Information Literacy Models

Information literacy (IL) is a foundational and fundamental competence and capability for being successful in the complex and changing information landscape (Wocke, 2018). From this definition, that I posted earlier on this blog, it is clear that IL is a description of competence in information handling skills. Information specialists, such as teacher librarians (TL), have long implemented IL models with which to scaffold the development of IL skills.

From Lamb’s (2001) schematic comparison of IL models, to Lupton’s (2012)more recent comparison (see right) and Laferla’s presentation (see below) as well as many similar sources on the Web, it is clear that these models describe the same basic process. Although there are individual differences, these models seem to share a common range of steps: “seeking/gathering, selecting, evaluating, analysing, organising and presenting information” (Lupton, 2012). Non-essential differences exist between the models, mostly reflecting the preference, experience or emphasis of their specific creators. TLs and librarians can choose IL models that suit their personal philosophy, as well as the curriculum and culture of their schools.

Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) is especially appealing to me because it places the learner in the center, in that it describes the feelings, thoughts and actions of the learner during the information seeking process. This approach aligns best with the Approaches to Teaching and Learning (IBO, 2014)and the Learner Profile (IBO, 2013)that the International Baccalaureate, whose programs our school deliver, prescribes. In recent years Kuhlthau, Maniotis and Caspari (2015) improved on the ISP by adapting it for the inquiry-based approach to learning, which they named Guided Inquiry (see my next blog post: YES to Guided Inquiry).


International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2013). Learner profile. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2014). Approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from

Kuhlthau, C. C. (n.d.). Information search process. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from Rutgers School of Information and Communication website:

Information Search Process

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2015). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited,
an imprint of ABC-CLIO.

Laferla, C. (2011, October 2). Information literacy standards & models. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from

Lamb, A. (2001, May). Information and communication literacy model comparison [PDF]. Retrieved from

Lupton, M. (2012, August 22). [Comparison of information literacy models by Mandy Lupton]. Retrieved from

Lupton, M. (2012, August 22). Inquiry learning & information literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from Inquiry learning website:
What is inquiry learning?

Wocke, G. (2018, April 26). Information literacy: A commentary [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:


Wocke, G. (2018, April 30). YES to Guided Inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

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