Issued by Gruppo di studio nazionale AIB sulla Information Literacy (AIB: Italian Library Association; GLIT: AIB National Study Group – Information Literacy) 20th November 2016 after an open consultation: AIB wiki platform 15th October-18th November.
Adopted by Comitato Esecutivo Nazionale AIB (CEN: AIB National Executive Committee) 12th December 2016.

Translated by Maria Spanovangelis with the collaboration of Helen Patapiou and Teresa Marchesini for the GLIT Group.

Italian version

  1. Purpose of this Manifesto: towards a specialists’ community about open, inclusive and easy information
  2. He who has no memory, has no future
  3. Definitions
  4. Information Literacy as part of a broader spectrum
  5. Information Literacy against functional illiteracy
  6. Illustrating Information Literacy within a complex information system
  7. Manifesto as an open document but not compulsory
  8. The role of libraries
  9. What can be done
  10. From advocacy towards an active partnership: opening up to widespread communities of information workers
  11. Information Literacy initiatives: focus, contents, primary recipients and objectives
  12. Purpose of this Manifesto: towards a specialists’ community about open, inclusive and easy information

The library community encompasses professionals with specific expertise. However, it is part of a broader community that also includes information workers such as archivists, museum operators, educators, and information specialists who are self-employed or employed in the public or private sectors, for-profit and non-profit alike. This manifesto addresses all these professional workers with the aim of encouraging conversations on best practices, fostering specific projects, opening up debates, and sharing perspectives, experiences, and activities. Information literacy is a fundamental human right1. Information literacy, as both an activity and a service, underpins the actions of Italian libraries in information selection, consultation, and education.

2. He who has no memory, has no future

AIB, the Italian librarians’ professional association, promotes discussions about information rights and services as the core of libraries’ activity according to Tesi di Viareggio (Viareggio Thesis) in 1987. The theoretical and operative framework produced initiatives such as DFP collections (Online Documentation of public sources) and Segnaweb.
Supporting Information Literacy initiatives has been one of the association’s basic activities through professional training, setting up a specific study group and an in-house delegate in an IFLA section (IL Section).
The ubiquitous and massive use of the Internet, social networks, and platforms producing collaborative content means information discontinuity and requires further consideration.

3. Definitions

UNESCO/IFLA definition of Media Information Literacy taken by IFLA Governing Board, at meeting The Hague (Nederland), on 7th December 2011 2

Media and Information Literacy is made up of the knowledge, the attitudes, and the sum of the skills needed to know when and what information is needed, where and how to obtain that information, how to evaluate it critically and organize it once it is found and how to use it in an ethical way. The concept extends beyond communication and information technologies to encompass learning, critical thinking, and interpretative skills across and beyond professional and educational boundaries. Media and Information Literacy includes all types of information resources: oral, print, and digital”.
Guide Lines by Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID)3 (Digital Italy Agency) provides this definition of Information Literacy:
… set of abilities, competencies, knowledge, and attitudes leading people to mature through time during one’s life, a complex and diversified connection with informative sources: documents and their information. Everyone has to understand this information, irrelevant of the way the information is spread. The final objective must be to create new knowledge for oneself and other people and to be critical of that information. In sum, Information Literacy previews the skill to identify one’s information needs, search, evaluate, and knowingly use of information to create new knowledge”.
AIB National Study Group about Information Literacy recognizes that we need to reflect and share a functional and easy definition that could complement IFLA and AGID and reflect Italian and European peculiarities.

4. Information Literacy as part of a wider spectrum

We recognize that information literacy is a component of a wider spectrum including literacy (competencies) and it is necessary  “to exercise one’s civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights; to gain and apply new competencies, to increase one’s level of culture and identity, to take part in the process of decisions and in the life of a dynamic and active society” 4
Different forms of literacy require a comprehensive and adaptable comprehension of the cognitive context and our informative environment.
Inside that spectrum,  we consider not only IL but also: Digital literacy5, Media Literacy, Transliteracy6, Metaliteracy7, Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, Financial Literacy, Functional Literacy…

5. Information Literacy against functional illiteracy

According to OCDE8, there are “key information-processing competencies” related to individuals’ interests, attitudes, and skills to use the sociocultural tools appropriately; among those tools, there are digital technology and mass media, fit to access, manage, integrate, and evaluate information, to create new knowledge and communicate with people,  in order to participate more effectively in social life9.
The inability or ineffectiveness in utilizing effectively those basic competencies produce functional illiteracy i.e. inability to process and understand information critically.”
Information competencies play a major role in our lives and are pivotal in everyday life influencing health, political awareness, and active and well-informed involvement in public life.
According to recent research, see OCDE10, Italian adults’ linguistic and mathematical competencies are among the lowest in the OCDE countries.
Initiatives of Information Literacy oppose informative illiteracy and contribute to reducing functional illiteracy in its different dimensions and contexts. Information Literacy initiatives counteract information illiteracy.”

