Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Information Literacy as an object of research

Continuing liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik: Louise Limberg talked on Information Literacy as an object of research – in tension between various fields. The issue she wanted to discuss was where did IL research belong? - was it in a different field (e.g. education)? was it a part of another library/information science field (e.g. it has been placed with information seeking and use)? is it its own field? how does it relate to other research fields? Limberg reflected that she herself had been reluctant to adopt the label of information literacy researcher and she asked herself why.
Thus she aimed to identify different positions and discuss the implications. To do this she started by looking at texts with "explicit statements about positioning IL research" from the last decade. The first position she identified was "IL as an independent research field". She felt it emerged from the library profession, associated with statements and standards about information literacy, and also linked with advocacy of IL as being valuable for citizens in society.
The second view was "IL as learning - information experience" (for example Christine Bruce) seeing IL as "experience of using information to learn". Limberg's main question in relation to this conception was - you had to ask what was being learnt, and reflect on whether the objects of learning were connected with information literacy.
Limberg then outlined the four ways in which she saw IL as related to information seeking and use (her own perspective): "IL as seeking information for learning purposes"; IL as learning information seeking and use; IL as teaching information seeking and use; and IL as learning from information. Limberg unpacked some of the elements in IL as information seeking and use (see the slide above), and identified a wide range of IL research focused on different interests. She made the point that whilst some of the topics were ones that could be investigated by scholars in other fields, but the questions and approaches will be different when investigated by researchers with an IL/information seeking and use approach.
Limberg identified information as being a core concept, when you think of the issue of naming the field. She identified the complexity and history of researching this phenomenon. However, she felt that there could be different reasons for "naming", and one might adopt different names for different purposes and for strategic purposes one might adopt a different name.
In terms of research field, she saw information literacy as a boundary object between the fields of information seeking and use, and learning: so this meant it had high potential for collaboration with people in either field. So that, rather than developing new hierarchies of IL "the challenge is develop new knowledge and expertise".

No comments: