Skip to Main Content

Information Competency

What is Information Competency

Information Competency

What's in a Name?

Information Competency is frequently referred to as Information Literacy. Although there may be theoretical discussions over the conceptual distinctions between these terms, in practice, they are treated as synonyms and often used interchangeably.


  • Information Competency - California Community Colleges
  • Information Literacy - University of California and Association of College & Research Libraries

Definition of Information Competency:
Adopted Spring 1998 by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC):

Information Competency is the ability to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in all its various formats. It combines aspects of library literacy, research methods and technological literacy. Information competency includes consideration of the ethical and legal implications of information and requires the application of both critical thinking and communication skills.

Key Components:
Students must be able to demonstrate the following skills in an integrated process:

  • State a research question, problem, or issue.
  • Determine information requirements in various disciplines for the research questions, problems, or issues.
  • Use information technology tools to locate and retrieve relevant information.
  • Organize information.
  • Analyze and evaluate information.
  • Communicate using a variety of information technologies.
  • Understand the ethical and legal issues surrounding information and information technology.
  • Apply the skills gained in information competency to enable lifelong learning.1

Definition of Information Literacy:
Published in February 2015 by the Board of Directors of the Association of College & 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.

These six frames are presented alphabetically and do not suggest a particular sequence in which they must be learned.

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual.
  • Information Creation as a Process.
  • Information Has Value.
  • Research as Inquiry.
  • Scholarship as Conversation.
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration.2


      1  Information Competency in the California Community Colleges. Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 1998, 

      2  Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015,

Contact Us:
Library (323) 953-4000 ext: 2400 * Reference (323) 953-4000 ext: 2406 * Circulation/Periodicals (323) 953-4000 ext: 2395