The Politicisation of Information Literacy
The Right Information: Information literacy skills for a 21st century, Glasgow, Scotland
Need and Objectives
Politics and information literacy is a relatively unstudied area but has come to prominence relatively recently as indicated by presentations at the 2017 ECIL conference, although the issue itself is hardly new. The proposal reviews the issues and offers suggestions as to how to take the matter forward.
Definitions, terminology and keywords are a problem. The Alexandria Proclamation (Garner 2005) discusses a wide range of issues beyond education but focuses primarily on governance and citizenship and the discussion is primarily a range of reported expert views. Political literacy is not a used term. In an extremely helpful review of the literature of Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS) Martzoukou and Abdi (2017) situate civic participation as part of ELIS but note that the broad area of ‘citizenship’ issues has not attracted much interest although citizenship is an important issue. Behind this lies a historic ‘underinvestment ‘in IL research outside education. A study by Whitworth (2014) revealed that 60% of the IL literature is found within the context of higher education. It is worth noting in this context that 6.5% of the world’s population is university graduates while the world’s population is over 7.6 billion. Battista et al (2017) found unambiguous connections between social justice, human rights, and information literacy. At the first ECIL conference in Istanbul, Paul Zurkowski delivered a notable keynote which discussed political issues but seemed to have little long-term impact. There were however, several presentations on the subject of ‘fake news’ at the 2017 conference, this being apparently a preferred term to political literacy. Situating political literacy therefore seems to be a somewhat imprecise activity. There is no precise definition of political literacy although Smith and McMenemy (2017) discuss the nature of ‘political information’.
In achieving progress in the development of political literacy scope and definitions need to be better understood. Several strategies are possible. Appropriate strategies will be discussed including working with secondary education, raising awareness among politicians and harnessing the ethical values of the information professionals, especially among public librarians.
Battista, A. et al. (2015). Seeking social justice in the ACRL framework. Communications in Information Literacy, 9(2), 111–125.
Garner, S. D. (2005). High-level colloquium on information literacy and lifelong learning. Retrieved January 19, 2018 from http://www.ifla.org/publications/high-level-colloquium-on-information-literacy-and-lifelong-learning
Martzoukou, K., & Abdi, E. S. (2017). Towards an everyday information literacy mindset: A review of literature. Journal of Documentation, 73(4), 634–665.
Smith, L. N., & McMenemy, D. (2017). Young people’s conceptions of political information: Insights into information experiences and implications for intervention. Journal of Documentation, 73(5), 877–902.
Whitworth, A. (2014). Radical information literacy: Reclaiming the political heart of the IL movement. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.
#MuslimTravelBan: A Semantic and Social Network Analyses of Executive Order 13769 on Twitter
Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, was issued on January 27, 2017 and was in effect until March 16, 2017. The Order, issued by President Donald Trump, temporarily banned travel to the U.S. by refugees and immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries (Martin, 2017). During the hours following the signing of the Order, documents describing how airports and government officials were to implement the Order had not been released, leading to chaos at airports, legal challenges, and protests throughout the country.
Executive Order 13769 began to trend on social media shortly after its announcement. News can lack accuracy and policy documents are often far too complex for the layman to understand. Social media, however, has become a forum for people from diverse backgrounds and from all over the world to share their perceptions and opinions of topics and current events. In the shift to new forms of media, social media platforms such as Twitter have become valuable resources for analysing social and linguistic phenomena on current events and headline news stories (Cody, Reagan, Mitchell, Dodds, & Danforth, 2015).
In this study, Tweets concerning Executive Order 13769 were analysed to:
• determine the use of Twitter in response to Executive Order 13769,
• analyse the information behaviours of Twitter users (for example, were users expressing original opinions, interacting with other users, or merely reusing dialogue?),
• identify relationships and influence among individuals and groups sharing information regarding the Order on Twitter.
