In order to effectively access and utilize the resources of the academic library and to become information literate, students must understand the language of information literacy. This study analyzes undergraduate students’ understanding of fourteen commonly used information literacy terms. It was found that some of the terms least understood by students are those most frequently found in faculty-created research assignments and syllabi and which are used by librarians during library instruction. It is recommended that librarians work with faculty to make them aware of students’ lack of understanding of information literacy terms and that librarians also reinforce their meaning during library instruction and in one-on-one consultations.


information literacy, vocabulary, higher education, research, library instruction, terminology


Library and Information Science