Last thoughts on the ACRL IL revisions

1)  I much prefer the new definition of IL to the old one, but it’s a mouthful. We need a snappy secondary definition for day-to-day use to go along with the snappy titles for the threshold concepts. How about: IL is being smart about how you use information?

2) The “Searching is strategic” section would be better with a recognition that not all searches have a well-defined information need, that searching (and finding) can help to define the need, that searching is recursive (tie it to research as inquiry), that there are other search strategies besides database searching (e.g. browsing, following the references).

3) I’m glad the metaliteracy learning objectives are being taken out. However, the more I think about it, the more I think metaliteracy should be taken right out of the new ACRL Framework, i.e. out of the introduction as well.

  • I don’t think we need one framework that claims to reinvent IL inside another framework reinventing IL. They’re not well integrated (see Donna Witek on this).
  • Metaliteracy seems to “belong” to its two originators, rather than to the profession. Contrast this with the threshold concepts, which are being developed collaboratively through a delphi study and through feedback from the academic library community. For that matter, IL itself originally went through a delphi study. Metaliteracy hasn’t been tested by discussion and debate over its elements.
  • Metacognition is one of the key elements of metaliteracy – but metacognition is already baked into IL and into the threshold concepts.
  • Social media use is the other key element of metaliteracy. Social media is important, but I think we need to be cautious of over-emphasizing its use in higher ed and therefore in the IL Framework – it puts us in danger of proselytizing. As someone who has proselytized in the past (on OA as well as social media) I can say it doesn’t go over well. Based on my experience as librarian and grad student, most students aren’t actually interested in becoming producers of online information – nor are faculty. I’m not saying we can’t push against this at all, but (as I was told once) we need to respect the academic culture – though this of course varies depending on context. (BTW I write this as someone who’s published on new literacies and academic blogging.)
  • Also, do we really want to adopt a term for social media use that is not recognized by people in other fields? That therefore cuts us off from the scholarly conversation on, say, new literacies? (I made a similar argument about transliteracy.)



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