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Information Literacy

This guide introduces resources and information related to Information Literacy.

Why Information Literacy?

The concept of information literacy has progressed beyond how to find books in the library. Many aspects of information literacy are essential components of education. For citizens to function successfully in a rapidly changing global society, they will need to understand how to find and use information effectively. Information literacy not only lies within disciplines but also within the process of life long learning.

The amount of information that is available to Otterbein students through library resources, electronic databases and the Internet is both exhilarating and overwhelming. Students are challenged daily in their classes at Otterbein to use information wisely, and communicate efficiently and effectively. This challenge continues after graduation with the recognition that employers place high value on communication and critical thinking skills in the business and professional world.

According to Hart's Foundation 2013 study “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success”- An Online Survey Among Employers Conducted On Behalf Of the Association Of American Colleges And Universities, the employers are looking for many skills in the new employees, and Information Literacy is one of them:

This graphic contains a chart of data with the header "employers say colleges should place varying degree of emphasis on selected learning outcomes" Below the header, there is a list of skills along with columns that mark the percentage of respondants who wanted more of that skill focused, less of that skill focused on, or the same amount of focus. There is a variety of metrics, but the one highlighted is the skill "the ability to locate, organize and evaluate information from mulitple sources"  72% of employers want this skill taught more, 9% want it taught less, and 19% want is taught the same amount as it is now.

(For more information on this dataset, please see the bottom of this box)

Students begin their college careers with varied levels of information management skills. Each additional class that they take presents opportunities through classroom assignments to develop their abilities to:

  • narrow or broaden a topic
  • find relevant information
  • understand the difference between information from research journal articles, books, and the Internet
  • learn where current research in a field of interest is reported
  • understand the purpose for and the construction of annotated bibliographies
  • use information sources without plagiarism
  • use critical thinking skills
  • synthesize information to create new knowledge
  • reinforce and build on information management skills previously learned

These skills must be practiced repeatedly for true competence. They should be taught and evaluated throughout the college career, with upper level students demonstrating progressively higher levels of capacity and thoughtful performance.


Are students in your classes taught to be progressively competent in locating information and to develop skills to use information? Does your department curriculum include goals for information literacy? How do faculty benefit from incorporating these skills into the curriculum?

The most obvious result is improved papers and projects. Restructuring assignments to encourage practice in the use of information literacy skills will result in students with better understanding of both the research process and the material.

A lifelong learner is one who finds and uses information wisely and well. In the future, sources of information and methods for communication will continue to evolve. Successful persons must demonstrate the continuing ability to locate, evaluate, and manage information in their chosen fields. Students can develop these information literacy skills in a coherent and organized manner through classroom assignments throughout their college careers.