Individuals in our global, information-rich environment are faced with increasingly diverse and abundant information choices. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information, combined with rapid changes in technology, require that individuals be highly sophisticated in their ability to locate, critically evaluate, and use information. “Information Competency” and “Information Literacy” both refer to the same set of skills however the term used more frequently globally is that of Information Literacy.
What is Information Literacy?
According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Standards, an information literate individual is able to:
• Determine the extent of information needed
• Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
• Evaluate information and its sources critically
• Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
• Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
• Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
Information literacy is a key component of lifelong learning and is central to the mission of higher education. It enables students to master course content and extend their investigations beyond the classroom, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. Achieving competency in information literacy requires an understanding that this cluster of abilities is not extraneous to the curriculum but is woven into the curriculum’s content, structure, and sequence.
Targeting Talent Information Literacy/Competency
Library is involved with the Targeting Talent Program. This a Wits Student Equity Project initiative and the current program funded by BP Southern Africa (Pty.) Ltd. Limpopo Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the South African Roads Agency, Ltd.
The main purpose of the Targeting Talent Program (TTP) is to assist young South African learners with a successful university education, i.e. one which culminates in graduation with a degree in Science, Engineering, Medicine or Education (particularly Maths & Science education). The focus of the curriculum is to provide a background on the role of libraries in learning and studying.
The purpose of the Library Segment of the program is to introduce library and information services to the learners, as well as to train and educate these learners in basic information finding skills and knowledge in a computerized study, learning and teaching environment. Students are taught how to access information effectively and efficiently, and how to critically evaluate information and sources. We also teach them how to access and use information ethically and legally. Teaching is done using different methodology i.e. formal lecturing, Power Point, Videos and YouTube clips, discussions and interactive sessions.