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University Libraries Breadcrumb Trail. Information Literacy Breadcrumb Trail. Introducing the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Introducing the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Information literacy is a set of abilities related to the reflective discovery of information, understanding how information is produced and valued, and using information to create new knowledge and participate in communities of learning. The Association of College & Research Libraries has recently established a new Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education that includes six core concepts, also known as “threshold” concepts, which act as gateways to understanding information literacy. Learning about and engaging with these concepts is a starting point for becoming an expert consumer and creator of information.

The Information Literacy department has created this series of slides to introduce these new core concepts to the campus community. You will be seeing them reflected in our teaching as well as in the online instructional materials you encounter on our site. The six concepts are:


The following is a brief description of each of the core concepts. The full Framework, which includes more details for each concept as well as the associated knowledge practices and dispositions, is available at the following link: http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework.



Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.


Information Creation as a Process

Information in any format is produced intentionally to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.


Information Has Value

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.


Research as Inquiry

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.


Scholarship as Conversation

Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations.


Searching as Strategic Exploration

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a broad range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding is developed.