Throughout the ages the concept of Information Literacy could be considered a constant in that man has always had the need, and desire, for information. However, as time has passed the information available has become more detailed and diverse in nature as technology has allowed for the development of information sources to evolve. For an individual to keep in touch with this progression they will need to develop a set of skills which will allow access to information in all it’s forms. Therefore it could be concluded that information literacy is a set of skills, but these skills will need to be diverse, in order to access this wide range of information.
One may challenge that use of search engines, Web 2.0, or personalized web search devices such as Yahoo search builder, requires something greater than a set of skills, however, to use these simply means our approaches to information literacy have to change. (O’Connell, 2008). The user will need to develop new skills to utilise these new tools. Mitchell (2007) has reiterated that searching for information is more than just a rules-driven process, and there is no one correct way to search for information in this diverse Web 2.0 landscape.
When considering the building block approach suggested by Abilock where information literacy is a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes, (Abilock, 2004) suggests that the enquirer will require a wide range of skills if they are to engage, define, initiate, locate, examine, record, communicate and evaluate (Abilock, 2004) information for the purpose intended.
To examine and understand information in the modern age, the user will require many skills to understand the situation to use appropriate information search techniques. To consider the information literate person is one who;
recognizes the need for information,
understands the extent of information needed,
uses efficient search methods,
evaluates the quality of information and it’s sources,
classifies and stores information,
incorporates selected information into their knowledge base,
uses information efficiently to learn and solve problems,
understands legal and cultural implications in accessing and using information ethically,
uses information for participative citizenship and social responsibility,
and experiences information literacy as part of independent and lifelong learning, (Bundy, 2004) will promote the concept that a diverse range of skills will be required.
As we move into the 21st century Johnson (2006) suggests there are three critical societal changes; the growing digitization and portability of information, emerging fundamental changes in the nature and sources of information, and the critical need for new skills for workers in a global economy. This indicates the ongoing need to develop sound skills in order to stay current with trends in the ever evolving world of information.
So whether the information required is via the medium of paper, web based or digital, the enquirer will need to utilise techniques drawn from a wide variety of skills in order to efficiently and accurately acquire relevant information to satisfy the needs outlaid at the beginning of any search.
Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. Sourced from www.noodles.com/debbie/literacies/1 over/infolit1.html
Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).
Johnson, D. (2006). Dangers and Opportunities: challenges for libraries in the digital age, www.doug.johnson.com/storage/handouts/danger.pdf
Langford, L. (1998.) Information Literacy: A Clarification. School Libraries worldwide, Volume 4, Number 1. (p.59-72)
Mitchell, P. (2007). Information Literacy Experts or Expats? SLANZA Conference www.educationau.edu.au/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/papers/slanza_pm.pdf.
O’Connell, J. (2008). School Libraries 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (p. 51-62).London: Facet Publishing.