Information literacy: conceptions, context and the formation of a discipline

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Sheila Webber Bill Johnston


In this article the authors argue that progress in the development of information literacy (IL) has been hindered by tendencies such as: denying that information literacy is even a subject, paying exclusive attention to forces outside the discipline and forming information literacy silos. The authors start by reflecting on formative developments in information literacy outside North America in the late 1990s-early 2000s, and noting that IL has not evolved from that period as much as one might expect. They identify hindrances to information literacy’s formation as a discipline, and relate their discussion to changing notions of disciplinarity. The authors present ‘Information Literacy in the lifecourse’ as an example focus which could stimulate engagement from researchers and practitioners who are currently situated in different information literacy silos. They conclude that taking a disciplinary and lifecourse approach to information literacy would open up opportunities for working in a collegiate way, both within the information literacy community and with those outside it, and provide a more robust foundation for influencing policy.

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How to Cite
WEBBER, Sheila; JOHNSTON, Bill. Information literacy: conceptions, context and the formation of a discipline. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 1, p. 156-183, june 2017. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 oct. 2022. doi:
disciplinarity; information literacy; information society; research
Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)