As noted by Frechette and Williams (2016, p. 1), approaches to media literacy often „overemphasize the end-goal of accessing digital media content“ through the use of various digital technologies, rather than grasping and evaluating how media is created, used, and shared. As such, this study examines the role of social media in enabling active self, social, and civic participation.
The present study is a mixed method analyses of Tweets on the topic of Executive Order 13769, from its date of issue to when it was superseded by Executive Order 13780. The study utilized a methodological design based on a study by Lycariao and Alves dos Santos (2017) that combined semantic and social network analysis to measure „opinion leadership“. Critical discourse analysis provided a methodological foundation for the semantic analysis and a theoretical framework guiding this study. Tweets that contained hashtags associated with Executive Order 13769, including: #EO13769, #TrumpsTravelBan, #MuslimTravelBan, #MuslimBan, and #TravelBan, were collected from Twitter using the qualitative software, NVivo 11 Pro. A critical discourse analysis of a random sample of these Tweets was then conducted to understand their role in the process of evaluating information and legitimising identities and social movements (Fairclough, 1989).
Findings revealed the rise of influential communities, insight into the original and (un)original content shared by users, and the information seeking and sharing behaviours of Twitter users regarding Executive Order 13769. Crucial abilities and competencies for engaging in active citizenship will be illuminated using examples from this study.
Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman.
Frechette, J., & Williams, R. (Eds.). (2016). Media Education for a Digital Generation. New York: Routledge.
Lycariao, D., & Alves dos Santos, M. (2017). Bridging semantic and social network analyses: The case of the hashtag #precisamosfalarsobreaborto (we need to talk about abortion) on Twitter. Information, Communication, & Society, 20(3), 368–385.
Martin, P. L. (2017). President Trump and US migration after 100 days. Migration Letters, 14(2), 319–328.
Digital Literacy and Social Inclusion in Public Libraries: A Review of Research
1UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; 2University of North Carolina – Greensboro, Greensboro, NC; USA
The practices through which people manage and enrich their everyday lives rely increasingly on their ability to make use of digital and informational resources. In policy texts, physical and intellectual access to digital information has been framed as a problem of social inclusion to which the public library may be part of the solution (Thompson et al., 2014). In library research, there is some evidence that public libraries contribute positively in strengthening social capital and participation in society among its patrons (Johnson, 2010; Vårheim, 2014; Vårheim, Steinmo & Ide, 2008).
The present study investigates how the work done by public libraries to support digital and information literacy and, thus, potentially digital and social inclusion, is portrayed in the literature.
The literature review was based on publications from 2010-2017 collected through structured searches in the databases Web of Science, Scopus, and LISA. The publications were coded through qualitative content analysis (Altheide & Schneider, 2013) starting in the following analytical questions:
• which public library services or activities are described;
• which groups of patrons are intended beneficiaries;
• which methods and theoretical approaches were used;
• what were the main findings of the study;
• which aspects of digital and information literacies are emphasized; which kinds of knowledge, perceptions and attitudes are these literacies intended to support?
Many of the publications describe community projects in which public libraries play a leading role. Several studies address concepts such as digital inclusion and social capital, although few studies actually engage with them theoretically. The types of activities, outcomes, literacies, and beneficiaries vary greatly, but much work is focused on supporting literacies for active citizenship and employability.
This literature review is a building block in constructing a theoretical framework and a research design for empirical studies of the development of digital and information literacy activities in public libraries and the possible implications for physical and digital community participation.
Altheide, D. L., & Schneider, C. J. (2013). Qualitative media analysis (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Johnson, C. A. (2010). Do public libraries contribute to social capital? A preliminary investigation into the relationship. Library & Information Science Research, 32(2), 147–155.
Thompson, K. M. et al. (2014). Digital literacy and digital inclusion: Information policy and the public library. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Vårheim, A., Steinmo, S., & Ide, E. (2008). Do libraries matter? Public libraries and the creation of social capital. Journal of Documentation, 64(6), 877–892.
Vårheim, A. (2014). Trust in libraries and trust in most people: Social capital creation in the public library. The Library Quarterly, 84(3), 258–277.