Transliterate Divide – Working Definition | Librarian by Day -
Transliterate Divide – Working Definition | Librarian by Day
"Transliterate Divide – The gap between people who have the skills to understand (read) and create (write) a message (information) and interact using a variety of tools across multiple media and platforms and the ability to apply those skills to new situations and formats and those who do not." - maʀtha from Bookmarklet
So since I doubt I'll ever be a fluent "writer" (creator?) of TV or film, I'm on the wrong side of the "transliterate divide"? OK, I can live with that. - walt crawford
Walt, it's a working definition. I liked this because I thought it was interesting and a challenging thing to think about. If I'd thought, "what!?! I'm not going to learn ASL anytime in the next five years', I think I would've missed the point of a thoughtful post. (Though sekritly? I kind of do want to learn ASL.) - Marianne
I don't think "across a range of X from Y and Z through Q and E" necessarily *requires* every last point on that range to be fulfilled anyway, so I think it's a pretty great working definition. Or maybe I need to work on my straight-up literacy skills. Or being diplomatic. Seriously, though, try reading it again? - Marianne
Marianne: I read it twice. Admittedly, I don't "get" transliteracy (as substantially different from literacy), although I've certainly been reading the blog. Maybe it's just me. I have to admit that this definition didn't help, but again that may be just me, maybe it's crystal-clear to everyone else. - walt crawford
It's the difference between teaching travelling and teaching to drive, perhaps? - Pete's Got To Go
Personally? I wouldn't... - Pete's Got To Go
Or at least I find it hard to operationalise. Which may be the issue- as you say, to be useful does it have to *not* be something we can easily plug into a curriculum and set of learning outcomes? - Pete's Got To Go
It may be one of those challenge / destination things. - Pete's Got To Go
I find the word transliteracy interesting/useful because it contextualizes these ideas as being part of a particular larger conversation about literacy that people have been having intently for quite some time. These ideas are of course also part of a much LONGER and OLDER conversation, too, but sometimes I just want to talk about these things with people who maybe have been teaching literacy skills for twenty years but not necessarily spending a lot of time with Plato or Proust. (If my mom was here, she would know I was giving her a shout-out right now.) - Marianne
If something is important, I'd like as many ways to talk about it as possible, please. - Marianne
Actually, I think Pete and Steve have come at my situation: I don't see transliteracy as something distinct from active literacy. A literate person in the 19th century would be, or at least should be, aware of plays as an alternative medium to print (or vice-versa), but might not be an actor. A literate person in 1950 would be, or should be, aware of the nuances of radio and sound recordings. - walt crawford
That strikes me as a very elitist definition of 19th-century or 1950s literacy - I think those things were interesting and advantageous back then, but far from crucial. Most of those people flipping out about HG Wells announcing the Martian invasion weren't actually caused any *real* trouble because of it, for example. I think needing to grasp how all sorts of media and platforms work, and how to use them skeptically and creatively, is far more useful now than it used to be. (And that literacy in general was far more useful in the nineteenth century than it ever used to be for that matter.) This word "transliteracy" strikes me as a way of emphasizing how quickly literacy needs are shifting/expanding/growing/etc, and what it means for people to be left behind (like Jessamyn's slide deck that RepoRat pointed to yesterday). It's a clarifying word, not a dividing word? - Marianne
If it's so broad, why do we all keep sticking so many different words onto the front of it? - Marianne
Normally one sticks a word in front of another to narrow the scope (although this is a prefix so *may* broaden). Also, I think the point some folks are trying to make is exactly that Marianne: why do "we all" keep sticking words in front of it? Keep in mind they are not including themselves in that "we all." At the moment I am staying out of the issue of which way to lean on this though. ;) - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer from iPod
Stopping to distinguish and hierarchize the various kinds of literacy based on our own experiences? Having more fruitful conversations with literacy experts (on the ground, basic, controlled-vocab, hours spent tutoring, literacy-divide experts) about how this thing they know incredibly well can be broadened and expanded and transformed/transcended/transgressed? Exploding the use of any kind of prefix-word and leading to everyone everywhere calling the whole big Katamari-Damacy ball 'literacy' from henceforth? Not one thing aside from entertaining me for a couple hours? Hell if I know. - Marianne
Wow. I haven't been called elitist in days. In any case, I'm with some others: Why *do* we (not "we all" by the way) keep sticking words in front of literacy? To carve out new fields to be expert in? Because it's another Divide to be discussed? It's good to know I'm not the only one who doesn't get it, though. - walt crawford
Oh, and I'll keep reading Bobbi's blog, because I'm also not entirely convinced there's nothing to get. When I stop being open to new ideas is, I hope, the day I die. - walt crawford
New Literacy is an approach to literacy studies within my field. It's actually a bit broader than how wikipedia seems to be defining it. What LIS seems to call Trans-literacy is what we've been calling multi-literacies for quite some time now. - Katy S
