Self Assessment Quiz - Are you an Internaut?

There is no lack of information in the world, but the skill level needed to search, select, evaluate, and use the information varies from rudimentary to expert. Faced with a research assignment, are you a bold navigator of the information highway or Bambi in the headlights?

To be literate means to be able to read. Information Literacy (IL) describes a skill set that enables someone to recognize what information is needed when, and how to locate, evaluate, use, and effectively communicate it.

These are skills that everyone should have, but that investigators and analysts need to develop further than the general population.

The following quiz will help you to conduct a self-diagnostic on your personal level of information literacy. It asks you to provide some answers to basic questions about information, the Internet, and information use. By answering these questions, you can determine your strengths and weaknesses. Use it to help focus your learning objectives.

Answer yes or no to the questions below. Click on "SCORE" at the bottom for a rating of your level of information literacy.

Section 1: Information Awareness

  1. Do you recognize when you need information?


  2. Do you know how to phrase the information you need into a question or a statement?


  3. Do you formulate a collection plan?


  4. Do you know what kind of information you won't find on the Internet?


  5. When information is hard to find, do you have a strategy that includes offline sources and alternative tactics?


Section 2: Information Selection

  1. Can you name at least two search engines?


  2. Do you know the difference between a search engine and a spider?


  3. Are you creative and selective in entering keywords and phrases into a search engine?


  4. Do you know how to use AND and OR, parentheses, and quotation marks to clarify and refine your searches?


  5. Do you know how to preserve copies of webpages and websites?


Section 3: Information Searching

  1. Do you know the different components of the Internet (WWW, email, Usenet, etc.)?


  2. Do you usually find what you are looking for on Internet with relative ease?


  3. Do you know what "gray literature" refers to?


  4. Can you find public record information on the Internet?


  5. Do you use the Invisible or Deep Web?


Section 4: Information Evaluation

  1. Do you prioritize when you search online?


  2. Can you analyze your data for validity and reliability?


  3. Do you know how to identify a computer hoax or urban legend?


  4. Do you know how to find out who registered a particular domain name?


  5. Do you know what a “worm” is?


Section 5: Information Usage

  1. Can you define “Netiquette?”


  2. Do you know some email basic dos and don’ts?


  3. Do you know steps to ensure computer security?


  4. Do you know how to properly cite original information?


  5. Do you know how to cite an electronic (Internet) reference?


  6. Do you know how to protect your machine from a virus?


Section 6: Information Ethics

  1. Have you read your organization's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for the Internet?


  2. Do you know how if your organization limits you to passive collection?


  3. Do you know if your organization obligates you to identify yourself when "lurking" in chat rooms?


  4. Can you define plagiarism?


  5. Do you know if your organization allows you to manipulate people online?


Section 7: Basic Computer Use

  1. Do you know if you have a high-speed connection to the Internet?


  2. Can you read, send, forward, and reply to email?


  3. Do you subscribe to listservs, monitor blogs, or regularly visit online discussion sites?


  4. Do you know how to prevent children from viewing pornography on the WWW?


  5. Do you know basic steps to ensure your online privacy?


Adapted from "Self Assessment: Information Literacy Quiz" Information Literacy Toolkit, Chief Information Officer, Department of the U.S. Navy.


Manual Scoring

If you are working from a print out of this page or your score did not automatically appear when you clicked on "SCORE" give yourself 3 points for each Yes, and 0 for each No.


You are truly information literate and may wish to help others.


You have many skills and are working towards information literacy, however you could benefit from a review.


You are at the same level as many "average" users of the Internet. Unfortuately, this means that you are spending far too much time to get too little information.


You are a beginner, gathering less than 10% of what is available. Your approach to collection is likely haphazard and inefficient. You are not making full value of what you gather and you are inadvertantly exposing yourself to online risks that could compromise your investigations or the security of your computer.