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‘Information literacy is more than a set of skills’

Herring (2006) suggests that students should use information literacy skills to reflect on their own learning… therefore as a student I present

A Reflection

I started out very gung-ho about this teacher librarian business. Unfortunately I lost a great deal of momentum after being struck by a tsunami of information. I can imagine how our school students feel in this information-rich world. The troubling reality became that instead of “the more I see the more I do”, my reaction was “the more I read the less time I have to do”. With the multitude of voices (I needed to go no further than forum discussions) I found that the going was slow. Obviously the key is to be selective and target the information I require, but what if I miss something? How can I get where I need to get quickly? This seems to me to be the frustrating crux of the matter (and annoyingly the reason I need to develop my information literacy skills!).

As it was related to me by a more experienced colleague – when computers first came in they were meant to make life easier, cut down on work. His point being that this is anything but true! Also in this National Broadband Network, forward looking, fibre-to-the-node economy, speed is the vital element separating debate. Speed, speed, speed, but the irony is the faster we can move things (just like a motorway) the more we want to put on it. Therefore the concern becomes why? What needs to be said? Can we car-pool?

Kuhlthau, C., HeinstrÖm, J. & Todd, R.J. (2008) discuss the implications of Kuhlthau’s information search process (ISP) addressing my concerns stating that the “ISP model describes feelings, thoughts and actions in an information seeking task with a discreet beginning and end, where considerable construction of knowledge takes place. The description of the stages of affective, cognitive and physical experience of users continued to be found in this study.” Certainly this helps the information seeker build confidence despite results that may be described as “discreet” that learning is actually taking place. Using scaffolding to locate and analysis information makes the diagram below better digested.


In Conclusion
Information comes from all angles, skills are necessary in guiding through the ensuing tangle, however information literacy depends on a deeper fluency. The Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework identifies an information literate person as “those who know when they need information, and are then able to identify, locate, evaluate, organise, and effectively use the information to address and help resolve personal, job related or broader social issues and problems” (Bundy, 2004). Therefore simply using skills to understand the content of information is not information literate. The interpreter requires the ability to apply this knowledge within a relevant context.
Bundy, Alan (Ed.). (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice Second Edition. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Libraries (CAUL)
Kuhlthau, C.C., HeinstrÖm, J. & Todd, R.J. (2008). “The ‘information search process’ revisited: is the model still useful?” Information Research, 13(4) paper 355. [Available at


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This entry was posted on May 13, 2013 by .
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