mation appropriately. Information literacy and FITness are interrelated but quite distinct. Information literacy focuses on content and communication: it encompasses authoring, information finding and organization, research, and information analysis, assessment, and evaluation. Content can take many forms: text, images, video, computer simulations, and multimedia interactive works. Content can also serve many purposes: news, art, entertainment, education, research and scholarship, advertising, politics, commerce, and documents and records that structure activities of everyday business and personal life. Information literacy subsumes but goes far beyond the traditional textual literacy that has been considered part of a basic education (the ability to read, write, and critically analyze various forms of primarily textual literary works or personal and business documents). By contrast, FITness focuses on a set of intellectual capabilities, conceptual knowledge, and contemporary skills associated with information technology.

Both information literacy and FITness are essential for individuals to use information technology effectively. Today, the acquisition and shaping of information are increasingly mediated by information technology. Information technology shapes the channels of publication, access, and dissemination of information. The nature of increasingly common digital documents raises new issues in the activities and practices of analysis, assessment, evaluation, and criticism. Much of today's information technology and supporting infrastructure is intended to enable communication, information finding, information access, and information delivery.

As it relates to FITness, information literacy implies that the skills and intellectual capabilities usually associated with traditional textual literacy—authoring and critical and analytic reading (including the assessment of purpose, bias, accuracy, and quality)—must be extended to the full range of visual (image and video) and multimedia communication genres. This includes an appreciation of interactive media, and also a recognition of the fluid nature of many digital forms, plus an understanding of the growing ability to use computers to edit or even fabricate what have traditionally been viewed as factual records of events (such as images).

Furthermore, as computer-based searching becomes increasingly central to information finding and research, FITness will require an understanding of how searching systems work, and of the interplay between indexing techniques, descriptive practices and organizational systems (cataloging, abstracting, indexing, rating), searching, and information accessibility, visibility, and impact. One important point is the limitations of both digital information resources (much material will not be available in digital form for the foreseeable future) and also of various searching techniques.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement