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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Thematic Debate on Information Literacy at UNESCO Headquarters

07-04-2005 (Paris)
A Thematic Debate on Information Literacy took place on 5 April 2005, during the 8th meeting of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP), at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The purpose of the debate was to identify the particular contribution that IFAP could make to give all people the opportunity to become information literate.
Experts and researchers in the field of information literacy addressed four key questions:

  • What is information literacy?

  • What are people’s needs?

  • What education programmes are needed to meet these needs?

  • What strategies and actions can UNESCO and IFAP implement?


  • The following conclusions emerged from the discussion by some 50 participants:

  • Information literacy is a concern to all sectors of society and should be tailored by each to meet its specific context;

  • Developing countries need to have a more proactive role in determining solutions most appropriate to their needs, as solutions for developed countries may be inappropriate;

  • Information literacy enables people to access information about their health, their environment, their education and work;

  • People require computer literacy in order to access digital information, which is increasingly a necessary pre-condition for information literacy in information societies;

  • There is a need to embed information literacy in the curriculum at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, as well as in the training for information professionals, including education and health care workers.


  • According the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), a UK based professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers, information literacy is “knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.”

    The proceedings of the debate with 10 papers presented by the participants will be soon available online on this website.
    Related themes/countries

          · Information and Media Literacy: News Archives 2005
          · IFAP: News Archives 2005
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