We’re living in an information world
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
It is apparent that the varied definitions of information can lead to confusion about what it actually means. It’s difficult to pinpoint something that isn’t tangible and something that evolves and spreads. Information, to me, in its most important form, is when it transfers into knowledge. It is this process of transition, where information becomes most useful. This process of change is understanding. I think the core role of the TL is to develop understanding; to develop the skills to do something with the information. Information literacy forms a major component of a TL’s duties. This focus, of developing understanding and the skills to be able to understand, is a very exciting prospect for me as an incoming TL.
A major issue with the information world, at present, is the oversaturation of information. The digital world has provided an avenue for information to spread wide and fast. The issue arises when the information is shrouded with bias. For many, their main form of news and current affairs is their Facebook News Feed. But, the spread of information through digital means isn’t all bad. I think it has done a good job to expose people to a wider range of perspectives but we need to have the skills to discern between opinion and fact and to be able to make our own judgements and draw credible conclusions. The motivation for the spread of information has also changed over time. It has gone from the spread of ideas and enlightenment to the spread of commerce and it has become a money-making endeavour. Our job as TLs is to upskill staff and students in the areas of discernment, in order to sift through the information and select with care and consideration. Ultimately, it is vital to bring a critical eye to the world of information.
Davenport, T. H., & Prusak, L. (2000). Working knowledge: how organizations manage what they know. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Seminal work.