Skip to Main Content

Information Literacy Instruction Program

Introduction to Information Literacy

Information literacy enhances the pursuit of knowledge by teaching students to think critically about information and information resources. 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 information literate individual can recognize the need for information, locate information using a variety of media and technologies, and can evaluate and use information effectively. Information literate students have the ability to transfer these skills across academic disciplines and utilize them in their personal, work and academic lives.

Information literacy instruction is far more than bibliographic instruction. While bibliographic instruction may be one component of information literacy instruction, information literacy itself is more conceptual, and must be built upon continuously throughout a student's education as it provides a foundation for learning that students will utilize for the rest of their lives. 

The Association of College & Research Libraries adopted the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in 2016. This adoption is a departure from the previous Standards of Information Literacy and encompasses six threshold concepts (or frames) that can be used for instruction in any order as they are interconnected and anchor the framework as a whole. The core concepts are as follows:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

The entirety of the Framework is located on the ACRL website under Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. However, the below information is the six threshold concepts represented in short summaries: 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Adopted from:

The Earl K. Long Library Information Literacy Instruction Program utilizes the Association of Colleges & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education that includes six interconnected core concepts (or frames) which provide a foundation to the conceptual understanding of organizing information, research, and scholarship into a meaningful whole. The six concepts can be used in any order as they are interconnected and anchor the framework as a whole.

UNO's Information Literacy Instruction Program prefers to place an emphasis on the concepts that are intuitive to the research process, so that activities may be planned accordingly and sequentially. Further, the emphasis that our Program places on the threshold concepts leads to stronger critical thinking and analysis skills as well as provides deeper lifelong learning skills, both scholarly and pragmatically.  The emphasis that the Information Literacy Instruction Program will place on the concepts of the framework is as follows: 

  • Information Has Value
  • ​Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • ​Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Research as Inquiry
  • ​Scholarship as Conversation