Relevance of Information Literacy in Digital Environment

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  • 8/6/2019 Relevance of Information Literacy in Digital Environment


    VOL. 1, NO. 1, JULY 2010 ISSN 2079-8407

    Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Info rmation Sciences

    2009-2010 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.



    R. N. Mishra1, C.Mishra


    1Assistant Professor, Department of Library and Information Science, Mizoram University, Aizwal, Mizoram,


    2Library Trainee, Library and Information Centre, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikhode, Kerala


    ABSTRACTInformation Literacy (IL) along with information and communication technology has become significant in library

    environment. Information literacy in library services is required not only to optimize the use of library resources in

    teaching, learning and research but also train the users to make them aware about information sources and access authentic

    information from vast array of electronic information sources, etc. Librarians have to impart skills on web searchingtechniques, evaluation and establishing authenticity and reliability of information retrieved from internet domain to the

    users The paper focuses some of the major areas for the relevance of information literacy in contemporary library and

    information services. Methodology followed for the study is based on the documents available library including on

    internet. Library professionals need to be aware of using the skills involved in acquiring e-resources from a wide range of

    information resources including organization and proper dissemination to the users. Further, they require creating

    awareness among the users about the adaptability of new technologies, capability of information building etc.


    Librarianship in the present digital age is not

    restrained to the documents rather; the profession has now

    amalgamated to multifarious subfields. Advancement of

    technologies and its application in library services,multifarious, multidimensional needs of the users due tointer-disciplinary research are some of the factors which

    are responsible for the librarian to accept and adapt to the

    changing situations causing thereby, change in library

    profession. In the developing scenario, the dimension of

    the profession has been extended to content developer,

    knowledge creator, content manager, etc. Informationliteracy happens to be one of the important sub-fields of

    librarianship that has now been recognized as an

    independent and indispensable field of librarianship.

    Librarians justify information literacy as increasing

    democratic participation by all users. Christine Bruce 1 has

    traced the use of the term information literacy back to thelate 1960s and relates it to early developments in

    computer-based information technology, but it was not

    until 1980s that was used widely. Information Literacy in

    the age of multiple technological appliances in the field of

    libraries and information centers opened avenues for the

    researchers to obtain vast array of filtered information in

    their concerned subject from Internet domain.

    Information Literacy is defined as the skill to

    know the need of information including its identification,

    location so as to serve the users in an effectual way. Due

    to the availability of mammoth of literature in a versatile

    subject fields, it becomes essential to analyze the quality

    of information which can be used by the users for

    academic purpose. According to Maughan [2] the primary

    issues relating to information literacy are:

    Strong commitment from the institution/organization;

    Strong obligation from the library administration;

    Proficiency in teaching, technology, andassessment among library staff;

    Faculty who will partner with librarians and otherinformation-handling professionals.


    Information Literacy is a transformational

    process where the learner needs to find, understand,

    evaluate, and use information in various forms to create

    for personal, social or global purposes. Information

    literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to

    recognize the information with the ability to locate,

    evaluate, and use effectively. Gilton[3] expressed

    Information literacy cannot be equated with computerliteracy as it requires a technological know-how to

    manipulation of both computer hardware and software or

    library literacy which in turn requires the ability to use a

    library's collection and its services, although there is a

    strong relationship among all these concepts. Each of the

    literacy requires some level of critical thinking. But

    compared with computer literacy, information literacy

    goes beyond merely having access to and knowledge of

    how to use the technology because technology alone does

    not guarantee quality learning experiences. Compared with

    library literacy, information literacy is more than

    searching through an online catalog or other reference

    materials because information literacy is not a techniquerather it is a goal oriented skill for learners. However,

    Shapiro & Shelly [4] have defined Information literacy as

    a new liberal art that extends from knowing how to use

  • 8/6/2019 Relevance of Information Literacy in Digital Environment


    VOL. 1, NO. 1, JULY 2010 ISSN 2079-8407

    Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Info rmation Sciences

    2009-2010 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.

    http://www.cisjournal.orgcomputers and access information to critical reflection on

    the nature of information itself its technical infrastructureand its social cultural and philosophical context and


    Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong

    learning which is common to all disciplines, to all learningenvironments, and to all levels of education. According to

    Doyle [5], information literate person in 21st century need


    Recognize the need for information ;

    Locate required information ;

    Formulate questions based on information needs;

    Identify potential sources of information ;

    Develop successful search strategies;

    Access sources of information includingcomputer-based and other technologies

    Evaluate information no matter what the source ; Organize information for practical application;

    Integrate new information into an existing bodyof knowledge ;

    Use information in critical thinking and problemsolving ; and

    Use information ethically and legally.

    The information literacy can be defined in terms

    of a set of competencies where an informed citizen of a

    society ought to possess for participating intelligently and

    actively in the society. The American LibraryAssociation's (ALA) Presidential Committee on

    Information Literacy in its final report has stated that, to

    be information literate, a person must be able to recognize

    when information is needed and have the ability to locate,

    evaluate, and use effectively the needed information [6].

    Shapiro-et al. [7] have defined information literacy as a

    new liberal art that extends knowing the technique of

    using computers and access information. Information

    Literacy encompasses to various terminologies having

    their own semantic content in addition to differences

    characterized by the type of skills, level, categories of

    learning, and instructional facilitating methods. Different

    concepts of Information Literacy have been evolved fromlibrary instructions and information skills-focused

    programs. The corresponding terms of information literacy

    [8] have been explained below in Table-1.

