Information Literacy, Disciplinarity, and New Knowledge


Published: January 16, 2024 by Dr. Virginia Tucker

A community of researcher-educators began meeting regularly several years ago for conversations around the disciplinarity of information literacy. The co-facilitators are Dr. Clarence Maybee, Professor and W. Wayne Booker Endowed Chair in Information Literacy, Purdue University, and Dr. Karen Kaufmann, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of South Florida. The community has come to be called ILIAD, for Information Literacy is a Discipline, as it examines aspects of a discipline as discussed in the literature, such as having a code of ethics, modes of inquiry, scholarly communities and communication networks, traditions and history, and shared ideas about what constitutes knowledge. A key outcome of the conversations will be a book on information literacy, due to be published by Facet in 2025.

In the meantime, multiple conference presentations and publications have taken place. One of these was a presentation at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference held a few months ago in Pittsburgh PA. I was a co-presenter on the topic ‘Casting a New Conversation: Recognizing Information Literacy as a Discipline’. The session was attended by over 120 people in person, with another 200 participating via Zoom. My co-presenters were Maybee, Kaufmann, and Dr. John Budd, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri.

Drs. Clarence Maybee, Karen Kaufmann, Virginia Tucker (l. to r.).

Drs. Clarence Maybee, Karen Kaufmann, Virginia Tucker (l. to r.). Not shown: co-presenter Dr. John Budd. Taken at ACRL 2023 Conference, Pittsburgh PA.

During the presentation, each of us included several interactive segments using Slido software, accessible both in the room and online, so that the audience could contribute their ideas and responses to questions we posed. My section of our presentation focused on exploring how recognizing information literacy as a discipline would impact MLIS education. One of the powerful features of the Slido tool is how participants can not only respond to each question or prompts, but also to each other. This capability led to valuable insights, debated points, and a heightened level of engagement. I asked participants to consider current issues in pedagogy for information literacy, posing questions about career paths for MLIS graduates and the kinds of contributions to new knowledge that MLIS students would be likely to make. The end result was that participants made 195 posts during less than 5 minutes devoted to the question period of my talk. We analyzed the posts and further reflected on the audience responses during the question period. Our report is now available in College and Research Libraries News, citation included below.

Maybee, C., Kaufman, K., Tucker, V.M., & Budd, J. (2023, March). Casting a new conversation: Recognizing information literacy as a discipline. Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Annual Conference, March 15-18, 2023, Pittsburgh, PA.

Maybee, C., Kaufman, K., Tucker, V.M., & Budd, J. (2023). Recognizing information literacy as a discipline. College & Research Libraries News, 84(10), 363-368.


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