Personal tools

Background to the Library Information Literacy Project

The project was designed around the SCONUL seven pillars of information literacy (Advisory Committee on Information Literacy., 1999)
Each of the seven pillars describes a skill that a user would progress through to become information literate.

  1. The ability to recognise a need for information
  2. The ability to distinguish ways in which the information ‘gap’ may be addressed
  3. The ability to construct strategies for locating information
  4. The ability to locate and access information
  5. The ability to compare and evaluate information obtained from different sources
    • awareness of bias and authority issues
    • awareness of  the peer review process of scholarly publishing
    • appropriate extraction of information matching the information need
  6. The ability to organise, apply and communicate information to others in ways appropriate to the situation
    • to cite bibliographic references in project reports and theses
    • to construct a personal bibliographic system
    • to apply information to the problem at hand
    • to communicate effectively using appropriate medium
    • to understand issues of copyright and plagiarism
  7. The ability to synthesise and build upon existing information, contributing to the creation of new knowledge

Research has shown that current tutorials cluster around the basic information literacy skills, finding and locating information rather than educating learners on the higher level skills of information literacy, such as evaluating, using and synthesising information (Hunn & Elliott, 2005). The Library took a different approach where content writing concentrated on the skills of evaluating and using information, the higher order SCONUL pillars. 

Further information about SCONUL and the work of the advisory committee on information literacy in the UK can be found on their website.

Project Content

Learning outcomes were mapped against each of the SCONUL seven skills and from these nine tutorials were developed. Each of these tutorials has a set of learning outcomes that are achieved by working through and completing the tutorial.

The project has been developed to include two layers of content. There is a light layer which is shown to the learner by using the minimum amount of interaction, so that key points are not hidden.  This content is an overview of information relevant to most learners and library users. It aims to encourage active library use and introduce students to the tutorial. The content in this layer covers enough depth to introduce the user to the skills needed to become information literate.

The main layer is found by clicking deeper into the tutorial content and aims to enable students to learn the relevant practical application of the effective identification, locating and use of information.  It aims to provide students with reusable lifelong learning transferable skills. This layer will enable the student to become information literate to a high level and contains detailed descriptions, explanations and directions, such that the user will be able to carry out tasks unaided in the future.

Learners can choose to go into each tutorial to the depth they believe appropriate, guided by the chapter learning objectives in the index at the beginning. Tutorial summaries offer key learning points and pull everything together at the end of the tutorial, with a bibliography and relevant weblinks.


Advisory Committee on Information Literacy. (1999). Information Skills in Higher Education. London: SCONUL. [Online]. Available at: Accessed 08.07.2009

Hunn, R.A.& Elliott. A.C. (2005). A practical review of online information literacy tutorials. LILAC 2005. Imperial College London, United Kingdom. 4th - 6th April. [Online]. Available at: Accessed: 08.07.2009

Hunn, R.A. & Elliott, A.C. (2005). A practical review of information literacy tutorials. ALISS Quarterly, 1, (1), pp 41-47