What is the difference between computer literacy and information literacy?


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Samantha Mitchell Profile
The difference between computer literacy and information literacy is as follows:

  • Information literacy is the ability to access, organize, evaluate and use information from various sources.

  • Computer literacy is having the knowledge to use technology in order to manipulate computer software or hardware.

There is a strong correlation between the two, but they are still different. Both concepts use critical thinking, but information literacy goes beyond knowledge and access in learning more.

To be clearer, with information literacy one is taking what has been read and learned and applying it. With computer literacy one can have the knowledge but not necessarily know how to use it or apply it.

Basically, with information literacy one will take the knowledge to the next step by using the access to organize, use and evaluate what has been found. With computer literacy one has the technology to manipulate the computer, but they may not have the information to continue on through the process and derive a conclusion based on evaluations and organization.

Computer literacy, if you want to think of it in steps, is the literacy before information literacy in which the person is on their way to gaining the extra knowledge they need in order to apply what is currently known.

Information literacy also requires one to have awareness in how information systems work and the link between information need, sources and channels.

An example would explain this easier. You can know how to use Google search, but unless you take it a step further such as knowing what you need, the sources and the channels to gain what you need you will be stuck with unhelpful answers. Certainly, you know you need keywords in a search engine, but unless you know what keywords you are stuck. This is the relationship between the two concepts.

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