Media Literacy and Information Literacy: Similarities and Differences

Lee, A.Y.L. and So, C.Y.K. Media Literacy and Information Literacy: Similarities and Differences., 2014 [Preprint]

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English abstract

In knowledge society, there is currently a call for cultivating a combination of media literacy and information literacy. This, however, requires cooperation from these two separate fields of study, and uncertainty regarding their boundaries hinders a smooth merger. It is unclear whether they are subsets of each other or separate entities. In this study, we have explored the relationship between these two fields by empirically mapping out their territories and discussing their similarities and differences. We have made use of the Web of Science database to delineate the content and boundary of these two fields. Our findings from 1956 to 2012 show that the two fields have different authors, university affiliations, and journals; they also differ in terms of academic origin, scope, and social concern. Information literacy has a closer tie to library science, while media literacy is more related to media content, media industry, and social effects. Due to their different academic orientations, the two fields adopt different analytical approaches. We have found that media literacy is not a subset of information literacy as some scholars have suggested, although the two fields have similarities. They share the same goal, and their publications overlap in terms of subject areas, countries of origin, and titles. The two fields could find common ground by cooperating together to contribute to the promotion of new literacy in knowledge societies.

Spanish abstract

En la sociedad del conocimiento presenciamos la necesidad de plantear una combinación de alfabetización mediática e informativa que requiere, sin embargo, cooperación entre estas dos áreas de estudio independientes. La incertidumbre que rodea estos vínculos dificulta una fusión homogénea, y no resulta fácil determinar si, cuando hablamos de estas alfabetizaciones, nos referimos a subcategorías o entidades independientes. En este estudio hemos explorado la relación existente entre estas dos áreas de estudio determinando empíricamente sus territorios atendiendo a sus similitudes y diferencias. Para ello, hemos empleado la base de datos bibliográfica Web of Science, con el objetivo de delinear el contenido y los nexos comunes a ambos campos. Los hallazgos realizados entre 1956 y 2012 muestran cómo en cada ámbito se desarrollan distintos autores, afiliaciones universitarias y revistas; asimismo, también difieren en términos de origen académico, alcance e interés social. Mientras que la alfabetización informacional tiene una relación más estrecha con la biblioteconomía, la alfabetización mediática está más conectada con el contenido mediático, la industria de los medios y los efectos sociales que éstos causan. Debido a estas diferencias de orientación académica, ambos campos adoptan enfoques analíticos diferentes. En contra de lo sugerido por algunos expertos, hemos podido determinar que la alfabetización mediática no es una simple categoría de la alfabetización informacional, a pesar de que ambos campos muestran similitudes: comparten el mismo objetivo, y sus publicaciones se solapan en áreas temáticas, países de origen y títulos. Ambas disciplinas podrían identificar contextos comunes cooperando conjuntamente para contribuir a la promoción de nuevas alfabetizaciones en las sociedades del conocimiento.

Item type: Preprint
Keywords: Media literacy, information literacy, communication technology skills, knowledge society, Web of Science, boundary work
Subjects: C. Users, literacy and reading.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 06 Dec 2013 01:57
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:29

Available Versions of this Item


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