This winter and spring, the library blogosphere has buzzed around the idea of transliteracy, which broadly encompasses critical thinking and writing (or perhaps “synthesizing”) across a multitude of formats and devices. You can read more about digital literacy at:
- The Transliteracies Project
- Libraries and Transliteracy
- Transliteracy Research Group (note their concise definition in the left sidebar)
Personally, I see a lot of merit in broadening our understanding of IL to incorporate the arguments made by transliteracy advocates. However, I also worry that we may be spending too much time thinking about what to call our paradigms instead of properly researching their implications and incorporating them into practice. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always considered myself to be “tech-savvy”, but I’ve always believed that our notions of information literacy would naturally incorporate information regardless of its medium, both before and after it’s synthesized into knowledge. Whether we call this subject “transliteracy” or “information literacy,” our focus must be on improving (information) literacy levels amoung our users. As librarians, we don’t “teach” information literacy so much as we teach people how to find and evaluate information effectively, and how to improve people’s ability to turn that information into their own knowledge.
Having said all that, I believe that transliteracy is a subject that should be followed by any librarian who is concerned with how their patrons interact with their materials. Thus far, transliteracy has produced incredible research and opinion within LIS. It’s given us a chance to share our expertise and opinion on education and pedagogy with a wider community of scholars and practitioners. Don’t forget the term, “transliteracy.” It’s not just a buzzword, and it has implications that are here to stay.