Collaborative Consumption

One thing which excites me about Transliteracy is, because of its newness, the skills involved are not well-defined. It seems like many people interested in the topic have an “I know it when I see it” approach to identifying skills and these skew toward computer-related skills, which is entirely legitimate since the need to be transliterate most obviously manifests itself when confronted with a new technology. Of course, Transliteracy involves a whole swath of cognitive skills that transcend navigating new technology.

One factor that suddenly seems, to me, so essential to Transliteracy, and not, perhaps, a skill per se, is the issue of trust. This insight dawned on me while watching Rachel Botsman’s TED presentation. Because Transliteracy often concerns itself with social media, the development of trust becomes very important. To a certain extent, trust is a teachable skill and librarians invest a great deal of effort in instilling notions of trust. How do we trust that a web site is reliable? But beyond that, individuals need to learn how and when other individuals are trustworthy. In a way, this notion of trust seems an obvious component of Transliteracy, but it only recently dawned on me how essential it is to our discussion.

Watch what Botsman has to say about trust. Does it seem like trust is an important element of our conversation? How teachable is trust? Can the level of trust she talks about be taught or are we relying on a cultural shift?

Fotologs as Storytelling and Narrative

Emergent Networks: Fotologs as Performances of the Self | DMLcentral via kwout

“Emergent Networks: Fotologs as Performances of the Self” at DMLcentral describes this social networking site that blends social media, photographs, and text as a means for connecting, telling the story of self, and engaging in narrative performances.   Blog post author Raquel Recuero describes Fotolog as ” a photo-sharing site, grew quickly in South America, becoming one of the most popular social networking services in Chile, Brazil and other countries. Fotologs became interesting narratives of everyday life, carefully constructed by users to share the impressions they wanted to display for their audience. They became identity performances.”  How might we as librarians and libraries help our patrons use a resource like this for storytelling and narrative?

Slate: A History of Media Technology Scares

Although not directly related to Transliteracy,’s article, Don’t Touch That Dial: A History of Media Technology Scares from the Printing Press to Facebook, addresses the need to understand in what ways new technologies affect culture. The author, Vaughan Bell, gives a quick history of the fears people have had as new forms of communication enter the culture. People often presume that new means of communication are more harmful than their predecessors. He stresses how these suspicions about new technologies are often unfounded:

To date, studies suggest there is no consistent evidence that the Internet causes mental problems. If anything, the data show that people who use social networking sites actually tend to have better offline social lives, while those who play computer games are better than nongamers at absorbing and reacting to information with no loss of accuracy or increased impulsiveness. In contrast, the accumulation of many years of evidence suggests that heavy television viewing does appear to have a negative effect on our health and our ability to concentrate.

Being able to understand and successfully navigate new forms of communication can help mitigate these fears.

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Transliteracy: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

“Transliteracy:  Take a Walk on the Wide Side”:  Paper presented by Susie Andretta of London Metropolitan University at the World Library and Information Congress 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in August 2009.

from the paper’s abstract:

In this paper we explore the concept of ‘transliteracy’ which according to Professor Thomas offers “a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century [including] 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”. Currently transliteracy is primarily the domain of Communication and Cultural Studies and this paper aims to position transliteracy in the professional domain of ‘practising’ librarians and within the remit of the library world. It is with this aim in mind that we examine the prefix ‘trans’ in terms of ‘moving across literacies’ and also in terms of ‘moving beyond literacy’ in order to evaluate the implications emerging from these two manifestations of transliteracy for the information professions and for the 21st Century Library. Examples of transliteracy practice by information professionals will provide evidence that libraries are already meeting the challenges of transliteracy by crossing the divide between printed, digital and virtual worlds to address the constantly changing needs of the learners they support.
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