Information literacy, "maîtrise de l'information" in french (see french wikipedia), is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyse and use information. Because of the explosion of information, students cannot learn everything they need to know in their field of study in a few years of college. Information literacy equips them with the critical skills necessary to become independent lifelong learners. Information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. This conception, used primarily in the library and information studies field, and rooted in the concepts of library instruction and bibliographic instruction, is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information" (Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. 1989, p. 1). In this view, information literacy is the basis for life-long learning, and an information literate person is one who:

  • recognizes that accurate and complete information is the basis for intelligent decision making

  • recognizes the need for information

  • knows how to locate needed information

  • formulates questions based on information needs

  • identifies potential sources of information

  • develops successful search strategies

  • accesses sources of information including computer-based and other technologies

  • evaluates information no matter what the source

  • organizes information for practical application

  • integrates new information into an existing body of knowledge

  • uses information in critical thinking and problem solving (Doyle, 1992)

  • uses information ethically and legally

See also more definitions on the page of wikipedia or the dedicated website of the american Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).