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Information Literacy as a Sociotechnical Practice

Kimmo Tuominen, Reijo Savolainen and Sanna Talja
The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy
Vol. 75, No. 3 (July 2005), pp. 329-345
DOI: 10.1086/497311
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/497311
Page Count: 17
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Information Literacy as a Sociotechnical Practice
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Abstract

Information literacy has thus far been mostly a practical and strategic concept guiding the library field’s efforts in teaching information seeking and using skills. Texts on information literacy rarely attempt to account for how individuals interact with other people and technical artifacts in their information environments. This article contributes to the literature on information literacy by introducing a definition of information literacy as a sociotechnical practice. Information literacy evolves in the course of realizing specific work‐related tasks and mundane activities, which usually involve a complex system of social relationships, sociotechnical configurations, and work organization. From the perspective of a situated understanding of learning and learning requirements, information skills cannot be taught independently of the knowledge domains, organizations, and practical tasks in which these skills are used. The article suggests that studying and understanding the interplay between information technologies, workplace learning, and domain‐specific knowledge formation processes is necessary for the advancement of information literacy initiatives.

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