Sunday, 30 May 2010

LIKE 14: Transliteracy

After months of gentle arm-twisting from one of its members, I finally made it to my first London Information & Knowledge Exchange (LIKE) event, last Thursday. Founded in February 2009, the group is a collection of information/knowledge professionals who meet every month to discuss all manner of subjects in a relaxed and informal setting. Unlike more formal associations, membership and meetings are arranged on LinkedIn. Another feature of LIKE is that their evenings involve a good meal, something which has led one devotee to describe the gatherings as "a very good dinner party".

So it was with some excitement that I trotted off to the Perservence, the group's regular haunt on Lambs Conduit Street, London. The topic for LIKE 14 was Transliteracy - how info lit r u?, a talk by Susie Andretta, Senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University.

Transliteracy, just in case you're not familiar with the term, is "a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century [including] the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital networks" (Professor Sue Thomas, DeMontford University).

Andretta has been studying the concept from the perspective of the practicing information professional. See here for an in-depth explanation. Inherent in the transition is, as she puts it, "the challenges of having to adapt to a constantly changing technological landscape, the multiple literacies that this generates, and the need to establish a multifaceted library profession that can speak the multiple-media languages of its diverse users". Heavy stuff, but it did make me stop and think about what many of us are doing almost every hour of the day.That is, communicating using many different mediums, whether it be tweeting, texting, blogging, Second Life etc.

Following the talk, a well-informed debate took place with views ranging from excitement at the concept to some who bemoaned that fact that there was "so much superciality" associated with much new technology communication.

So, what's not to like? LIKE offers a chance to learn something, debate with fellow information professionals, and have a great dinner.

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