Information Ethics and the Digital Divide: An electronic pathfinder for public librarians
Title: Information Literacy and the Digital Divide
Scope: The e-pathfinder will be directed toward public librarians and focus on the topic of information literacy and how it affects the digital divide. Resources that provide an overview and history of the topic will be provided as well as resources that look at current projects to improve the situation. A majority of the literature and resources found on information literacy apply to the educational setting but they were included if they could be applied to the public library setting. Hopefully through some of the information found in this pathfinder information professionals will be able to increase information literacy and decrease the digital divide in their service communities.
Subject Headings: information literacy; digital divide
Information Literacy – Electronic Resources:
ACRL Institute for Information Literacy
ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Institute for Information Literacy is an organization that focuses on educating and informing librarians about information literacy and providing programs to improve the situation. The site includes a lot of historical information and well as research and programs for librarians. Although this site is aimed at academic libraries its information is applicable to the public library.
Directory of Online Resources for Information Literacy (DORIL)
The directory is intended to serve as a list of World Wide Web resources for librarians and other educators that relate to information literacy. The site contains sites that focus on assessment, definitions, standards, and programs for different situations. The site was last updated in 2002 and some of the links are no longer accurate but otherwise is a great starting point to find a lot of information on information literacy.
IFLANET’s Information Literacy Section (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)
This is an international online community that focuses on information literacy around the world. The site has existed in its current format since 2002 and through the site you can gain access to publications, annual reports (2003-2005), minutes (2002-2005), and newsletters (2003-2005). The community is currently working on a database that will provide access to information literacy material from international sources. Also the site provides all the necessary information for joining the community.
Information Literacy at FIU (Florida International Libraries University)
This describes the information literacy program and FIU and offers additional online resources. This program can be used as a model for programs in other libraries and they also offer workshops to educate other librarians about their system.
Information Literacy: Community Partnerships Toolkit
This site provides a toolkit for a community partnership between academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, and special libraries to improve information literacy. The toolkit is part of the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy and explains the benefits of partnerships as well as actual steps that can be taken.
Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
These are standards that were created at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting on January 18, 2000. They define information literacy and discuss how it relates to information technology and higher educations. Also the standards provide instructional tools and methods for assessment. These standards help to create a foundation for information literacy programs.
The Information Literacy Weblog
This Weblog which is written by Sheila Webber and Stuart Boon and focuses on information literacy issues worldwide. The blog was started in September of 2005 and is frequently added to. This is a great blog to stay current on new issues in the field of information literacy as well as learn about upcoming conferences and other events.
National Forum on Information Literacy
Started in 1989 as a result of a recommendation from ALA, the forum looks at the topic of information literacy and how to improve it and also looks at literacy’s effect on the digital divide. The site includes information on conferences, publications, and also provides a page of related sites.
Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report
This is a report on the position of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) in regard to information literacy. It was written in 1989 and focuses on defining information literacy and explaining why it is important and requires attention. ACRL believes that libraries will need to play an active role in information literacy education so that progress can occur. The report also presents six recommendations on how to improve information literacy and a bibliography for further reading.
A Progress Report on Information Literacy: An Update on the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report
This is a progress report on the “Final Repot” that was presented in 1989. Almost ten years later in 1998 the report reexamines the six recommendations, the progress they have made, and suggestions for future progress. The report also makes five new recommendations on ways to improve information literacy.
University of Arizona: Information Literacy Team
This site describes the program at the University of Arizona and also includes helpful handouts and definitions. The site is aimed at Academic librarians but many of the tools they offer can be used in a public library setting.
Information Literacy - Periodicals/Journals:
SIMILE (Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education)
SIMILE is a quarterly journal published by the University of Toronto Press. The journal was established in 2001 and as of 2006 all the articles are available full-text on their web site. SIMILE “examines ways in which reference- and teacher-librarians, teachers, and other concerned professionals can integrate media literacy concepts into instructional sessions about how to use print and electronic mass media sources” (Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory).
Information Literacy - Print Resources:
1. DeCandido, G. A. (2001). Literacy and Libraries: Learning from case studies. American Library Association.
This book looks at individual cases of literacy and the library. Although the book does not focus entirely on information literacy the ideas in the book would be helpful in creating a foundation.
2. Riedling, A. M. (2002). Learning to learn: a guide to becoming information literate. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.
This book provides a step-by-step guide on how to improve information literacy by providing real tools. The book looks at all the stages of learning from choosing a topic to finding and analyzing resources. The age groups that this book is aimed at range from middle school age through college.
3. Snavely, L., & Cooper, N. (1997). The Information Literacy Debate. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 23(1), 9-14.
This article examines the meaning of information literacy and what role academic librarians have to play. It looks at what the organization should be doing to improve the problem. Although the article is written from the perspective of academic librarians the ideas and concepts discussed are applicable to public libraries.
Digital Divide – Electronic Resources:
Center to Bridge the Digital Divide
Sponsored by Washington State University this site is the home of the Center to Bridge the Digital Divide. The site explains the mission and goals of this organization and includes current research and progress as well as ways anyone can get involved. The center looks at both the digital divide within the United States and the global digital divide.
Digital Divide Network
This is an online community that focuses on learning about the digital divide and bridging that divide. There are various specialized learning communities as well as discussion boards, blogs, and access to articles.
The site offers a model on how to close the digital divide and also looks to the future towards a “second digital revolution.” It provides background information on the digital divide as well as explaining truths and myths associated with the issue.
Digital Divide Project
This is an online resource created for use in elementary and secondary level schools. The focus is to educate children about the digital divide and to include them in international discussions on the topic. Also in the future the site is planning on having a streaming video webcast of students discussing the divide. This site would be useful in a public library’s children’s department.
A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age
A report from the United State’s Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from 2004 that examines the use of computers, the Internet, and other information technology tools that are used by the American people. This report provides statistical data that illustrates the digital divide.
Digital Divide - Online Tutorials:
Penrose Library Information Literacy Tutorial
This is an online tutorial created for the University of Denver Penrose Library. The tutorial is a series of slides that define information literacy and walk you through the research process. The tutorial examines task definition, information-seeking strategies, access, use of information, and how to combine al the information so that it is usable. Even though the tutorial is designed for use in an academic library the topics are broad enough that they can be applied to a public library setting.
TILT (Texas Information Literacy Tutorial)
This is an interactive multimedia tutorial on information literacy that was created for use in Texas undergraduate universities. The tutorial is different because of the interactivity that it offers and because of the media used to present the information. Instead of providing a series of slides the tutorial uses and sound and movement as well to appeal to more students. Another great aspect of this tutorial is that the software is free to other libraries who would like to adapt the tutorial to fit their organization’s needs.