In the digital age, information is pervasive, varied, and easily available, often being just a click away. However, the very fact that it is so ubiquitous and varied at the same time means that one needs skills to find relevant sources of information and evaluate their credibility and usefulness. This course shaped the understanding of information literacy not only in terms of improving specific skills in searching for and assessing sources but also by pointing out how it is relevant in specific professional fields.
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Information literacy is particularly crucial today because due to the development ion information and communication technology (ICT), data is produced at an unprecedented pace. As a result, there is often too much data to find and extract the necessary information without a proper understanding of how to do it swiftly en efficiently. Web search systems provide access to only a fraction of knowledge on a given subject, as the rest is usually locked behind the paywalls, but it is already enough to be overwhelming (Yavapai College, 2011). In contrast, the person with sufficient literary skills will know how to use the databases most suited for finding precise and up-to-date credible information on a given subject (Yavapai College, 2011). Thus, without information literacy, it is nearly impossible to orient in the contemporary data landscapes.
Moreover, while useful for everyone, in general, information literacy skills are also particularly crucial for academic and professional success. It is all the more relevant because different academic disciplines and professional fields have characteristic modes of information generation and distribution. For example, HR & Safety ultimately belongs to the field of social sciences, which focus on the study of social interactions rather than human constructs or natural phenomena (Lanning, 2017). In this field, journals are the most important type of sources to look for the latest developments (Lanning, 2017). This kind of publishing literacy is essential for keeping up with the new developments in one’s chosen area of specialization.
This module’s resources have positively impacted the development of information literacy skills in several aspects simultaneously. To begin with, it clarified that information literacy is not merely a set of standardized skills but an “interconnected group of understandings” (Brooks et al., 2021, p. 278). Additionally, it emphasized the distinction between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources (“Exploring Types of Sources,” n.d.). Finally, it also raised the awareness of library databases as the tools for information search combining greater flexibility than many Web search engines with an emphasis on mostly credible sources (“Shapiro Library,” 2021). For example, navigating a database is a skill, but the understanding of which database would be better suited for which particular purpose is the true mark of information literacy.
Among the specific resources used in this course, Chapter 2 from Lanning (2017) was the most impactful in terms of developing information literacy. It was particularly useful in offering a standardized yet flexible model of information search from an initial inquiry to formulating the research question and identifying appropriate sources (Lanning, 2017). Thus, it not only aided in building specific skills related to searching for information but also provided an overall framework for it.
To summarize, information literacy is positively crucial for success in the contemporary world. It allows effectively searching for credible and useful information among the increasing volumes of data and is particularly useful for academic and professional success. This course has a positive impact on information literacy by developing specific skills, such as database search and sources classification, while also providing general frameworks for working with information.
Brook, A. W., Warner, L., & Hammons, J. (2021). Information literacy leadership: The traits we didn’t know we had. College & Research Libraries News, 82(6), 278–281. Web.
as little as 3 hours
Exploring types of sources. (N.d.) [MS Word File].
Lanning, S. (2017). Concise guide to information literacy. ABC-CLIO.
Shapiro Library. (2021). Welcome to Shapiro Library [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Yavapai College Library. (2011). What are databases and why you need them [Video]. YouTube. Web.