6. Framing Information Literacy within a complex information system

IL projects and activities are supposed to take care of the complexity of the informative ecosystem, especially the following ones (not complete):
– Information as a good
Produced and exchanged information is part of the chain of value, either as a product offered to individuals or organizations by big producers and aggregators of data and documents, either as disaggregated information we deliver, on the Net and social networks.
– Information granularity
The informative ecosystem is the whole of contents, data, and information all around us that attract our attention in a granular way because they are cut off from their context.
The informative ecosystem is made up of data and information all around us, attracting our attention in a granular way as it is separated from the context.
Awareness in approaching information enables one to identify the paratext and recreate the produced information.
– Many players on the field
We enumerate the participants in the information field without strict categorization; they are many with different interests and perspectives on a complex global scale: authors (individuals, private or public institutions, international organizations, public authorities), publishers, big producers and aggregators of contents (Amazon, Apple); disintermediation platforms (search engines: Google, Bing); social platforms to share and produce for-profit content (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…) and non-profit (Wikipedia, HatiTrust, Internet Archive), consumers (individuals or organizations), librarians and all information workers in general.
According to the situation, every subject can be a different “player in the field”.
– Authority is contextual
Authority is an “outcome of a construction” simply because various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information necessity may help to determine the level of authority required11
– Information Literacy is a skill that can be used to participate in a discussion and construct new knowledge actively, conscientiously, expertly, and in an informed way.
Information literacy entails the ability to not only search for and utilize necessary information but also to recognize information sources
From that point of view, the quality of the information ecosystem depends on the responsibility and individual behaviour that one chooses when one creates content and places it in a digital context.
– Pluralities of contexts and modularity of Information Literacy
Informative competencies in searching, gaining and managing information and producing content conscientiously are plural and specific according to the contexts and the fields within which we use them: daily routine, school, education, public authorities, academies, and jobs. This document takes account of the pluralities and peculiarities of Information literacy contents and at the same time encourages professional communities to produce and share more specific documents.

7. Manifesto as an open document but not compulsory

This document suggests various options and opportunities to formulate and plan activities for training awareness focused on Information Literacy. For this reason, it can be used as a kit as the basis for an expanding catalogue of activities and working proposals – not as a list of compulsory competencies to be taught.
This document is not intended to be compulsory and goes beyond behaviourist perspectives developing only competencies and information skills as it was in previous models.
8. The role of libraries
All the various libraries (public, school, academic, national and local government …) enable access to information and knowledge, improving and empowering the communities they serve. Libraries can also create, verify, and disseminate information.
For this reason, libraries provide the most natural home for Information Literacy activities and best practices. They can promote a compelling culture of information literacy and activities, spreading awareness of the equilibrium of the informative ecosystem in which we take part, starting from their collections, librarians’ specific competencies and the needs of the communities they serve.

9. What can be done

In this section, we propose some themes/focus to be used as Information Literacy initiatives that are not only training courses but also many other activities:

• Open access tutorials released with open licenses;
• Formative blended activities;
• Focus groups, seminars, laboratories, and talks;
• Meetings, public debates, and conferences with experts;
• Promotion activities such as documents presentation

10. From advocacy towards active partnerships: opening up to widespread communities of information workers
Librarians can add to the IL advocacy activities, creating and co-designing IL activities that are consistent with the targets of the actions and context of intervention in addition to continuing partnerships with:
● AGID (Agency for Digital Italy)
● Commission “Libraries and teaching” of the Library Commission of CRUI
● AIB DFP Documentation from public sources
● MAB (coordination Museums – Archives – Libraries)

IL national workgroup asks librarians to create networks and make local and decentralised alliances with external organisations such as:
● Schools and school districts
● Job centres
● European Documentation Centres and InfoDirect
● Informal organisations as co-working or sharing economy places that are training-oriented and interested in creating knowledge
● Spin-offs
● Publishers
● Foundations and non-profit organizations devoted to cultural and social promotion
● Third-sector associations devoted to cultural and social promotion with an operational focus consistent with the objectives of Information literacy initiatives
● Companies with operational focus consistent with the objectives of Information literacy initiatives
● Structures of your institution operating directly or indirectly in the field of Information literacy
● Editorial staff, professional groups and associations (see COLAP)
Within the academic sphere:
● Job advisory boards
● Curricula committees and joint committees
● Departments
● Areas of Teaching
● Tutoring offices

11. Information Literacy initiatives: focus, contents, primary recipients and objectives
The suggested topics are neither exhaustive nor mandatory and can be broken down into sub-topics, blended, and set up as wider macro-themes.
We indicate the most suitable subjects (not exclusive) for each topic.
The following schemes are suggestions for relevant initiatives within IL framework.
The specific objectives of each theme, in line with the premise of this Manifesto, do not merely refer to the development of competencies and information skills but to the enhancement of awareness of characteristics of the informative ecosystem in order to develop a critical sensibility and create new knowledge.
Topics are listed randomly and in a non-structured order.
Topic: the modern informative ecosystem. Players and stakes
Suggested contents: the big information dealer; information and value chain; the players; the stakes: privacy and copyright in a globalized context
Preferential targets: the same for all topics but with different levels of complexity of the dissertation
Objectives of initiatives: to improve the awareness of information scenarios and perspectives in a globalized context.

