Information is Social<br />Information Literacy in Context<br />Jen Hoyer<br />LOEX of the West 2010<br />
Jen Hoyer Resource Coordinator, Edmonton Social Planning Council<br />Edmonton Social Planning Council<br />United Way fun...
Outline<br />Traditional understanding of information literacy as created within an academic context.<br />Alternative rea...
Introduction<br />“Traditional” concepts of information literacy focus on information use in academic environments and oft...
Defining Information Literacy<br />Our basic concept of information literacy has been developed mainly by academic librari...
Academic Information Literacy<br />Librarians concentrate their efforts on teaching students to evaluate sources and repli...
In Reality…<br />The majority of university graduates will not continue their careers within academia but will instead pur...
Workplace Information Literacy<br />The basic premise of information use remains the same everywhere: “peoples’ ability to...
Appropriate IL Models<br />Four models for information literacy (Sundin, 2006):<br />source approach<br />behavioural appr...
Appropriate IL Models continued…<br />Key aspects of the communication model: <br />Awareness of the sociocultural conditi...
Why have we missed this?<br />Information literacy instruction has often neglected to present these concepts.  Why?  <br /...
A New Learning Environment<br />The ESPC has set itself the mandate of sharing its resources with the wider community.  So...
Ideal Context<br />Many of these skills are difficult to teach within an academic context because they are part of such a ...
A Traditional Project<br />YouthGAP: the Youth Gang Alternatives Project<br />Learning Curves:<br />Grey Literature<br />N...
A Non-Traditional Project<br />Community Garden<br />New Information Practices:<br />Building Community Relationships<br /...
What Can You Take Away From This?<br />Information literacy instruction in academia matters.<br />Information best practic...
Reference List<br />Association of College & Research Libraries (2000), Information literacy competency standards for high...
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Information is Social: Information Literacy in Context

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Information is Social: Information Literacy in Context

