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Information literacy in higher education: a review and case study

Johnston, B. and Webber, S. (2003) Information literacy in higher education: a review and case study. Studies in Higher Education, 28 (3). 335-352(18). ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to review and critique the current state of information literacy education, and propose a way forward. Key developments in the UK, USA and Australia are reviewed, including standards and models of information literacy. The place of information literacy in the higher education curriculum is discussed. Problems with current practice are identified, in particular, prescriptive guidelines which encourage a surface learning approach; delivery by librarians who may lack both educational training and power to influence the curriculum; and poor assessment methods. Alternative approaches are highlighted. A case study of a credit bearing information literacy class, offered by the authors to undergraduates at Strathclyde Business School, is analysed, to argue that information literacy can stand alone as a subject of study, with appropriate learning and teaching methods. The article concludes by proposing models for the information literate student and the information literate university.