Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: implications for library and information science researchers

Annemaree Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction. Research into how information literacy is experienced in the workplace has led to a reconceptualization of the phenomenon as a complex sociocultural and corporeal process that is constituted through a range of information modalities. Method. The research reported is situated within a qualitative framework and employs a constructivist influenced grounded theory approach. Two studies were conducted one of firefighters, conducted in 2005, and the second, of ambulance officers, completed in 2007. In both studies, two phases of in-depth interviews were conducted and practitioners were observed in daily practice. Analysis. Common themes and perspectives have emerged revealing the similarities of experience and use of information in learning to become a worker. In preparatory training, novice workers engage with epistemic sites of knowledge in the processes of learning to act as practitioner. An outcome of this engagement is the development of a workplace identity. It is not until they experience the realities of the workplace that novices begin the transition of learning to become a practitioner. This transition is afforded through the mediation of the community of practice and is centralized around the introduction of context-dependent social and corporeal sites. This change results in a transition from subjective workplace identity to an intersubjective workplace identity as novices learn to become practitioners. Results. The results of this research suggest information literacy is more than just a textual practice. It is a complex sociocultural and embodied process that is constituted through the whole body experiencing information in context. Conclusions. Understanding information literacy as a catalyst for learning necessitates a move away from exploring textual practices towards incorporating an understanding of the sociocultural and corporeal practices that are involved in coming to know an information environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInformation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

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