Information literacy is an activity which is more than just obtaining the ability to use information tools and finding information resources. It consists of a lifetime’s learning process, professional development and the ability to interact in the information society. One of the major reasons to success of many organizations is having an information literate workforce who can locate, evaluate and effectively use information. Information management or the processes involved in managing information are essential to productivity and performance for both the company and its customers in companies and organizations where the information and new knowledge is seen as a source of providing a competitive advantage in a business or in a service supplying. Information literacy is a fundamental skill in a workplace which gives positive outcomes for both small and large organizations equally. Employers think that the information literacy is important to workforce because the employers are expecting for a workforce who have the likeness and capability learn new things continually. Employees have to be confident and competent in interacting with information to deliver maximum business value. Apart from that they should have the ability to adopt and adapt, create and recreate and contextualize and re-contextualize.
Goad (2002) has proposed 16 steps for information literacy as a process which happens in a workplace. Those steps are;
1. Establish the need
2. Break the subject down into its parts
3. Identifies the relationships and hierarchies
4. Identify information sources
5. Identify multiple sources
6. Select a strategy
7. Develop a question list
8. Conduct a research
9. Authenticate the information
10. Filter the information while remain in focus
11. Analyze the information
12. Summarize the information once gathered
13. Select the information that applies
14. Put information into context
15. Apply the information
16. Evaluate the action taken and re enter as necessary
Information literacy contains the concepts such as the attributes of information (including relevance, currency, timeliness, consistency), evaluation of information sources (for credibility, currency, reliability), economic characteristics of information (expandable, shareable, diffusive), information value and cost effectiveness, the ability to define information requirements effectively, information overload and filtering. These have all been identified as main characteristics of information in the workplaces. Further, the social context of information literacy in the workplace such as the influence of networking, formal and informal working relationships, maintaining a client orientation or focus, are also important. Information should be recognized as having the same, or more value, when compared to any other asset in the organization. The productive use of this asset therefore requires its practitioners be taught to understand its role and value in the organization and how to acquire the skills and knowledge to use it effectively. One of the barriers for information literacy in 21st century is not well understood or sufficiently researched.
Some practical examples for information literacy usage in workplace have described below.
Marketers should have the capability of evaluating, measuring and analyzing market research data or statistics, stakeholders, an organization’s marketing environment and the performance of a specific marketing strategy. All of these activities need the use of some form of information.
In addition to evaluating information, marketers collaborate as they are expected to work in a team and have leadership skills. Also, marketers’ should have technical skills like the ability to use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and Outlook, data and databases, and marketing tools and software. In today world marketing practices are highly connected with technology, and technological skills factor significantly into IL as a whole.
Police forces in many countries invest more and more in information technology and on applications. Many different types of tasks need having certain levels of information literacy skills. Policing requires a diverse set of skills and abilities due to the task complexities and other specific needs.
Moreover, law enforcement officers need to deal with continuous information flow to keep up with the requirements of their job in every aspect. Since policing is a time-critical and knowledge-intensive profession, information literacy skills (ILS) of police officers play an important role in their job. In order to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently, police officers need to be equipped with adequate level of information literacy skills. Police departments are information- dependent institutions. It is important to understand how police obtain, process, encode, decode, and use information in order to understand the function of the police work.
Understanding and updating the skill levels of information literacy of police officers are essential in case of critical personnel need of various departments that recruit officers with specific information skills.
Most of the police officers work as intermediaries for their organizational information needs. The colleagues and managers communicate with officers to find information for the officers. Improving the information literacy skill of police officers may also indirectly causes improve the performance of police managers within their units.
Medical and health care is a very important field which is changing frequently. There is always new and more effective medicines, medical devices and procedures invented which need new research to find out their application, productiveness, and effects on their subjects. Nursing practice is based on a combination of research, anecdote, tradition, theory and hunch; and that the education of nurses has tended to reinforce the ‘ritual’ by placing high value on traditional scientific authority and adherence to well-established clinical protocols and routine practices. Health care industry people are using innovative findings that are based on best practices as well as strong research-based evidence. Talented nurses use both individual clinical expertise and the best available external evidence, adding the neither alone is enough. Even very strong external evidence may not be able to apply or not suitable for an individual patient when the clinical expertness is not available. Without current best evidence, practice risks becoming rapidly out of date, to the harmfulness of patients.
Consequently, the nurse who decides only to resort to traditional methods of practicing learnt from school will in no time be questioned by patients who read about their conditions before visiting the hospital.
A demand for safe and efficient health care requires nurses to develop the necessary skills in order to incorporate research findings into practice. Therefore competency in information literacy is an important foundation, a prerequisite to an evidence-based practice and a confident approach to a lifelong learning. An increasing competency in information literacy is the foundation for evidence-based practice and provides nursing professionals with the skills to be literate consumers of information. A person should be able to identify when the information is needed and must have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information in order to be information literate. Health Information Literacy (HIL) is the set of abilities needed to identify the health information needs, recognize likely information sources and use those to get relevant information, measure the quality of the information and its applicability to a certain situation and analyze, understand and use the information to make better health decisions.
The information competency standards for nursing are a set of standards that is developed with the sole aim to making the nursing practitioner information literate. As nurses stick to this standard, they prepare themselves to be competent in information literacy including a better understanding of the architecture of information and the scholarly process; the ability to navigate among a variety of print and electronic tools to effectively access, search, and critically evaluate appropriate resources; synthesize accumulated information into an existing body of knowledge; communicate research results clearly and effectively; and appreciate the social issues and ethical concerns related to the provision, dissemination, and sharing of the information.