Assignment 4 Information literacy is more than a set of skills!

Information Literacy is more than just a set of skills, it has increasingly become a way of life. The term Information Literacy describes our behaviors related to information technology and the mental models we need to acquire to achieve success in utilising the Information Literacy process (Christine, 2003). The ability to effectively use Information Literacy in everyday life is progressively becoming more important in creating quality citizens. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has described the results of Information Literacy as, ‘a thriving national and global culture, economy and democracy will best be advanced by people able to recognise their need for information, and identify, locate, access, evaluate and apply the needed information’ (ALIA, 2003 p.1). This way of learning and information utilization that follows a specific process and is not merely just a research skill.

Traditionally, the use of Information Literacy refers to the ability to locate and organise information within a library in order to analyse, interpret and sharing findings (Kuhlthau, 2004). Information Literacy is most commonly used in research or academic based activities; however, the skills and lessons that we learn within this process are transferable into everyday life in an increasingly technological age. With technological changes allowing us access to a much wider variety and numerous amounts of resources, it has become even more vital that we adapt these strong Information Literacy abilities to daily life. Doing so will successfully allow learners to navigate through information, research and communicative technologies to construct their own understandings (Australian School Library Association, 2013). It will encourage critical thinkers, allowing us the knowledge to explore, whilst teaching us how to use and share information more successfully.

When presented with a problem, a student that displays strong Information Literacy understanding is capable is recognising what information is required, demonstrate the capability to establish, assess and effectively utilise it successfully (Langford, 1998). As active citizens and consumers we need to be able to use these same techniques. Hence enabling us to critically analyze information to ensure that we use this knowledge in everyday contexts. The information that we have access to in our daily lives is created for a variety of functions. It can be to persuade us as a consumer to purchase goods, to influence us to act, or vote in a certain manner. The information that we have access to has a purpose. It is vital that we recognise that these sources may be outdated, secondhand, biased, misleading and as active citizens we must question the purpose of the creator in shaping our ideas and actions as a result of our understanding. ‘Information literate citizens are able to spot and expose chicanery, disinformation, and lies’ (ALA, 1989, para, 17). In this context, the Information Literacy expertise extends beyond being a classroom skill.

Information literacy plays an increasing role in society. Not only to do processes achieved through Information Literacy create lifelong learners, they teach us how to create own knowledge in all aspects of our life. Herring (2010, pg. 95) discusses the wide implications of using Information Literacy outside the classroom stating that ‘an educational, social and cultural approach to the information environment is particularly important in a workplace context.’ ALIA’s statement on Information Literacy describes the objectives it hopes to achieve for all Australians, announcing ‘to promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy and democracy’ of being of vital importance (2003, pg. 28). These objectives are not archived by simply demonstrating a set of skills.

In summary, Information Literacy is more than a set of skills, it describes a process, our attitudes and knowledge to learning. The implications and techniques can be modified to all aspects of our lives. Adapting the ideas and concepts will allow a deeper understanding and more thoughtful citizens. The expertise gained from applying Information Literacy techniques and information technologies will affect every aspect of our lives.

REFERENCES

American Library Association (ALA). (1989). Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report.
Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential

Australian Library and Information Association. (2003). A library advocate’s guide to building information literate communities; Information Literacy Forum Advocacy Kit. Retrieved from http://www.alia.org.au/advocacy/literacy.kit.pdf

Australian Library and Information Association. (2011). Statement on information literacy for all Australians. Retrieved from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/information.literacy.html

Australian School Library Association. (2013). Statement on information literacy. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/information-literacy.aspx

Christine, B. (2003). The seven faces of information literacy : towards inviting students to new experiences.
Retrieved from http://crm.hct.ac.ae/events/archive/2003/speakers/bruce.pdf

Herring, J.E. (2010). Year seven students, information literacy skills and transfer: a
grounded theory. Retrieved from http://bilby.unilinc.edu.au:1801/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1366252325657~237&locale=en_US&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&application=DIGITOOL-3&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

Herring, J.E. (2010). Year seven students, information literacy skills and transfer: a
grounded theory. Retrieved from http://bilby.unilinc.edu.au:1801/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1366252325657~237&locale=en_US&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&application=DIGITOOL-3&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004). Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. Westport,Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. Retrieved from http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html.

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