According to Association of Colleges and Research Libraries, “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.”
Information literacy is a skill that improves with practice. Throughout your life, you will find yourself in situations where you need information–information about the reliability of a car you’re thinking about buying, information about a company you’re thinking of working for, information about the positions of a presidential candidate you’re thinking about voting for. Your information needs will be many and varied. As you work on your projects for “Tackling a Wicked Problem,” you will find that you sometimes need more information before proceeding with your work. You will ask yourself where you might find the information that will be most useful to you, to help you make the best decisions possible. As you discover new information from new sources, you will ask yourself questions about the validity and reliability of that information and about how and why the information was produced. As you create your own new information that you share with others, you will need to properly and ethically summarize the ideas you found and cite those ideas so that you are not presenting them as your own. And over time, with practice, you will get better and better at these tasks.
In this section, we present two models for thinking about information literacy. The first is called The Seven Pillars model and is focused primarily on research projects. The second is called the SIFT model and is focused on evaluating the reliability of information found on the World Wide Web.