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Information literacy on Facebook: an analysis

Donna Witek (Weinberg Memorial Library, The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA)
Teresa Grettano (Department of English and Theatre, The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 11 May 2012



This analysis, being part one of a two‐part study, aims to illustrate the attitudes and patterns users are being habituated to through the functionality of Facebook, relate them to information literate practices and behaviors, and speculate their application to information literacy instruction within an academic context. It also aims to lay the groundwork for part two, which is to be reported on in a later issue of this journal.


For this first part of the study, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education have been aligned with common behaviors on Facebook, examining each standard, performance indicator, and outcome for possible parallels in common Facebook tools and behaviors. These behaviors have then been connected to the process of conducting research in an academic context.


Three Facebook functions – Feeds, Share, and Comment – emerged as the primary means by which information literate practices and behaviors are developed and exhibited on Facebook. In addition, information literacy in the age of social media requires a “meta‐literacy”: a critical awareness of why we do what we do with information.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis (part one) presents the conceptual framework on which the data collection portion of the study (part two) is based. In doing so, it lays the groundwork for a reexamination of what it means to be information literate in light of social media practices and behaviors.


This paper is valuable to information literacy instructors and researchers because it offers the first extended analysis that deliberately reads Facebook through the lens of the ACRL Standards.



Witek, D. and Grettano, T. (2012), "Information literacy on Facebook: an analysis", Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 242-257.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited