Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Information Literacy - where next?

Came across a paper by Dr. Stephen Thornton, from the School of European Studies at University of Cardiff. It is good to read a supportive article about IL by an academic! It draws upon some of the recent research (CIBER report; Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World (2009), by the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience chaired by Sir David Melville; Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age (2009) by Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg of the Information School at the University of Washington and Andrew Whitworth Information Obesity. Chandos).

He concludes :
"So, where next for information literacy, at least in the world of higher education? All
the work highlighted in this paper does suggest that there is a growing problem about
the superabundance of information in society and that we, in HEIs and beyond, are
struggling to come to terms with it. Some, like Andrew Whitworth, see the danger as
one that threatens the very health of society: like Morgan Spurlock’s liver in the film
Supersize Me, over-consumption is threatening to turn our critical faculties into pâté.
Information literacy is generally perceived as offering some salvation, but there are
major problems with this concept that are getting in the way of its saving of the world.
As was evident in the Melville report, there seems to be uncertainty about the very
nature of the concept: whether it is a simple competence-based frame, or something
grander. An increasing sense of ‘conceptual stretching’ is being generated, and there
does appear to be a disconnect between what experts, such as Whitworth, mean by the
term, and how it is perceived by the wider world. Here it is more likely to be identified as a few lessons taken by a librarian as part of a – probably rather dull – research skills module, rather than as a vehicle of empowerment and political liberation. Tackling this identity crisis is the necessary next step for supporters of information literacy."

So let's go out and tackle this identity crisis, but how??

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