Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011

Peer Reviewed



A survey of college level information literacy textbooks and instructional materials reveals a focus on context specific, skills-based lessons that introduce students to library-based, academic research. While this narrow focus can promote success within an academic context, it does not prepare students with transferrable skills. It fails to equip them with flexible concepts and definitions applicable to new media technologies and inventions (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, web development tools, etc.) and to many of students’ future professional activities and environments.

Through pedagogical inquiry and an analysis of information theory literature, a conceptual framework was developed that provides students a learning model that supports development of college specific information literacy skills, while also providing a framework for investigating the social construction and dynamics of information use in various information environments. Combining theories of information seeking (Dervin 2003 & Chatman 1996, 2001), information behavior modeling (Wilson 1999), situated learning (Lave and Wenger 1991), and the concept of semiotic domains (Gee 2003), this framework defines and situates concepts of ‘information resources,’ ‘information technologies,’ ‘information assumptions and beliefs,’ and ‘information actors and agents’ within socially constructed ‘information environments.’

Situating these concepts within an information environment prompts students to investigate the social construction of information resources, and encourages them to ask critical questions regarding structural constraints on information use and production. Understanding information use environments as socially constructed and using the concepts included in this framework, students can understand information use situationally, both within and without the college environment.


information literacy, information literacy instruction, pedagogy, conceptual framework, information environments


Copyright © 2011 Katie DeVries Hassman

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Creative Commons License
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