Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Reader beware

CNA staff passionate about information

In the run of a day, the average person comes across a myriad of information; sometimes it can be an overload.

Whether you’re a student or a seasoned pro, it’s important to access and be able to assess the validity of the info you’re getting.

Chelsea Heighton, Librarian II at the Burin campus, says information literacy is important, not just for students writing papers, but for everyone.

“It is important because there is so much information being generated that we cannot possibly take it all in so, we need to create a discerning filter,” she said. “I like to say that information is neither good nor bad, it is just relevant or irrelevant to the task at hand.”

When it comes to information literary, she says people can follow these rules of thumb.

To be considered information literate, a person must be able to function in four interlocking areas:

  • identify when more information is needed;
  • know where/how to access the information they need;
  • evaluate information for adequacy; and,
  • apply their new found knowledge to the situation at hand, and internalize it so it is added to their body of knowledge and they may apply it to future situations.

“People are generally only aware of the evaluating resources part and tend to take the other three parts for granted.”

Heighton says learning all the ins and outs of information literacy is not a common thing.

“People are not taught the skills associated with information literacy, yet we expect people to be information literate and sometimes judge people for making mistakes – it is not fair really,” she said. “I only learned these skills in a systematic way while I was taking my Masters of Library and Information Studies.”

When it comes to being more media savvy, time is a wonderful thing, she attests.

“The best thing to do is give things time,” said Heighton. “If you have just seen something that creates an emotional reaction in you, understand that was likely the desired effect.”

She recommends asking yourself some questions to ensure what you are posting on social media is helpful.

“There seems to be a social reward for being first or at least being on trend. Instead, take a moment to ask yourself: Is it essential that I respond? Do I have a professional or personal obligation to let this into my life? Would me sharing my feelings or experience truly make a difference in this situation? If the answer to any of these is ‘no,’ or at least not a hard ‘yes,’ then sit with it for a bit.”

Heighton says that at CNA, instructors and support staff have a big impact on the students they interact with.

“It is very important to remember that, as educators, we have influence over the students in our care,” she said. “What we share and how we share it shapes narratives that may affect students’ lives and careers for decades to come.”

When it comes to information literacy, she notes that everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to press on.

“It is really important to make sure that ego is kept out of the equation. If you make a mistake, just acknowledge it and move forward. Things are proven and disproven every day. This new information is constantly influencing our various fields so, it is not possible to rest on our laurels.” 

For information about CNA’s Library Services, visit: here.

Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne recently moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.

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