Information Literacy Month anyone? Yes, we can!

President Barack Obama has proclaimed October 2009 as the first National Information Literacy Awareness Month.

The proclamation says that “an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society” and “we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation.”

But what do we mean by Information Literacy?

“Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.” [CILIP]

The CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group offers in-depth information on Information Literacy, as well as a selection of key links to explore the subject further. They are also involved with the excellent  Information Literacy website and the Journal of Information Literacy.

Obama has not invented the concept of Information Literacy, but he has recognised the work that has gone on in this area over time – key readings from a UK perspective include the Seven Pillars in Information Literacy work by SCONUL from as long ago as 1999 or The Big Blue report from 2002.

Information Literacy has been around longer than Web 2.0, Social Media or Twitter and is more complex than just getting beyond Google – for an entertaining take how to teach students about different forms of literacy, try Tara Brabazon’s keynote at the SOLSTICE conference from earlier in the year.

So why not use Information Literacy Awareness Month to take a second look at how you interact with and process the information around you.

Intute can help if you want to learn how to get to grips with the good, the bad and the ugly online using the Internet Detective, get some subject specific guidance via one of over 60 Intute Virtual Training Suite online tutorials or find out more by exploring the concept of critical thinking.