Third Draft

November 12, 2014


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this newly revised draft

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in 2000, have become an essential document related to the emergence of information literacy as a recognized learning outcome at many institutions of higher education. These, like all ACRL standards, are reviewed cyclically. In June 2012, the ACRL Board approved a unanimous recommendation that they be a significantly revised.

We co-chair a task force charged with creating the Framework and have been working since March 2013. The group reflects some of the best minds in the library profession currently working in the area of information literacy. It also includes experts from other parts of higher education and an accrediting agency. Find out more about the task force members, our charge, our process, and interim reports to the ACRL Board.

The Task Force shared its work publicly through drafts released on February 20, April 4, and June 17, 2014. As mentioned in a recent FAQ entry, the feedback that we have received throughout the process has been extensive and helpful. We very much appreciate the time that you have taken to read, reflect on, discuss, and respond to these earlier drafts. We encourage you to read the FAQ document, as a number of items have been added to it recently that complement this welcome message.

Members of the Task Force have spent a great deal of time analyzing all the feedback that has been received, including comments from the web form, and those found in blog posts and tweets. Informed by your feedback, we have made a number of changes that you will see reflected in this newly revised draft. Please understand that while we read all of the feedback, it was not possible to use everything suggested. In a number of cases, suggestions on particular components of the Framework were diametrically opposed, and the members of the Task Force used their best judgment to make decisions.

In this draft, you will find one new appendix:

  • Background of the Framework Development

There are also revisions:

  • The definition of information literacy has been revised. It is now composed of a short definition followed by four amplifying bullet points, and ties more directly to the Framework;
  • The Frames are presented alphabetically;
  • The brief and longer descriptions of the Frames have been revised;
  • Two of the Frames have been renamed. Format as a Process is now Information Creation as a Process, and Searching as Exploration has reverted to Searching is Strategic, an earlier title;
  • The Knowledge Practices (Abilities) heading has been simplified to Knowledge Practices;
  • The Knowledge Practices and Dispositions sections have been carefully reviewed and revised;
  • An expanded Sources for Further Reading section is included;
  • Appendix 1 from the previous draft, “Setting the Context,” has been removed;
  • A draft of the actions we will recommend the ACRL Board take has been updated and is included as an ancillary document so that you can see our thinking and provide your reactions.

Feedback on this new version of the draft Framework will be accepted through 5pm Central on Friday, December 12, 2014, via the online form.

We will review the Framework as needed based on this last round of feedback gathered through responses sent via the new online survey. We expect to submit a final document to the ACRL Board in early January 2015 for their consideration and approval at ALA Midwinter at the end of January. Before a final document is ready to submit to the ACRL Board for consideration, two other ACRL groups are charged to review and provide feedback on near final drafts; these groups are the ACRL Information Literacy Standards Committee and the ACRL Standards Committee. Of course, this timeline may change, based on the feedback we receive, but this is our current intention.

We encourage you to gather a group on your campus to discuss this revised draft Framework and report back to us about your group’s impressions. We suggest you invite colleagues from your library, as well as other campus stakeholders who have an interest, such as academic support services staff, members of the general education curriculum committee, and disciplinary faculty partners. To help guide your thinking, we ask that you provide feedback to these questions:

  1. How satisfied are you with the new definition of information literacy?
  2. How satisfied are you with each of the six frames?
  3. How satisfied are you with the opportunities to provide feedback to the task force on drafts of the Framework?
  4. How satisfied are you that the task force has been responsive to feedback provided on previous drafts of the Framework?
  5. OVERALL, how satisfied are you with the third draft of the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education?
  6. What one thing do you most want the Task Force members to know about the draft Framework?

Again, please provide your feedback by 5pm Central on Friday, December 12, 2014, via the online form. We ask that you send us your reactions via that form so it is easier to compile all the comments we expect to receive on and ensure we don’t overlook any. We are also happy to connect with you on a personal level, and you should feel free to be in touch with either of us by email to discuss your reactions to this draft. We will focus our review of the feedback during this round on that received via the online form, so we encourage those who are commenting via blogs, Tweets, or other forms of social media to fill out the feedback form to make sure your thoughts are heard.

Thank you again for your interest in this revised draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We are eager to receive your feedback.

Craig Gibson, Head, Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Library, Ohio State University Libraries,
– and –
Trudi E. Jacobson, Head, Information Literacy Department, University at Albany, SUNY, University Libraries,

25 Responses to Third Draft

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  13. Wikipedia needs more visibility in this document–both editing and using to promote library resources.

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  18. Shelly Warwick says:

    While I like this version of the framework better than the others, I still this it is a bit too focused on being PC in addressing the marginalization of information from various groups in a number of the frames. I find it hard enough to teach the concept of authority within a scholarly context without also having to undermine it at the same time.

    I would like to see a rubric for each frame that shows the knowledge practices of a novice, intermediate and experts user. Or perhaps break it down my years of study, students within their first two years of study should be able to, student within there third-fourth year of study, students in master’s programs, students in doctoral. programs. While I realize that the bulk of institutions who would apply the framework would do so in an undergraduate context, there are those of us who find those skills still must be taught in the context of advanced degrees. Just as what is expected of students in terms of good writing changes as they advance through their education, so should the expectations for information literacy.

    Based on the proposed definition, information literacy is not something one acquires in a single library workshop, or even a course, but develops overtime through various experiences and (hopefully) with proper guidance. The Learning Behaviors and “Dispositions” should reflect that.

    Finally, I intensely dislike the use of of the word “dispositions” it sounds too much like a legal ruling – I would use “Mindset” or “Attitudes” or “Cognitive Approach”

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  22. I strongly disagree that the Standards should be ‘sunsetted.’ ‘Standards’ is a powerful and clear word. They set uniform performance goals that everyone can understand. Librarians and their institutions have successfully invested in these ideas and language, and it has been productive. We should not give up our right to set standards in our own discipline.

    Other academic groups (such as the National Council of Teachers of English) have adopted standards for their programs as well as additional materials that enhance and explain the complexities and applications. In our own profession, the AASL standards incorporate some philosophy and also co-exist with other related documents.

    The two documents, the Standards, and the Framework are both extremely valuable, yet not incompatible. The Standards clearly name the abilities that the ‘learner’ must demonstrate to achieve the standard. The Framework provides some of the theoretical underpinnings of information literacy. I suggest they might be merged into one document called Standards–with the Frameworks incorporated as introductory chapters (as AASL has done), or maintained as two documents, the Standards, and the Framework. With a little more work, we can bring these two documents in alignment to build on our core ideas, and enhance them with what we have learned over two decades of focused attention and research on information literacy instruction and assessment.

    Why would we toss out our gains? I disagree that the standards are too outdated to be revised. Our house may be aging a bit, but the structure is solid, and I don’t think we should demolish it and start new construction, just paint, update the appliances, and maybe put a solar panel on the roof to capture new energy.

    Davida Scharf

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