  1. 1. Information is Social<br />Information Literacy in Context<br />Jen Hoyer<br />LOEX of the West 2010<br />
  2. 2. Jen Hoyer Resource Coordinator, Edmonton Social Planning Council<br />Edmonton Social Planning Council<br />United Way funded <br />non profit social justice research group<br />We are dedicated to encouraging the adoption of equitable social policy, supporting the work of other organizations who are striving to improve the lives of Edmontonians, and educating the public regarding the social issues that impact them on a daily basis.<br />www.edmontonsocialplanning.ca<br />
  3. 3. Outline<br />Traditional understanding of information literacy as created within an academic context.<br />Alternative realities of information use outside the academic sector. <br />Models for information literacy instruction ; the necessity of a different approach for non-academic environments. <br />The ESPC youth internship program: modeling information use within an environment where a contextual understanding of information is crucial. <br />The structure and success of this program will be presented through the description of two very different internship projects.<br />
  4. 4. Introduction<br />“Traditional” concepts of information literacy focus on information use in academic environments and often ignore best practices in other communities of information use. <br />The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) youth internship program mentors young people who are pursuing social justice-related projects in the community. <br />The youth internship program responds to the lack of information literacy instruction related to non-academic working environments. It provides an opportunity for young people to learn about information use in community and nonprofit settings.<br />
  5. 5. Defining Information Literacy<br />Our basic concept of information literacy has been developed mainly by academic librarians working within universities (Sundin, 2006). <br />The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) define information literacy as “a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information’.” <br />While the Standards state themselves to be “common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education”, they are generally interpreted within the narrower focus of an education environment, and more specifically most often within the university. <br />
  6. 6. Academic Information Literacy<br />Librarians concentrate their efforts on teaching students to evaluate sources and replicate information practices most commonly used in academia (ToledanoO’Farrill, 2008). <br />Students are deemed “information literate” when they have mastered a set of tools and skills (Limburg, 2006; Sundin, 2006; Marcum, 2002). <br />These criteria are appropriate for library instruction programs designed to help students succeed in their university careers. <br />
  7. 7. In Reality…<br />The majority of university graduates will not continue their careers within academia but will instead pursue careers in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. <br />These communities have vastly different information practices for locating information, and they require a different set of standards for evaluating and effectively using information. <br />Without an understanding of broader information literacy concepts, and an ability to recognize their non-academic information needs and transfer appropriate information skills to any context, students cannot be classified as “information literate”. <br />
  8. 8. Workplace Information Literacy<br />The basic premise of information use remains the same everywhere: “peoples’ ability to operate effectively in an information society” (Bruce, 1999). <br />The difference arises in the way people interact with and access information in the workplace: <br />diverse technological demands instead of a particular set of tools<br />job descriptions composed of key responsibilities rather than specific skills<br />heavy dependence on social collaboration and partnerships<br />the synthesis of information produced within a community<br />Social interactions and relationships are some of the most important hallmarks of information use in non-academic workplaces, and especially in the nonprofit sphere (Durranceet al., 2006a ToledanoO’Farrill, 2008; Limberg, 2006; Kirk, 2004).<br />
  9. 9. Appropriate IL Models<br />Four models for information literacy (Sundin, 2006):<br />source approach<br />behavioural approach<br />process approach<br />communication approach<br />The most prevalent models for information literacy – the first three on the list - do not provide adequate space for teaching information literacy as it relates to diverse communities of information use in varied social contexts. <br />These are the models Sundin observed most at practice in his study.<br />
  10. 10. Appropriate IL Models continued…<br />Key aspects of the communication model: <br />Awareness of the sociocultural conditions in which a piece of information was created and by which it acquired meaning.<br />Modeling the information behaviour of others: using references to chain-search, thereby discovering the body of thought within which an author was operating.<br />Evaluating the validity of a source based on the author’s status within the community in which it was created.<br />
  11. 11. Why have we missed this?<br />Information literacy instruction has often neglected to present these concepts. Why? <br />It is difficult to teach individuals about the many different social constructs that shape information creation and use in different sectors. <br />When the majority of information literacy instruction is taking place within the academic sphere, instructors may not be equipped with knowledge or experience related to these other sectors. <br />It is difficult to communicate the social structures within a for profit or nonprofit workplace to students who have no knowledge of this work environment, and this problem is only compounded if the instructor is equally inexperienced. <br />
  12. 12. A New Learning Environment<br />The ESPC has set itself the mandate of sharing its resources with the wider community. Some of these resources are:<br />Strong reputation in the community<br />Wide network of contacts in the public and nonprofit sectors<br />Knowledge of information best practices in the nonprofit community<br />These information best practices include:<br />Recognizing information needs in non-traditional contexts<br />Navigating community networks and relationships for the purposes of gathering new data<br />Accessing and evaluating publications produced by the nonprofit sector, including grey literature<br />Non-academic report writing and writing for funding applications<br />Presentation and communication skills for non-academic audiences<br />
  13. 13. Ideal Context<br />Many of these skills are difficult to teach within an academic context because they are part of such a different social context.<br />Long-term mentorship<br />Traditional and non-traditional projects<br />
  14. 14. A Traditional Project<br />YouthGAP: the Youth Gang Alternatives Project<br />Learning Curves:<br />Grey Literature<br />Networking<br />Non-Academic Writing<br />Public Communication<br />
  15. 15. A Non-Traditional Project<br />Community Garden<br />New Information Practices:<br />Building Community Relationships<br />Finding Experts<br />Writing for Funding<br />Effective Organizing<br />Financial Information Management<br />
  16. 16. What Can You Take Away From This?<br />Information literacy instruction in academia matters.<br />Information best practices are dependent on the context in which individuals finds themselves; teaching broad concepts that can be transferred to other contexts is crucial.<br />Recognizing the importance of social context to the production, evaluation, and communication of good information will allow individuals to relate their skills to any context.<br />
  17. 17. Reference List<br />Association of College & Research Libraries (2000), Information literacy competency standards for higher education, Association of College & Research Libraries, Chicago.<br />Bruce, C. (1999), “Workplace experiences of information literacy”, International Journal of Information Management, Vol 19, pp. 33-47.<br /> <br />Durrance, J.C., Souden, M., Walker, D. and Fisher, K.E. (2006a), “Community problem-solving framed as a distributed information use environment: bridging research and practice”, Information Research, Vol. 11 No. 4, paper 262.<br />Durrance, J.C., Walker, D., Souden, M., Fisher, K.E. (2006b), "The role of community-based, problem-centered information intermediaries in local problem solving", Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 181-181.<br />Emmons, M. and Martin, W. (2002), “Engaging Conversation: Evaluating the Contribution of Library Instruction to the Quality of Student Research”, College & Research Libraries, Vol. 63 No. 6, pp. 545-560.<br />Kirk, J. (2004), “Information and work: extending the roles of information professionals” paper presented at Challenging Ideas, ALIA 2004 Biennial Conference, September 21-24, Gold Coast.<br />Kuhlthau, C.C. (1987), “An emerging theory of library instruction”, School Library Media Quarterly, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 23-28.<br />Limberg, L. and Sundin, O. (2006), “Teaching information seeking: relating information literacy education to theories of information behaviour”, Information Research, Vol. 12 No. 1, paper 280.<br />Marcum, J. (2002), “Rethinking Information Literacy”, Library Quarterly, Vol. 72 No. 1, pp. 1-26.<br />Martin, J. (2008), “The Information Seeking Behavior of Undergraduate Education Majors: Does Library Instruction Play a Role?”, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 4-17.<br />Pawley, C. (2003), “Information Literacy: a Contradictory Coupling”, Library Quarterly, Vol. 73 No. 4, pp.422-452.<br />Strife, M. (1995), “Special Libraries and Instruction: One-On-One Public Relations”, The Reference Librarian, Vol. 51/52, pp. 415-419.<br />Sundin, O. (2006), “Negotiations on information-seeking expertise: a study of web-based tutorials for information literacy”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 64 No. 1, pp. 24-44.<br />Toledano O’Farrill, R. (2008), “Information Literacy and Knowledge Management: Preparations for an Arranged Marriage”, Libri, Vol. 58, pp. 155-171.<br />

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