A basic tenet of information literacy programs is that the skills needed to use computers and the skills needed to find and evaluate information are two separate sets of skills. Outside the library this is not always the view. The claim is sometimes made that information skills are acquired by learning computer skills. All that is needed is a computer lab and someone to teach computer skills. This study uses data from a survey of computer and information skills to determine whether or not these skills are separate entities. The survey was given to incoming freshmen at Purdue University in 1999 and 2000. A factor analysis of the data supports the assumption that the two skills are different. The factors are interpreted as the learning experiences which lead to the two sets of skills.


Information Skills, Computer Skills, Factor Analysis

Published in:

Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 4(January 2004): 61-73.

Date of this Version

January 2004