TOPIC: expressing oneself on the net ethically and correctly
Suggested contents: basic functioning of social networks; how we sign in (privacy: see also the topic “be aware how you manage personal information online”; how we report our general and scientific findings, how we interact with other people, how to improve the quality of our presence on the net
Preferential targets: all, with a different approach depending on the target
Objectives of initiatives: to improve the awareness of ethical and proper use of social media, to recognize that social media are different and can be used in different contexts; to manage a presence on the net safely; to be able to identify, prevent and reduce the impact of cyberbullying and hate speech.
TOPIC: managing personal online identity and information properly (i. e. digital footprint)
Suggested contents: managing personal online identity as well as the respect of that of others; personal and others’ privacy in the digital environment; personal data and sensitive data; how we sign in on social media, what contents we share, and how
Preferential targets: all, with a different approach depending on the target
Objectives of initiatives: everybody creates a “digital footprint” when working online and taking part in social conversations. The objective of the initiatives is to improve awareness about all the contents related to managing personal online identity as well as respecting others’ identity; personal and others’ privacy in the digital environment.
TOPIC: using search engines for information and research
Suggested contents: how search engines work, bias in given results, critical analysis of results and search strategies
Preferential targets: all (with different levels of complexity of dissertation)
Objectives of initiatives: improving the awareness of the potentiality and limits of search engines as a source of information.
TOPIC: using Wikipedia for information and research
Suggested contents: history and function of Wikipedia, bias in given results, opportunity to improve the contents of the encyclopaedia or to create new ones, unbiased view, open licenses, fact-checking and accuracy of information. How to quote Wikipedia.
Preferential targets: all (with different levels of complexity of dissertation)
Objectives of initiatives: improving awareness of the potentiality and limits of Wikipedia as a source of information, promoting the active use of the tool through improving each Wikipedia entry and positive interaction with the editors’ community.
TOPIC: using open sources for information and research
Suggested contents: Google Books: limits and potentiality; Internet Archive, Progetto Gutemberg, institutional and disciplinary open archives, public source documentation, Opac, Open editorial content (Treccani, Europeana, Internet Culturale …)
Preferential targets: young people, high school and university students
Objectives of initiatives: increasing understanding of accurate information for free on the Internet. Favour and facilitate their use.
TOPIC: using specialized sources for information and research
Suggested contents: databases and highly specialized documentary sources that are open or closed (see also the theme “to identify information sources that are relevant to one’s disciplinary field”). Using alerting services of various RMS, of social media that are appropriate for an upgrade.
Preferential targets: university students, professionals
Objectives of initiatives: to improve the knowledge and the use of the open or closed documentary sources that have been subscribed to on a corporate basis. To write and show a productive and exhaustive literature review on a given theme.
TOPIC: to evaluate information critically
Suggested contents: contextualization of documentary sources, sources evaluation criteria, evaluation of the authority based on one’s information needs, Fact-checking techniques.
Preferential targets: all (with different levels of complexity of dissertation)
Objectives of initiatives: improving awareness of information quality and appropriateness based on one’s needs, using quality criteria properly to evaluate information from every source, and defining authority and bias. Focus on the most relevant information among different information sources. To be aware, to detect, and recognize signs of falsity on the Internet (fake news, factoid information, manipulation).
TOPIC: to use information ethically
Suggested contents: the value of information and the proper recognition of people’s intellectual works, different types of copyright, appropriate techniques to quote, avoid plagiarism, use of automatic evaluation tools (anti-plagiarism software), protecting one’s contents properly.
Preferential targets: young people, high school and university students
Objectives of initiatives: to improve awareness of respecting copyright, to quote and promote others’ work properly, to use proper licenses to publicize and promote one’s work (i.e. CC licenses), to recognize and avoid plagiarism.
TOPIC: to mitigate and handle “information overload”
Suggested contents: tools and techniques to filter, aggregate, organize, archive and manage the online flow of information. Bookmarking (tools and platforms to save web pages); distinguishing between different systems of information management of social bookmarking tools; digital archiving systems effective for individual work.
Preferential targets: high school and university students
Objectives of initiatives: being aware that exposure to the informative infosphere can cause overload, that is to be overwhelmed by too much information with consequent worsening of skills to select contents effectively. To improve the awareness of the techniques to avoid and manage overload through the proper use of filters and archiving modalities.
TOPIC: document search as a structured survey
Suggested contents: techniques of document search and information retrieval, research as a guided and iterative process, formulation of focus and of the search question, finding keywords, strategies of querying, document collection, and evaluation of search process.
Preferential targets: high school and university students
Objectives of initiatives: to improve the awareness of the complexity of techniques and steps that mark the document search process.
TOPIC: sharing and creating content and information collaboratively and effectively
Suggested contents: tools for sharing and collaborating on digital content: proper use of email (to define the object, signature, and attachments), proper quote of the URL, the use of tools for shared archiving (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox) the use of tools for shared editing (Google Docs, pbworks, wiki), the distinction between informal and formal tools when exchanging informative contents
Preferential targets: high school and university students (and with a different focus: professionals)
Objectives of initiatives: improve the awareness of the tools and techniques that facilitate collaborative work on the net.
TOPIC: recognizing information sources that are appropriate for one’s disciplinary field
Suggested contents: authoritative information sources used in specific disciplinary or professional fields (i.e.: databases, aggregators, academic publishers or editorial series, professional reviews, open archives, grey literature or about patents, inventories); classification systems, practices of the scientific communication for specific disciplinary or professional contexts; the referred Institution, a community of practice and Think tank
Preferential targets: high school and university students, professionals
Objectives of initiatives: improving awareness of the modalities and specific channels to create information and scientific communication for a specific disciplinary context.
TOPIC: improving the impact of scientific communication as an author
Suggested contents: structures and rules of scientific communication in general. Classical bibliometry, classical and alternative metrics; self-archiving of scientific activities. Open access themes; effectively managing personal copyrights; the academic networks of communication: ORCID profiles, Google Scholar profiles, new academic social network (Research Gate,, abstracting e semantic indexing for personal writings.
Preferential targets: university and Ph.D. students, academic researchers
Objectives of initiatives: improve awareness of the mechanism of scientific communication and the opportunity of an Open Access green road. Participating and using academic networks of exchange constructively and in a beneficial way.
TOPIC: to use mobile devices and APPs consciously and knowledgeably
Suggested contents: Accessing digital information through different tools (tablet, e-Book reader, smartphone). APPs as specific tools for information release. APPs have advantages and limitations and need specific modalities of use.
Preferential targets: all (with different levels of complexity of dissertation)
Objectives of initiatives: to improve awareness and mastery of using mobile devices, to optimise their use and to know their components and technological uses. Understand the objectives and purposes of APPs that we use to communicate or access services. Protect our and others’ privacy when using mobile services.
TOPIC: semantic organization in libraries and beyond
Suggested contents: learn to recognize and use the tools of semantic indexing in catalogues and bibliographical databases (thesauri, classifications, subjects) and outside libraries; learn to make semantic indexing for personal writing.
Preferential targets: young people, students
Objectives of initiatives: to determine the semantic indexing of informative resources if existing, understand the importance of knowing the semantic indexing, and plan contributions.
TOPIC/THEME: citation software (Reference Management Software)
Suggested contents: learn to manage and quote one’s research documents through citation software, and understand the suitability of citation styles.
Preferential targets: university students
Objectives of initiatives: understanding the importance of being able to automatically manage bibliographic quotations.


