Information Literacy: an international concept


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This was presented at he conference, **L'education à la culture informationnelle** [Education for/in information culture], held in l’Université Charles de Gaulle Lille3, Lille, France, on 17 October 2008. In this presentation I firstly provided evidence for the development of information in key areas that can be seen as evidence for an emerging subject area or disciopline. I secondly highlighted some activities or resources in the areas of: health, business, citizenship and education. Finally, I identified some issues for debate.

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Information Literacy: an international concept

  1. 1. Information Literacy: an international concept Sheila Webber University of Sheffield Department of Information Studies October 2008
  2. 2. Outline • Information Literacy as a term • Information Literacy as a subject • Practical developments – Health – Citizenship/ society – Business – Education • Issues – now and the future
  3. 3. The term “Information Literacy”
  4. 4. • Informationskompetenz • la maîtrise de l’information • Informaatiolukutaito Different • Informationskompetens languages and different • Las competencias en información translations leading to • La alfabetización informacional different meanings • (etc.) Sheila Webber, May 2008
  5. 5. Understanding of its meaning in different contexts • Subject discipline • Being information literate • Workplace within a team • Citizenship • Oral cultures • Virtual worlds
  6. 6. Growth of Information Literacy as a subject: Increased collaboration, organisation and conversation
  7. 7. A subject field in itself • Becher and Trowler (2001) identify indicators of a discipline – The existence of professional associations and journals – The degree to which an international community has emerged – The existence of academic departments (not yet!) – Graduate students – Identification with the discipline – Distinctive language – Knowledge and research base
  8. 8. Associations: examples • Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy • Chinese Information Literacy Association (Taiwan) • CILIP Information Literacy Group (UK) • European Forum for Information Literacy; & EnIL • ENSIL: European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy • National Forum on Information Literacy (USA) • NORDINFOlit (Nordic) • Working group Information Education and Information Literacy (Czech Republic)
  9. 9. Other collaborations: examples • Project information literacy “investigates how early adults on different college campuses conduct research for course work and how they conduct quot;everyday researchquot; for use in their daily lives “ • Sok & Skriv – several universities developed a training resource together -
  10. 10. Publications and resources: examples • Journals – Communications in Information Literacy (USA) – Journal of information literacy (UK) – Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education • Portals • Weblogs – LOOWI (Netherlands) – ALFIN (Spain) – ALFIN Red (Spain) – Information Literacy – Information Literacy Website (UK) Weblog (UK) – FORMIST website (France) – Informationskompetenz (Germany)
  11. 11. Events: European examples in 2008 • Creating Knowledge (Nordic) 5th in 2008 • EnIL summer school (Italy) • Rencontres FORMIST (France) 8th in 2008 • Las VI Jornadas CRAI (Spain) • LILAC conference (UK) 4th in 2008 mme.html • Annual IVIG conference (Czech Republic)
  12. 12. Educating library and information profession • Modules within LIS undergrad or Masters programmes (e.g. on IL and pedagogy in Hacettepe University, Turkey; in programmes in University College Dublin, Ireland; USA programmes) • Programmes (MA Information Literacy, Sheffield University UK) • Resources e.g. – Bibteach (Denmark); – Handbook and online modules (UK)
  13. 13. Example resources to help practitioners with teaching, learning and assessment • Information Literacy (resource developed for by Learning & Teaching Scotland, sections targeted for pupils aged 9-11, 12-14, 15-18 ) x.asp • Intute tutorials suite: • PILOT (Australia)
  14. 14. Research examples • Centre for Information Literacy at the University of Cape Town • Centre for Information Literacy Research (Sheffield University, UK) • Robert Gordon University: Information literacies (Scotland) • Information Literacy Research Centre (Linkoping, Sweden) • Web Searching, Information Literacy and Learning (Finland) • Konstanz University IL project (Germany) • Research methods textbook published in Australia
  15. 15. Health
  16. 16. • Need for evidence based health and medical work makes this a rich area for information literacy • Developments will depend on medical education and health systems in individual countries • International initiatives such as Cochrane Collaboration imply information literate information use
  17. 17. • Development in UK’s National Health Service – NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Services Group’s draft Information Literacy Framework – Infoskills and Facilitating Information Literacy Education (FILE) modules – National Service Framework of Quality Improvement for NHS funded library services in England • Other initiatives e.g. in Czech Republic Projects eHealth and goals accepted by Ministry of Health
  18. 18. Business/ economic
