I have published two critiques of the “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” frames in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

The newest article is found in the new issue of Reference Services Review, and the following is from part of the abstract:

Now that the new Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education has replaced the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, this document will play an increasingly important role. This paper aims to show that in spite of the Framework seeking to provide a deep understanding of information and knowledge, it still falls short – particularly because the statement that “Authority is Constructed and Contextual”, with its failure to acknowledge the significance of truth’s relation to authority, is untenable. A philosophical overview dealing with matters of librarianship, knowledge and truth is provided in Section 2. The paper then attempts to demonstrate that the idea of truth is inextricably connected with issues of authority. The paper attempts to persuade the reader that the Framework cannot: circumvent the issue of truth (Section 3); avoid attempting to make ethical claims which are true (Section 4); reduce all truth claims to “power-plays” (Section 5); and escape “traditional notions of granting authority” (Section 6).

I’m counting on the above article being widely accessible to non-philosophical types. The other article is a little heavier going, as it takes a relentlessly Socratic approach. It has been published in the latest issue of The Christian Librarian (note that my argument is constructed with the intent of being amenable to all kinds of persons, including those of a more secular orientation):

The 2015 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (or Framework) is the latest effort of academic librarians to provide relevant guidance for the teaching of information literacy. One claim made within this “living document,” in line with current academic trends of constructivism and social constructivism, is that “Authority is Constructed and Contextual.” Questions are raised concerning authority’s relationship to the idea of truth, and an effort is made, largely through a Socratic method of inquiry, to delve into the meaning of the Framework’s statement on authority using the further explanations provided concerning this particular “frame,” as well as the context of the entire document. Connections between the nature of authority, responsibility, and the ethical direction of the Framework are considered, and the relevance of the matter of truth is brought to bear here as well. Finally, the conclusion is reached that in light of the investigation’s findings, the current statement that “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” is fraught with significant difficulties, and a statement akin to “Issues of Authority are Contextual and Nuanced” is warranted instead.

There is a possibility that both articles will be freely available in the near future (a few months?).



Image found at this site: http://gracedoirin.com/question-authority/