Information literacy is quite an important buzzword in my world of librarianship. Short and sweet: in today’s world where we’re overwhelmed with information, we need to know how to not only find information, but how to access it and use it. I’m a fan of the ALA’s definition of information literate people as those who have ‘learned how to learn.’ ALA further defines someone information literate as someone able to:
- Determine the extent of information needed
- Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
- Evaluate information and its sources critically
- Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
- Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
I can’t even begin to talk about how much of my job is based on teaching people how to be information literate as well as digitally literate. The two clearly go hand in hand much more than ever and a surprising amount of people (especially professionals) haven’t been able to merge the gap. It’s funny – I find (speaking incredibly generically) that it’s often the older generations that are less digitally literate, but yet quite adept when it comes to being information literate. They can evaluate, analyze, understand, and use information with ease. I often find younger generations to be the opposite: able to find info quickly and navigate the digital world of information, yet much less adept at evaluating it critically, using the info, and particularly understanding the issues surrounding the use of that information. I’m assuming ALA’s last point is what resonates the most with this class. What does it mean to be a digital citizen? You certainly need to be both information- and digital- literate, which means you need to understand all the issues surrounding (digital) information.
Here’s a good bunch of resources looking at information literacy from the lens of librarianship:
http://www.ala.org/acrl/issues/infolit/intro – The American Library Association page offers a great starting point for what information literacy means to libraries. As I quoted earlier, they provide a clear outline of what it means to be information literate.
http://www.christinebruce.com.au/informed-learning/seven-faces-of-information-literacy-in-higher-education/ – I think this is a great personal blog from Australia on information literacy and the different forms faces it takes in higher education. This is probably the last place it needs to be taught, since it should start much earlier, but it’s a great overview piece nonetheless.
http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/theubiquitouslibrarian/2015/06/03/conformity-vs-scrutiny-radical-information-literacy-an-interview-with-andrew-whitworth/ – The Ubiquitous Librarian is a great blog on the Chronicle of Higher Education website and this blog post is an interview with Andrew White, a lecturer who came up with the idea of ‘radical information literacy.’ He defines it as such: “practices that sustain learning and the potential for transformation within communities and their [information] landscapes.”
http://infolit.org/ – This is the site for the National Forum on Information Literacy. It’s more of a hub for news relating to info literacy-interesting for staying up to date.
https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/information-literacy-wild – Another good librarian blog, Library Babel Fish, from Inside Higher Ed, talks about info literacy in the less academic sense and some of its manifestations in the real world. Interesting thoughts educators should be thinking.
http://textbooks.opensuny.org/the-information-literacy-users-guide-an-open-online-textbook/ – This open textbook is just a good basic overview of two current models in information literacy: The Seven Pillars Model and metaliteracy,
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/publications-and-communication-materials/publications/full-list/overview-of-information-literacy-resources-worldwide/ – This site from the UN offers an ebook that provides an overview of info literacy resources around the world. It’s interesting to look at comparisons and differences regarding info literacy internationally.