Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Information Literacy

In a recent post on the AHA Blog Peter Townsend reviews Google Book Search and finds it wanting. His entry has been discussed elsewhere so I will not enter the fray. But I do want to say that his original post and the associated comments are a perfect example of an information literate discussion. Of course, this is to be expected from the Assistant Director of the American Historical Association and readers of the AHA Blog.

Townsend's original post was not perfect, he misunderstood a particular aspect of US copyright law concerning US govt. publications and the public domain and did not know all there was to know about serial cataloging rules (I can only sympathize with him!) But both of those issues were quickly dealt with in the comments and did not affect his basic argument.

I want students to graduate from Rollins with the kind of information literacy competencies exhibited by everyone involved in this discussion -- the ability to be able evaluate information resources and compare and relate them to similar resources, to be able to understand information in context, to appreciate the long term implications of aspects and context of information resources, and to be able to discuss these in a civilized manner. They are going to need them if they are to thrive in the information, and misinformation, rich world that we live in and become more than just consumers of ill digested corporate pap.

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