Monday, October 20, 2014

Report from #ecil2014 Saracevic on contemporary US infolit

I continue liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Tefko Saracevic (Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University) was an invited speaker, talking on Information Literacy in the United States: Contemporary Transformations and Controversies.
He started by saying that information literacy was always connected with effective use of information, but now in the digital world it is even more connected, linking with Mike Eisenberg's talk. His aim was to give an overview of IL developments in the USA and a critique of the current ACRL revision of their IL framework. His definition of IL was the ability to use libraries and other informqtion resources to locate evaluate and use needed information effectively: associated with this were six steps which included respecting legal and ethical issues. Saracevic felt that the basic concept was IL even when some other terms were being used, and he saw IL as an umbrella concept.
He traced the origins of IL in the 19th century and it development to a global concept, including the work of IFLA and UNESCO. Milestones such as the Presidential Committee Final Report were mentioned. The current ACRL standards consist of 5 standards and 22 performance indicators (as many of you will know) with a focus on assessing outcomes of progress towards IL, in higher education. Again as many of you will know, ACRL is now revising its framework for IL, and they have produced drafts and engaged in consultation (I have blogged about this, for example here). He highlighted the argument that is presented for making the changes and troubled some of the notions and concepts that are used in the argument and explanation. He also presented his critique of Threshold Concepts (which are used as a basis for the new ACRL framework), and he felt it was "not an appropriate and fruitful approach for achieving a pragmatic framework for information literacy". I feel I must add that he was partly dismissing it because it was not a testable theory, which I do not think is quite the point.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik old town, October 2014

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