Information Literacy: Need for Good Deed

Believe it or not! Today we are talking and talking only about information, information explosion and its management and present situation has forced us to become information manager which is not at all an easy task. To become successful information manager, we are supposed to be information literate first which requires the understanding of the following in my opinion:

 a.     Information – why needed?

 In order to become successful Information Manager, first we need to identify that information is really needed and we have to understand why information is needed, what, how much, what kind of information is really required and at the same time, we need to identify that information is spread in wide range of formats in different locations (geographically and virtually). And, the skill which we need to develop to articulate a particular question for fetching the information for specific research is very important.

We all know that information is not limited to the boundary and inside the boundary of wall but it is available on paper, digital files, and other media such as audio visuals or from different sources. It may or may not be easy to get information to fulfill the need for making a right decision for getting a right answer against right question but we need to develop this skill.

 b.    Available Resources – Understand:

An information manager is supposed to develop a skill to evaluate and identify what resources are available on particular topic or particular information and where we can locate them in order to access them. If found also, what type of resources and whether we can use for our purpose. We need to understand the different types of resources such as paper-based, electronic resources, digital resources etc. and when & how to use them considering the merits of types of resources and differences as well.

 c.     Find Information – How?

We may be having very good resources but we need to develop technique and at the same time of plan for using the available resources so that we can get best information for the best question. Information literate has to understand that searching should not only be the option to get information but also learn other techniques such as browsing, monitoring information resources etc. Generally, we may find information from the following methods such as:

  • Go through several resources
  • Book Indexes given at the back
  • Abstracting and Indexing Journals
  • Use of RSS feed in order to get information from different sources
  • Active participation in forum, discussion list, e-mail alerts and bulletin boards etc.
  • Bookmarking the address on Browser such as Mozilla, Chrome etc.
  • Searching the information in search engines using Boolean Logic
  • Develop the understanding to use relevant ranked searching

d.    Evaluation of Results and Implementation

We need to develop skill to evaluate the obtained information for checking the accuracy and its value without biasness keeping the same in mind that the evaluation will not misguide or mislead with incomplete result. Many times it happens that we get information through search engines against our filled question, but we need to evaluate and understand whether the information is trustworthy then only information can help the researcher in right direction.

A prior knowledge of author, name of publisher, editor and series may help the researcher to reach the right destination with less effort.

 e.     Disseminate your search results (findings)

To become information literate, we need to develop the understanding to analyze the retrieved information to disseminate with accuracy. But before we leave the information for others to use, we need to understand the use of information in a responsible, sensitive and ethical manner. A proper respect to confidentially should be given and at the same time credit to the person who really owes the copyright. We also need to develop the ability to communicate in a manner which is appropriate to information, the user and present situation.

 f.      Manage your findings – How?

Finding is never easy against any question and it involves efforts and human interpretation at different stages to get right information for the right purpose. We need to develop the skill to manage the acquired information in most effective way with suitable methods and for that we will have to, sometimes, evaluate critically on our process and findings as well as sources from where we retrieved the information for using the findings and information at later stage. And for that we will have to think as follows:

  • Use of used resources in finding the information again
  • Use file cabinets or proper shelves to managing physical resources
  • Arrangement of emails with attachments
  • Planning security and backup of information retrieved for re-locating and use
  • Getting updates in changes in documents where you retrieved information
  • Use of Content Management System such as Joomla, Drupal etc. for information management  

If we succeed in developing such skills, definitely it will help us to become a successful information manager to support our academic community and we would also be able to contribute to our nation and its development and knows as ‘Digital India’.


DP Tripathi
NIT Jalandhar