Information literacy and its relationship to knowledge management: A theoretical study

K. Stuart Ferguson
2009, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 6-24


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.


Information literacy; knowledge management

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