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University of Notre Dame

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Information has value

Information has value


Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.

The value of information is manifested in various contexts, including publishing practices, information access, the commodification of personal information, and intellectual property laws. The novice learner may struggle to understand the diverse values of information in an environment where “free” information and related services are plentiful and the concept of intellectual property is first encountered through rules of citation or warnings about plagiarism and copyright law. As creators and users of information, experts understand their rights and responsibilities when participating in a community of scholarship. Experts understand that value may be wielded by powerful interests in ways that marginalize certain voices. However, value may be leveraged by individuals and organizations to effect change and may be leveraged for civic, economic, social, or personal gains. Experts also understand the individual is responsible for making deliberate and informed choices about when to comply with and when to contest current legal and socioeconomic practices concerning the value of information.

Learners who are developing their information literate abilities do the following:

  • Give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation
  • Understand that intellectual property is a legal and social construct that varies by culture
  • Articulate the purpose and distinguishing characteristics of copyright, fair use, open access, and the public domain
  • Understand how and why some individuals or groups of individuals may be underrepresented or systematically marginalized within the systems that produce and disseminate information
  • Recognize issues of access or lack of access to information sources
  • Decide where and how their information is published
  • Understand how the commodification of their personal information and online interactions affects the information they receive and the information they produce or disseminate online
  • Make informed choices regarding their online actions in full awareness of issues related to privacy and the commodification of personal information

Learners who are developing their information literate abilities do the following:

  • Respect the original ideas of others
  • Value the skills, time, and effort needed to produce knowledge
  • See themselves as contributors to the information marketplace rather than only consumers of it
  • Are inclined to examine their own information privilege
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