Information literacy has traditionally meant to have the ability to write and read; however, it seem like it has various types including print literacy, library literacy, audiovisual literacy, technical literacy, web literacy, media literacy, computer literacy, and information literacy. It can also be categorized as active and nominal and enables people to write and read in their daily activities. Nonetheless, information literacy is quite different, combines all the above, and extends further. According to American Library Association, information literacy is a set of abilities an individual possesses that enables them to diagnose when there is a need for information, then locate it, evaluate and use it effectively (Skyline College). The 21st century has been dubbed as an information era, thus making information literacy a critical skill, therefore prompting the need to explain its importance.
Based on the vast amount of information available today, understanding and applying this information when needed is essential. Just by virtue that the information is available does not make people informed; learning how to use it makes them so (Bruce & Susan, 11).
From a simple internet search, there is an overwhelming data smog. According to PCMAG, data smog can confuse fiction from fact, thereby creating barriers in people's lives. Particularly students, a particular skill is required to cope with fast increasing information and increase the effectiveness of the information's economic and educational purposes; thus, data smog is information literacy (Dorvlo, Selikem Sebuava, and Perpetua S. Dadzie, 1). A lot of information remains unevaluated, especially unprinted ones. Therefore their reliability, validity, and authenticity remain in doubt. Literacy information enables coping with this problem by equipping individuals with needed skills to be aware when a piece of information is needed, where to get it from, and how to efficiently and effectively use it.
Learning emphasizes achieving skills, knowledge, and attitude associated with a specific subject area. Therefore, every learner should access, communicate, and use information in an advanced way irrespective of their discipline modules. For the skills to be cultivated by the students, information literacy is a basic need. Moreover, lecturers and teachers also need the skills derived from information literacy to efficiently and effectively undertake their roles (Dorvlo, Selikem Sebuava, and Perpetua S. Dadzie, 1).
Information literacy is a problem solver in society. Through inquiry, critical thinking, and a proactive attitude, several problems can be solved. For instance, attorneys present a lot of information to a court that a judge cannot rely on to make their decision, the jury must therefore go an extra mile to verify the information from the constitution, laws, and other pre-existing court decisions to greater detail to authenticate them before making a judgment. Likewise, from a government perspective, several rumors spread on the internet by each day, and sometimes it is catastrophic, for example, in 1989, a protest broke out in Czechoslovakia that police brutally killed a university student (Huang, 283); with the help of information literacy, such events could be prevented.
In conclusion, literacy skills allow people to discern when they need information, understand where to get it from, and apply it to solve a problem. With data smog and lack of information literacy, society is filled with confusion that can be catastrophic. Therefore, information literacy helps in skilling people discern information, critically think, and solve a problem before it starts or escalates.
Bruce, Christine Susan, et al. "Information literacy and informed learning: Conceptual innovations for IL research and practice futures." Journal of Information Literacy 11.1 (2017).
Dorvlo, Selikem Sebuava, and Perpetua S. Dadzie. "INFORMATION LITERACY AMONG POST GRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GHANA." Library Philosophy & Practice (2016).
Huang, Haifeng. "A war of (mis) information: The political effects of rumors and rumor rebuttals in an authoritarian country." British Journal of Political Science 47.2 (2017): 283-311.
PCMAG. "Definition of PCMAG." PCMAG, https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/data-smog/.
Skyline College. "For Students: Information Literacy." For Students: Information Literacy | Information Literacy | Array, skylinecollege.edu/library/informationliteracy/.
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