  19. 19. • There are IL activities, but more difficult to track: – Diversity – Different terminology – Confidentiality e.g. in pharmaceutical industry – Conferences & literature give fragmented evidence of training, programmes, initiatives • A couple of examples: – Workshops targeted at business community in Slovenia – Cooperation between students and business information providers in Bulgaria, to learn Business information literacy – IL programme at Unilever in UK
  20. 20. Governance/ citizenship
  21. 21. Global importance • UNESCO’s initiatives highlight the value of IL in countries at different stages of development • Information Literacy to empower citizens and support economic activity at a grass roots level • Again thinking appropriately about “what is information literacy in this context”
  22. 22. National strategies • A number of countries (& the EU) have policies or programmes on ICT and/or media literacy (but not explicitly information literacy) • Example: Finland: – Government Policy Programme for the Information Society (2007-2011): IT, media literacy and skills for information society. – Libraries are acknowledged as assets and actors for lifelong learning, civic skills, & info society services
  23. 23. National frameworks & statements • National Information Literacy Framework (Scotland) • Toledo declaration on Information Literacy • Information Literacy for all Australians
  24. 24. Education
  25. 25. • Large amount of work in many countries, in school and in Higher Education • Development may be linked to – external forces for change (e.g. Bologna Process) – educational policy (e.g. as regards teaching quality, massification) & predominant pedagogic approach of teachers/ lecturers – nature/ existence of national curriculum – nature of teacher education – status/funding of libraries & of education generally
  26. 26. Developments include • Information Literacy more often appearing in institutional strategies and/or graduate attributes (see Corrall, 2007 re: the UK) • More genuine collaboration in curriculum development • More interest in developing pedagogy • More teachers/ lecturers co-authoring or presenting individual papers on IL • See literature and conference proceedings
  27. 27. National laws/ strategies • Revised education law making information management education compulsory for particular age ranges (Spain) • Paragraph in the Swedish Higher Education act that legislates that all students have to graduate with information skills • The Finnish Ministry of Education Development Plan for Education and Research 2003–2008 stresses need of university and polytechnic graduates for good information literacy
  28. 28. University quality assurance, and accreditation • Getting information literacy into standards and policies • Information Literacy then becomes something that must be addressed • In the USA, information literacy is mentioned in some university accreditation documents • In the UK, universities have used External Examiners and outcomes of enhancement reviews • Abertay University (Scotland) volunteered to have a “subject review” of information literacy education
  29. 29. The many frameworks, models, standards … • IFLA; UNESCO • ACRL (USA); ANZIIL (Australia/ New Zealand) • SCONUL 7 Pillars of Information Literacy (UK) • Standards of the Information Literate Student & Information Education Strategy at Universities (ALCU, Czech Republic) • Recommendation for universities for including IL competency in the new degree structures (Finland) • Maîtrise de l’information des étudiants avancés (master et doctorat)Eléments pour une formation
  30. 30. Why so many? • Language • Cultural and educational differences • The process of developing a framework also develops the understanding and confidence of those involved • The concept of information literacy is evolving
  31. 31. Issues
  32. 32. • Have already mentioned: – IL for … citizens or workers? (i.e. perhaps IL education for citizenship and personal development neglected) – Focus on developing better pedagogic skills and knowledge – Others’ confusion with IT, media & digital literacy
  33. 33. Lost in inclusion (in other subjects) • Need to lobby at the European level; & national strategies also usually lacking, hindering a holistic approach • Victim of political-play with concepts like “millennials”, “information society”, “e” … or other topic or literacy of the moment • Many reports from Governments, other sectors in which you can play “spot the information literacy” • To me reinforces idea that need robust national, regional and international discourse: debating issues, ready to present views
  34. 34. Metanarratives / counternarratives • When Information Literacy starts to succeed … some people want to be radical opponents! • Problem where the “radicals” have more power • Problem when librarians too willing • “Understanding your role as expert and advocate” can be more appropriate than “Pleasing your market”
  35. 35. For IL as international concept • Pragmatism • Openness • Curiosity • Debate • Inquiry • Confidence • Passion • Hope
  36. 36. Sheila Webber
  37. 37. References • Becher, T., & Trowler, P. R. (2001). Academic tribes and territories: Intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines, 2nd ed. Milton Keynes: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. • Corrall, S.M. (2007). quot;Benchmarking strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education: towards a working modelquot; Information Research, 12 (4) paper 328. • Pejova, Z. et al (2006) Achieving an information society and knowledge-based economy through information literacy. International Center for Promotion of Enterprises.