Information Literacy in the Age of YouTube

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Information about Information Literacy in the Age of YouTube

Published on July 9, 2009

Author: mjdelia



I delivered this presentation at the APLA 2009 conference in Halifax. Here's the description from the program:

Library notions of information literacy are almost always tied to written information, but an increasing amount of information that is created and consumed is in visual formats (photographs, illustration, video, animation, multimedia, etc.). As we help people negotiate the new media of the Information Age, what should our role as librarians be? Some industries regularly manipulate images to create an ideal reality (e.g. advertising), while others claim that images represent the truth (e.g. journalism). Are we as adept as w think at distinguishing truth from fiction?

Warning: some of the fonts didn't translate perfectly.

The slides might not make sense on their own, so here's my script (that I loosely followed):

Here's a handout of further resources:

Image: tpmartins ( - cc)

identify access evaluate apply ethics Images: andercismo; ElStruthio; gonzales2010; IceSabre; marttj ( - cc)

nothing .

information = te xt

“...information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it.” ~ ACRL Reference:

Image: mightymightymatze ( - cc)

Image: (c) Andrew Goodwin

information > te xt Images: Incendiarymind; ckaroll; N.J. Lee; (c)athrine; Steve Rhodes; margolove; prallin; paulbence_photography ( - cc)

creating consuming Image: Melissa Maples ( - cc)


Images tell stories.

Image: found_drama ( - cc)

Image: foxypar4 ( - cc)

Image: simplerich ( - cc)

Image: neb ( - cc)

Image dotbenjamin ( - cc)

see / speak watch / write visual / verbal Image: sean_dreilinger ( - cc)

Images *are* the story. Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia

1) Images tell stories. 2) Stories help us understand.

1) Includes a lot of images. 2) Uses a classic story structure.


Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

climax Story Arc (aka Freytag’s pyramid) falling action rising action dénouement resolution exposition inciting incident Reference:

Exposition “A picture is worth a thousand words”

why image s ?

documentation identification elaboration emotion direction acculturation decoration communication

show & te ll

1,000 1,000 words words

inte rpre tation.

Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia

Press button Grab bacon Eat bacon

Image: Thomas Hawk ( - cc)

Image: Ed Yourdon ( - cc)

Inciting Incide nt “Picture perfect”

cave paintings illuminated manuscripts Renaissance portraits printed lithographs

profession of a few practice of the masses


Image: Shermeee ( - cc)

Rising Action “Seeing is believing”

Images: pineapplebun; John Fravel ( - cc)

Image: Anirudh-Koul ( - cc)

production. distribution.

Orality T xtuality e Visuality rhetoric logic ? memorization authority ? fluid frozen fluid subjectivity “objectivity” subjectivity

se e ing is be lie ving .

T xtuality e logic authority frozen “objectivity”

Climax “The moment that never was”

1) Images tell stories. 2) Stories help us understand.

Basra, Iraq March 2003 Brian Walski Staff photographer: LA Times

Photograph ran prominently in: LA Times Hartford Courant Chicago Tribune

This moment never happened.

150 image s 150 image s British troops Iraqi civilians

ze ro .

manipulation = bad manipulation = good

Fire d.

“After a long day, I put my altered image ahead of the integrity of the newspaper and the integrity of my craft. These other photographers are there [in Iraq] risking their lives and I’ve just tarnished their reputation.” ~Brian Walski

images can be easily altered manipulation can change meaning images aren’t “objective” credibility and integrity of image-maker fine line of manipulation demand for dramatic images

digital information.

Image: orphanjones ( - cc)

Image: Holger Zscheyge ( - cc)

“There were clear cut and dried areas [of photography]. And now, we no longer have this metal formed by light, we have liquid pixels, we have controlled liquid photos...This is the major revolution.” ~Sheila Reaves

liquidity. anonymity.

Lonelygirl15 (Bree) Images: (c) Peter Yang (

Bree does Lonelygirl15 not exist. is fiction. Images: (c) Peter Yang (

pe ople didn’ t care .

true e nough.

Falling Action “If you can imagine it, you can image it”

what should we do ?

Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy

Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy

Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy

Remember: 1) things are not always as they appear 2) content and context 3) visual culture is in its infancy

Book “innovations” Image innovations ? quotation marks table of contents index (cross-referencing) page numbers footnotes citations

Re solution “Learning a new language”

Media literacy mass media Digital literacy information technology Screen literacy display technology Visual literacy visual stimuli

Media literacy Digital literacy Information Screen literacy Visual literacy L racy ite

identify access evaluate apply ethics Images: jsleepr; Dplanet::; incurable_hippie; Divine Harvester (tm); Francois @ ( - cc)

Dé noue me nt/ Discussion “Where do we go from here?”

librarians .

Image: (c) M.J. D’Elia

Thank you. mjdelia.wordpress. M.J. D’Elia ca

Image List Images in this presentation are used under Creative Commons licenses (unless otherwise noted). Most images can be found on under the user names below: tpmartins margolove Shermeee andercismo prallin pineapplebun ElStruthio paulbence_photography John Fravel gonzales2010 Melissa Maples Anirudh-Koul IceSabre found_drama Brian Walski x 3 (c) marttj foxypar4 orphanjones mightymightymatze simplerich Holger Zscheyge Andrew Goodwin (c) nep Peter Young x 2 (c) Incendiarymind dotbenjamin jsleepr ckaroll sean_dreilinger Dplanet:: N.J. Lee M.J. D’Elia x 4 (c) incurable_hippie (c)athrine Thomas Hawk Divine Harvester (tm) Steve Rhodes Ed Yourdon Francois @ M.J. D’Elia (c)

Se le cte d Re fe re nce s Screen Literacy Kelly, K. (2008, Nov 28). Becoming Screen Literate. Ne w Y ork Time s Mag az ine . Visual Literacy Bleed, R. (2005, Aug). Visual Literacy in Higher Education. Educaus e Le arning Initiativ e . Image Manipulation Brower, K. (1998, May). Photography in the Age of Falsification. Atlantic Monthly . The Case of Brian Walski Irby, K. (2003). L.A. Times Photographer fired over altered image. Poy nte rOnline . The Case of Lonelygirl15 Davis, J. (2006, Dec). The Secret World of Lonelygirl. W ire d, 14(12).

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