About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1508-1518
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0478

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

MIND THE GAP! ACADEMIC INFORMATION LITERACY VS WORKFORCE INFORMATION LITERACY

The ability to use information technologies effectively to find and manage information, and the ability to critically evaluate and ethically apply information to solve a problem are some of the hallmarks of an information literate individual. Other characteristics of an information literate individual include the spirit of inquiry and the determination to find out what is necessary to get the job done. But the existing academic information literacy do not support the perspective and understanding of information literacy at the workplace, and there is a gap between the information skills graduates have and the skills their new employers expect. Part of this discrepancy includes recent graduates being unable to transfer information literacy skills they learned as students into different contexts. Therefore, the way we conceptualise information literacy is different depending on context.

Lloyd already in 2003 noted that there ought to be a shift in thinking by librarians and that this requires librarians to develop partnerships with workplace communities so as to understand the role that information plays in the knowledge economy. Furthermore she stated that it was necessary to develop a new language that is relevant to workplace communities and a language that ties information literacy instruction to authentic situations in the workplace. So how can we as librarians prepare students to engage in the variety of information activities that constitute workplace practice today and how can we better tailor our information literacy instruction to meet those needs in the future? One answer could be to gain an understanding on how information competencies are recognized in workplace settings and what kind of information competencies that employers seek.

In this pilot study we address the following questions:
Does the concept of information literacy or similar appear in British/American and Swedish job ads?
What kind of qualifications are most frequent asked for in job postings?
What kind of information skills do employers really look for and how does this match with the skills newly recruits have?

Findings so far from a content analysis of job advertisements indicate a strikingly diverse and complex range of skills and qualifications but one significant finding was that only two of 174 job ads mentioned information literacy as a requirement. Going through all employment attributes we found that in English spoken ads the top five qualifications were: Exam or similar qualification, Experience, Computer skills, Interpersonal skills, Communication skills (verbal or written). In the Swedish ads the top five qualifications were: Exam or similar qualification, Experience, Ability to work in a team, Communication skills (verbal or written) and Independency.

According to the literature today's employers are looking for people who understand and can adapt to the characteristics of the 21st century skills. To face these soft skills one must be analytical, a problem solver, an information savvy, a critical thinker, a digital savvy, an effective communicator and a team player. The challenge ahead is to prepare students with 21st century information literacy skills so that they can be effective in the workplace context and also in their day-to-day lives having in mind the impropriety of transferring the understood concept of information literacy from one context to a different environment.
@InProceedings{AXELSSON2017MIN,
author = {Axelsson, M.L. and Brage, C. and Gustafsson Åman, K. and {\"{O}}str{\"{o}}m, M.},
title = {MIND THE GAP! ACADEMIC INFORMATION LITERACY VS WORKFORCE INFORMATION LITERACY},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.0478},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.0478},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {1508-1518}}
TY - CONF
AU - M.L. Axelsson AU - C. Brage AU - K. Gustafsson Åman AU - M. Öström
TI - MIND THE GAP! ACADEMIC INFORMATION LITERACY VS WORKFORCE INFORMATION LITERACY
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.0478
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 1508
EP - 1518
ER -
M.L. Axelsson, C. Brage, K. Gustafsson Åman, M. Öström (2017) MIND THE GAP! ACADEMIC INFORMATION LITERACY VS WORKFORCE INFORMATION LITERACY, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 1508-1518.
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