Thursday, August 15, 2013

Information literacy for scanning the external environment

Dr Shaheen Majid presented a paper authored with Zhang Xue, Information literacy for scanning the external environment - a qualitative study at the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services . Environmental scanning (ES) involves monitoring, gathering analysing and applying information about an organisation's wider environment (so that the organisation can identify potential changes, trends, market opportunities and threats etc.) The speaker identified how close the steps of environmental scanning and of IL are.
This study was focused on travel agencies in Singapore, chosen because travel is an important industry in Singapore, and it is an industry subject to rapid change. One research objective was to look at the role of IL in the ES process by conducting a questionnaire survey and undertaking interviews. From the survey, the most used source was human contacts, then sources such as newspapers and magazines, with online sources the third choice. Various barriers to ES were perceived including lack of time and lack of information skills. From the interviews, problems included inability to identify sources, overreliance on human sources, and that they don't have any strategy for storing information for future use.
The speaker felt that this study helped to provide evidence for the need of information literacy education, so that future employees could support their workplaces more effectively.
Note that again I am liveblogging and I am feeling a bit jet lagged, so this isn't a complete view of the talk.
Photo by Sheila Webber: post-its in the National Library of Singapore, public central library

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