The fragmentation of facts and infrastructural meaning-making: New demands on information literacy

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The fragmentation of facts and infrastructural meaning-making

T2 - Conceptions of Library and Information Science.

AU - Haider, Jutta

AU - Sundin, Olof

N1 - Conference code: 10

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Introduction. This paper presents a theory-driven discussion on the role of facts in society, couched between a brief historical overview and a discussion of the contemporary situation, exemplified in particular by openly available web-based fact services. Implications for the conceptualisation of information literacy – and in particular information literacy in relation to today’s dominant algorithmic information infrastructure – are considered throughout.Method. This is a conceptual paper where theoretical reasoning is accompanied by examples from a small empirical material. This material consists of the use and observation of three web-based fact services as well as expert interviews with three producers and one user of one of the services. In particular Hannah Arendt’s essay “Truth and politics” is drawn on to contextualise and understand the role of facts in society.Results. The web-based fact services investigated here facilitate and describe the creation of facts based on open data in a rather traditional way, i.e. by providing references and pointing to sources. However, the established facts are then inserted into today’s networked information landscape, which is an arena for competing knowledge claims working according to the market’s principles of popularity, and this leads to conflicting situations and poses new demands on information literacy.Conclusions. This paper suggests the need for a view of information literacy that accounts for infrastructural meaning-making at the same time as it enables the political dimensions of the way in which facts and factual information are created and valued in contemporary society to be taken seriously.

AB - Introduction. This paper presents a theory-driven discussion on the role of facts in society, couched between a brief historical overview and a discussion of the contemporary situation, exemplified in particular by openly available web-based fact services. Implications for the conceptualisation of information literacy – and in particular information literacy in relation to today’s dominant algorithmic information infrastructure – are considered throughout.Method. This is a conceptual paper where theoretical reasoning is accompanied by examples from a small empirical material. This material consists of the use and observation of three web-based fact services as well as expert interviews with three producers and one user of one of the services. In particular Hannah Arendt’s essay “Truth and politics” is drawn on to contextualise and understand the role of facts in society.Results. The web-based fact services investigated here facilitate and describe the creation of facts based on open data in a rather traditional way, i.e. by providing references and pointing to sources. However, the established facts are then inserted into today’s networked information landscape, which is an arena for competing knowledge claims working according to the market’s principles of popularity, and this leads to conflicting situations and poses new demands on information literacy.Conclusions. This paper suggests the need for a view of information literacy that accounts for infrastructural meaning-making at the same time as it enables the political dimensions of the way in which facts and factual information are created and valued in contemporary society to be taken seriously.

KW - information literacy

KW - facts

M3 - Article

VL - 24

JO - Information Research

JF - Information Research

SN - 1368-1613

IS - 4

M1 - colis1923

Y2 - 16 June 2019 through 19 June 2019

ER -