Blog Task #3 Information Literacy: More than a set of skills.

This is my reflection on this question however; I am still trying (struggling) to understand what Information Literacy (IL) is.

 Information literacy (IL) is not new word and various definitions have been used in a number of literary sources to describe and discuss the concept since the 1970s (Vine, 2006). Green (2006) describes IL as a need to be expanded to meet to today’s schools’ requirements. But what is IL exactly? This is a big question and takes me into a mysterious world. A study conducted by Herring (2010a) shows many teachers define IL as a set of skills, the ability to seek and find information through a variety of resources and adapt  related information into a task which students then work on. I think that IL is much more than just a set of skills. It is also the process involving using those skills and the transfer of those skills and learning across time and curriculum areas.

Herring (2011a) defines IL as “a critical and reflective ability” and also “a practice” rather than a set of skills. If students can think critically about the practices they use, why and how they use these practices, for example, they will be then effective information users. Herring focuses on the ability to transfer information as an aspect of IL.

When thinking about IL and transfer, I believe teaching skills such as concept mapping could develop students’ transferring skills and abilities however, this is only an assumption (Herring, 2010). How can students’ transfer skills and abilities be developed? Firstly, implementing IL models into the school is desirable. Teacher Librarians (TL) need to choose one IL model from the many options available such as the Big 6 models (Eisenburg and Berkowiz,1990 ), the Information Search Process (ISP) model (Kuhlthau 2004) and the PLUS model (Herring 2011) or TLs and teachers in NSW may prefer the NSW DET model (2007) to others. However, it is vital for teachers to consider which model works for their individual schools, students and curriculum. Perhaps some schools need to establish an independent IL model by an expanding  existing models (Green,2006) and the IL model needs to be embedded in the curriculum. It may be a challenge to integrate this process into the school. However , it is a key role of TLs.

Secondly, encouraging the establishment of a culture of transfer for IL across subject areas along with a mutual understanding between faculties as to what is being taught is also a key aspect to develop the culture of transfer for IL (Herring, 2011b). If there is not a culture of transfer for IL, many students will not be encouraged to consider, let alone reflect on their own learning.

It is important to stress that information literacy is more than a procedural set of skills. It needs to accommodate this broader concept of literacy from traditional to digital literacy, if it is to prepare students to be lifelong  and reflective learners in the 21st century.


Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. (1990). Information problem solving: The Big Six approach to library & information skills instruction. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Green, G. (2007). Information literacy: time for a rethink? Access. 21(3), 9-11.Retrieved 23rd September 2012 from

Herring, J.E.  (2010). Year seven students, information literacy skills and transfer: a grounded theory.  A thesis submitted to Charles Sturt University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Retrieved September 22, 2012 from Charles Sturt University:

Herring, J,E. (2011a) Improving students’ web use and information literacy: a guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

HERRING, J, E. (2011b) Assumptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools. Teacher Librarian, Feb2011, Vol. 38 Issue 3, Retrieved August 21,2012  from

 Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information Skills in the School. Retrieved  August 10 , 2012, from

Vine, R. (2006). Information literacy: a framework for inquiry learning. How can I teach it if I don’t know what it is? Access, 3, 9-13. Retrieved September 22,2012 from


One thought on “Blog Task #3 Information Literacy: More than a set of skills.

  1. Pingback: My Reflection | Pandamoco From The Couch

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