Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts: Volume 8

Cover of Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts

Table of contents

(24 chapters)

This chapter gives a general overview of the book, indicates the rich diversity of information literacy (IL) and information behaviour (IB) work carried out and is organised into four broad areas moving from the strategic to the highly contextualised. The four areas are specifically: strategic view; delivering information literacy education; the link between university and work; beyond higher education. The approach for each chapter is summarised. This chapter also examines the inter-related nature of the concepts of information literacy and information behaviour. It shows how these ideas are contextualised, theorised and researched. The authors argue that far from being conflicting approaches to the same problem of information capability, they are, in fact, complementary. Though these are epistemologically different both have much to offer in terms of explanation and also as tools for fostering information capability. The history of information literacy and information behaviour is overviewed and their inter-relation explored. It is argued that information literacy can be viewed as the practitioners’ model for delivering information capability whilst information behaviour, being more research focussed, explains it. A diagram is presented at the end of the chapter which helps to highlight and summarise the distinctions and similarities between IB and IL research.


In this chapter, we propose an educational framework to position Information Literacy (IL) and Higher Education (HE) in relation to Lifelong Learning (LLL): comprehensive enough to make sense of, and give educational direction to, future development of people in information literate populations. We identify crucial changes in the HE environment, particularly in the United Kingdom; analyse the concept of IL as a discipline, and situate the IL person in the changing information culture and society. In doing this we draw on our own work and that of Schuller and Watson (2009). We propose a curriculum for an information literate lifecourse, sensitive to the context of the individual within a changing information culture. The curriculum is framed, on the one hand, by the nature of the information economy, technology, organisational culture, local/national culture and society, and personal goals. It is also framed by the life stage of the individual, using the four key stages and transitional points proposed by Schuller and Watson (2009). Academics and librarians have a key role in designing and facilitating these IL capabilities for the 21st century citizen.


Information literacy education plays a vital role in developing students’ information capabilities in higher education. Curriculum integration of information literacy is advocated by ACRL (2000) in the United States and ANZIIL (Bundy, 2004) in Australia and New Zealand. Research (Derakhshan & Singh, 2011; Dixon-Thomas, 2012) suggests that the most effective way to provide information literacy education is to integrate information literacy throughout the curriculum. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss curriculum in higher education and to introduce a model of curricular integration of information literacy.

The curriculum of a university (as one form of higher education) is usually seen as an educational plan to engage learners in the acquisition of knowledge and skills leading to a degree, diploma or certificate. The curriculum can be viewed at various levels, namely: institutional, faculty, programme, course and class levels. Therefore, information literacy can be integrated at different levels: university, faculty, programme, or courses and associated classes. This chapter will explain a model of curriculum integrated information literacy developed by Wang (2010) which was based on sociocultural theories and practitioners’ experiences in information literacy curriculum integration in higher education. Explanations of how to apply it in curriculum integration and curriculum design in higher education will also be provided.


This chapter aims to explore representations of information literacy and media literacy in Singapore’s educational discourse as part of its 21st century skills framework. Currently, information literacy and media literacy co-exist in Singapore’s education discourse but there is no related work attempting to clarify these two concepts in Singapore or to bridge them to propose an overarching framework. In what ways are these two terminologies identical or different in the local education context? We try to answer this question through reviewing relevant official documents. We start with a review the literature on the global scale regarding information literacy and media literacy. Then, we focus on Singapore to explore how various governmental agencies defining information literacy and media literacy. This chapter, in other words, is a result from a pilot study to understand how information literacy and media literacy is defined and understood in Singapore’s education system.