    Table-1: Analogous terms of Information Literacy

    Information Fluency It concerns with capability or mastering of information


    User Education It is a global approach to teach information access to users


    Library Instructions It focuses on library, technical and technological skills

    Bibliographic Instructions It relates to user training on information search and retrieval Information Competencies It connotes to skills and goals on information

    Information Skills It focuses on ability to acquire information

    User Orientation It relates to make aware the users about use of technology



    Literacy denotes to communication through

    notation. Notational techniques can be used for both

    explicit and tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge has some

    limitations which recognize the character of scientific

    procedures but, the explicit knowledge is available in a

    recorded form in various ways such as documentary, non-

    documentary, electronic form. This offers a positive

    budding value creation for its reliability. The pool of

    knowledge acquired from the library scientists in various

    forms in diverse sources including Internet requires

    reaching to the user communities. So, it becomes primary

    concern for the librarian to scan, filter and disseminate the

    users in the right time. The application of ICT and its

    application in the libraries have not only drastically

    changed the concept of literacy but also the acquisition of

    knowledge in the libraries and information centers gained

    momentum. Hence, there is a tremendous influence of ICT

    in the libraries which lead to information literacy. In a

    digital environment, it has become indispensable for the

    information manager, librarians etc. to empower user for

    getting right information at the right time in a right way so

    that the users can apply for lifelong capability building.


    Information Technology has brought drastic

    changes in the field of acquisition, organization,management and dissemination of information. The

    technological changes with tools have created a positive

    threat to adapt to the changing situation. Further, the users

    are also unable to cope-up with these modern

    technologies. The uncertain quality and expanding

    quantity of information pose major challenges and threats

    for the society. The recognition of rapid technological

    changes together with proliferation of information sources

    has initiated the shifting of instructions from library to

    information literacy. The users are not able to make out

    their information choice for pursuing academic studies due

    to escalating complexity of digital environment.

    Increasingly as information comes to users in unfilteredformats, the users raise questions about its authenticity,

    validity, and reliability. Further, information is available

    through multiple medias, including graphical, acoustic,

    and textual, and these posed a new challenges for the users


  • 8/6/2019 Relevance of Information Literacy in Digital Environment


    VOL. 1, NO. 1, JULY 2010 ISSN 2079-8407

    Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Info rmation Sciences

    2009-2010 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.

    http://www.cisjournal.orgto evaluate and understand. Therefore, a competency

    standard for higher education as follows has beendeveloped by ACRL[9]. Following are some of the

    important components which precipitated to the

    development of information literacy.

    Information Explosion

    Advent of information and communicationtechnologies(ICTs)

    Divergent and vast varieties of information sources

    Wide dispersal of information

    Birth of new discipline with new demands

    Unawareness of users to new technologies

    Lack of information capability building

    Technological changes

    Participate citizenship

    Creation of new knowledge

    User empowerment


    Information Literacy is a comprehensive and

    never ending life long process. It has a wide range offields which can be summarized as follows. Table-2

    supplemented with Fig.1 below clearly depicts a schematic

    view of the different dimensions of information literacy.

    Table-2: Schematic view of the different dimensions of information literacy.

    Media Literacy It is the ability to comprehend and create images in variety of media in order tocommunicate effectively.

    Network Literacy It the ability to properly manage, connect and organize to assess, evaluate and getinformation in a right way.

    Web Literacy It a subset of information literacy requires the ability to access, search, utilize,communicate and create information on the world wide web (WWW).

    Digital Literacy It refers an ability to assess, collect, organize, evaluate and use of digitalResources and services in an effective way.

    Scientific Literacy Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts andprocesses which are required for personal decision making, participation in civic and

    cultural affairs, and economic productivity.

    Visual Literacy Visual literacy is the ability to understand and use images. This includes thinking,learning, and expressing oneself in terms of image. Photographs, cartoons, line

    drawings, diagrams, concept maps, and other visual representations are all important in

    visual literacy.

    Critical literacy It is the ability to evaluate critically the human, intellectual and social strengths,benefits and costs of Information Technology.

    Fig 1: Schematic view of dimensions of Information Literacy

    The other dimensions related to information

    literacy are, (i) Library Orientation, (ii) Bibliographic

    Instruction, (iii) User Education, and (iv) Training on

    Information Skill. While, the library orientation


  • 8/6/2019 Relevance of Information Literacy in Digital Environment


    VOL. 1, NO. 1, JULY 2010 ISSN 2079-8407

    Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Info rmation Sciences

    2009-2010 CIS Journal. All rights reserved.

    http://www.cisjournal.orgconcentrates on using a library and its sections including

    location of resources, bibliographic instruction emphasizesto find out documents in the library. The user education is

    related with the mechanics involved for using particular

    resources. Training on Information skill is related with the

    phenomena associated with the use of technology toretrieve information in the library.

    Information literacy relates to both cognitive and

    transferable skills, such as problem solving, evaluation andcommunication skills. The four different strategies of

    information literacy [10] placed in Table- 3 can be

    visualized in different angles with regard to users.

    Table-3: Strategies of information literacy

    Information Literacy Student Skills and Strategies Student outcome Curriculum and Teaching


    IL is a problem-solving

    process for the users as the

    user is required to submit

    his requirements,

    information need. He is

    required to explore

    information by way ofproper planning about the

    probable location of relevant

    information. In the process,

    he can self evaluate the

    processing and searching of


    IL enhances the skill of

    generating presumptions,

    analyzing the problems while

    searching the required

    information from vast array of

    information sources. IL further

    develops the confidence ofanalyzing the constraints

    associated with retrieval of right,

    authentic infor...


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