Information literacy and its relationship to knowledge management

Stuart Ferguson

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    This paper explores the perceived commonalities between information literacy (IL) and knowledge
    management (KM) and the different contexts in which the two areas of theory and practice
    manifest themselves. It approaches the study in terms of, first, the widespread interest in KM within
    the Library and Information Services (LIS) community; second, the belief, supported by research
    into workplace IL, that IL and the fostering of an information literate workforce are key components
    in any KM initiative; and, third, the LIS profession’s long-standing interest and expertise in IL
    instruction. KM is put into context with reference to two publications by Standards Australia and
    from this the main functions of a knowledge manager are delineated. It is suggested, with
    reference to IL in higher education and workplace contexts and to well-articulated models of
    knowledge transfer, such as SECI, that there are significant commonalities between IL and KM but
    that there are equally significant differences between the two. The paper argues that research in
    each domain can inform the other but that IL represents a fraction of the KM domain, so attempts
    to conflate the two may cause confusion rather than providing a pathway for information
    professionals and others pursuing workplace IL. Finally the paper provides recommendations for
    further research and suggests a scalar approach to conceptualising KM and IL practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6-24
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Information Literacy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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