Mapping Information Landscapes

Jun 2020 | 224pp

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Mapping Information Landscapes
New Methods for Exploring the Development and Teaching of Information Literacy

Andrew Whitworth

Mapping Information Landscapes presents the first in-depth study of the educational implications of the idea of information literacy as ‘the capacity to map and navigate an information landscape’. Written by a leading researcher in the field, it investigates how teachers and learners can use mapping in developing their ability to make informed judgements about information, in specific places and times.

Central to the argument is the notion that the geographical and information landscapes are indivisible, and the techniques we use to navigate each are essentially the same. The book presents a history of mapping as a means of representing the world, ranging from the work of medieval mapmakers to the 21st century. Concept and mind mapping are explored, and finally, the notion of discursive mapping: the dialogic process, regardless of whether a graphical map is an outcome.

The theoretical framework of the book weaves together the work of authors including Annemaree Lloyd, Christine Bruce, practice theorists such as Theodore Schatzki and the critical geography of David Harvey, an author whose work has not previously been applied to the study of information literacy.

The book concludes that keeping information landscapes sustainable and navigable requires attention to how equipment is used to map and organise those landscapes. How we collectively think about and solve problems in the present time inscribes maps and positions them as resources in whatever landscapes we will draw on in the future.

Readership: Information literacy educators, whether in libraries, other HE courses, high schools or the workplace, will benefit by learning about how mapping – implicitly and explicitly – can be used as a method of teaching IL. The book will also be useful reading for academics and researchers of information literacy and students of library and information science.


List of figures
Geoff Walton
1. Information literacy and information practice
Library-led IL education
Workplace IL and critical IL
Practice theory
Practice as a collective property
Information literacy as a practice
2. Maps and mapping
The practice of mapping
Mapping space and place
The history of mapping practice
The Hereford Mappa Mundi
The Ordnance Survey
Digital and participatory mapping
Mapping Mars
3. Mapping and power
Discursive mapping
Power and knowledge
Learning to see
4. Three psychogeographies
Walk 1: Manchester
Walk 2: Crowborough, Sussex
Walk 3: Seaford, Sussex
5. Maps of cognition
Non-geographical maps
Mind or concept mapping
Mapping information horizons
Hultgren’s Approaching the future study
Other studies of information horizons
Concept mapping and the teaching of IL
Ketso maps
Ketso in use
Bibliotek i endring
Managing conflict
Recognising the constraints
6. Discursive mapping of an information landscape
Studying online discussions
Summary of the context
Stewarding the landscape
The 16/Diamond group
The two Gold groups
Group judgements of relevance
The value of alterity
Power and empowerment
7. Conclusion
Mapping the field of mapping
What has been learned
Journey’s end
Appendix 1: ‘Rutters’ for the walks in Chapter 4
Appendix 2: Concept map of this book’s key ideas
Appendix 3: Marking rubric for the discussion board tasks
Appendix 4: Lists of resources created by three groups
(16/Diamond, 15/Gold, 16/Gold) in activity 3
Bibliography and references


'Maps are fascinating, and they are beautiful objects too. This original and eclectic book places maps at its heart, explores them, manipulates them and transposes them so that they become guides and frames for the information landscapes which we all navigate in our daily lives. The author takes us on a roller-coaster journey through geographical space and time, taking us from Hereford Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi to the subtle symbolism of Australian Aboriginal maps to the mapping of concepts. It’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in the meaning and understanding of information.'
— Stéphane Goldstein, Executive Director, InformAll


Andrew Whitworth is a Reader at the Manchester Institute of Education. He was previously a senior lecturer and Programme Director (and initiator) of the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education at the University of Manchester. He was a keynote speaker at the 2017 European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL2017) and is the author of Information Obesity (Chandos, 2009) and Radical Information Literacy (Chandos, 2014).