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Information Literacy-Business Faculty: Why IL for Business Students?

Information Literacy in the Workplace

A three month in-depth research study has helped the team to understand a range of existing and potential information problems that employees experience at work, which echoed other research findings on information literacy in the workplace (Kirton& Barham 2005; US Dept of Labor 1990; Cheuk 2002).

These are the common concerns:

  • The use of out-dated information because it is convenient to do so;
  • Not aware of existing resources within the organization which can address a business issue;
  • Do not know how to use the tools and make the best use of information services to access information required;
  • assume Google is the best search engine to look for information.

Taking a holistic view and informed by Bruce's seven faces of information literacy (Bruce 1997), the team defines information literacy in the workplace as allowing employees to experience information in the following seven ways:

  • Face 1: using information/knowledge management systems
  • Face 2: knowing the existence of and ability to use specific sources (e.g. experts, databases, intranet, journal subscription, website)
  • Face 3: awareness of a process to find and use information (e.g. to understand customers' needs, to evaluate a business problem)
  • Face 4: organizing and controlling information so it can be retrievable (e.g. design database structure, design intranet sites, manage folders and personal e-mail)
  • Face 5: learning or gaining new knowledge through interacting with information
  • Face 6: gaining new insight and thinking about an issue in a new or different perspective
  • Face 7: using information wisely for the benefit of the organization and even to the society

From: Delivering Business Value Through Information Literacy in the Workplace

Job Skills

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers the number one skill that employers are looking for is communication--both verbal and written.

 Part of the reason behind the rationale for requiring those classes is that students will need those skills in the workplace (as well as in life).

Here is the complete list of the most sought after skills in employees; are you requiring these skills in your classroom too?

Employers Rank Top  Candidate Skills/Qualities

  1.  Communication Skills--the ability to communicate with persons inside and outside of the organization
  2. Strong Work Ethic--the ability to be on time; complete tasks within a deadline; produce quality work; reliability
  3. Teamwork Skills--the ability to work well in a team environment
  4. Analytical Skills--the ability to obtain and process information; to analyze quantitative data
  5. Initiative--the ability to make decisions and solve problems on your own
  6. Organization--the ability to plan, organize and prioritize tasks


Here is another article, from Quintessential Careers, about college and career preparation:

How the Lessons, Skills, and Values You Develop in College Prepare You for the Job Market