From Workplace to Profession: New Focus for the Information Literacy Discourse

  • Elham Sayyad Abdi
  • Christine Bruce
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 552)


The present paper suggests articulating the general context of workplace in information literacy research. The paper considers distinguishing between information literacy research in workplaces and professions. Referring to the results of a phenomenographic enquiry into web professionals’ information literacy as an example, it is indicated that work-related information literacy in particular contexts and depending on the nature of the context, is experienced beyond physical workspaces and at professional level. This involves people interacting with each other and with information at a broader level in comparison to a physically bounded workspace. Regarding the example case discussed in the paper, virtuality is identified as the dominant feature of the profession that causes information literacy to be experienced at a professional level. It is anticipated that pursuing the direction proposed in the paper will result in a more segmented image of work-related information literacy.


Workplace Information literacy Profession Web professionals 


  1. 1.
    Bruce, C.: Information literacy research: dimensions of the emerging collective consciousness. Aust. Acad. Res. Libr. (AARL) 31(2), 91–109 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lloyd, A.: Trapped between a rock and a hard place: what counts as information literacy in the workplace and how is it conceptualized? Libr. Trends 60(2), 277–296 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hepworth, M., Walton, G.: Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational. Workplace and Community Contexts. Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bruce, C.: The Seven Faces of Information Literacy. Auslib Press, Adelaide (1997)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bruce, C.: Workplace experience of information literacy. Int. J. Inf. Manage. 19, 33–47 (1999). doi: 10.1016/S0268-401(9800045-0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lloyd, A.: Lessons from the workplace: understanding information literacy as practice. In: Lloyd, A., Talja, S. (eds.) Practicing Information Literacy: Bringing Theories of Learning, Practice and Information Literacy Together, pp. 29–49. Centre for Information Studies, Wagga Wagga (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cheuk, B.: Information literacy in the workplace: issues, best practices and challenges. Paper presented at the Information Literacy Meeting of Experts, Prague, The Czech Republic (2002)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cheuk, B.: Delivering business value through information literacy in the workplace. Libri 58, 137–143 (2008). doi: 10.1515/libr.2008.015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Conley, T.M., Gil, E.L.: Information literacy for undergraduate business students: examining value, relevancy, and implications for the new century. J. Bus. Finance Librarianship 16(3), 213–228 (2012). doi: 10.1080/08963568.2011.581562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kirk, J.: Information and work: extending the roles of information professionals. Paper Presented at the Challenging Ideas, ALIA 2004 Biennial Conference, Gold Coast (2004).
  11. 11.
    O’Farrill, R.T.: information literacy and knowledge management at work: conceptions of effective information use at NHS24. J. Documentation 66(5), 706–733 (2010). doi: 10.1108/00220411011066808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sen, B.A., Taylor, R.: Determining the information needs of small and medium-sized enterprises: a critical success factor analysis. Inf. Res. 12(4), 1–18 (2007)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sokoloff, J.: Information literacy in the workplace: employer expectations. J. Bus. Finance Librarianship 17(1), 1–17 (2012). doi: 10.1080/08963568.2011.603989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Crawford, J., Irving, C.: Information literacy in employability training: the experience of inverclyde libraries. J. Librarianship Inf. Sci. 44(2), 79–89 (2012). doi: 10.1177/0961000611436096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Klusek, L., Bornstein, J.: Information literacy skills for business careers: matching skills to the workplace. J. Bus. Finance Librarianship 11(4), 3–21 (2006). doi: 10.1300/J109v11n04_02CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hepworth, M., Smith, M.: Workplace information literacy for administrative staff in higher education. Aust. Library J. 57(3), 212–236 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lloyd, A.: Working (in) formation: conceptualizing information literacy in the workplace’, in life long learning: whose responsibility and what is your contribution? In: 3rd International Life Long Learning Conference, pp. 218–224. Central Queensland University Press, Rockhampton (2004)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lloyd, A.: Informing practice: information experiences of ambulance officers in training and on-road practice. J. Documentation 65(3), 396–419 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Qayyum, M. A., Thompson, K. M., Kennan, M.A., Lloyd, A.: the provision and sharing of information between service providers and settling refugees. Information Research, 19(2) (2014).
  20. 20.
