Transliteracy?

At the end of class last week we were tasked with finding our own reading to blog about as well and creating a screencast. I left class a little confused about what information literacy and screencast had to do with one another, but I decided to “trust the system”. I decided to tackle the screencast first because it was closer to my comfort zone. I’m proud of my screencast and you can view it here!

With that out of the way the only thing left to do was to find readings to blog about. One term from class last week really stood out to me: transliteracy. I wasn’t even sure what the term meant, so I decided my reading would be on getting a better idea of what transliteracy meant and how it related to me and my career goals.

Leave it to humanities folk to Frankenstein a concept as simple as being able to use multi-media platforms.

“Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.” –  www.transliteracy.com

Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a foreign concept to me because I did my undergraduate degree in multi-media journalism, but honestly I think my generation is pretty used to being able to interpret information regardless of the form it takes. (However being able to take a message from one form and convert it to another may take some skill or training.) Transliteracy in libraries does seem like a really interesting topic. This blog from Libraries and Transliteracy does a great job breaking down what the term means, where it came from and how it relates to libraries. Having transliteracy skill is really important to future librarian because as library user change and embrace new technologies, librarians have to be right along side of them adopting to fit their needs. Now I get why we did screencast this week too. Being able to write or verbalize how to use a tool is great, but as a future librarian I should be able to transfer that skill on to digital video or audio platforms. It also allows a library to reach a larger audience and it gives the users more options in how they want to interact with librarians.

Ideally I’d like to work at an academic library which has a very unique purpose in a community. Sure.. majority of the users will be students and faculty/researcher, but MLibrary also offers a lot of great resources to all Michigan residence and those studying outside of the US. Naturally my next question was : What are the transliterate skills any academic librarian should have? Well according to Introducing transliteracy: What does is mean to academic libraries? no one knows. While the concept is clear to understand, the term is very new and coming up with a set list of skills of technologies a person should know is difficult. Well if I’ve learnt anything from last semester (and a bit from 500 this semester), no one is expected to be and expert. How could you even come up with a list when technologies and trends change so often? The second you complete the list it could be outdated. I think transliteracy should be a way of life. A vow to always be a student.. eager to learn and embrace the new and unknown. In my opinion once you learn how to learn a certain skill, changing isn’t that difficult. You already ready have a foundation and  the metacognative ability to process a new technologies and once you find a transferable aspect of the new technology making the adjustment from one to the other won’t be as hard as it may seem. Mutli-disciplinary “t-shaped” people are all about transliteracy (whether we realize it or not). (I wonder if i should list that as a skill on my resume?)

“transliteracy as a cultural phenomenon” -transliteracy: crossing divides

I’m glad to be a part of this new way of looking at information literacy. People are working together and collaborating across discipline like never before. Fences are coming down..and we’re starting to think of professions like librarianship in new ways. (YAY! because seriously if one more person refers to LIS as a ‘soft-science’ I’m going to “softly” put them back in their place) I’m glad to step out from behind the reference desk and take those reference skills into HCI, IAR , SC and beyond.

Readings:

Beginner’s Guide to Transliteracy by Tom Ipri & Bobbi Newman

Introducing transliteracy: What does is mean to academic libraries by Tom Ipri

transliteracy: crossing divides by Tom Ipri

Til next time….shhhh

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4 comments

  1. I really appreciated your thoughts on being comfortable with change in the field of library science. Adaptivity seems to be an important, unwritten part of the job description. It’s great you pointed out how helpful it is for librarians to be able to assist patrons with a new tool because they tried it themselves. A great way to become comfortable with new tools as they come out is to try them and experiment with them!

  2. Best. Adverb. Ever: Leave it to humanities folk to Frankenstein a concept as simple as being able to use multi-media platforms. (Side note: You should really continue using your journalism background to create a blog at whatever position you get after graduation.)

    What’s funny to be about your statement about your generation being able to interpret information regardless of medium is that I don’t know if I am in your generation or some middle space. Yes, I have a lot more technical prowess than my parents’ generation but did you know that I didn’t start using Facebook until my fourth year in college, I didn’t have a digital camera until my junior year of college, and I didn’t get a Kindle until 2012! Yes, I did have the earliest iPod model with the scrolling circle and I am pretty handy with both Mac and PC interfaces but I think these skills are mostly because of the career and educational paths I have taken over the last 12 years. I compare my uses, and comfort using, of technology with recently graduated college seniors, like many of my peers here in the MSI program and realize that they have never experienced a floppy disk! Many used tablets in their high school classrooms or had SmartBoard technologies in grade school. When we talk about transliteracies, I wonder if we are just giving a name to the lack of competencies in creating and consuming digital literacies of the ‘Pre-Digital” generations?

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