Twenty-five years ago, at the dawn of the web age, Shapiro and Hughes addressed the issue of practicality versus aspiration in arguing for information literacy as a liberal art. That information literacy is not about making people effective consumers of information, but rather about enabling people to live as free human beings in the information age. That information literacy goes hand-in-hand with democratizing education, and that “such an extended notion of information literacy is essential to the future of democracy, if citizens are to be intelligent shapers of the information society rather than its pawns.”

Shapiro, Jeremy J., and Shelley K. Hughes. 1996. “Information literacy as a liberal art.” Educom Review 31 (2):31.

That’s an ambitious and aspirational view of information literacy. The goal of democratizing education is shared with the open education movement. The goal of empowering learners is shared by both movements. There is a mutual dependency as well. Engaging in open education practices requires information skills. Information literacy can be effectively developed through open practices, through students producing learning artifacts. We can learn from each other’s learning in this way.