To me, transliteracy has been useful mainly as a way to more easily move beyond traditional conceptions of literacy and esp. info literacy (i.e., a focus on trad and simple forms of reading & writing) in discussions with faculty & administrators. Another term being championed by someone here is metaliteracy I don't care so much about labels in the long term, but about the ability to move the conversation onto the NEED. - Dana Longley
I'm kind of with Joan in that every time I hear the term, I get the "sweet transvestite" song from RHPS earworm going. It's sort of annoying. I don't see anything particularly new in the term either, really. Just a new way to package literacy... - WebGoddess
Being transgendered myself, I actually see similarities between the struggles over terminologies and labels within the transgendered communities and within the instructional and library communities. Just don't let it split us up as it has so disastrously in some transgender communities... - Dana Longley
I've also thought in the past it might just be easier and more beneficial to work at re-branding/expanding the term "information literacy." To me, all literacy is about effectively interacting with information, in whatever form, on whatever platform. Those forms/platofrms change too fast now to change the terms for them, so why not stick to the basic, most logical? - Dana Longley
I'm liking the things you're saying here, Dana. I agree that, in some contexts, to just call it literacy is not what is meant (although the meaning of literacy could, and probably should, be shifted that way). But transliteracy, metaliteracy, New Literacy, wtfliteracy. It sounds more like academic discipline carving than honest attempts at understanding & interdisciplinary cooperation. I am not saying that anyone in this thread is intentionally guilty of such, but if these ideas have been around for a while--and they have--what were/are they called and where, how were/are they used, etc? Maybe we need a good conceptual map & bibliography of the territory, historically & current. Then perhaps we can make some sense of *what* to call and mean by this concept. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
I try to be, even if I am unsure what it is. ;) [I hope those behind those terms realize I am not making fun of each individual term there but of the profusion of such terms in slightly different areas of academia. Sadly, such profusion of terms is prolific.] - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
There has to be a word that relates to my (very literate, computer literate, information literate, and media literate) parents' inability to "read" remixed videos that I've shown them. To me, transliterate sort of works to indicate it. (ETA - E.g., this vid - - which I thought was going to be a great friendly-to-non-fannish-folks example for explaining fan culture, but turns out to be nothing more than visual and auditory "noise" to them.) - N. Ansi
Interesting. I watched...well, half of...that video. It does nothing to me to explain "fan culture" without a whole bunch of separate explanation...and I'd suggest that for almost anyone who's not a Dr. Who fan (is that the right series?), "visual and auditory noise" may not be far off the mark. So am I somehow illiterate? Maybe so. Of course, I may be your parents' age. - walt crawford
I fully agree with Dana and Nansi. Call it what you will, but I'm seeing a lack of skills in my students regarding using digital media. I have folks coming in who have been laid off recently, are looking for jobs and have NO computer skills. I have folks who can't navigate an Internet browser. They can't find jobs for which to apply because they can't search Google or don't know to look at job sites or employer websites for postings. Some can't use word processing software, so they can't create a resume, much less send it as an email attachment or upload it to a job site. They can't fill out an online application. These folks need the most basic instruction. And, yes, many of these folks are college students, but they are likely older and have somehow not acquired these skills in the past, either for lack of access or perhaps lack of interest or necessity. Then, there are folks who are unaware or don't see any utility to social networking. They may not think about their online identity and reputation. They may not be aware of digital communication tools (chat, forums, email lists, blogs, etc.). They probably aren't creating content and posting it online. They may not be able to critically evaluate digital media. Yes, I'm overgeneralizing a whole bunch and few individuals lack all of these skills. My point is that what has traditionally been defined as information literacy (say, by ACRL) is all still important, but it isn't enough. Folks who don't have digital literacy skills or transliteracy skills or whatever you call them won't be able to apply for jobs, won't be qualified for many jobs, won't be able to apply for their Medicare prescription benefit or apply for unemployment. They won't have the skills to teach themselves how to use new digital tools and media as they evolve. - maʀtha
I am reminded Jessamyn's tweet of a couple of weeks ago, wherein she reported that her "facebook for new users" class went well, but they were unable to cover all the content because some users did not know how to scroll. - DJF
The video-"reading" thing - I thought that video didn't _need_ familiarity with fan culture, or with Doctor Who. I thought the juxtaposition of that song (even if you don't know it, certain lyrics are prominent) and that _progression_ of images (all from the show) made a fairly basic claim that a certain character was a megalomaniac and slightly sociopathic (which, hey, he's an alien, last of his species, so whatever!) But, clearly, this is not the case - and it's also, pretty clearly, not a generation gap. - N. Ansi
