According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), information literacy is defined as:
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. (ACRL, 2016)
So, Information Literacy is not a single thing, but rather a group of skills that make you a more informed and ethically-aware consumer/creator of information. It is important for your coursework since assignments at the college level require you to digest information from various types of resources; evaluate that information for accuracy and bias; and then use what you've gathered to form your own opinion or solution to a topic or problem- with evidence to back it up.
At the Sister Helen Sheehan Library, we like to think of the process of becoming information literate as a journey to becoming an Expert Researcher. To help you get to that level, we've taken all of the attributes that make up an information literate individual and grouped them into three progressive stages, where the skills covered increase in sophistication. In addition to helping you figure out what you should know and when, we provide several free resources and tutorials that clearly illustrate the concepts we've highlighted. It's a big, wide world of information out there, but once you've mastered the skills we cover in this guide, you'll have no problem investigating and assessing all that you encounter.
Being an Expert Researcher extends far beyond the research you do here at Trinity, too! From looking into the best kind of car to buy to educating yourself on politics and current events, research is a critical part of our everyday lives. Becoming an Expert Researcher equips you with the tools you need to familiarize yourself with a topic or issue and allows you to make informed decisions based on the information at hand- including considering multiple viewpoints and assessing the reliability of the information.
It can seem overwhelming at first, but if you have any questions or would like more information regarding anything included in this guide, your friendly librarians would love to help. Let's get started!