Last week at our regular WSI lunch event, two of the guest editors of the Journal of Community of Informatics Special Issue on Data Literacy, Johanna Walker and Mark Frank, presented an overview of the journal and talked about some of their own adventures in data literacy that had brought them to the subject.
In the first part of the talk they discussed approaches to defining data literacy. Definitions still vary widely, encompassing skills and abilities, understanding of our ‘dataculture’ and the importance of ensuring that poor incentives do not impact on our use of data.
Johanna and Mark then moved on to approaches to developing data literacy. Again, a variety of methods were on display, from teaching in primary schools using smart city data, to working with rural communities through the arts, via library-based introductions to data that avoided the need for computers to the building of data literacy tools that can be accessed by anyone with web access.
Throughout they illustrated the talk with their own experiences of working with not-for-profits and individuals to engage with data through various low-tech, low-demand approaches that prioritised utilising data to meet need.
The presentation was followed by a lively debate on data literacy and its role in relation to other literacies, such as digital, media or information literacies.