Information Literacy in the 21st Century Literacies
Literacy has been considered as the ability to read and write. As according to the narrative by (Douglass 101-105), literacy was all about reading and writing and information was hard to get in the 19th century. There are 26 types of literacy that can be described in broader terms than just the aspect of reading and writing. Literacy types and levels keep on changing just like technologies or society change. There are many types of literacy that have been explored by many authors. Most of the recent forms of literacy are technology, information, computer, scientific, and digital literacy. Information literacy is one of the newly emerging interesting form of literacy. Information literacy is a form of literacy required to discover, examine, retrieve, and use information (Riedling 58). Today, people can access information about anything they want to know more easily than they could in the 20th century. There is so much information available for scholars, researcher and many other people. The question is; what is the credibility of all these information available on the internet, newspaper scholarly articles, and journals? Does the society utilize information literacy in choosing the most reliable source of information? This paper provides an argumentative analysis of whether information literacy has helped contemporary Americans in selecting only the most credible source of information in the decision-making process and other activities.
Importance of the Information Literacy to the Contemporary Americans
The twenty-first century has been termed as an information era because of so many discoveries of types of information. People can get data from a variety of sources such as television, magazines, journals, and the Internet. Information technology has helped students to learn more than what their professor has taught them in class. For instance, students do further research on topics from the internet and libraries, in addition to whatever they have learned in class. Moreover, students continue to gain more information even after their college education. However, some students fail to utilize information literacy and use any source of information to write their research papers.
Information literacy equips people with the skill to know when, where, and how to acquire information. Information literate society only seeks for information when it is necessary. For instance, a student who has information knowledge acquires reading materials only from the certified sources (Riedling 68). Information literacy helps students know what they can use to add to their skills and what to leave out after acquiring the required reading material.
Information literacy is used by the Americans to build a foundation for life-long education. Scholars use only certified material for their researchers to base their results and findings. Scholars have to know how to find quality data to support their arguments. After compiling their results, they publish their findings, and that becomes a source of information for the future scholars. The information is used by any interested party who wants to add to their knowledge capacity. An addition to the existing knowledge enables individuals to perform better in their roles, leading to the economic development. However, are some researcher who don’t use certified sources and their research results ends up confusing the multitude
Having the ability to acquire information is not enough for someone to be termed as literate in terms of information. To have information literacy, one should be able to use the acquired information in one way or the other. A society should be able to utilize information in their daily activities. People should have the knowledge of where to find information, how to find it, and how to consolidate that information to enable others to learn from it. People still make wrong decisions in choosing where to invest, where to locate their business or even the price to charge on their product. Some of the wrong choices made by investors are due to lack of information literacy (Andretta 3).
Information literacy makes the decision-making process more efficient for American today and boosts productivity. However, when used incompetently, it results to poor performance. Availability of so much data also has its shortcomings. For instance, information smog. Information smog is the aspect of having more information than required. Some parts of this information are not valid and has not been evaluated. Reliance on such information can mislead the society. For example, the use of internet technology has led to an expansive use of information that is not even verified. Information knowledge enables a person to use the facts ethically and to question the source to create knowledge. People at times assume that the kind of information they are using is creditable. Use of incredible information results into huge losses in any venture (Andretta 3).
I believe that information skills are important for Americans to succeed in research and development, education and occupational skills (Riedling 74). However, for information to help the society, users should be able to choose only from the sources that are reliable. Quality of information can affect the final result of the analysis, leading to a wrong decision. Regarding the quality, it is crucial for any person or organization to critically analyze information before making a decision to use it. The availability of so much information creates problems to the society, such that it becomes hard to find the best quality information. Therefore, everyone in contemporary America requires information literacy to be able to identify quality information.
Globalization has created the need for people to be equipped with information literacy. Globalization involves interaction of different nations that operate in a multicultural environment. Globalized managers need a lot of information regarding multicultural society to be able to manage organizations effectively. Managers in America today can find information regarding different cultures, analyze the information, and interpret the results. As the world continues to globalize, diversity in culture also expands. Managers also use information literacy to lead the companies in a multicultural environment. They can also use thuse information efficiently for creating and implementing strategic plans. However, even though there is so much information available to the society, people only use what is important to their skills.
Information literacy contributes positively to the mode in which people share information. In every organization in America today, teamwork is important. Team's efforts are worth only if there is sharing of information. People need to do individual research and come and share the results with the team. An effective sharing system is created by ensuring that everyone in the organization understands information literacy. However, information sharing needs a lot of care because, at times, the team can decide to use information that they are not sure of in terms of its reliability. People also get confused by encountering so much information. If a team is composed of information literate members, then it can overcome the problems of information blindness. The team can critically analyze materials and use only what is relevant in solving their problem.
People who have information literacy in general help to upgrade the quality of life in the society. Information literacy is also used in business, especial to learn about s competitor. Every business requires information on how to outdo their competitors and the strategies that they can use to be better that their competitors. Information literacy alone as a single value has not helped to drive away competitors completely. People need a lot than just information literacy to outdo their competitors
Information literacy has helped to increase knowledge on how to use internet technology. Information technology has changed the type of lifestyle that Americans are leading. In the past, people never used to have security surveillance in their homes, and they used neighbors and friends to watch over whenever they were away (Park 105). Today, people live in anonymous homes with a security surveillance that enables them to monitor security of their homes even from the far locations. However, information technology has not helped to solve the problem of interment insecurity.
In the past, people had considered internet as the most reliable source of information. Now, people are scared that anyone can access their personal information without their consent. Internet insecurity has increased, and fraud and forgery are also on the increase. Parents have more troubles trying to monitor their children and to prevent them from acquiring unethical information from the Internet. A parent has to ensure that his or her kid uses a censored computer, and their mobile phones are controlled, to make sure their child does not access some information. However, the Internet today has created a lot of fear in the Americans' lives. According to Park, technology can still provide solutions to the existing Internet insecurities (110). Computer software firms have developed monitoring programs that can help parents to monitor their children.
As argued by Park, information availability is expected to increase in the coming years (112). Much information will bombard all sectors of development. Therefore, information literacy should be taught in all levels of education to help the society in developing the skills that would enable them to avoid biased or misleading information. Every activity requires information literacy in the today's world. For instance, while marketing a product, one should have an understanding of the best method of advertising to use, the most reliable website, and the preferences of people. All these activities require information literacy.
Information literacy affects the life of Americans today. To be able to use information effectively, it is crucial to be able to identify the most reliable source, and to have the capability of analyzing the available information critically. Information literacy enables an individual to use only that information which is credible and ethical. A lack of information literacy makes people take uninformed decisions. It affects leadership skills in the organizations and influences the quality of research outcomes. Due to the wide range of both reliable and unreliable information accessible today, it is important for individuals to acquire information literacy. With information literacy, firm managers become more informed, and they can lead organizations effectively by providing dependable guidelines. Information literate people make quality decisions due to the use of only the most reliable information and avoiding information that is misleading. A lack of information literacy can mislead the managers while making important decisions that pertains to an organization.