Information literacy as a site for anticipation: Temporal tactics for infrastructural meaning-making and algo-rhythm awareness

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2 Citations (SciVal)


The article makes an empirical and conceptual contribution to understanding the temporalities of information literacies. The paper aims to identify different ways in which anticipation of certain outcomes shapes strategies and tactics for engagement with algorithmic information intermediaries. The paper suggests
that, given the dominance of predictive algorithms in society, information literacies need to be understood as sites of anticipation.

The article explores the ways in which the invisible algorithms of information intermediaries are conceptualised, made sense of and challenged by young people in their everyday lives. This is couched in a conceptual discussion of the role of anticipation in understanding expressions of information literacies in algorithmic cultures. The empirical material drawn on consists of semistructured, pair interviews with 61 17–19 year olds, carried out in Sweden and Denmark. The analysis is carried out by means of a qualitative thematic analysis in three steps and along two sensitising concepts –agency and temporality.

The results are presented through three themes, anticipating personalisation, divergences and interventions. These highlight how articulating an anticipatory stance works towards connecting individual responsibilities, collective responsibilities and corporate interests and thus potentially facilitating an understanding of information as co-constituted by the socio-material conditions that enable it. This has clear implications for the framing of information literacies in relation to algorithmic systems.

The notion of algo-rhythm awareness constitutes a novel contribution to the field. By centring the role of anticipation in the emergence of information literacies, the article advances understanding of the temporalities of information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-143
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Information Studies


  • Social media
  • Temporality
  • Algorithms
  • Information literacy
  • Time
  • Anticipation
  • Prediction
  • Algorithm awareness
  • Media and information literacy


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