Critical Information Literacy in the College Classroom: Exploring Scholarly Knowledge Production through the Digital Humanities

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Library Juice Press
As a growing number of librarians and educators argue for a more critical praxis for information literacy instruction (ILI), one which encourages students to critically evaluate all information and to consider it in relation to social, political, and rhetorical contexts, ILI must go beyond making general distinctions between scholarly and non-scholarly sources which often elide the complexities of knowledge production. Instead, a strong critical and socially-conscious ILI praxis emphasizes the inherently biased nature of all information, and invites students to explore information as reflective of the specific rhetorical and sociopolitical situations in which it is created, shared, and responded to. While many librarians and educators agree in principle with the idea of a critical praxis for ILI, knowing how to implement such an approach remains a difficult question. Drawing on Elmborg’s conception of academic information literacy, I argue in this chapter that the digital humanities (DH) – understood perhaps most simply as the intersection between humanities scholarship and digital technologies – offers rich possibilities for fostering critical information literacy more broadly and academic information literacy more specifically through a critical pedagogical praxis. Because much of DH engages in alternative scholarly practices (such as the use of digital media, recognition of alternative forms of scholarship such as digital tools and experiments, and new models of publishing and peer review), DH presents numerous openings for exploring with student traditional and emerging scholarly practices, as well as ways that academic discourse and scholarship are influenced and shaped by social, political, institutional, and structural contexts. After considering ILI in relation to academic information literacy, I will discuss what DH in particular can contribute to ILI. Finally, I close with ideas for the classroom which address the sociopolitical dimensions of scholarly discourse and practices through the lens of DH.
information literacy, academic libraries, teaching and learning
Baer. A. (2013). Critical information literacy in the college classroom: Exploring scholarly knowledge production through the digital humanities.” In Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis (An Edited Collection), eds. Lua Gregory and Shana Higgins. Library Juice Press: Los Angeles, 2013. pp. 99-120.
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