Visual Information Literacy: Addressing Non-textual Information Needs Across Disciplines


Technological innovations within the past decade, combined with the hyper-extensible nature of the Internet, have resulted in an avalanche of new data and information within many scholar communities. To efficiently and succinctly parse these large amounts of information to manageable levels, scholars are turning more to visual information representations, some of which are unique to the digital environment. This rapid increase of non-textual information makes it essential that individuals at universities, from first-year students to faculty and administrators, are able to find, determine authority, interpret, analyze, and re-purpose these new visual information formats, much as they need to do for text-based information. Librarians are posed to be stewards to this new information era in helping students and faculty grasp these new information literacy models. This presentation will examine the academic arenas that are shifting to non-textual information, address why this is happening, and discuss how this affects instructional initiatives of librarians. The presenters will delineate visual information literacy and discuss current instructional initiatives. Additionally, they will highlight successful implementation of visual information literacy into a general undergraduate course, a biology course for students not majoring in the Sciences, and a bioinformatics primer workshop for faculty and administrators.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Define, within the context of teaching and learning, visual information literacy

  • Identify how visual literacy affects learning

  • Incorporate instructional methodologies for visual information literacy at all levels of the university

  • Recognize non-textual scientific information and its connection to visual information literacy instruction
  • Presenters:

    Diane C. Rein PhD, MLS
    Assistant Professor of Library Science
    Assistant Life Science Librarian
    Purdue University Libraries – LIFE
    West Lafayette, IN

    Jennifer Sharkey, MLS
    Assistant Professor of Library Science
    Information Integration Librarian
    Purdue University Libraries – UGRL
    West Lafayette, IN


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