1 Ifla The Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning 2005 http: //
2 IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations 2011
3 AGID Agenzia per l’Italia digitale. Programma nazionale per la cultura, la formazione e le competenze digitali, LINEE GUIDA Indicazioni strategiche e operative 2014, p. 153
4 Dichiarazione di Lione per l’accesso all’Informazione ed allo Sviluppo versione italiana
5 Gilster P. (1997), Digital Literacy, Wiley, New York
6 IPRI T. (2010), Introducing transliteracy. What does it mean to academic libraries? “College & Research Libraries News” vol. 71 (10), pp. 532-567
7 MACKEY T.P., JACOBSON T.E. (2011), Reframing Information literacy as a metaliteracy, “College & Research Libraries”, vol. 72 (1) pp. 62-78
8 OECD (2013), OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Publishing>
9 Cfr Isfol, Le competenze per vivere e lavorare oggi. Principali evidenze dall’Indagine PIAAC A cura di Gabriella Di Francesco. Collana Isfol Research Paper n. 9 ottobre 2013 p. 13
10 OCDE Inchiesta sulle competenze degli adulti. Primi risultati. Italia
11 ACRL, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, 2015. Trad. it.: “Un quadro di riferimento per la competenza informativa per gli studi universitari”, a cura di AIB – Gruppo di Studio sull’Information Literacy, 2015 http: //