Thursday, March 03, 2005

About Information Literacy

About Information Literacy. This essay is by Nora Hegarty, Tina Hurley, and Neil Quinlan of the Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries in Waterford, Ireland.

From the site:

The Information Society, in which we live, is characterised by a super-abundance of information sources. Cases in point include the web, newspapers, journals and dvds - technologies, which are referred to as ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies). ICTs make for an extraordinarily expanded and fragmented information base both in the academic world and in society generally. We are surrounded by information.

As regards the human factor, there are two major consequences of this. One is information overload - the idea that individuals who are unable to cope with the large volumes of information available to them, become increasingly frustrated and hopeless and ultimately controlled by ICTs. This condition has been diagnosed as 'information fatigue syndrome'. It describes "people who no longer can deal with the tidal wave of information that washes over them"(Wilson, 2001 ), who lack the ability to transform information into knowledge and wisdom.

The other is information literacy - the idea that those who are information literate and skilled in independent learning, not only realise when information is needed, but are also able to deal intelligently and creatively with the large volumes of information available to them. Information literate individuals are able to effectively and effeciently sift through various categories of information to successfully obtain the material they need to fulfill a wide range of personal and business obligations.

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