A comparative analysis of the results of two longitudinal studies conducted a decade apart, among research post-graduate students, with the purpose of understanding the progress in their information literacy (IL) skills, forms the content of this report. The analysis is based on the application of the Research and Information Search Expertise (RISE) model, which traces students’ progression across four stages of expertise. Such progression was measured across two dimensions of knowledge: that of information sources/databases and that of information search skills. Both studies adopted basic interpretive qualitative methods involving direct observation, interviews, think-aloud protocols, and survey questionnaires, during each of the five interventions, which were spread over a one to one-and-half year period. Scaffolding training was provided at each meeting and data were collected to assess the influence of such training on development of search expertise. A comparison of the findings reveals that students in both studies advance in their IL skills largely in a similar manner. Scaffolding support was found to help both dimensions of knowledge and that lack of one or the other type of knowledge could hinder their ability to find relevant sources for their research. The studies make evident the need for training programs for higher education students, to improve both their knowledge of information sources and their search techniques, tailor-made to closely correlate to their specific information needs. The studies provide insights into student behaviors in the development of IL skills, and the RISE model offers a framework for application to other similar research.


Building on theories of adolescent learning, including cognitive, personal, social, and moral development, this chapter considers how using media literacy techniques to analyze a children’s television program can create wide-awake, active learners while dissecting media messages. By analyzing children’s television for its portrayal of race and ethnicity, this chapter will explore the role media play in children's understanding of people and cultures outside of their own. A textual analysis of episodes of Maya & Miguel, the chapter describes the depiction of several cultures found represented on the program including White, Asian, African, Dominican, and Mexican and how race, ethnicity, and culture is framed in the television program.

Some theories suggest that television is a primary tool in the socialization of children. Children are attracted to the animation in cartoons, the colors, the movement and the easy-to-follow simplicity of the dialogue. Given the impressionable nature of children, it is possible that they begin to act out the biased nature of the cartoons they watch. Thus, considering their vulnerability, information literacy is relevant to discerning media messages. In this way, information literacy converges with media literacy and visual literacy. Guiding children to interrogate what they view is critically important especially when they are at an age where they can be easily influenced by misinformation or dominant messages. Additionally, the volume of information is steadily increasing in the 21st century as are the modes for accessing, creating and manipulating information. Thus, this work will demonstrate how promoting participatory learning by objectively viewing media and exercising reflective thinking will be important components of children’s education in this millennium.


This chapter describes a collaborative teaching and action research project undertaken by an academic librarian and education professor at the University of Alaska Southeast. The authors collaborated to develop and teach a series of three distance-delivered (i.e., e-learning) graduate-level courses designed to strengthen the information literacy and research skills of in-service teachers of grades P-12 enrolled in the M.Ed. in Special Education degree program at our university. Many of the teachers enrolled in this program lived and worked in one of the more than 200 geographically isolated, sparsely populated, and predominately Alaska Native communities that are scattered across Alaska’s vast terrain. We interviewed some of our graduate students after they completed their programs of study to evaluate the effectiveness of our instruction and to better understand the information literacy experiences and needs of teachers in rural Alaska. We discuss the theoretical context of our teaching and research, the instruction and research we conducted, and what we learned.


This chapter presents selected findings from an exploratory case study, which aimed to identify the information literacy of undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University, Thailand. An embedded case study approach was adopted, data were gathered from academics, students, and librarians and relevant policy and curriculum documents were examined. Four departments were chosen as units of analysis within the case study to represent the different disciplines. These were Departments of Thai, Modern Eastern Languages (MEL), History and Geography. A total of 23 lecturers from these 4 departments were interviewed. A total of 35 students from the same departments and 10 librarians from the Central Library were surveyed using focus groups.

For each department, the data was analysed and triangulated and the information literacy conceptions of academics and students were mapped and compared, together with a picture of the department’s goals and pedagogic approach for information literacy. Finally, findings from all four departments were brought together to provide holistic insight into the information literacy of students in the faculty.

It emerged from the data that both staff and students identified a number of personal attributes that were expected of the information literate student. These were categorised into four groupings: attitude, research skills, generic skills and knowledge. The study revealed some common and distinct characteristics of different disciplines, which reflect the similarities and differences of perceptions of information literacy in this study. The key variations were: the conceptualisation and nature of ‘information’, the degree to which the outside world is of importance and the use of specialised technology.

