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What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is a prerequisite for participating effectively in the Information Society and is part of the basic human right of lifelong learning. It encompasses everything we do and our approach must therefore be holisitc. It:

  • comprises the competencies to recognise information needs and to locate, evaluate, apply and create information within cultural and social contexts;
  • is crucial to the competitive advantage of individuals, enterprises (especially small and medium enterprises), regions and nations;
  • provides the key to effective access, use and creation of content to support economic development, education, health and human services, and all other aspects of contemporary societies, and thereby provides the vital foundation for fulfilling the goals of the Millennium Declaration and the World Summit on the Information Society; and
  • extends beyond current technologies to encompass learning, critical thinking and interpretative skills across professional boundaries and empowers individuals and communities.
  • is too important to be left to any one institution, agency or profession; collaboration is essential.
  • needs to be approached within the context of people's cultural values, societal groups and personal information needs.
  • is concerned with empowering people regardless of modes of information access and delivery.

Achievement of information literacy goals require flexible strategies to meet the needs of diverse communities and individuals. 

Alexandria High-Level Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning (2005)