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to reflect the current state of information and how it used in higher education.  For example, ACRL is planning to add multimedia information resources to the standards.  They note that when the standards were written the world of information was still mostly textual.  The current terrain of information has seen an increase in multimedia information resources.  See the Additional Readings page of this guide for more information.


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