I want to stop feeling so important for student learning and simply see the importance of student learning. The tag line of "computer literacy does not equal information literacy" was attached to a recent report. And while this state was and is true, it should not be a call for librarians to stand firm in traditional instruction and deny our students' skills.
The report should serve as a rallying cry for academic librarians to build bridges, not ivory towers.
While the report "Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future" was released a few weeks ago and outlets like the Chronicle's Wired blog and Michael over at The Information Literacy Land of Confusion mentioned the report - I've read very little discussion on it. Even list-serve threads never created comments. My interest is not in what the report means for academic libraries - the report itself gives recommendations on page 31:
Students usually prefer the global searching of Google to moreI'm concerned in what this means - or should mean for information literacy. The report discusses how students are getting results but not evaluating them. It outlines how their ability to enter search terms, does not equal an understanding of search processes or strategy. The tag line of "computer literacy does not equal information literacy" was attached to the report. While rightfully so, we as librarians need to apply that computer literacy and not deny it.
sophisticated but more time-consuming searching provided by
the library, where students must make separate searches of the
online catalog and every database of potential interest, after
first identifying which databases might be relevant.
Building on our students computer literacy skills is essential. Denying their skills only isolates us as librarians and belittles their perceived experience. Instruction librarians can and should apply our student's computer literacy and use it as a bridge to information literacy skills. Yes, students with searching experience can inflated opinions of their search skills which can create concerns. But these inflated opinions can be tempered with applications of their computer literacy.
My use of fantasy football to open up information literacy depended upon student's basic search knowledge and experience. The fantasy football lesson applied their skills and provided a bridge to academic information literacy skills. Our library used a movie review research activity (that assumed students' computer literacy) to build a bridge to the evaluation and source quality skills of information literacy. Chad from Library Voice used the recent example of the Mass Effect controversy to help to evaluation and creditability skills.
I want to use this report to show the continued need for information literacy. But this report presents the challenge and the opportunity for us, as librarians, to apply the computer literacy skills of today in order to create the information literacy skills of tomorrow.