Information Literacy as New World

September 23, 2009

Creating and Exploring New Worlds:

Web 2.0, Information Literacy, and the Uses of Knowledge



Materials=Verbal, Visual, Multimedia

Use of the Materials of Others

Creation of Materials

 Practices; Application; Knowledge; Reflection


 An historical moment

  Courtesy of the Albert and Victoria Museum

 The web enters . . .

  Same system (print uploaded): different space

 Convergence of interacting sources . . .

  Different systems: an ecology



 Using an historical heuristic (thanks to Sam Wineberg)

 Heuristic 1: Corroboration. Corroboration, in the words of Barbara Tuchman (1981), is the “great corrective” without which historical practice would “slip easily into the invalid” (p. 34). Stated as a heuristic, corroboration could be formulated as “Whenever possible, check important details against each other before accepting them as plausible or likely.”

 Heuristic 2: Sourcing. Stated most simply, the “sourcing heuristic” could be formulated thus: “When evaluating historical documents, look first to the source or attribution of the document.” Historians used this heuristic 98% of the time; students used it 31% of the time. In terms of reading attribution first (as opposed to reading the attribution before reaching the end of the document), all eight historians did this at least once; only three of eight students did so, p < .025, Fisher’s exact test.

 Heuristic 3: Contextualization. Stated in its simplest form, the contextualization heuristic would read: “When trying to reconstruct historical events, pay close attention to when they happened and where they took place.” The “when” of this heuristic refers to the act of placing events in chronological sequence. The “where” of this heuristic is concerned with situating events in concrete spaces and determining the conditions of their occurrence – issues of geography, weather, climate, and landscape.


           1. Case Study: Analysis of Encyclopedia and Wikipedia

            2. Case Study: A Blogging Map of a Community

            3. Case Study: Sourcing NY Times Editorial


1. Identify the logic contextualizing research practices

 2. Identify key terms of research and ask students to map them


Prior Knowledge/Post Knowledge: Iterative Process

Threshold Concepts: Credible; Corroboration

Critical Incident Theory

The Future . . .   



Bransford, John. Learning and Transfer. In John Bransford et al., Eds., How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000: 51-78.

Wineberg, Sam. Historical Problem Solving: A Study of the Cognitive Processes Used in the

Evaluation of Documentary and Pictorial Evidence. Journal of Educational Psychology 83.1 (1991): 73-87.


Yancey, Kathleen Blake. 1998. Reflection in the Writing Classroom. Logan, UT: Utah State UP.


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