This session provided an opportunity to discuss current ideas and developments relating to information literacy (IL). Last year, CILIP completely overhauled its definition of IL. Unlike the previous version, which was heavily focused on academic skills, the 2018 definition places IL firmly in a broad societal context that no longer resides just within higher education. It states that ‘IL is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgments about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society’.
In the first part of the session, Stéphane Goldstein – who, along with the other presenter, Geoff Walton, contributed to the drafting of the definition – explained why it is so important for IL to be situated in different life-course contexts; how the definition addresses this; how IL has become particularly pertinent in light of concerns about misinformation, disinformation and ‘fake news’; how it relates to public policy issues and government priorities; and how it dovetails and overlaps with other literacies – digital, media, political – that all contribute to addressing these concerns.
The second part of the session consisted of a reflection, introduced by Geoff Walton, on two case studies examining how young people differ in the ways that they make judgements about information (both psychologically and physiologically) and what can be done to improve their approach. The first looked at how young people make judgements about information and the second gave an overview of a teaching and learning event that enables them to improve their abilities.
In a recent experiment with 18–24 year olds, it was found that those who are good at making well-calibrated judgements about information (we call them high information discerners) are more curious, tend to use multiple sources to verify information, are more likely to be sceptical about information on search engines such as Google, do not regard the first results page as the most trustworthy information and are cognisant of the importance of authority – for example is a web page on medical advice written by a qualified medic or not? Conversely, low information discerners are significantly less likely to be aware of these issues and are generally dismissive of the content put in front of them. These differences are statistically significant.
It was also found that:
1. When presented with mis-information and put under mild stress, higher discerning individuals viewed the situation as more of a challenge, rather than a threat to their well-being.
2. When presented with mis-information, those with higher information discernment levels experienced more favourable (i.e. adaptive and healthy), physiological outcomes. Specifically, individuals with high discernment responded to stress with a more efficient blood flow, equating to a healthier heart response.
3. When given mis-information, higher information discerning individuals responded with more positive emotions before and after the stressful task, in comparison to lower information discerning individuals.
4. High information discerners tend to show high concentration levels and low information discerners exhibit low concentration.
These results have health and well-being implications as well as raising educational and societal concerns. Happily, a number of tools have been devised to help young people improve their information discernment capabilities. Geoff shared these with participants. This was followed by a discussion of their merits and the implications of the various findings.
Stephane Goldstein is Executive Director of InformAll (www.informall.org.uk) , a research and policy consultancy that specialises in information and digital literacy and which he founded in 2015. He is the Advocacy and Outreach Officer on CILIP’s Information Literacy Group, and a member of its Knowledge & Information Management Group. Stéphane is an established researcher and research manager, having published reports and articles on information literacy and other themes relating to the information and data environment. He has produced material for organisations in the information world including CILIP, SCONUL and Knowledge Exchange. He set up InformAll with the aim of helping to develop evidence-based awareness of the importance and relevance of information literacy, having previously worked at the Research Information Network, where he undertook and supported projects addressing not just information literacy, but also open access, open science, the role of libraries in supporting research and research data management.
Dr Geoff Walton is Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Languages, Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University and described as one of the top ‘internationally eminent scholars and researchers’ in information literacy. He is Programme Leader for the MA Library & Information Management. Geoff is Chair of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Information Literacy and an Information Literacy Group (ILG) committee member. He is currently writing up the CILIP ILG funded project ‘Information discernment and psychophysiological well-being in response to misinformed stigmatization’. Geoff has also recently completed a British Academy funded project with Dr Ali Pickard and the late Professor Mark Hepworth. He was a librarian (in the voluntary, public and academic sectors) for 23 years before taking up a Senior Lecturer role at Northumbria University. In 2010, Geoff received the SLA Information Professional Europe Award sponsored by Dow Jones. Geoff’s main research interests are: information literacy, information behaviour, Technology Enhanced Learning, health literacy, data literacy and public libraries. He has published six books and many peer reviewed papers.
Time and Venue
2pm on 30th May 2019, The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS
Pre Event Information
Last year, CILIP completely overhauled its definition of IL and this meeting will be an opportunity to learn about the changes. See the CILIP press release and the report).
Part one will look at this in light of concerns about misinformation, disinformation and ‘fake news’; how it relates to public policy issues and government priorities; and how it dovetails and overlaps with other literacies – digital, media, political – that all contribute to addressing these concerns.
The second part of the session will look at two case studies that questioned young people about the ways that they make judgments about information and what can be done to improve their approach. The study raised important concerns. Happily, the session will show a number of tools to help young people improve their information discernment capabilities. There will be an opportunity to discuss their merits and what are the implications of our various findings for our workplaces and the information professional’s role.
Our AGM will take place at the end of the meeting.
No slides available for this presentation
See our blog report: Information Literacy.
For more information, see the CILIP press release and the report itself.
Geoff Walton’s publications list can be found at: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=UwsIXpUAAAAJ&hl=en