Information Literacy



Information Literacy, Scholarship, Practice, and Leadership Michael Phan University of Phoenix School of Advance Studies

Information Literacy Information Literacy: Scholarship, Practice, and Leadership


Information literacy is the knowledge that one has to intelligently participate in a society. It defines the capability of the person to understand the externalities and the environment, and act intelligently in response to attain the best possible results. More

specifically, information literacy is also referred to the knowledge, learning and literacy of an individual in terms of computers and systems technology. Hughes and Shapiro, in 1996, provided a definition for information literacy which states that information literacy is a form of literacy, which extends the knowledge of a person in terms of how to use computers and navigate to access the specific information he or she wants through the machine. The world of today has become highly information and technology centric, especially with the advancement of computer technology, faster processing of information and efficiency provided by the new information technology. A common place where multiple forms of tools are present to test the information literacy of a person is a library where in order to have access to books and data, the individuals have to have knowledge about the specific systems through which the required information can be retrieved. The paper discusses the aspect of information literacy in terms of intelligence as well as technology as applied in the field of education. The first article selected for discussion is by David Rifkin. The article discusses literacy and information literacy in terms of its application in state and public schools. In the article Rifkin mentions that literacy of a person is basically determined and based on the society in which the individual resides, and moves about in. Initially, basic literacy included simply the knowledge and ability of learning and writing. However with the advancement in technology information literacy has become the knowledge of being able to read and write as

Information Literacy


well as use complex technology such as the computers and an internet to access the information required. In terms of scholarship, Rifkin mentions that scholarship of a student does not simply include accessing and comprehending the information, but also being able to access the best and the most credible information through a trustworthy and justifiable source. “One of the most overwhelming aspects of online research is the endless flood of information that the learner has to sift through. Besides the sheer volume of information, assessing the validity of a source for bias and point of view is a major concern.” (Rifkin, 2006) Rifkin also mentioned that a large percentage of the college seniors also do not take out time to analyze and evaluate the sources which they use to conduct their research. In

practical application of information literacy, the author mentions that literacy skills of the high school and college students are weak in terms of their reading and writing ability as well as their competence in using the computer systems and databases for accessing information for their projects. Therefore Rifkin recommends that the educational institutions should focus on incorporating specific courses and workshop sessions to train and provide assistance to the students on how technology and information systems can be used to access the required information. The second article that has been selected is by Daniel Griffin and is titled, Is Virtual Virtue in Scholarship. The article is based on the study conducted on students at the University of Sheffield. It highlights the difficulties and challenges being faced by the students in terms of their scholarship due to lack of proper skills and incomplete information literacy. The focus of the article is towards improving the scholarship of the students and the ineffectiveness of the virtual medium in terms of the practice of information literacy. The

Information Literacy


author argues that while the internet and the information technology have enabled the students to access information more readily and conveniently, the students have lost their skills of finding the best resources available, and citing the resources in the proper format. "Students need an incentive really to develop their information literacy and ability to cite. In any subject, if you have teachers who are challenging and forcing students to do their own research work, providing feedback on whether they have cited things correctly and synthesized the material, then the students are going to develop their skills better.” (Griffin, 2007) Griffin claims in the article that the students need to be taught how to practice the information literacy that they have in order to take advantage of the changes taking place in the information and technology environment. Griffin also states that by doing so the students would also be able to develop their reading and writing skills as well as increase their knowledge. The third article that has been selected for the purpose of this paper is titled Information Literacy as a Socio-technical Practice by Tuominen Kimmo, Saviklainen Reijo and Tajia Sanna. The authors argue that information literacy has been used by people to develop a practical and strategic concept of learning skills. The article also highlights existing research present on the subject of information technology and its effect on scholarship, practice and leadership. However it does not explore how the students interact with each other, and the technical systems which influence their information, and data environments. Comprehensively, the article focuses on information literacy as a socio-technical practice. “Information literacy evolves in the course of realizing specific work-related tasks and mundane activities, which usually involve a complex system of social relationships, socio

Information Literacy


technical configurations, and work organization. From the perspective of a situated understanding of learning and learning requirements, information skills cannot be taught independently of the knowledge domains, organizations, and practical tasks in which these skills are used.” (Kimmo, 2005) Kimmo, et al also mentioned in the article that there needs to be an established and structural communication interface between the information technologies available and the efforts in learning and teaching. Information literacy is strongly linked with scholarship, practice and leadership. Literacy of information technology and the application of its knowledge are crucially important for the scholarship of students as it impacts the academic development of an individual. The literature review depicts that, on one hand, information literacy is considered as the intelligence of an individual, while on the other hand it refers to the comprehension and use of computers, and technology for accessing, and managing information. The most common place where information literacy is required and used is in the public and private libraries which are present at schools, universities and colleges. These libraries are increasingly adopting new information technology for making their structure more dynamic, cost effective as well as progressive in terms of information storage and processing. Education institutions like colleges, universities and high schools are the training hubs for the children and young adults. These institutions provide the students with information and skill based training on how to use information technology to their advantage. Information and leadership have a strong interdependent relationship. In order to be successful in producing good quality high school and college projects the students need to be technology savvy and should have sufficient information literacy skills to take present their

Information Literacy


work in an organized and literate manner. In terms of managing a business, the senior management of a company also needs to be technology savvy and have information literacy skills for making critical business decisions. “Companies need technically-trained people in the executive suite because technology is driving change in every dimension of a business. And why shouldn't residents of the executives of the future be just as likely to be spawned from the lab as from the legal, sales or finance departments? Let the technically-literate CEO be supported in the legal, finance and sales area just as CEOs from these areas are supported by technicallytrained people today” (‘Promoting technical literacy in the executive suite’, 1995). The literature review conducted on information literacy provides that leading scholars of the world as well as influential people have the capability adapt to the changing environments and become more technology perceptive. Such people use the information technology intelligently to their advantage as a support tool for information analyses for their decision making activities.

Information Literacy


References (1995), Promoting technical literacy in the executive suite, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 19 Issue 6, p11, 2p. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from (2005), Information Literacy as a Socio technical Practice, Library Quarterly, Vol. 75 Issue 3, p329-345, 17p. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from Elmborg, J., (2006), Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice, Journal of Academic Librarianship6, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p192-199, 8p. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from Griffin, D., (2007), Is Virtual a Virtue in Scholarship, Information World Review; Dec2007 Issue. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from Rifkin, D., (2006), A Word on Information Literacy for Students. Retrieved June 9, 2008 from

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