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Information Literacy @ CCAD

ACRL Framework

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was adopted by the ACRL Board, January 11, 2016. The following was adapted from a presentation given by Sherri Saines, "How Information Works: ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Lay Language." ALAO Instruction Interest Group workshop, Columbus, OH, April 20, 2017.

Note: In both actions and attitudes, and for each of these ideas separately, a researcher moves along a continuum from novice to expert. Their path to Expert Information User is just as convoluted and recursive as the research they are doing.

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

  • ​Who we trust as an expert depends on why we need the information & who's doing the trusting.
  • Authority exists because a community gives it to someone. Beware: sometimes authority comes mostly from "privilege" that can drown out other voices.
  • Good thinkers consider information skeptically, but keep an open mind.
  • An expert can use any medium to communicate their ideas. Information is increasingly built socially, and formats will continue to change.
    • Novice information users use standards given to them by others to make judgments. Experts recognize other markers of quality from experience. 
    • Novice information users believe a specific number of sources will answer the question. Experts understand even authorities disagree, and information about a topic can be infinite. 
    • Novice information users think they can achieve objectivity. Experts understand they have to constantly challenge their own biases. 

Information Creation as a Process

  • ​The way information is shared changes the way it is created and vice versa. 
  • Good information can come from any format. Every format has its benefits and drawbacks, including assumptions about quality and authority that may or may not be true.
  • Formats are changing fast, and researchers have to keep up with how these new formats work so the can understand the information that comes out of them. 
    • Novice information users are just learning how different formats come into being. Experts understand traditional processes and investigate new ones. 
    • Novice information users believe format equals authority. Experts embrace ambiguity.
    • Novice information users are unaware of many formats for information. Experts know the wide range of unusual places to find good information.

Information has Value

  • ​Information is worth money. It can be bought and sold.
  • It is valuable because seekers learn from it & use it to influence others.
  • Economic, legal, and social forces influence how information is made, used, packaged, & traded.
    • Novice information users underestimate the time and skill that goes into creating an information product. Experts value the work & time information creation takes.​

Research as Inquiry

  • ​Research is seldom a straight line with an answer at the end. It is a spiral of deeper questions that arise as understanding grows.
  • The more a researcher works, the more skill and perspective they gain about the process itself. 
    • Novice information users ask simpler questions and expect to use one skill to find an answer. Experts ask surprising, complex, difficult questions that may not have an answer. They break down complex tasks into many small tasks and use many different skills to work on each task.
    • Novice information users use a handful of sources and report what they find. Experts synthesize information from many different kinds of sources, reorganize it in useful ways, and make conclusions based on the data.
    • Novice information users hope their question has an easy answer. Experts enjoy the exploration & ambiguity, ask for help when needed, and admit when they are wrong. 

Scholarship as Conversation

  • Researchers and scholars talk to one another, even across centuries, using books, articles, etc., enabled by a common understanding of the major theoretical frameworks, findings (literature), and methods within the discipline. The interplay creates new ideas.
  • There may be many answers to a single question.
  • A researcher may have to earn the right and/or learn the rules to speak in a given conversation, depending on who/what is already "in the room." It might not be fair.
  • When someone adds a new idea, they must say whose ideas they gathered to get that far.
    • Novice information users quickly judge an argument; they think of the conversation as having a correct end. Experts suspend judgment until they understand the context. They seek out other voices and listen to them. Conversations are ongoing. 

Searching as Strategic Exploration

  • Searching is a skill set. Search mechanics - how and where you search -  matters.
  • The mental flexibility to ask a question in many different ways of many different kids of sources - and learn as you go - is also necessary.
  • Who you are affects how you search. Learn to stretch.
  • Searching gets convoluted. Stay organized. Be patient.
    • The novice uses one information system in one way. Experts consider many kinds of sources and approaches and choose the most efficient.
    • The novice believes “everything is on Google.” Experts understand the strengths and weaknesses of many information systems, and how deep searching is done in each. 

A  PDF of the original ACRL Framework is available at:

Information Literacy for Art & Design Students

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) is in the process of updating its Information Competencies for Students in Design Disciplines, but the 2007 version is still a useful tool:

Chappell, Duncan. "Metaliteracies, Creative Practitioners and Art Libraries: A Critical Review of the Literature." Art Libraries Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 66-72. 

Garcia, Larissa and Jessica Labatte. "Threshold Concepts as Metaphors for the Creative Process: Adapting the Framework for Information Literacy to Studio Art Classes." Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 34, no. 2, Sept. 2015, pp. 235-248.

Garcia, Larissa and Ashley Peterson. "Who Invited the Librarian? Studio Critiques as a Site of Information Literacy Education." Art Libraries Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 73-79. 

Gendron, Heather and Eva Sclippa. "Where Visual and Information Literacies Meet: Redesigning Research Skills Teaching and Assessment for Large Art History Survey Courses." Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 33, no. 2, Fall2014, pp. 327-344.

Lijuan, Xu and Nestor Gil. "Librarians as Co-Teachers and Curators: Integrating Information Literacy in a Studio Art Course at a Liberal Arts College." Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 36, no. 1, Mar. 2017, pp. 122-136.

Martin-Bowtell, Adele and Rebekah Taylor. "A Collaborative Approach to the Use of Archives in Information Literacy Teaching and Learning in an Arts University." Art Libraries Journal, vol. 39, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 27-32.

Petraits, Ellen. "Assessing the Impact of Library Instruction on Studio-Based Research: Developing a Qualitative Model." Art Libraries Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 80-85.

Vecchiola, Rina. "Using ARLIS/NA Information Competencies for Students in Design Disciplines in Course Integrated Information Literacy Instruction at Washington University in St. Louis." Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 30, no. 1, Spring2011, pp. 74-78.