Information Design

Information Design refers to Information Architecture--the ability to organize information in ways that users can understand and can use (e.g., databases of published articles.Visual language, including font choices, page design, visuals, and animation. "Design is a fun word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works." -Steve Jobs We live in a culture where images and document design are used aggressively to convey meaning. Today's writers use images to do more than enrich their texts: Page design, layout, font...

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Types of Information Literacies

Generally speaking, information refers to the content of a message, whether that content is explicitly identified by the writer/speaker or inferred by listeners, readers, or machines. Information is conveyed via multiple symbol systems and media, such as musical and mathematical symbols, pictures and animations, numbers and words. Thus, information literacy includes alphabetic literacy,digital literacy,numerical (quantitative) literacy, andvisual literacy

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Information Theory

Paywalls still defend the gated web--i.e., access to peer-reviewed research. Educational institutions pay millions of dollars to database vendors like Elsevier to provide access to this information for their students. That said, there are now many open access journals that provide free access to peer-reviewed articles. And tools like Google Scholar, Academia Edu, Linked In, and ResearchGate have democratized access to information. Not only do people have unprecedented access to information, their relationship to information has changed. Information is now ubiquitous--and filtered. You no longer need to hike miles and...

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Search the Web

  To locate information on the Open Web, you can use any one of a number of search engines or search directories. Most search engines allow for simple keyword searches just like the library catalog. Some allow the use of Boolean search terms to help limit or extend your search (terms such as AND, OR, and NOT). Most search engines offer help with advanced search capabilities, so be sure to read the help file for the particular search engine you are using. Remember, too, that different search engines search the...

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MLA Style, 8th Edition

MLA style is not only about how to cite sources; it is also about how to format your paper, label images and other visual components of your paper or project, and how to use language appropriately.  Formatting Your Paper If your instructor requires MLA formatting for your paper—or if your instructor does not specify what format you should follow—you may want to follow the guidelines presented here.  Select a readable font such as Times New Roman, and an easily legible font size (usually 10- to 12-point font). Using the automatic...

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CRAAP (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose)

CRAAP is an acronym Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose One way to ensure that your sources actually support your argument and aren’t merely filler is to apply the CRAAP Test. CurrencyCurrent research may reinforce or, alternatively, repudiate prior research. RelevanceDoes the information directly support your argument, or is it merely interesting?AuthorityWho is the author and what are his or her credentials? Is it written for an academic or for a general audience?AccuracyIs the information from a reliable study or source? Is it verifiable?PurposeWhat can you determine about the source's purpose? Does...

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Digital Literacy

What is Digital Literacy? According to a 2018 brief from the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 16% of adults in the United States do not demonstrate basic digital literacy. The NCES defined digital literacy through a few competencies:   skills associated with manipulating input and output devices (e.g., the mouse, the keyboard, and digital displays) awareness of concepts and knowledge of how the digital environment is structured (e.g., files, folders, scrollbars, hyperlinks, and different types of menus and buttons), andthe ability to interact effectively with digital information (e.g., how to use...

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Information Literacy Tools

At Writing Commons, we believe tools like Zoltero and RefWorks can simplify and professionalize citation practices. That said, we also understand these tools require a commitment on the part of the writer. Presently, we seek summaries, reviews, and critiques of Information Literacy Tools. Please see Contribute for details on our peer review processes.

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Quantitative Literacy

The ability to interpret quantitative information as it appears in charts, tables, and graphs has always been important. That said, thanks to the emergence of new technologies that count everything--from our web searches to our consumer purchases--numeracy is more important now than ever. Simply put, we live in a data-oriented culture. Thanks to tools like FitBit or the Apple Watch, we quantify our health: heart rate, calorie count, step count--and so on. When we post on Facebook, we count likes. On Reddit, we look at who downloads our posts or...

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