Some Context for the Latest P2P Review Column

My latest Peer to Peer Review column in the Library Journal came out today, Information Literacy as an Unnatural State. This is my first effort to pull together ideas I’ve been writing and thinking about information literacy, the persistence of pseudoscience, and cognitive bias for the past year and a half. Possibly there will be some ancient philosophy in there eventually as well (e.g., Stoicism and philosophical Daoism), but I’m not sure yet. What we think of as information literacy, and indeed the entire academic enterprise, is deeply unnatural, and that instead of thinking about IL as a set of competencies, we should think about it some other way. I’m not sure what way yet, but the idea I’m playing around with I’m calling “scholarly habitude,” meaning roughly that the difference between the information literate/ scholarly person isn’t the ability just to do certain things, but a set of habits or frames of mind relative to the world, and that it’s much harder to achieve than reading through a set of competencies might indicate. I’m also not sure yet what specific role librarians would play in developing those habits.

Anyway, the LJ column is a tentative first step to something that might grow larger over time, so if anyone has any questions or criticisms, I’d appreciate them. The more and earlier the better.

3 thoughts on “Some Context for the Latest P2P Review Column

  1. Wayne, I liked your column & this note. I’d agree on the need for a deeper sort of framing or shift in thinking (if our goal is really to get all undergrads thinking like scholars; is it?).

    But I also don’t find that the short IL sessions we typically provide are enough to instill a scholarly habitus, nor that mostly libraries are currently in a position to provide much more. I’d almost say that we need librarians embedded as research & study advisors in dorms, if we really want to be where the students are and change how students approach research & writing…

    • I don’t think librarians have much of a role in this at all compared to professors and regular classes, which I wrote a bit about in my blog posts on information literacy. That’s one of the unfortunate myths that librarians have perpetuated by being the only people talking about “information literacy,” the myth that librarians have much say in the matter. We can certainly reinforce a “scholarly habitus” or information literacy whenever we can, but the bulk of education and training leading to that state, if it’s ever achieved, is outside of librarian hands.

  2. Pingback: Part 2 in P2P Review: an Elaboration | Academic Librarian

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