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## Numbers and Pictures are Information too Statistical and Spatial Literacy Skills and the Information Literacy Program

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Title: Numbers and Pictures are Information too Statistical and Spatial Literacy Skills and the Information Literacy Program

1
Numbers and Pictures are Information too
Statistical and Spatial Literacy Skills and the
Information Literacy Program
• Andrew Nicholson GIS/Data Librarian, University
of Toronto at Mississauga
• Laine G.M. Ruus Data Librarian, University of
Toronto
• UTL Staff Conference
• May 8, 2006

2
Outline
• Introduction
• What is Statistical Literacy, with examples
(Laine)
• What is Spatial Literacy, with examples (Andrew)
• Information literacy the Big Picture Next
Steps
• What can the U of T Libraries do?
• Questions??

3
Introduction
• Libraries have made great strides in recent years
in promoting and integrating information literacy
concepts across university campuses.
• Emphasis in information literacy instruction has
been text based.
• A need for statistical and spatial literacy
education is becoming increasingly recognized by
librarians and educators across North America

4
Statistical literacy
5
Statistical literacy
• refers broadly to two interrelated components,
primarily (a) people's ability to interpret and
critically evaluate statistical information,
data-related arguments, or stochastic phenomena,
which they may encounter in diverse contexts, and
when relevant (b) their ability to discuss or
communicate their reactions to such statistical
information, such as their understanding of the
meaning of the information, or their concerns
regarding the acceptability of given
conclusions.  These capabilities and behaviors
sic do not stand on their own but are founded
on several interrelated knowledge bases and
dispositions...".
• Source Gal, Iddo. Adults Statistical Literacy
Meanings, Components, and Responsibilities
International Statistical Review70( 1) 1-25,
April 2002

6
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7
Stories
• The Metro article of 2006/05/03 chose to tell one
story a growing trend of private or
semi-private worship, rather than conspicuous
worship in a public place (church, etc)
• Refers to a source, a Statistics Canada study.
Found article entitled Who's religious? listed in
the Statistics Canada Daily of 2006/05/02

8
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9
Source Study Whos religious? The Daily
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
10
The Daily article refers to an article
in Canadian Social Trends, May 2006
11
which contains statistical tables, as well as
charts which help visualize some of the
statistics in the tables, including
12
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13
What the Metro article got wrong
• Focused on only one of the stories in the
• The phrase growing trend came from a different
story, one of declining religious affiliation and
church attendance
• Misinterprets the information in the table
• There is only one time period, therefore cannot
identify a trend from this table
• Implies that a majority prefer private to public
religious observance, but from the article and
table it appears to be only 27-37 of the 21 of
the population who attend religious services
infrequently/never

14
Frequency of public religious observance (eg
frequency attend church, etc)
Frequency of private religious observance
Producing a similar cross-tabulation using the
original microdata provides support for a
slightly different variation on the story.
15
Standing the table on its head gives a
different interpretation of the data
Frequency of private religious observance
Frequency of public religious observance (eg
frequency attend church, etc)
16
Statistical literacy skills include
find the Canadian social trends article and the
tables/charts that accompany it
• To assess the reliability of Statistics Canada as
a source of statistics on religion ie what if
any might Statistics Canadas bias be vis-à-vis
religion?
• To assess the validity of survey-based
information versus anecdotal information (the
Metro article) ie are there other data sources
that would provide better information on the
question? How good is Statistics Canada at taking
surveys that represent the population?

17
Statistical literacy skills include (contd)
• Ability to interpret the information provided in
the table, including ability to visualize it

Frequency of religious practices on ones own
showing attendance at religious
services/meetings ()
Attend public religious services
Frequency of religious practices on ones own
18
Statistical literacy skills include (contd)
• Ability to assess the significance of the
information that is not in the table how many
cases were there in this survey? Does this table
tell us what of the population go to church
once a month or more?
• Ability to assess cross-tabulations and
percentages as appropriate descriptive statistics
for this type of data are there other
descriptive statistics that would have added to
the information in the table, eg cell counts as
well as row percentages?

