Does information literacy require literacy?

I guess it does, due to its name. However, the ability to read and write is not a premise to successfully gathering and interpreting information. I remember a garment manufacturer in India explaining us how he bought textiles. He visited several producers and then checked and double-checked the information they gave him with other people.

In China, where people often prefer to give wrong information to loosing their face by not knowing the answer, it is essential to have many acquaintances in order to be able to verify information given by strangers.

Basically, this is no different to what Westerners do to to examine the reliability of information. But written, especially published, information has more context to it than oral information, and the trustworthiness of sources like newspapers or official institutions lightens the burden of scrutiny.

In our society, many people seem to rely too much on their literacy instead of checking information “bazaar style”.


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