September 04, 2002
Information Literacy

Hoax E-Mails and Bonsai Kittens:

Many academics (for example Kerka, 2000; Peters and Lankshear, 1996; Knobel and Lankshear, 1998) say that the time has come for us to develop a 'critical literacy' in electronic environments. It will require us to question Internet media with these sorts of queries: How good is the information, can I trust it? What agenda is being served by the originators of the information? How does the text position the reader? What value systems does the information espouse? Who is in the text and who is written out of it? Who is communicating and why? Who would find this information offensive? What type of readers would find this text acceptable? What sort of value and belief systems would they espouse?

A pro-digital reading argument might be that the Internet and electronic information changes the way we assimilate information, in that it is a way of reading text that is dominated by the reader, who utilises hypertext to jump from one piece of textual material to another, and by taking this path the reader encounters the text in a way that allows them to construct a 'version' of the text (i.e. the reader can almost become the writer). However the critically-literate hyper-reader should be asking why am I being led or invited down this path and not another? A thoughtful hyper-reader also recognises and accepts the answer to this question: 'who put the hypertexts into the documents in the first place?' While we may think we are creating our own information, we are merely being led in a direction (hyper-textually) that the author intended.

(Link via aaronland.)

Currently listening to: PJ Harvey - This Mess We're In.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at September 04, 2002 07:29 AM
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