Information Literacy in the Age of YouTube


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I delivered this presentation at the APLA 2009 conference in Halifax. Here's the description from the program:

Library notions of information literacy are almost always tied to written information, but an increasing amount of information that is created and consumed is in visual formats (photographs, illustration, video, animation, multimedia, etc.). As we help people negotiate the new media of the Information Age, what should our role as librarians be? Some industries regularly manipulate images to create an ideal reality (e.g. advertising), while others claim that images represent the truth (e.g. journalism). Are we as adept as w think at distinguishing truth from fiction?

Warning: some of the fonts didn't translate perfectly.

The slides might not make sense on their own, so here's my script (that I loosely followed):

Here's a handout of further resources:

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Information Literacy in the Age of YouTube

  1. Image: tpmartins ( - cc)
  2. identify access evaluate apply ethics Images: andercismo; ElStruthio; gonzales2010; IceSabre; marttj ( - cc)
  3. nothing .
  4. information = te xt
  5. “...information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it.” ~ ACRL Reference:
  6. Image: mightymightymatze ( - cc)
  7. Image: (c) Andrew Goodwin
  8. information > te xt Images: Incendiarymind; ckaroll; N.J. Lee; (c)athrine; Steve Rhodes; margolove; prallin; paulbence_photography ( - cc)
  9. creating consuming Image: Melissa Maples ( - cc)
  10. Images
  11. Images tell stories.
  12. Image: found_drama ( - cc)
  13. Image: foxypar4 ( - cc)
  14. Image: simplerich ( - cc)
  15. Image: neb ( - cc)
  16. Image dotbenjamin ( - cc)
  17. see / speak watch / write visual / verbal Image: sean_dreilinger ( - cc)
  18. Images *are* the story. Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia
  19. 1) Images tell stories. 2) Stories help us understand.
  20. 1) Includes a lot of images. 2) Uses a classic story structure.
  21. Image
  22. Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
  23. climax Story Arc (aka Freytag’s pyramid) falling action rising action dénouement resolution exposition inciting incident Reference:
  24. Exposition “A picture is worth a thousand words”
  25. why image s ?
  26. documentation identification elaboration emotion direction acculturation decoration communication
  27. show & te ll
  28. 1,000 1,000 words words
  29. inte rpre tation.
  30. Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia
  31. Press button Grab bacon Eat bacon
  32. Image: Thomas Hawk ( - cc)
  33. Image: Ed Yourdon ( - cc)
  34. Inciting Incide nt “Picture perfect”
  35. cave paintings illuminated manuscripts Renaissance portraits printed lithographs
  36. profession of a few practice of the masses
  37. ?
  38. Image: Shermeee ( - cc)
  39. Rising Action “Seeing is believing”
  40. Images: pineapplebun; John Fravel ( - cc)
  41. Image: Anirudh-Koul ( - cc)
  42. production. distribution.
  43. Orality T xtuality e Visuality rhetoric logic ? memorization authority ? fluid frozen fluid subjectivity “objectivity” subjectivity
  44. se e ing is be lie ving .
  45. T xtuality e logic authority frozen “objectivity”
  46. Climax “The moment that never was”
  47. 1) Images tell stories. 2) Stories help us understand.
  48. Basra, Iraq March 2003 Brian Walski Staff photographer: LA Times
  49. Photograph ran prominently in: LA Times Hartford Courant Chicago Tribune
  50. This moment never happened.
  51. 150 image s 150 image s British troops Iraqi civilians
  52. ze ro .
  53. manipulation = bad manipulation = good
  54. Fire d.
  55. “After a long day, I put my altered image ahead of the integrity of the newspaper and the integrity of my craft. These other photographers are there [in Iraq] risking their lives and I’ve just tarnished their reputation.” ~Brian Walski
  56. images can be easily altered manipulation can change meaning images aren’t “objective” credibility and integrity of image-maker fine line of manipulation demand for dramatic images
  57. digital information.
  58. Image: orphanjones ( - cc)
  59. Image: Holger Zscheyge ( - cc)
  60. “There were clear cut and dried areas [of photography]. And now, we no longer have this metal formed by light, we have liquid pixels, we have controlled liquid photos...This is the major revolution.” ~Sheila Reaves
  61. liquidity. anonymity.
  62. Lonelygirl15 (Bree) Images: (c) Peter Yang (
  63. Bree does Lonelygirl15 not exist. is fiction. Images: (c) Peter Yang (
  64. pe ople didn’ t care .
  65. true e nough.
  66. Falling Action “If you can imagine it, you can image it”
  67. what should we do ?
  68. Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy
  69. Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy
  70. Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy
  71. Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy
  72. Book “innovations” Image innovations ? quotation marks table of contents index (cross-referencing) page numbers footnotes citations
  73. Re solution “Learning a new language”
  74. Media literacy mass media Digital literacy information technology Screen literacy display technology Visual literacy visual stimuli
  75. Media literacy Digital literacy Information Screen literacy Visual literacy L racy ite
  76. identify access evaluate apply ethics Images: jsleepr; Dplanet::; incurable_hippie; Divine Harvester (tm); Francois @ ( - cc)
  77. Dé noue me nt/ Discussion “Where do we go from here?”
  78. librarians .
  79. Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia
  80. Thank you. mjdelia.wordpress. M.J. D’Elia ca
  81. Image List Images in this presentation are used under Creative Commons licenses (unless otherwise noted). Most images can be found on under the user names below: tpmartins margolove Shermeee andercismo prallin pineapplebun ElStruthio paulbence_photography John Fravel gonzales2010 Melissa Maples Anirudh-Koul IceSabre found_drama Brian Walski x 3 (c) marttj foxypar4 orphanjones mightymightymatze simplerich Holger Zscheyge Andrew Goodwin (c) nep Peter Young x 2 (c) Incendiarymind dotbenjamin jsleepr ckaroll sean_dreilinger Dplanet:: N.J. Lee M.J. D’Elia x 4 (c) incurable_hippie (c)athrine Thomas Hawk Divine Harvester (tm) Steve Rhodes Ed Yourdon Francois @ M.J. D’Elia (c)
  82. Se le cte d Re fe re nce s Screen Literacy Kelly, K. (2008, Nov 28). Becoming Screen Literate. Ne w Y ork Time s Mag az ine . Visual Literacy Bleed, R. (2005, Aug). Visual Literacy in Higher Education. Educaus e Le arning Initiativ e . Image Manipulation Brower, K. (1998, May). Photography in the Age of Falsification. Atlantic Monthly . The Case of Brian Walski Irby, K. (2003). L.A. Times Photographer fired over altered image. Poy nte rOnline . The Case of Lonelygirl15 Davis, J. (2006, Dec). The Secret World of Lonelygirl. W ire d, 14(12).