ACRL Framework

Information Literacy Redefined

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.

Source: Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. American Library Association, 2015.

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

The Six Frames

1. Authority is Construction 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

Frames are not sequential, but rather are overlapping core concepts

Framework Overview

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2015), is the guiding document concerning information literacy developed by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). The Framework is:

  • based on a cluster of interconnected core concepts, with flexible options for implementation, rather than on a set of standards or learning outcomes, or any prescriptive enumeration of skills
  • composed of conceptual understandings that organize many other concepts and ideas about information, research, and scholarship into a coherent whole
  • organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions
  • a document which envisions information literacy as extending the arc of learning throughout students’ academic careers and as converging with other academic and social learning goals
  • heavily influenced by the ideas of threshold concepts and metaliteracy (see Key Concepts box for definitions)

Daemen College Library uses the Framework as a guide when creating library instruction. Find out more about each concept (or "frame") by exploring the tabs on this guide.

Key Concepts Behind the Framework

Threshold concepts are core or foundational concepts that, once grasped by the learner, create new perspectives and ways of understanding a discipline or challenging knowledge domain. Such concepts produce transformation within the learner; without them, the learner does not acquire expertise in that field of knowledge. Threshold concepts can be thought of as portals through which the learner must pass in order to develop new perspectives and wider understanding.

Source: Jan H. F. Meyer, Ray Land, and Caroline Baillie. “Editors’ Preface.” In Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning, edited by Jan H. F. Meyer, Ray Land, and Caroline Baillie, ix–xlii. (Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2010).

Metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, produce, and share). This approach requires an ongoing adaptation to emerging technologies and an understanding of the critical thinking and reflection required to engage in these spaces as producers, collaborators, and distributors.

Source: Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. (Chicago: Neal-Schuman, 2014).

Metacognition is an awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes. It focuses on how people learn and process information, taking into consideration people’s awareness of how they learn.

Source: Jennifer A. Livingston. “Metacognition: An Overview.” Online paper, State University of New York at Buffalo, Graduate School of Education, 1997.

For Faculty: How to Use the Framework

  • Investigate the threshold concepts in your discipline and how they relate to the information skills that students should know.
  • Partner with your Reference Librarians to develop new kinds of multimedia assignments for courses.
  • Help students view themselves as information producers -- individually and collaboratively.
  • Consider the knowledge practices and dispositions in each information literacy frame for possible integration into your own courses and academic programs.

Source: Framework for Information Literacy Appendices, Appendix 1: Implementing the Framework

Framework Links