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Library Instruction Resources: The Framework and Library Instruction

About the Matrix


"Information literacy" can be defined in many ways. Here is one definition, from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL):

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

As librarians and faculty, we share in a collective responsibility to promote information literacy skills, and the ACRL Framework includes six frames that broadly articulate what information literate students should know.

These six concepts are themselves multifaceted and accommodate increasing levels of sophistication as assignments and student information needs grow more advanced over time.  

The matrix below represents one attempt to graduate core concepts from the Framework over time.  As a living working document, it will be subject to frequent update and reconsideration.

The ACRL Framework

The Matrix

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Author Authority

Avoids uncredited articles, such as uncredited web articles and anonymous social media posts. Evaluates author authority based on subject expertise and credentialing. Recognizes limitations of author authority; recognizes authority is contextual.

Publication Authority

Avoids wikipedia.  Looks for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and other warning signs of suspicious information. Understands the inherent authority of different information formats (popular, scholarly, trade).  Investigates specific journal titles for mission, areas of coverage, and article review process. Recognizes the wider information environment of their discipline (conference proceedings, organizational websites, media, etc.)

Information Bias

Recognizes the potential for information bias. Understands the role of viewpoint literature. Identifies arguments and argument premises in viewpoint literature.  Locates and includes multiple perspectives to avoid bias. Identifies misleading graphs, quotes, and statistics.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Publication Types

Recognizes a variety of publication types. Recognizes purposes of different publication types and selects sources accordingly. Recognizes discipline-focused publication types, important publishers and disciplinary sources of information.  Recognizes open access and material costs of academic publishing.  Open data/accessiblity of data.  

Peer Review

Recognizes peer review as an indicator of quality. Understands the process of peer review and recognizes how it increases the integrity of scholarly literature. Understands the parts of a scholarly article within their field of study.

Relevance of Information

Seeks out sources beyond simple web search results; uses appropriate types of sources for assignments; recognizes library resources as being more appropriate for college-level research-based assignments. Considers timeliness of information to research question; understands the publication schedule of different publication types; uses publication date limiters appropriately. Seeks out information in appropriate disciplinary databases and relevant core journals.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Monetary Value of Information

Understands value of academic publishing (costs, prestige, comparisons to other information types). Awareness of academic publishing ecosystem (journals, textbooks, limited access to research literature). Awareness of implications of academic publishing ecosystem implications (student as future author; limited access to academic literature after college).

Social Value of Information

Wikipedia's social value and its limitations. Seeks credible  Governmental websites; open access literature.

Professional Value of Information

  Incorporates organizational websites; professional blogs. Recognizes professional opportunities

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Ethical Use of Information

Understands the definition of plagiarism and how to avoid it. Makes use of library citation tools in the databases and discovery tools. Uses (as appropriate) citation management tools such as RefWorks.
  Understands role of keywords in basic searches. Searches interatively for information.  Synonyms and related terms. Searches iteratively; identifies controlled vocabulary and subject headings.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Citation and Plagiarism

Awareness of citation as a means to avoid plagiarism. Understands the role of citation and references in scholarly publishing. Uses citations and references to identify primary and undiscovered sources.

Citation in Scholarly Publishing

  Awareness of role of citation in the research process of researchers/scholars. Finds "cited by" citations for relevant articles and uses these to generate additional resources

Professional Publication

  Understands the relevance of the peer review process in academic publishing. Understands the role of academic publishing to the creation of knowledge within one's discipline.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Search Tools

Uses discovery tool to locate relevant information. Uses discovery tool and databases to locate relevant information. Uses advanced search tools in disciplinary databases to locate relevant information.

Search Terms

Uses keywords to locate relevant information. Uses keywords, synonyms, and related terms to locate relevant information. Uses subject headings and controlled vocabulary to locate relevant information.

Boolean Logic

Awareness of Boolean logic (AND). Uses Boolean logic effectively (AND, OR, NOT). Uses Boolean logic nesting when appropriate.

Library Services

Understands how to get help from a librarian; understands how to check out books and equipment. Awareness of Interlibrary loan, consultation service,   
Limiters Awareness of discovery tool limiters for major format types. Uses format and publication date limiters in discovery tool and databases