    Gasteen, G., O’Sullivan, C.: Working towards an information literate law firm. In: Bruce, C., Candy, P. (eds.) Information Literacy Around the World: Advances in Programs and Research, pp. 109–120. Charles Sturt University, Centre for Information Studies, Wagga Wagga (2000)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rosenberg, V.: Information literacy and small business. Paper Presented at the Information Literacy Meeting of Experts, Prague (2002)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Macoustra, J.: Information literacy: organisational and law firm perspectives. Legal Inf. Manage. 4(2), 130–135 (2004). doi: 10.1017/S1472669604001483Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Smith, E., Martina, C.: Keeping the dough rising: considering information in the workplace with reference to the bakery trade. Paper Presented at the 3rd International Lifelong Learning Conference, Rockhampton (2004)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kirton, J., Barham, L., Brady, S.: Understanding and practice of information literacy in australian government libraries. Aust. Library J. 57(3), 237–256 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Weiner, S.: How information literacy becomes policy: an analysis using the multiple streams framework. Library Trends 60(2), 297–311 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Leavitt, L.L.: 21st Century workforce initiatives: implications for information literacy instruction in academic libraries. Educ. Libr. Inf. Literacy Workplace 34(2), 15–18 (2011)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Travis, T.: From the classroom to the boardroom: the impact of information literacy instruction on workplace research skills. Educ. Libr. Inf. Literacy Workplace 34(2), 19–31 (2011)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Head, A.J., Van Hoeck, M., Eschler, J., Fullerton, S.: What information competencies matter in today’s workplace? Libr. Inf. Res. 37(114), 75–105 (2013)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Limberg, L.: Experiencing information seeking and learning: a study of the interaction between two phenomena. Information Research, 5(1) (1999).
  30. 30.
    Maybee, C.: Undergraduate perceptions of information use: the basis for creating user-centered student information literacy instruction. J. Acad. Librarianship 32(1), 79–85 (2006). doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2005.10.010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lupton, M.: Information literacy and learning. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane (2008)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    McGuinness, C.: Attitudes of Academics to the Library’s Role in Information Literacy Education. In: Martin, A., Rader, H. (eds.) Information and IT Literacy: Enabling Learning in the 21th Century, pp. 244–254. Facet, London (2003)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Webber, S., Boon, S., Johnston, B.: A comparison of UK academics’ conceptions of information literacy in two disciplines: english and marketing. Libr. Inf. Res. 29(93), 4–15 (2005)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Boon, S., Johnston, B., Webber, S.: A phenomenographic study of english faculty’s conceptions of information literacy. J. Documentation 63(2), 204–228 (2007). doi: 10.1108/00220410710737187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Williams, D.A., Wavell, C.: Secondary school teachers’ conceptions of student information literacy. J. Librarianship Inf. Sci. 39(4), 199–212 (2007). doi: 10.1177/0961000607083211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    McMahon, C., Bruce, C.: Information literacy needs of local staff in cross-cultural development projects. J. Int. Dev. 14(1), 113–127 (2002). doi: 10.1002/jid.864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    O’Farrill, R. T.: Conceptions of Effective Information Use and Learning in a Tele-health Organization: A Phenomenographic Study of Information Literacy and Knowledge Management at Work. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (2008)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Yates, C., Partridge, H., Bruce, C.: Learning wellness: how ageing australians experience health information literacy. Aust. Library J. 58(3), 269–285 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Gunton, L.: Religious information literacy: using information to learn in church community. Aust. Library J. 60(2), 155–164 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Gunton, L., Bruce, C., Davis, K.: Information literacy research: the evolution of the relational approach. information experience. In: Du, J.T., Zhu, Q., Koronios, A. (eds.) Library and Information Science Research in Asia-Oceania: Theory and Practice, pp. 82–101. IGI Global, Hershey (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Yates, C., Stoodley, I., Partridge, H., Bruce, C., Cooper, H., Day, G., Edwards, S.L.: Exploring health information use by older australians within everyday life. Libr. Trends 60, 460–478 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lundh, A., Limberg, L.: Information practices in elementary school. Information Research, 13(4) (2008).
  43. 43.
    Sundin, O., Limberg, L., Lundh, A.: Constructing librarians’ information literacy expertise in the domain of nursing. J. Librarianship Inf. Sci. 40(1), 21–30 (2008). doi: 10.1177/0961000607086618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Tuominen, K., Savolainen, K., Talja, S.: Information literacy as a sociotechnical practice. Library Q. 75(3), 329–354 (2005). doi: 10.1086/497311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lloyd-Zandiotis, A.: Working information: developing a grounded theory of information literacy in the workplace. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University of New England, Armidale (2005)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Lloyd, A.: Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practices: implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4) (2007).
  47. 47.
    Veinot, T.: The eyes of the power company: workplace information practices of a vault inspector. Libr. Q. 77(2), 157–179 (2007). doi: 10.1086/517842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Kennan, M.A., Lloyd, A., Thompson, K., Qayyum, A.: Settling in: the relationship between information and social inclusion. Aust. Acad. Res. Libr. 42(3), 180–210 (2011). Scholar
  49. 49.
    Walker, C.: The information world of parents: a study of the use and understanding of information by parents of young children. Libr. Trends 60(3), 546–568 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Lloyd, A., Kennan, M.A., Thompson, K.M., Qayyum, A.: Connecting with new information landscapes: information literacy practices of refugees. J. Documentation 69(1), 121–144 (2013). doi: 10.1108/00220411311295351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
  52. 52.
  53. 53.
    Sayyad Abdi, E.: Web Prorfessionals: how do they experience information literacy. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations