Friday, January 4, 2013

What Is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy is one of the trends in librarianship.  What exactly is it?

It is the ability to read, understand, rework, redirect, and sometimes create brand new digital information in a shared digital environment.

It means more than just receiving and sending emails.  It means more than just getting an ereader and downloading ebooks.  It means taking every raw bit of data floating in the Internet 'verse (once considered a series of tubes but in the current context the Internet is now a cloud), text and images and sounds and movement (yes even that) and working with all that data to create new information with its own context for sharing and further use.

A digital environment that exists as an interactive environment.

It requires an understanding of social media, of expectation of action response and reaction.

As libraries are a point of learning and education, digital literacy's importance to libraries and librarians can't be overstated.  Librarians have to be adept with digital information, online resources, sharing of resources, creative input and output.  As libraries are becoming less a source of print media (and even AV media as more and more audio and visual materials are online), libraries are becoming more a workplace, an open table shop where people can gather to work on projects.  I'm seeing local colleges clear out reference shelves - reference books now made obsolete by digital resources - and creating more study areas.  Libraries are now opening coffee shops inside the buildings as draws, when once before we frowned on food and drink because spills would affect our book collections.

Being literate with digital information - being creative with information - is now a major requirement for public support librarians.

Just remember: Tweeting shorthand is only good for Twitter.  Please write in proper Anglish for all other communiques.  Smileys still optional.  :-)

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