- Information literacy and liberal education: form and substance (2004)
- Teaching information literacy: substance and process This presentation explores the concept of information literacy within the broader context of higher education. It argues that, certain assertions in the library literature notwithstanding, the concepts associated with information literacy are not new, but rather very closely resemble the qualities traditionally considered to characterize a well-educated person. The presentation also considers the extent to which the higher education system does indeed foster the attributes commonly associated with information literacy. The term information literacy has achieved the immediacy it currently enjoys within the library community with the advent of the so-called "information age" The information age is commonly touted in the literature, both popular and professional, as constituting nothing short of a revolution. Academic librarians and other educators have of course felt called upon to make their teaching reflect both the growing proliferation of information formats and the major transformations affecting the process of information seeking. Faced with so much novelty and uncertainty, it is no surprise that many have felt that these changes call for a revolution in teaching. It is within this context that the concept of information literacy has flourished. It is argued in this presentation, however, that by treating information literacy as an essentially new specialty that owes much of its importance to the plethora of electronic information, we risk obscuring some of the most fundamental and enduring educational values we should be imparting to our students. Much of the literature on information literacy assumes - rather than argues - that recent changes in the way we approach education are indications of progress. Indeed, much of the self-narrative that institutions produce (in bulletins, mission statements, web sites, etc.) endorses an approach to education that will result in lifelong learners who are critical consumers of information. After critically examining the degree to which such statements of educational approach reflect reality, this presentation concludes by considering the effects of certain changes in the culture of higher education. It considers particularly the transformation - at least in North America - of the traditional model of higher education as a public good to a market-driven business model. It poses the question of whether a change of this significance might in fact detract from, rather than promote, the development of information literate students.