In the article, Eveline Houtman explored alternative frameworks which could be use in the library community. In the past few years, the transliteracy framework was promoted within the LIS field. Sue Thomas coined the term. Transliteracy was discussed in journal articles, librarian blogs and among professionals. It was “the ability to read, write, and interact across range of platforms, tools and media” (3). She believed LIS professionals should consider other possible frameworks in their discussion of new digital literacies. She examined variety of frameworks such as new literacies, multimodality and multiliteracies.
With social media being prominent in today’s society, Houtman also references the idea of utilizing the concept in libraries to help illustrate transliteracy. Librarians want to see if students can go beyond the simple definition of literacy that of which is to read and write, but to see if they can think cognitively. For example, librarians have used facebook as a way to search trending articles comparing some of the functions to database searching. The idea of truncations and quotation marks are used in the keyword search to explore the results given. This concept is used to see if students can follow directions and use their creativity in research for specific subjects. Also, this allows to tie in the idea of research with something that interests them which will, in turn, get them to want to learn.
Core Research Questions:
Some of the core questions being asked in this article that have generated research for this article and because of it include establishing a definition for “literacy.” In so doing, it is easy to fall back on the established understanding of literacy as the ability to read and write, however, following that conclusion of basic communication skills to its logical conclusion it is easy and necessary to push the term literacy or literate to other areas, e.g. computer-literate, social literacy, cultural literacy, business literacy (may also be called business savvy) and other literacies for seemingly every aspect of life.
Another question that seeks a definition is what is, “Transliteracy?” The originator of the term, Sue Thomas, and her team offer the notion that it is, “the ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and films, to digital social networks.” Thomas and her team have even expanded and attempted to explain that definition as have others. The key to understanding what is meant by the term seems to lie in its Latin root, “trans” meaning across, covering several areas or even an expanse of time. In this case covering a range of literacies. The definition of transliteracy seems to be still under consideration.
This leads to another question that researchers might well ask, “Is transliteracy a settled concept?” The answer seems to be no since the definition is still fluctuating. Some people feel that it is, while others feel it is simply a fleeting buzzword and momentary notion.
Further research questions include the following, “Are there other frameworks emerging alongside transliteracy that seek to understand and incorporate new digital media?”
Findings and Conclusions:
At the end of the article, Houtman concluded transliteracy like any other learning theory can be deictic. The meaning of the definition and concept can evolve over time. The framework was originally introduced to the library community in 2007 (p. 9). She pondered how much transliteracy has really changed over the years. Houtman questioned whether LIS professionals should continue adopting transliteracy if it is not recognized in other fields. She considered turning to other learning frameworks. It remained an unresolved issue.
She brought up new issues about the future role of librarians and information professionals in digital literacy. She expressed concerns that other fields ignore the value of libraries in society. They represent important institutions that facilitate long life learning in the community. Librarians should be active participants and contributors in constructing new forms of literacies. They are one of the stakeholders along with educators, policymakers and other groups. With emergence of new internet and computer technology, librarians will remain relevant in the digital age. Even though, millennials are digitally literate compared to previous generations, they have not fully developed the skills and knowledge to search for accurate information. Librarians have opportunities to educate current and future generations how to effectively search, access and evaluate information. New forms of technology will lead to new information seeking behaviors and search strategies.
Transliteracy is a difficult concept to grasp because there are many theories being pulled from a variety of frameworks that makes librarians wonder what is the better solution in utilizing the idea. Houtman, in the article, makes a valid point about the idea being too narrow, yet too broad and is trying to find a solution in balancing the equation. She states, “Too broad because it tries to encompass every aspect of human communication past, present, and future. Too narrow because it fails to take into account issues of importance to the library world, such as pedagogy and digital inclusion.” To explain this further, librarians want to use library resources that are useful and current to the today’s generation without overwhelming students with too many key point and concepts. Moreover, librarians want to simply see if students can think cognitively by navigating through a research database independently. Many questions arise on how to accomplish this fluidly, but also so that it will appeal to ESL learners.