Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Information Literacy Framework for Faculty: Home

This Guide is intended to help the faculty understand the Information Literacy Guidelines developed by the Learning Resource Committee and how these Guidelines incorporate the 2015 Framework for Information Literacy created by the ACRL

Introducing the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education

Information literacy framework interpreted by ATSU

The changing landscape of information literacy has caused a paradigm shift in understanding what constitutes knowledge-making, including how we encounter and interpret information. Promoting scholarship and citizenship in an appropriate and ethical manner is crucial to our future research and development. Multiple modes of dissemination are now applicable, including written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal modes. In 2015, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) adopted a new Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education to reflect this changing landscape.

The information in this guide represents Athens State University's conversation with the ACRL Frames, and defines ways in which the ACRL Frames align to teaching and research activities for students and faculty on our campus.

Brief History of Information Literacy

In 2002, the Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), ratified a definition of Information Literacy (IL) and a set of standards.  According to those standards, an information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

These standards were born in an early-Internet era when most sources of information went through a process of vetting and publishing before reaching an audience. With the rise of the Internet, mobile computing, big data, and ubiquitous user-created content, these standards no longer provided sufficient guidance. The ACRL initiated a task force to update the standards in the summer of 2011. In the spring of 2015, they officially released a new set of guidelines for IL called the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.  The Framework was created as a response to "the rapidly changing higher education environment, along with the dynamic and often uncertain information ecosystem in which all of us work and live." (ACRL

ACRL left the framework deliberately flexible in order to accommodate a wide range of interpretations. Individual universities and colleges are tasked with adapting the frames to suit their particular needs. The right-hand column of this page shows our attempt to do so.

The ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education

height=117According to the ACRL, Information Literacy is 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.The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education consists of six frames:

  1. Authority is constructed and contextual
  2. Information creation as a process
  3. Information has value
  4. Research as inquiry
  5. Scholarship as conversation
  6. Searching as strategic exploration

The Six Frames In Detail

Each of the six frames in the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education has several knowledge practices and dispositions associated with it. For the sake of brevity, only a basic explanation of each is given here. For a full explanation, see the official ACRL site.

  1. 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.
  2. Information creation as process - Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative process of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.
  3. Information has value - Information processes 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Scholarship as conversation - Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a results of varied perspectives and interpretations.
  6. Searching as strategic exploration - Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the  mental flexibility to pursue alternative avenues as new understanding develops.