Information literacy education is perceived as a holistic approach, integrated through courses across the curriculum through formal and informal education. Students are engaged with different aspects of information literacy through different teaching, learning and assessment methods and activities. Independent learning is emphasised as a teaching and learning strategy. Discussion-based and coursework-based instructions are identified as best methods in developing students’ information literacy. The findings also reveal that teaching and learning information literacy is deemed the responsibility of academic lecturers while librarians are not involved in information literacy education.


This case study looks at building partnerships and networking relationships that developed in the course of implementing a three-year (August 2009–August 2012) Information Literacy (IL) in Higher education project “Developing an Information Literacy Programme for Lifelong Learning for African Universities” funded by Development Partners in Higher Education (DelPHE). The process leading to the end of the project has been enriching and opened windows to various professional networking relationships and institutional cooperation within the African region and with those abroad. The contacts have opened new avenues for further research and collaboration in areas such as monitoring and evaluation of the IL programs in Higher Education (HE) institutions. The University of Botswana (UB) has benefited from these collaborative initiatives and this chapter traces the partnerships that evolved in the course of institutionalizing and embedding information literacy at UB, its participation in the DelPHE project, and how the leadership took advantage of opportunities that came along in order to augment and enrich the activities and outcomes of the project as well as promote the university’s vision and mission. The chapter concludes by highlighting some of the benefits and challenges of collaboration among institutions, organizations, and individual professionals in advancing the institutional policies, strategic plans, and interests which may be at variance and how some of these challenges can be overcome.


This chapter examines the efforts undertaken to restructure the legal education system in South Africa and Nigeria. It investigates the connection between contextual influences and professional development, particularly with respect to the concept of legal information literacy and the value of acquired educational skills in the context of legal practice. The chapter provides insights to the needs and challenges for graduate requirement for legal information literacy skills in the effort to ensure productivity in the legal education system in Africa. Data were obtained using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Outcomes from the study were supportive of the importance of information literacy as central to the development of professional competence. Findings also point to a need for greater collaboration between the legal education system and the legal profession in narrowing the gap between the teaching and practice of law specifically in the design and implementation of an information literacy framework for the legal education system.


This chapter addresses information literacy instruction (ILI) in business schools, where learning outcomes receive considerable emphasis due to accreditation requirements, and where information literacy outcomes are increasingly being recognized as critical to graduates’ success in the workplace. We report a study examining ILI practices and program components against the background of student demographics and factors in the learning environment. The outcomes of those instructional experiences for students are analyzed, including psychological, behavioral and benefit outcomes. Data were collected via student skills testing; interviews with students, teaching faculty, librarians, and school administrators; and a web survey of students. Taken together, the results convincingly demonstrate that ILI is a complex undertaking with diverse perceived outcomes. Some success is evident, and verifiable outcomes include increased student self-efficacy; positive perceptions of libraries, librarians, and online library resources; improved and increased use of librarians and online library resources; and increased efficiency and effectiveness of conducting information research. The results demonstrate the value of pedagogical approaches such as active learning, just-in-time instruction, and integration of information literacy instruction with course curricula, as well as the importance of marketing efforts to manage students’ expectations of instructional benefits. Although instruction remains uneven and complex due to divergent expectations and assumptions by different stakeholders (students, librarians, and administrators), successful learning outcomes are possible.


