The 5 W of Information Literacy

Information Literacy is a set of skills which helps people in all walks of life - studying, working and even when listening to news or reading something on social media. It is the ability to use information effectively. It's very important to avoid fake news and information overload to be able to make balanced judgments about any information we find anywhere. You can find out more about Information Literacy and participate in free courses on the UNESCO website.

The amount of information produced every day has led to information overload and misinformation – it is increasingly difficult to find the information needed. Information literacy skills provide the tools for us to become truly independent learners. 

If you are presented with an idea or an issue, you can research the library to find more information about it. Then you should criticise each resource using the 5 WsThe 5 Ws are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.

We need to be able to work out what trust we can place on the information. Information literacy skills can help us identify when and how people are aiming to persuade or influence us. By reflecting on information, we can make better decisions that can affect our lives.

Our librarians can help you find the resources you need for your assignment and advice you on the relevancy of each resource.

5 Ws of Information Literacy

The 5Ws of Information Literacy may help you choose the right information for your needs. For each resource you find, you should ask:

Who: Who wrote it? Who is the intended audience? Who is it about?

When: When was it produced? When is it applicable? When did the events or research occur?

What: What is it? What is it about? What are the main ideas?

Where: Where did you find the information? Where did the idea come from? Where can you check its details?

Why: Why is it important? Why was this written? Why does the author have these views?

Have you heard of the Pacific Northwestern Tree Octopus?

A northwestern pacific tree octopus found in a treeVisit the website about the Pacific Northwestern Octopus and apply the 5Ws to it. Do you think it is endangered? If you do, now is a good idea to watch the video below by Kevin Arms. 

TEDx Talks - Information Literacy

Kevin Arms, a full-time librarian and archivist at Lake-Sumter State College, Florida, tackles the information literacy crisis and explores possible ways to combat it. This is an excellent video showing examples of fake news and disinformation. It highlights why Information Literacy is important and how you should evaluate information.