Government Information Literacy in the “century of information” (Brown 2007)

Jenny Foreman, Lesley Thomson
2009, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 64-72

Abstract


There are currently numerous drivers for change within the Scottish Government (SG), including the changing nature of the workforce and the changing skills and abilities required by the SG to undertake its work and achieve its goals in policy-making. The SG’s Government Economic Strategy (Scottish Government 2007a), its Skills for Scotland: A Lifelong Skills Strategy (Scottish Government 2007b) as well as the internally focused Skills and Learning Strategy (Scottish Government 2007c) and Information Strategy (Scottish Government 2008a) all point to a number of developments that are creating demands for new skills and behaviours across the Scottish Government.

Taking these strategies as a starting point, the authors have developed an Information Literacy Strategy for the Scottish Government (Scottish Government 2008b), informed by local and national information literacy studies and recommendations from research carried out by the Scottish Information Literacy Project (Crawford and Irving 2009) and a survey of information use within the Scottish Government (Scottish Government 2008c).

The focus of this study is information literacy in the workplace. Using interview based research and an online survey, the Scottish Information Literacy Project and the Scottish Government Library Services sought to provide a picture of information literacy in the Scottish Government. Information literacy was identified as an essential workplace decision making skill for Scottish Government staff. Information seeking skills were identified as a key area of deficit amongst Scottish Government staff, together with an awareness of the need for access to a wide range of information sources, and critical thinking and evaluation skills to support high quality decision making, was generally lacking. As a result of the research findings, the authors have developed and are rolling out an information literacy programme across the Scottish Government. The authors have also established stronger internal partnerships within the Scottish Government with those areas engaging in training and skills.

Keywords


information literacy; workplace learning; Scottish Government; information management; information skills; civil service.

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