The present essay proposes a dual stratification of information literacy (IL). Information search in academia generally takes place in specific subject areas. While recognizing the importance of basic IL in one’s search for information, the essay observes that the search cannot be complete without the awareness of what information to seek in that particular subject field as well as the ability to locate and evaluate information in the field. Each subject area may need to have its own definition of IL. Such IL in a given area may largely overlap with, and yet significantly differ from, the general IL that is, to quote the definition by ALA (American Library Association), “common to all disciplines.” The essay uses the field of Chinese studies to illustrate the point and, accordingly, suggests ways of IL instruction that is suitable to Chinese studies.
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