Oh, it is totally related to the digital divide, but, my impression has been that the term digital divide has been used in the past to refer primarily to folks having lack of access to computers and/or to Internet. I see transliteracy or digital literacy as terms that really focus in on the need for acquisition of particular skills and knowledge. - maʀtha
Whereas _this one_, I thought, needed the fan-cultural context (which I admit it totally totally does, but its pretty.) - N. Ansi
I think I see transliteracy as being related to understanding and creating meaning in a lot of different formats; fundamental skills to operate computers are related to that, for sure - inasmuch as being able to recognize and manipulate a pencil is required for text-on-paper oldskool literacy. - N. Ansi
Yes, exactly. Computer skills are necessary, but not enough. - maʀtha
Full disclosure: I'm a little cog in this project: - maʀtha
I'm talking about starting with those basic skills so that folks are able to move on to mastering the more conceptual skills. I see it as a continuum. - maʀtha
I'm actually not talking about the ability to understand fan culture at all - that example _comes from_ fan culture, but I thought it had a "readable" point completely aside from fan culture. That it is not _readable_ to smart and literate people I know kind of confounds me. I get that they might not be interested. I've never been interested in most modern literature - but I can, if necessary, read and understand it. (And yes, Martha and I are talking on waaaaay different ends of a spectrum. And I recognize that I, at least, know very little about what People In The Know mean when they say "transliteracy".) - N. Ansi
Whew. I tried to watch the mediacommons piece. Couldn't even make it through the first minute. Then I tried to read the curator's note, and started to think I'd lost the ability to read the English language. So I must be badly out of my depth here. - walt crawford
The mediacommons piece is possibly one of the densest fan remixes that exists. I have no idea the layers of meaning I'm missing in it. ETA (because the friendfeed "return = post" still stymies me) - here's another one that I think can be enjoyed without much context, but does require some of the "transliteracy" skills I wonder about, like the ability to "read" music+image and image-after-image all at once. Images are from at least 50 different sources. - N. Ansi
I'll have to leave the third one for someone else--I think one more of those would lose me for good. I might wonder whether enjoyment is really a matter of literacy skills, but that's another question. - walt crawford
To quote Joan's oracle, is what I always end up coming back to in this sort of discussion. N. Ansi, please keep the remixes coming. - Marianne
Well, what I *really* love is how we start lumping and splitting lumpers and splitters. And that that wikipedia article survives at all instead of going down in flames. I see myself as the queen lumpbeast, most of the time. - Marianne
Am I a splitter? I guess, but I lump a whole lot under the terms digital literacy or transliteracy :) Mostly, I just want to call attention to the NEED for instruction in these skills and competencies, like Dana said. Also, @Nansi, we are definitely at opposite extremes, but I think it is all part of the same spectrum. Kind of like how I teach people to use the index in a print encyclopedia in my information literacy classes :) Then, they can move on to figuring out what an encyclopedia is for, how it is useful, how it is limited, how it is constructed, etc. - maʀtha
Derailing further, I find myself wanting to do a post about semi-related issues (the distinction between getting and liking)...and what I might call the Walter Carlos problem (*not* Wendy Carlos on later albums), or "is this a dancing bear?" Probably won't; even that description is all over the place. [Oops: My bad. I've removed "Williams." Sorry.] - walt crawford
*googles Walter Carlos Williams, is redirected to William Carlos Williams, is thoroughly confused* - laura x
Ah, better luck with Wendy. I loved Switched-on Bach when I was in junior high. I'd be interested in that post, Walt. - laura x
Laura: Unlikely to get written, but who knows. I loved S-o B back in the day, but the last time I heard it, my response was "I loved *that*?"--it really had turned into a chess-playing bear ("dancing bear" is the wrong analogy), remarkable for the accomplishment but no longer edifying or pleasurable. To me. Wendy did better in later attempts, I think. (Resolving gender issues couldn't have hurt.) - walt crawford
dancing bear? wut? - maʀtha
Joan wins - DJF
Can I get the TL;DR version of this? - Andy
Martha: "Dancing bear" was a mistake--I meant "chess-playing bear," where the wonder isn't how well it's done but that it's done at all. - walt crawford
TL;DR: - Marianne
Bobbi: Here is what I've been thinking about. / Martha: Hey, me too. / Marianne: Huh, interesting. Walt: This stuff drives me nuts. / Marianne: *causes trouble* / Buncha people including the above (eg Joan, Dana): *say thoughtful and insightful things about their split experiences with literacy and the nomenclature thereof* / Buncha other people often the same people: *crack jokes and make tangents* Andy: TL;DR? - Marianne
(Though I bet Andy could've written that himself. But would he have been singing it to himself à la Mikado as he wrote? Would he?? Exactly.) - Marianne
Plus I totally left out the Easter eggs. *side-eyes at N. Ansi* - Marianne
Sweet. Thanks Marianne! - Andy
Marianne, FTW. - Derrick
the best part was the transition from transliteracy as an information/media studies term to discussion actual transgendered people. Well done. - DJF
Marianne: Excellent summary. - walt crawford
And I see what happened up there. As a rhetoric student, I studied William Carlos Williams' poetry at one point...and, as a later Walter Carlos/Wendy Carlos fan (more the latter, I think), still decades ago, I just conflated the two names. Sorry. As for the transliteracy/transgender connection: Accidental, but I'll take it. - walt crawford