Information literacy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under information literacy ( English information literacy ) is the ability of any information even determined, confident, responsible and targeted deal. For the individual, the ethical and responsible as well as the economical, efficient and effective handling of information (s) are fundamental principles.

The term information literacy originally comes from the library system and mainly refers to information acquisition approaches in academic work. An expanded understanding of the term that relates to the handling of all kinds of information - including information from the Internet - is comparatively new. In the modern, highly dynamic information society, information literacy represents a key qualification for overcoming problems. It belongs to the field of soft skills and generally comprises a number of skills that make the individual competent, efficient - taking into account framework conditions such as time, programs - and responsible handling of information. These skills relate to all aspects of problem-related recognition of a need for information, its localization, its organization, its targeted selection through analysis and evaluation and its purpose-optimized design and presentation.


The term information literacy emerged in the UK and US library systems in the 1970s against the backdrop of an ever increasing amount of information. It was mainly used in relation to the library information offer (catalogs, databases, e-journals, e-books), whereby the efficient further use of the information as a form of individual knowledge management was increasingly discussed.

Influenced by reports from the USA and Great Britain, a comparatively hesitant development in the library system began in Germany, also in the 1970s, which were characterized by educational reforms and rising student numbers. This was expressed in the increased user orientation of the libraries, which conveyed knowledge of usage and access conditions, research tools and catalogs to their customers through structured training courses. The relevance of this development for active information management was also recognized in other areas. Marked Dieter Mertens the ability to obtain and process information in 1974 as part of the Employment Research as a key qualification .

In the years that followed, several studies called for the expansion and further development of user training. However, only a few of the demands and results of these research projects were implemented, as the libraries were confronted in the eighties with the resource-consuming change in handling their tasks using IT and a lack of staff.

It was not until the 1990s that the technical development in the area of ​​the Internet and the networking of workplaces resulted in numerous initiatives in the area of ​​information literacy. The latest studies and publications do not only refer to libraries, but also bring the term up for discussion in other areas of life. After standards for information literate students had already been developed in the US library system, a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) dealt with information literacy at German universities. The study “ Studieren mit elektronischer Fachinformation” (SteFi), published in 2001, calls for the teaching of information literacy to be more closely integrated into university teaching. The Science Council comes in a published during the same period published similar results and recommends in addition to a better supply of research and teaching with digital information more cooperation competence centers of information and the universities. In the much discussed PISA study , too , the OECD defines competencies in the use and organization of knowledge and information as the key to a successful life.

In January 2006, for the first time in Germany, a working group of Baden-Wuerttemberg Academic Libraries adopted its own “standards of information literacy for students”. These standards form the basis for the further development of library training activities and anchoring them in the subject curricula of individual subjects. In the USA z. In some cases, already subject-specific standards, such as Information Competencies for Chemistry Undergraduates of the Special Libraries Association Chemistry Division.

The UNESCO dedicated to the Information Literacy own, comprehensive initiative. The social significance of information literacy as a key qualification of the 21st century was also underlined by US President Barack Obama's proclamation in October 2009 for Information Literacy Awareness Month .

With the increasingly important participatory possibilities of Web 2.0 , conceptual approaches to information literacy emerged that are more broadly defined than the classic library science counterpart. In addition to the reception of information, they also emphasize aspects of publishing, communicating with networks and the public, and working together.

Definitions and standards

There are different approaches to defining information literacy and deriving standards .

Library science approach

In German-speaking countries, the definition of the German Library Association is often used:

"Ability that makes it possible to identify the need for information in relation to a specific problem, to determine and obtain information, and to evaluate and effectively use information."

- German Library Association eV :

From this, the German Library Association derived the following standards that information literate students should meet:

The information literate students

  1. recognize and formulate their information needs and determine the type and scope of the information required.
  2. efficiently gain access to the information they need.
  3. evaluate the information and sources found and select them for their needs.
  4. process the knowledge gained effectively and convey it adapted to the respective target group and with suitable technical means.
  5. are aware of their responsibility in using and passing on information.

