Information literacy and knowledge management at work

Rubén Toledano O'Farrill (Department of Economy, Management and Marketing, ITESO University, Guadalajara, Mexico)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretically and empirically the concept of workplace information literacy (IL) and its connections to knowledge management (KM), and to examine the applicability of the mainstream institutional IL frameworks (American Library Association, The Australian and New Zealand Institute for IL, The Society of College, National and University Libraries, The UK Chartered Institute of Library Professionals, etc.) to the workplace environment.


Phenomenographic study of conceptions of effective information use of frontline staff at NHS24, which are discussed with respect to organizational characteristics of NHS Scotland and against the background of the two theoretical concepts: KM and IL.


The paper shows that the main institutional IL frameworks do not properly reflect some important ways in which information is used by participants in the study, particularly the use of people as information sources and the social sense making and interpretation of the value of information and its application in the workplace environment.

Research limitations/implications

The results from this qualitative study of a small population can be useful inasmuch as they highlight characteristics of workplace IL that may be relevant in several organizational settings, as well as presenting a critical analysis of the IL frameworks developed by librarians in regard to their applicability to workplace settings.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the importance of developing organization‐specific guidelines for IL development, endorsing views of learning and information use grounded in socio‐constructive perspectives and a consideration of context as situated practice.


This is an original research study conducted as part of a PhD qualification which has contributed to further the understanding of workplace IL.



Toledano O'Farrill, R. (2010), "Information literacy and knowledge management at work", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 66 No. 5, pp. 706-733.

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