Information Literacy — How to spread it about

Getting the importance of information literacy recognised by everyone with a stake in higher education research: that is the aim of a new initiative that brings together different partners from the academic world. The Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition (RIDLs) has been set up to promote the value of information and digital literacies for academic researchers; and to enable activities which help to advance relevant knowledge, understanding and skills. 

Information Literacy — How to spread it about

The ability of academic researchers to discover, handle, use and manage research information and data, in its increasingly numerous, complex and diversified forms, is of vital importance. The way that researchers at all stages in their careers develop appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills, the support they receive, the training opportunities provided for them, and the take-up of such opportunities are highly pertinent to the research process.

Many professional groups have an interest in this agenda, including librarians, trainers, graduate school managers, data managers, information scientists, research managers and researchers themselves. However, although these different constituencies provide their own valuable approaches, they do not always do so across professional boundaries. There is much value to be derived from improved interaction between the different groups, in the interest of a more cohesive and rounded view of the challenges to be addressed.

Such is the rationale for the setting up of RIDLs: a loose coalition of partners working together to capitalise on the distinctive perspectives and outlooks of these different players. RIDLs was established in June 2012 under the chairmanship of Professor Pam Denicolo (Universities of Surrey and Reading).

This initiative is being made possible through the provision of a grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which is has been secured for a year to ascertain whether the advancement of such a coalition represents a useful and viable proposition for the future. The funding will be used to support a number of discrete activities:

• establishing RIDLs and endowing it with mechanisms which enable it to function as a collaborative venture;
• setting out, testing and disseminating criteria that can be used to describe and review training courses and other interventions in the area of information literacy;
• identifying and promoting good practice in information literacy training;
• supporting the use of the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and the Seven Pillars of Information Literacy as instruments for promoting the centrality of information literacy in a higher education setting;
• supporting small-scale pathfinder research projects to advance the evidence base in this area;
• developing links with relevant information literacy projects and initiatives in other countries, in order to share good practice and identify possible opportunities for international joint working.

The partnership approach is crucially important; the different bodies that are currently associated with the initiative include library representative organisations (SCONULRLUKCILIP and the Special Libaries Association), as well as BAILER, the British Library, the Digital Curation Centre, the Higher Education AcademyJISCJorum, the UK Council for Graduate Education and Vitae

Details about the initiative, including regular updates on progress, can be found at

For further information, please contact Stéphane Goldstein at the Research Information Network:

For more information please visit