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Information Fluency Resources

A starting point for students and instructors seeking evidence based advice on research, being an alert consumer of information, and other literacies of the information age.

What is this page?

"Slide 10: Alice Burgess - Web2.0 & Information Literacy" by moonflowerdragon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Depending on how you arrived at this page, you may have found there are many guides covering various aspects of information fluency, information literacy, fake news, research skills and other topics that fall under a broader (Description) Literacy category. This guide is intended to act as a sign post to explain some basic concepts and then direct readers to the resource that best fits their needs.

What is Information Fluency?

Information literacy, media literacy, meta literacy and other literacies are often used as synonyms for information fluency. For those who prefer one term over another, there are some subtle implied differences but there's substantial overlap.

Each "literacy" or "fluency" is an attempt to label the particular skills, attitudes, practices, knowledges, and concepts that a person has or uses when they are effective at finding, understanding, and using information.

Why Information Fluency?

Most SCF created material will favor the term information fluency. The nuance between information literacy and information fluency is that literacy is often assumed to be a narrower set of skills. A literate person reads and comprehends. A fluent person goes beyond this and can apply what they learn to their own lives as well as create original, thoughtful content of their own.

Although the term information fluency is preferred at SCF, much of the broader academic community uses information literacy and references to information literacy in SCF library pages should generally be assumed to mean the same thing as information fluency unless otherwise stated.

What information fluency is not:

A guaranteed way to always win arguments and never get fooled. 

An information fluent person is not immune to falling for disinformation or making a mistake.

An information fluent person is conscious of this and adopts various practices that make it less likely they will fall for low quality information or spread it. Students: this is often the intent behind the rules that you follow when given an assignment that requires extensive use of scholarly information and proper citation.

Further reading: The skills and competencies of information literacy.

What is the library's role in information fluency?

We work with faculty to plan things like library instruction visits to teach students how to access library resources and to provide some tips on how to be effective at finding information.

We also seek to collaborate with faculty to acquire the best materials for their subject areas so that the resources we have for students are more current and of high quality.

We work with students to answer their questions about research activities both in terms of "how to" like how to use a database or how to format citations.

We also help students with fluency skills like picking topics, search strategies, and exploring the "why" questions as in "why do we do it like this?" "Why?" questions help students better understand the reasoning behind seeking out scholarly sources, following style guides, and citing sources.

Further reading: Our Information Fluency mission statement and strategic plan.