m-Libraries Conference 2009, Second International m-libraries Conference

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Information Literacy gets Mobile

Peter Godwin

Last modified: 2009-07-03


Watching the trend toward miniaturisation seen in the Mobile Web and mobile handheld devices, we should ponder the effects on the presentation of information and its usage in the delivery of Information Literacy (IL). As there are now twice as many persons (3 billion) who can use mobile phones as can access the World Wide Web, there is great potential for consideration of handheld devices for developing IL. At present, mobile platform incompatibility and difficulties involved in display of Web pages on the mobile handset screen remain problematic. However, the popularity of the small screen to gather information by large sections of the populace may inspire librarians to find solutions and use the technology in their IL interventions.


Knowledge of Web 2.0 has spread rapidly among librarians in the past two years and has become mainstream. Application of the tools in IL teaching is slower, but is starting to go beyond the early adapters. Since the 2008 CIBER report "Information behaviour of the researcher of the future" we are recognising that ‘Web generation' attributes can apply to all age groups. Both the paramount importance of convenience to all users and the ubiquity of mobile technology are parts of this trend. In a world where content has "left the container", the importance of IL is growing, as the 21st century citizen struggles to locate, critically evaluate and utilise information. Handheld devices give exciting opportunities for librarians to reach users and to be where they are. This paper will give an overview of the Mobile Web, its potential use with Web 2.0 tools (including screencasts, podcasts, vodcasts and YouTube) and how this is beginning to be employed to assist our IL mission.