Month: July 2010

question for open comment: how do you define visual literacy?

Looking at the visual literacy definitions and the component list below, what stands out as least/most important? Are there any elements that should not be included, or elements that you feel are missing?

(We are defining visual literacy in the context of an interdisciplinary, information-literacy-based, higher education environment.)


definitions of visual literacy from ALA open meeting

The following five definitions of visual literacy came out of the VL Task Force open meeting at ALA:

1.  Visual literacy is the ability to find, interpret, analyze, evaluate, use, and create visual messages. A visually literate person is able to understand the aesthetic, cultural, contextual, and subjective components involved in the ways that visual messages are constructed and used for communication.

2. Visual literacy is the ability to find, use, interpret, evaluate, and create assets/images with appropriate understanding of technical, legal, and interpretive considerations. This should include the ability to build, distribute, present, describe, use, and store visual collections.

3. Visual literacy is a set of competencies. It includes the ability to find, evaluate and assess, use, create, present, and understand the appropriate and legal use of images.

4. Visual literacy includes competencies in the following areas: Express the need to find; How to find – evaluate source, learning to use multiple access mechanisms; Images have multiple meanings – evaluate image & data appropriateness; Technical issues – how to use in multiple applications, capture, formats; Copyright/legal/citing; Managing own collections of images.

5. Visual literacy is a process involving knowledge of and competency with the following skills and concepts:
-awareness of formats and desired outcomes; -capability to find, sort, and manage objects using a variety of evolving tools; -capability to critically evaluate and interpret objects in their context for a specific use; -understanding of a base level of technical skill required to accomplish the task(s); -understanding of ethical considerations involving appropriate attribution and citation; -understanding of legal copyright and intellectual property issues;
As an outcome of this process, a visually literate individual will be not only a consumer of media, but also a contributer to a body of shared knowledge and culture.

Many thanks to participants for these contributions!

Please continue the conversation here.

components of visual literacy


VLTF open meeting, ALA 2010, components of vl

To start our discussion of visual literacy at ALA, we broke out into small groups, and each group generated ideas about specific components of visual literacy. Each idea got its own post-it note. Groups then discussed which components/competencies should be included in a definition of visual literacy, and wrote definitions based on their discussion and conclusions. Groups reported out on their ideas and definitions, and we discussed as a large group.

Here are some of the ideas for components of visual literacy participants came up with (in no particular order, unedited):

using images as communication tool
discourse – recognizing the use of images in communities
visual messages
understanding aesthetic values
find images
create images
interpreting meaning of an image
recognizing subjectivity of images
understand moving images/videos
creator important to give context, intent, and credit
express need to find image
evaluate sources
learning to use multiple access mechanisms
metadata – making it access
technical issues – file formats, storage, resolution
images about multiple meanings
evaluating image – appropriateness
evaluating data – appropriateness, accuracy
how to use images in multiple applications – ppt, written paper
copyright, fair use, legalities – for different applications
managing own collections of images
citing images
finding images in text sources
critical thinking – aesthetic, historical, manipulated?
understanding different image resources – open web, licensed databases, proprietary
presentation of images
understand social & cultural context of image
finding images – high quality, high resolution, color fidelity
who is the creator, when, where manipulated?
assessing credibility
creating images
what do you need

Please add to the list and discuss.

open meeting at ALA

Thank you very much to everyone who attended the VL standards open meeting at ALA! We had a great discussion, and everyone made thoughtful and creative contributions.

VLTF open meeting, ALA 2010

VLTF open meeting, ALA 2010

VLTF open meeting, ALA 2010

VLTF open meeting, ALA 2010

Participants: Kimberly Bugg, Joanna Burgess    , Kaila Bussert, Richard Graham, Denise Hattwig, Trudy Jacoby, Kathleen Lonbom, Ann Medaille    , Shilpa Rele, Gilda Santana, Sharon Simes, Scott Spicer, Tara Spies, Steve Tatum, Anne Zald

Meeting powerpoint here.