Published on March 7, 2014
What does it mean to be “information literate”? ? Lecture Un Presented by Mark Puterbaugh Information Services Librarian Eastern University Libraries St. Davids, PA 19087 firstname.lastname@example.org 610-341-1461
Why do you need to know this? After all you are literate. You can read and write. So, isn’t that all you need to get through college?
Well it’s true being literate is the ability to read and write. And it’s true you need to read and write to get through college.
Information literacy is a little different.
So what is it?
It’s a life skill used to go from a place of not knowing something, to finding a source of knowledge, to examining the knowledge and then using that knowledge properly.
This is a simple way to state a thought process. But, it’s essentially what we call being information literate.
According to the American Library Association (to make this official) “Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.”
Let’s use a simple real life example. You want to buy a computer. Seems simple enough, eh?
First you need to know what type of computer you want to buy! ? • PC • Mac • Other
Some things you know already! Your friend has a Windows computer! You like the computer she has. You want to buy a Windows computer.
Now you want to go to a computer store. You asked your friend! But, she didn’t like the store where she bought the computer. Tells you not to go there. BAD SERVICE!
? So where do you go? You need information about computer stores. What do you do? You search for information about computer stores.
You find that there are many stores that sell computers. But, you want to find one near you. So, you narrow your search by typing the name of your town into the search form.
There are five computer stores in your area. So, you do another search. This time adding the name of the computer that you want to buy. The next search lists three stores in your area.
The first two stores are close to your house. The third you’ll have to drive to reach. You look at the various store websites. The stores near your house sell the computer you want for $799.
The one furthest away is running a special at $499.
At each step in locating the store you’ve: • Identified the information needed. • Searched to find the information. • Retrieved the information. • Analyzed the information. • Found that you needed additional information.
Then you did the following. • Identified the additional information you needed. • Searched to find the additional information. • Retrieved the information. • Analyzed the information.
What’s Next? ?
USE THE INFORMATION!! You are now computer store knowledgeable! You’ve gained knowledge from your research and are ready to act upon that knowledge.
You get in your car and go to the store. Buy your new computer.
You are now information literate! Well, that’s true for most needs. Through a logical series of steps you found, retrieved, analyzed, and used information.
What’s Next? ?
Next we’ll look at a more academic example. And we’ll answer the serious question, “What does it mean to be “information literate” for college?” Bye!
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