Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Article Note: On Information Literacy as Socially Enacted Practice

Citation for the article:

Lloyd, Annemaree, "Information Literacy as a Socially Enacted Practice: Sensitising Themes for an Emerging Perspective of People-in-practice." Journal of Documentation 68.6 (2012): 772-783.

Read via  Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

I thought this article was a bit on the verbose side to say that much of information literacy happens in context, and that for some settings, information literacy is specific. The paper begins by stating its aim is "to explain how information literacy happens" (772). That seems like a grandiose goal to me, and I am not sure how well the paper delivered it. I was intrigued by the ideas of how information and knowledge are made legitimate and then sanctioned. Overall, I thought this paper was a lot of theory. It felt like stuff I already know or can deduce from my practice, except I did not need to go "so deep" to say it.

Some very brief notes:

  • "This requires a shift in our understanding about what constitutes information literacy. It moves us away from individualist approaches, which seek to understand how an individual engages with information, and towards conceptualising how the phenomenon is constituted by practice architectures, i.e. the sayings, doings, and relatings (Schatzki, 2002; Kemmis and Grootenboer, 2008), that shape the information landscape, orienting and orchestrating the practices of the social site towards particular ways of knowing and particular forms of knowledge" (774). 
  • "That is to say, that people participating collectively in a social setting bring practices such as information literacy into being, and shape it in ways that are collectively agreed upon through negotiation, and in ways that reflect the practice traditions of the setting" (774). 
  • "Information literacy is a collective practice, one which not only connects people to rational and instrumental aspects of their performance but also to the embodied and affective aspects that shape identity and situate people within that social context. We become information literate and operationalise information literacy in ways that reflect a negotiated understanding of what constitutes knowledge and ways of knowing" (775). 
  • The author mentions that we get into practice via mediators. This was one small idea of the article that intrigued me: librarians as mediators that interpret the landscape for newcomers or those needing a little help. It makes sense to me and seems consistent with a lot of my experience. 
  • Something that seems to be common sense, or at least something that I think most information literacy librarians already know: people "must learn to recognise and then engage with specific discourses that represent the knowledge domains of their organisation or community" (779). Put another way, the academic conversations in a business school are different than those in a history department. 

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