This is a review of information literacy interventions which focused on fostering information literacy skills for agriculturalists and health practitioners in Tanzania. The purpose of the intervention was to impart information literacy skills to agriculturalists and health professionals based on problem-solving and collaborative approaches through pedagogical theories of Kolb and Vygotsky which emphasize experiential and reflective learning as well as mediated communication. The interventions were based on an integration of knowledge from information behaviour research and educational theory and current Information and library science perspectives of information literacy. This was preceded by a survey which collected data on information literacy needs of agriculturalists and health practitioners in order to determine what should be taught in information literacy courses for both categories of professionals. The interventions were evaluated through exercises, reflective discussions and observations of activities. Diagnostic tests were also carried out before and after the interventions to provide an indication of knowledge changes. It was generally discovered that both categories of practitioners lacked information literacy skills and had a dire need for the same to effectively perform their work. Work experiences of participants as well as problems associated with lack of information to perform assigned tasks in their occupations were motivational factors for their active participation in the courses. Judging from participants’ feedback, the courses were effective. Participants were able to demonstrate their abilities to solve a particular information-related problem through collaborative learning and work experience. It is recommended that information literacy courses in work places should focus on work-related information problems and active participation.


The aim of this chapter is to frame the key issues in workplace information literacy. This chapter is the personal experiences and observations of the author with over 30 years of experience in intranets, corporate libraries and product development. The workplace is not a single or uniform population, as can be said broadly about mass markets like consumers, K-12 students, or undergraduate scholars. Workplaces are defined as the workers in both not-for-profit and for-profit sectors who are tasked with running the organization and delivering services to end users like learners, customers, clients, patients, etc. This chapter explores these issues and frameworks through key target audiences in commercial and institutional workplace environments such as:

  • Teachers (as opposed to students)

  • Faculty (professors as opposed to young scholars)

  • Corporate administrators and business decision-makers, executive, professionals, consultants, accountants, auditors, MBAs, managers

  • Medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists

  • Lawyers (in both private practice and internal corporate and government work)

  • Engineers

  • Creative professions (artists, advertisers, marketers, etc.)

Teachers (as opposed to students)

Faculty (professors as opposed to young scholars)

Corporate administrators and business decision-makers, executive, professionals, consultants, accountants, auditors, MBAs, managers

Medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists

Lawyers (in both private practice and internal corporate and government work)


Creative professions (artists, advertisers, marketers, etc.)


This article uses the idea of informed learning, an interpretation of information literacy that focuses on people’s information experiences rather than their skills or attributes, to analyse the character of using information to learn in diverse communities and settings, including digital, faith, indigenous and ethnic communities. While researchers of information behaviour or information seeking and use have investigated people’s information worlds in diverse contexts, this work is still at its earliest stages in the information literacy domain. To date, information literacy research has largely occurred in what might be considered mainstream educational and workplace contexts, with some emerging work in community settings. These have been mostly in academic libraries, schools and government workplaces. What does information literacy look like beyond these environments? How might we understand the experience of effective information use in a range of community settings, from the perspective of empirical research and other sources? The article concludes by commenting on the significance of diversifying the range of information experience contexts, for information literacy research and professional practice.


This qualitative study was carried out in Candangolaˆndia, in Brasilia’s surroundings, Brazil. It comprised procedures that aimed to test the use of participatory research and action (PRA) in interactive and multidirectional communication amongst community members, in order to enable them to work together in the identification, access and use of information to solve social problems. The assumption behind this proposal was that as doing so, citizens develop abilities of information literacy and capabilities of collaborative work. The research tested the efficacy of PRA specifically in information science, using principles of critical thinking and participatory techniques within an epistemological interpretative approach in the identification of community information needs, access and use. Specific techniques such as oral presentation, people introduction, cards, games, brainstorm, workgroups, discussion, and question and answer were applied in 24 activities performed during six meetings with an intentionally selected group of citizens. The set of activities in each meeting was related to the meeting objective. Data analysis was based on grounded theory principles, particularly the coding process. Findings confirmed that PRA is a suitable methodology to explore abilities of information literacy and attitudes of collaborative work as a result of an interactive and multidirectional communication. In fact, community participants were able to identify, classify and prioritise information needs, as well as use information solutions for a selected social problem. Ultimately, these actions have proved to be helpful for participants to develop a heightened sense of citizenship.

Cover of Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts
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Library and Information Science
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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