Data Literacy

What is data literacy?

An overview from the American Library Association (ALA): Census Data Literacy

Data Literacy definitions vary, but most definitions are similar to this one from the Oceans of Data Institute: “The data literate individual understands, explains and documents the utility and limitations of data by becoming a critical consumer of data, controlling [one’s] personal data trail, finding meaning and taking action based on data. [One] can identify, collect, evaluate, analyze, interpret, present and protect data.” (

ALA Resources

Data Literacy and Digital Humanities

What does it mean to be a digital humanities librarian and understand (and teach) data literacy? Kayla Abner looks at the implications in this article:

Instructors, Librarians, and Data Literacy

Scholarly article by Karen Hogenboom, Carissa M. Holler Phillips, and Merinda Hensley on the collaboration of librarians and faculty meant to promote data literacy:

Census Data Literacy


Training on Census Data Literacy

ALA Books

Data Literacy in Academic Libraries: Teaching Critical Thinking with Numbers:

The Data Librarians Handbook (has a chapter on how to incorporate data literacy into mainstream library instruction and information literacy training):

Julia Bauder’s books: (Bauder is the Social Studies and Data Services Librarian at the Grinnell College Libraries.)


Data Literacy: What It Is and Why You Need It

A look at what data literacy is and why it is so important in the workforce today, written in an easy-to-understand format:

Data Literacy Project

“A global community dedicated to creating a data literate world.” Contains resources and online courses ranging from a topic overview to advanced analytics.

Data Quality Campaign

The DQC is the “foremost organization advocating for effective data policy and use.” Their mission is “to change the role of data in education so that every student is not only counted but counts. Includes topic guides and information on how to effect change on education data policy.

Data Information Literacy

This website is the collaborative workspace for a research project being conducted by teams from Purdue University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oregon, and Cornell University to explore the data information literacy needs of e-scientists. The project aims to develop a Data Information Literacy curriculum to address these needs. The project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

Data Literacy Skills and Concepts 

A review of the skills and concepts needed to understand data literacy, such as data analysis and visualization, and who should be on your “data team”: 

Teachers and Data Literacy

A PDF compiled by the DOC (Data Quality Campaign) presenting the reasons teachers should be data literate, with research, program ideas, and suggestions for state policymakers to help teachers become more data literate:

Rutgers University and Data Literacy

The Rutgers University research guide on data literacy:

Eastern Michigan University and Data Literacy

The Eastern Michigan University research guide on data literacy:

 Qlik: Data Literacy

A report compiled by Qlik on why businesses are struggling with data literacy and what can be done to increase data literacy in the workspace:

Collaborative Data Literacy

A study by John Watts, Laura Sare, and David E. Hubbard on unique ways to educate graduate students on data literacy, concentrating specifically on the research lab setting and collaborative efforts of librarians and faculty. (Free to download!)

“A Continuum of Data Literacy for Teaching”

Another study by Jori S. Beck and Diana Nunnaley on data literacy education for teachers and students, covering research and practice. (Free to download!)

UC Santa Barbara Data Literacy Series

Monthly infographics on data literacy, such as data citation and file naming (yes, this is data literacy!):

Boosting Data Literacy

This article by Josh Bersin and Marc Zao Sanders is a good look at why data literacy is so necessary for employees and how to boost it in the business setting:

What is Data Literacy?

Data literacy: what is it and how do we address it at the ODI?

 An overview of data literacy with links to several projects aimed at increasing it.

Data Literacy 101

An overview of data literacy for educators (relevant to COVID-19 with updated data):

Data Information Literacy

Part of Purdue Information Literacy Handbooks, this PDF features chapters on data literacy competencies, developing courses to teach data literacy, developing data literacy programs, and future steps:

Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue 

Includes a large number of resources for understanding and promoting the need for data literacy at all levels of education by incorporating STEM skills into teaching and learning, as well as in the workforce, to prepare people for success in understanding data:

Webinars and Courses

Considering Data Literacy Using Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process: Implications for Librarians and Data Providers

August 16, 2021 

Presented by: Charissa Jefferson, Kristin Fontichiaro, Katrina Stierholz, Lynette Hoelter

Video    Slides

Data Literacy Course for Librarians

From the website: “Our Library Services and Economic Education teams have developed an online professional development program on data literacy for librarians. This program focuses on seven foundational data literacy competencies and uses FRED® data to provide opportunities for hands-on learning.” The course is free and you receive a digital micro-credential upon completion. Course is from the Economic Research section of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis website.

Data Storytelling Webinar

Does data bore you? Does data literacy confuse you? You can start with this webinar. It presents the idea of telling a story with data to promote the library and community.