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The Wicked Problem of Data Literacy: A Call for Action

Corrall, Sheila (2019) The Wicked Problem of Data Literacy: A Call for Action. In: LILAC: The Information Literacy Conference, April 24-26, 2019, Nottingham, UK.

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Calls for urgent action on data literacy are coming from all sectors of society, including educators, employers, journalists, non-profits, policy makers, scientists, and advocacy groups, but there is no consensus on what data literacy means today, how it should be developed, or who should take the lead. Our research contributes to the debate by reviewing existing conceptions and pedagogies for data literacy, identifying and classifying critical stakeholders, and suggesting a way forward. We used data from multiple sources, including academic, professional, and trade literature, agency publications, and books for non-specialist audiences, as well as websites of data-related organizations and project databases of funding bodies. We used Radical Change Theory to frame the changing context for data literacy development, the Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Saliency to identify groups with potential to influence developments, the Intellectus Model of Intellectual Capital to assess the role of libraries in advancing the data literacy movement, and Wicked Problem theory to analyze the problem and identify strategies for resolution. Definitions of the concept ranged from broad conceptions of data literacy as a life skill with general applicability through context-specific interpretations for particular professions and its positioning as an essential enabler for data-intensive research and data science.
Academic, public, and school librarians are already involved in cross-sector initiatives that recognize the lifewide and lifelong data and information needs of students, workers, and citizens, and are well placed to participate in a global movement, building on promising practices in the field to develop a new integrative framework.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Corrall, Sheilascorrall@pitt.eduscorrall0000-0001-5591-6524
Date: 24 April 2019
Date Type: Completion
Event Title: LILAC: The Information Literacy Conference
Event Dates: April 24-26, 2019
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Data literacy; Library instruction; Life skills; Open data; Transversal competencies.
Date Deposited: 20 May 2019 16:26
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 16:26


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