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Information obesity - critical theory and information literacy. Whitworth

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Presented at LILAC 2009

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Information obesity - critical theory and information literacy. Whitworth

  1. 1. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Information obesity: critical theory and information literacy Andrew Whitworth University of Manchester March 2009
  2. 2. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Too much information? The current prevalence of information in our environment has given rise to concern… expressed in terms of metaphors like: Overload… Smog…
  3. 3. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 A more positive view …but what of abundance? In principle this resource could be available to all, each taking as much as they need – but no more How might we move to such a position?
  4. 4. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Information obesity: definition Clearly there is a need to filter information in order to learn. Information obesity can be considered a failure of filtering strategies. It has various underlying and inter-related causes. Increases in quantity Lack of technolo- gical awareness Increased dynamism, pace of change Economic pressures on us to consume Lack of management of informational resources
  5. 5. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Information obesity: some consequences? • Information is not being embedded by communities and individuals into their own environments • This is a failure to learn • And results in a reduction in sustainability - the ability to use a given environment to continue to learn in the future
  6. 6. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Suggested remedies… The commonest educational response to the abundance of information is “ICT skills” (aka computer literacy, etc.) Typically this is skills- and routine- based, therefore highly functional; one is “trained” in the skills More recently we see “Information literacy” being promoted This is more needs-based and therefore, subjective
  7. 7. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 But… Are we really free to identify our information needs and make evaluations between all possibilities? Organisations affect the way we think Routines, designs – ways of thinking - are reified into technologies and the procedures (rules) within which we work Ultimately there is a contradiction between our needs, and those of the organisations of which we are a part
  8. 8. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 A critical approach Critical approaches to social activity are oriented towards transformation and reaffirm the value of community as a place in which intersubjective ideas of value can be developed and applied. EXAMPLE: Levine’s study of physical obesity rates in Maryland 1) run by students themselves, gathering information in their local community 2) showed interrelation between structural, personal, and community activity
  9. 9. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Further information • http://www.informationobesity.com • A. Whitworth (2009), Information Obesity, Chandos: Oxford, UK • andrew.whitworth@manchester.ac.uk • http://www.MAdigitaltechnologies.com
  10. 10. Information obesity LILAC, March 2009 Thank you

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