Approach to include Web 2.0

There are now approaches to redefine the concept of information literacy, taking into account the participatory possibilities of Web 2.0.

“Ability that enables information to be determined, selected and obtained efficiently and in suitable media types; to process, transform and generate; as well as to communicate via suitable channels. "

- Nando Stöcklin : Information and communication skills - the «reading and writing» of ICT culture

Based on the standards of the German Library Association and on the adapted definition, Stöcklin derived the following standards:

The information literate students

  1. recognize their constant as well as situational information needs and determine the type and scope of the information required.
  2. efficiently gain access to information, assess it and select suitable information for their needs.
  3. recognize their constant and situational need for transmission as well as suitable channels and determine the type and scope of the information to be transmitted.
  4. use the information in a practical way or prepare it efficiently and effectively in a suitable manner and scope and transmit it.
  5. are aware of their responsibility to others and themselves when using and passing on information.

Neighboring competencies

Since information literacy is more an intellectual tool than a tangible object or a measurable quantity, it is difficult to clearly distinguish it from other skills. They are often confused, equated with one another or implied as a sub-competence.

The competent handling of information includes aspects of the content, the medium and the technology. Information literacy focuses primarily on the content, media skills on the medium and ICT skills on technology.

The following additional competencies are often mentioned in connection with information literacy:

  • Library expertise ( Library Literacy ): ability library and its offers to use independently.
  • Data competence ( Data Literacy ): ability properly with data deal and interpret sets of data.
  • Digital skills ( digital literacy ): ability to apply via computer information shown understanding of different formats and.
  • Internet Competence ( Internet literacy to be able to use the Internet and ability to know his basic concepts and functions:).
  • Communication skills: Ability to output and receive communications that are appropriate to the situation and statements.
  • Reading skills ( Reading Literacy ): Ability to understand texts written to use and they reflect to.
  • Writing competence : Ability to formulate one's thoughts with the help of the medium of writing and thus to communicate them to others.


  • Michael Balceris: media and information literacy . Modeling and measuring information literacy in students. Dissertation, Paderborn 2011 ( online ; PDF; 5.4 MB).
  • Ulrike Hanke, Martina Straub, Wilfried Sühl-Strohmenger: Promote information literacy professionally. A guide to the didactics of library courses. De Gruyter, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-11-027371-7 .
  • Thomas Hapke: Information. Information literacy and learning in the age of digital libraries. ( online ).
  • Sabine Rauchmann: Librarians in university libraries as mediators of information literacy, an inventory and an empirical study of the self-image of librarians on the subject of information literacy and the acquisition of methodological and didactic knowledge in Germany. Dissertation. Berlin 2009 ( online ; PDF; 9 MB).
  • Wilfried Sühl-Strohmenger (Ed.): Handbuch Informationskompetenz , with the collaboration of Martina Straub, De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-025473-0 .
  • Nando Stöcklin: Information and communication skills - the «reading and writing» of ICT culture. In: MedienPädagogik - magazine for theory and practice of media education. June 22, 2012 ( online ; PDF; 257 kB).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matthias Ballod (2005): Information Skills . Dimensions of a concept. In: Computers and Education. Vol. 15, H. 59, pp. 44-46.
  2. Michael Balceris: Media and Information Skills - Modeling and Measurement of Information Skills in Schoolchildren . Paderborn 2011, p. 10.
  4. Archived copy ( memento of the original from April 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Archive link ( Memento of the original dated December 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. a b c d Nando Stöcklin: Information and communication skills - the «reading and writing» of ICT culture. In: MedienPädagogik - magazine for theory and practice of media education. June 22, 2012 ( PDF; 257 kB ).
  7. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband eV, accessed on April 19, 2014 .
  8. Standards of information literacy for students. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband eV, accessed on April 19, 2014 .