International standards for information literacy

the inspiration for national practices




Information Literacy, Higher Education, Teaching, Portugal, Competencies , Learning


Librarians working in higher education want to support students in the pursuit of their academic work, based on the good use of information. To this end, they need to know the emerging pedagogical changes that they can take advantage of when designing their courses, integrating this knowledge into a more segmented, clear, and objective training offer, based on international references, published in the last decades, since the ACRL Standards, until the ACRL Framework. The attention given to these documents can prepare librarians for the necessary updating of skills, supporting innovation, and best practice achievement. This paper aims to systematise the evolution of concepts and practices of information literacy guidelines in higher education and identify their inspiration for the creation of Portuguese guidelines. An exploratory inventory of international information associations was carried out to identify information literacy guidelines. The content analysis of these guidelines allowed the identification of pedagogical trends in the performance of libraries and their professionals. The analysed contents show an interpretative evolution of the guidelines, converging in the ACRL Framework and the contents of the Portuguese recommendations for academic libraries for the period 2020-2022. It is evident that updating skills for librarians requires not only an awareness of sector trends, but also transforming them into good practice and recommendations appropriate for the national context.


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Author Biographies

Tatiana Sanches, Universidade de Lisboa

Tatiana Sanches has a PhD in Education from the University of Lisbon, a Master’s degree in Education and Reading, from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, and a degree in Modern Languages and Literature (Portuguese Studies). She is also a post-graduate in Documentary Sciences. She collaborates with the Unit for Research and Development in Education and Training of the Institute of Education (University of Lisbon). She also collaborates with the Research Group in Psychopathology, Emotion, Cognition and Documentation (PECD), in the line of research regarding information literacy in the university context, at ISPA (Institute of Applied Psychology – University Institute). Currently she is Head of the Documentation Division at the Faculty of Psychology and Institute of Education (University of Lisbon). She has been working in the field of public libraries since 1993 (initially in a professional-technical position and then as a librarian) and of university libraries since 2007.

Maria Luz Antunes, ESTeSL (Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa), Portugal

Maria Luz Antunes (MSc) is currently a Ph.D. student in Information Science. She has a master’s degree in Documentation Science and a degree in History. She is also a post-graduate in Documentation Sciences. Since 2000, she is the head librarian at the ESTeSL Library.

Carlos Lopes, Applied Psychology Research Center Capabilities & Inclusion, ISPA-Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal

Carlos Lopes (Ph.D.) has a Doctorate in Documentation from the University of Salamanca (Spain). Assistant Professor at ISPA-Instituto Universitário. The three integrate the research center APPsyCI (Applied Psychology Research Center Capabilities & Inclusion, ISPA-Instituto Universitário).



How to Cite

Sanches, T., Antunes, M. L., & Lopes, C. (2022). International standards for information literacy: the inspiration for national practices. LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries, 32(1), 1–22.



Received 2021-10-18
Accepted 2022-02-01
Published 2022-03-21