Digital Literacy

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What is Digital Literacy?

  • The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information. 1
  • The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers. 2 
  • A person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment... Literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments. 3

What is a Digital Learning Librarian?

@ UIUC...

The Digital Learning Librarian at the University of Illinois works collaboratively with librarians and faculty to create tools that help to integrate the library into the teaching and learning process.  One result is the creation of online resources that focus on infusing library and information skills with instructional technology to help individuals obtain digital literacy.

@ Other Institutions...

The Blended Librarian Page by Stephen Bell and John Shank.
  • Their overview provides mission and value statements for a Blended Librarian. Of primary note is the vision that a Blended Librarian "Transforms the librarian-faculty relationship by encouraging librarians to support faculty’s integration of technology, library resources, and information fluency into their courses through the development of digital learning materials."
Bell and Shank also provide this definition from one of their previous C&RL News articles:
  • "An academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist's hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer's ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process."

For more information...

  • View Digital Literacy in a 2.0 world 4, by Kyle Jones of Elmhurst College. 2007.
    • Provides an overview of what it means to be digitally literate.
    • Reports Findings from the Pew Internet and American Life Project pertaining to student Internet usage.
    • Provides arguments for why we should focus on digital literacy.
    • Includes examples of how web 2.0 tools can be used to assist in the efforts.
  • View Information Literacy and Digital Literacy: Life-long Learning Initatives with Librarians in the Front Line 5.
    • This slide presentation by Fe Angela Verzosa provide an overview of the different types of information literacies, including digital literacies and discusses the intersection wtih Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Review the 4 types of information literacy 6
    • An LIS student's take on the concept of Digital Literacy.
  • Consult What is Digital Literacy 7, by Pam Berger
    • This is a resource list compiled by Pam Berger to help understand what is needed to become digitally literate.   Resources cover areas such as definitions, assessments, research on Internet use by students, demands for new skills related to digital literacy.


  1. Digital Strategy Glossary of Key Terms accessed August 21, 2008.
  2. Paul Gilster, Digital Literacy, New York: Wiley and Computer Publishing, 1997, p.1.
  3. Barbara R. Jones-Kavalier and Suzanne L. Flannigan: Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century;

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