The definition of literacy is "the ability to read and write". In practice many more skills are needed to locate, critically assess and make effective use of information. By extension, literacy now also includes the ability to manage and interact with digital information and media, in personal, shared and public domains.
Historically, "information literacy" has largely been seen from the relatively top-down, organisational viewpoint of library and information sciences. However the same term is also used to describe a generic "information literacy" skill.
Towards the end of the 20th century, literacy was redefined to include "new literacies" relating to the new skills needed in everyday experience. "Multiliteracies" recognised the multiplicity of literacies, which were often used in combination. "21st century skills" frameworks link new literacies to wider life skills such as creativity, critical thinking, accountability.
What these approaches have in common is a focus on the multiple skills needed by individuals to navigate changing personal, professional and public "information landscapes".
As the conventional definition of literacy itself continues to evolve among practitioners, so too has the definition of information literacies. Noteworthy definitions include:
CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Practitioners, defines information literacy as "the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use".
JISC, the Joint Information Systems Committee, refers to information literacy as one of six "digital capabilities", seen as an interconnected group of elements centered on "ICT literacy".
Mozilla groups digital and other literacies as "21st century skills", a "broad set of knowledge, skills, habits and traits that are important to succeed in today's world".
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, asserts information literacy as a "universal human right".
Data literacy is the ability to gather, interpret and analyse data, and communicate insights and information from this analysis. Increasingly important in everyday life, over 80% of employers cite data literacy as a key skill for employees.
Disaster literacy is an individual's ability to read, understand, and use information to make informed decisions and follow instructions in the context of mitigating, preparing, responding, and recovering from a disaster.
Transliteracy combines capabilities in information literacy, technology, creativity, communication and collaboration, critical thinking, practical skills and craft, to cross cultures, contexts, technologies and media.