Skip to Main Content

Information Literacy: A Conceptual Framework

Information Has Value

The economic, social, cultural, or political value of information Information affects its production and dissemination. (paraphrased)

From the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy:

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.

The value of information is manifested in various contexts, including publishing practices, access to information, the commodification of personal information, and intellectual property laws. The novice learner may struggle to understand the diverse values of information in an environment where “free” information and related services are plentiful and the concept of intellectual property is first encountered through rules of citation or warnings about plagiarism and copyright law. As creators and users of information, experts understand their rights and responsibilities when participating in a community of scholarship. Experts understand that value may be wielded by powerful interests in ways that marginalize certain voices. However, value may also be leveraged by individuals and organizations to effect change and for civic, economic, social, or personal gains. Experts also understand that the individual is responsible for making deliberate and informed choices about when to comply with and when to contest current legal and socioeconomic practices concerning the value of information.

Assignment Ideas

  • Ask students to find several images that would enhance the project or paper on which they are working. Then ask them to determine which can be used without asking permission. What would they need to do to use this material?
  • Ask students in professional or career-focused programs to consider what individuals or organizations make money distributing information relating to that profession or career. Have students discuss the usefulness and potential risks behind this information.
  • Discern between the economic processes behind different types of information, e.g. newspaper articles vs. 24-hour TV news, edited academic volume vs. popular title on a top 10 list.

- From Draft 2 of the ACRL Framework, p. 16-17

Questions about Your Discipline

  • How is impact determined, measured, or expressed in your field? How do authority, inquiry, format, searching, and scholarship affect impact?
  • How does open access affect your standing as a scholar?
  • Is access to information in your field privileged? How will students access this information once they are working in their field? Are there suitable alternatives for proprietary resources?
  • What are any particular traits of attribution in your field that might be different from others? What counts as an original idea?

From Miller, S. D. (2016, May 20). Information Literacy in the Disciplines. Workshop presented at Thinking with Sources in the Disciplines, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.