Meeting name

Lifelong Information Literacy Conference

Meeting location

Woodland Hills, California

Document Type


Publication Date



Evaluating information is fundamentally a matter of judging an information source according to its value. Current practice in library instruction is somewhat limited insofar as it equates the value of information with credibility or usefulness in a persuasive argument. Philosopher Richard Kraut proposes a theory of value that links a thing's goodness to its capacity to promote well-being. Applying this idea to information, I argue that information is most valuable when it disrupts our current ways of thinking and feeling and leads us to consider new possibilities. We need to incorporate this aspect of value into our current strategies for teaching students to evaluate information.

Given unlimited time and ideal collaboration with partners in K-12 and higher education, I would teach my undergraduates that the most important aspect of a source's value lies in its capacity to stimulate the researchers' growth intellectually, affectively, and socially. When teaching, it is easy to overlook this sense of information's value, particularly when one is engrossed in teaching criteria for assessing a source's credibility (e.g., the CRAAP Test) or discussing the ways that sources can contribute to a persuasive argument (e.g., Bizup's BEAM categories). A complete education in evaluating sources, one that reinforces the threshold concept that "research is inquiry," will deepen students' thinking about information's trustworthiness, its rhetorical usefulness, and its value as a catalyst for growth.

In this conceptual talk, I will briefly introduce Kraut's "developmentalist" account of value and apply it to information. I will also show how considerations of credibility and rhetorical strategy are not sufficient to promote "deep learning" in student research and writing. Finally, I will suggest goals for collaborative partnerships to provide an information literacy education that imparts skills for the persuasive use of information while also developing students' appreciation for information that stimulates lifelong learning.


Developmentalism; Information literacy; Information literacy--Study and teaching (Higher); Information resources--Evaluation


Library and Information Science


Conference held: August 8, 2016, Woodland Hills, California

Attached file: 15 slides, PDF format

Supplemental file is a 2-page PDF containing chart, assessment questions, and works cited.

lenkerliliinfogoodchart.pdf (234 kB)