Information Literacy Framework - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Information Literacy Framework

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Kofi Annan Secretary-General of the United Nations 1997 - 2006.

Scope, description and purpose of Framework
Information Literacy defined

We cannot learn without using information. (Bruce 2008, p.111) Information literacy skills include the ability to find, evaluate, store and manage information; to reuse it to create new knowledge or solve problems; and to understand that information exists within social, ethical, cultural and legal contexts.

Information literacy empowers citizens to participate in democratic processes, enables the progress of research and gives our students skills that help them succeed at university.

Information Literacy in Context

Information literacy is a skill for lifelong learning. Information Literacy is identified as a USC graduate generic skill linked to professional competencies giving USC graduates skills which extend into all areas of life.

The need to acquire skills to translate information into knowledge is relevant to all disciplines and should develop year by year as students progress through their study.

Employers seek graduates who have the skills to locate, organise, evaluate and critically analyse information from multiple sources.

Higher degree and postgraduate research students need a set of foundation information literacy skills which can be developed and applied to provide quality research outcomes. Information literacy is closely aligned with the skills required for effective and efficient research, including strategic searching, critical thinking and the use and management of evidence and raw data.

The Information literacy framework

This framework identifies opportunities for academic staff and the Library to work together in developing information literacy learning opportunities for their students.

The framework

  • Supports USC’s strategic priorities
  • Contributes to USC Graduate Outcomes
  • Provides teaching staff with a direction for developing information literacy skills in their students
  • Identifies skills which are desirable assets for students’ future employment
Strategic underpinnings

This USC framework is based on frameworks developed by Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy and the American Association of College and Research Libraries. Together, they define a context for information itself and the skills required for the use of that information.

The six concepts for considering information are:

  • Authority is constructed and contextual
  • Information creation as a process
  • Information has value
  • Research as inquiry
  • Scholarship as conversation
  • Searching as strategic exploration

The skills, behaviours and understandings that contribute to information literacy are:

  • The ability to understand that information is diverse
  • The ability to search for information effectively
  • The ability to evaluate what is found
  • The ability to manage what is found
  • The ability to reuse that information
  • Recognising that information exists in a social context, and is affected by legal, ethical, economic and social factors
Goals and outcomes

By offering avenues for collaborative development of information literacy skills, the Library aims to

  • Ensure that all USC students have the opportunity to develop information literacy competencies
  • Ensure that teaching staff have access to the skills and support to embed information literacy skills in their courses
  • Position the library team as a focus of expertise in information literacy
The Library will take a leadership role to:
  • Facilitate collaborative teaching and learning practice where library and teaching staff work together to ensure the best possible information competency outcomes for students
  • Provide opportunities for USC students to independently increase their information literacy skills
  • Develop a framework of action so information literacy skills can develop progressively through the span of learning from pre-course through to postgraduate
  • Promote information literacy as a skill which is intentionally taught and systematically extended
  • Support USC teaching and academic staff seeking to information literacy skills development into their teaching activities
  • Create resources for academic and teaching staff to develop their understanding of information literacy
Strategy deliverables
  • Engagement with academic staff to integrate information literacy skills into programs and courses which are new or are being redesigned
  • Training, either online or face-to-face, for students
  • Collaboration with academic staff to develop scaffolded development of information literacy within programs
  • Liaison with C-Salt to increase university-wide understanding of information literacy
  • Help, support and training for academic staff seeking to increase their own information literacy skills and knowledge
  • Delivery of information literacy training in sessions devised in collaboration with academic staff
  • Promotion of information literacy as a key employability, graduate and postgraduate skill
Alignment with USC Priorities:

This framework aligns with and supports:

The USC Learning and Teaching Academic Policy
The USC Blended Learning Strategy 2017 - 2020

Specifically, this framework supports USC’s Strategic Imperative 1: The University will increase student enrolments and improve student success, specifically Priority 3: Focus on initiatives and support to enhance student engagement and maximise student success.

This Information Literacy Framework is underpinned by USC's commitment to excellence in teaching and to providing a high quality student experience by: 

  • Supporting teaching staff to enable USC students to become skilled and confident information users
  • Enabling students to increase their information literacy individually through
  • Providing online and face-to-face support for students working with information, to enable the best possible learning outcome for the individual

The Library will:

  • Promote information literacy as a lifelong learning skill valued by employers
  • Work with teaching and learning staff to map the development of information literacy skills within programs
  • Encourage the development of quality assessment items which develop information literacy in students
  • Assist teaching staff to develop students’ information literacy behaviours which are specific to their discipline


Bruce, C. (2008). Informed learning. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Implementation of the Information Literacy Framework

Information literacy is a component of learning and teaching, and the primary responsibility for teaching students about information lies with teaching staff. Library staff can assist and support teaching staff seeking to increase the information literacy of their students.

Objective Opportunity Responsibility Practice example Outcomes/skills
Support for academic staff seeking to integrate information literacy into teaching

Assessment items designed to intentionally develop and assess information literacy skills

Explicit discussion of information literacy skills in class

Development of information literacy and research skills throughout a program

Library/teacher collaboration

Teaching staff

Library/teacher collaboration

 simple annotated bibliographies

scholarly/peer review/academic publication

finding scholarly articles in first year to creating a conference poster in advanced courses

Search and evaluation skills

Critical thinking and evaluation. Development of scholarly practice

Application of understanding


Liaison with C~SALT to ensure information literacy skills are included in the development of courses and programs

 Map the development of information literacy from first year through to graduation and beyond

Identify opportunities to advance information literacy skills in assessments

Ensure the skills to search for, evaluate and synthesise information are retained in the online environment


C~SALT/Course coordinator

C~SALT/Course coordinator


 Map skills development at both course and program levels

Apply tools such as the Information Literacy Framework and the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education to USC courses

Encourage searching for, rather than linking to material

provide relevant, engaging learning activities and explicit help opportunities

 Identify learning and teaching opportunities in existing courses, and as courses are reviewed

Skills development is implicit in the learning process

Online learning includes a range of skills, inluding information discovery


Within courses, increase students’ skills in search and evaluation of information

 In collaboration with teaching staff, develop and deliver tutorials and classes  Library  

“point of need” support is available online or face to face

Work alongside teaching staff in targeted skills development classes specifically associated with an assessment item

Participate in lectures and tutorials where an information literacy component has been identified

 Students have the tools to become independent information seekers

Using information is an intrinsic component of university learning and teaching

Library and teaching staff develop a shared understanding of disciplinary information environments


Provide resources for both students and teaching staff to develop information skills and knowledge

 Develop multimodal help options, such as print, online, video to meet various learning preferences  Library  Subject guides, How-to guides and contextualised help options for linking or embedding in Blackboard courses  Support is available in multiple formats, not context or location specific