19
Statistical literacy skills include (contd)
• Understand the role of the tests of significance
that have been used ie, what does 95
confidence interval mean?
• Understanding what has to be done to examine the
influence of a third variable (eg gender, age,
education, or province) on religious attendance
private religious practice

20
In summary
• Like information literacy, statistical literacy
includes
• determining information needs
• information access skills
• critical evaluation of sources
• understanding of the information
• Unlike information literacy, statistical literacy
includes
• some understanding of data collection,
descriptive statistics, significance, inference,
and causality
• active involvement in process of
creation/transformation of descriptive statistics

21
NowSpatial literacy
22
What is Spatial Literacy?
• Has been difficult to define
• Often confused with map literacy (map reading
skills) and geographic literacy (location of
places).
• More recent work to define it has taken a broader
approach encompassing such areas as visual
literacy, technology literacy, and graphicacy.

23
What is Spatial Literacy?
• Spatial literacy involves students understanding
and applying three main concepts when searching
and/or using (geographic or visual) information.
These include
• Space
• Representation
• Reasoning

Summary In Learning to Think Spatially GIS as a
Support System in the K-12 Curriculum.Retrieved
on May 1st, 2006 from http//www.nap.edu/catalog/
11019.html
24
• Space
• Dimensions

University of Toronto at Mississauga Campus
3D Maps or Views
2D Maps
Map Data Source NTS Sheet 30M012
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
25
• Space
• Different ways of calculating distance between
two points
• (UTM Campus to St. Michaels College)

By time
By Travel Cost
By Distance
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
26
• Space
• Understanding coordinate systems

Cartesian Coordinates (x, y, z)
Polar Coordinates
Eric W. Weisstein. "Cartesian Coordinates." From
MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http//mathworl
d.wolfram.com/CartesianCoordinates.html
Eric W. Weisstein. "Polar Coordinates." From
MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http//mathworl
d.wolfram.com/PolarCoordinates.html
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
27
2. Representation Principles of graphical
design
Include and contrast different data.
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
Data Source Statistics Canada, 2001 Census.
28
2. Representation Principles of graphical
design
1996 Population 4.8 million (1 Dot Ten People)
Present data in a clear and accurate presentation.
2028 Population 7.8 million (1 Dot Two People)
A misrepresentation of population growth around
the Oak Ridges Moraine
Oak Rides Moraine
Data Source Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resource and Ontario Ministry of Finance.
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
29
2. Representation How Projections
workcontrolling distortion
• Presenting a three dimensional object on a flat
form (like a paper map)
• will always involve distortion
• Projections can minimize distortion in elements
such as scale, area, distance, direction and
shape.
• No perfect projection. Hundreds of different
projections exist.
• Choice of projection depends on many factors
particularly the purpose of the map

Mollweide (Equal-Area) Projection
Mercator Projection
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
30
3. Reasoning What is the shortest distance
between two points?
The shortest distance from the Robarts Library to
the Conference using a direct line (0.68 km).
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
Photo source JD Barnes/OGDE, 2002.
31
3. Reasoning What is the shortest distance
between two points?
The shortest driving distance from the Robarts
Library to the conference (1.87 km)
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
Photo source JD Barnes/OGDE, 2002.
32
3. Reasoning Ability to interpolate and
extrapolate from spatial data or map.
Deaths from Cholera epidemic in London, 1859.
Wikipedia. May 6th, 2006. Retrieved at
http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ImageSnow-cholera-ma
p.jpg
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
33
3. Reasoning Making Decisions.
Should this city build a new highway to ease
traffic congestion?
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
34
3. Reasoning Making Decisions.
No, the proposed highways cuts through the centre
of a wetlands area.
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
35
3. Reasoning Making Decisions.
Highway project cancelled. Wetlands boundary
established and protected from future development
What is Spatial Literacy? -Examples
Data Source Lane Council of Governments, 2001.
36
Information Literacy the Big Picture
• Definition from ALA
• a set of abilitiesto recognize when
information is needed and have the ability to
locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed
information.
• ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards
• for Higher Education
• -a set of five standards for assessing the
information literate individual.
• -each standard has performance indicators and
outcomes, several of which consider the use,
manipulation, and dissemination of data, and
imagery.

Source Information literacy competency standards
for higher education. (2000). Brochure.
Chicago Association of College Research
Libraries.
37
Information Literacy the Big Picture
• Spatial Literacy is
particularly relevant in the following ACRL
Information Literacy Competency Standards for
Higher Education
• Standard One
• Outcomes
• Identifies the value and differences of
potential resources in a variety of formats.
• Determines the availability of needed
information and makes decisions on broadening the
information seeking process beyond local
resources.
• Standard Three
• Outcomes
• Utilizes computer and other technologies for the
studying the interaction of ideas and other
phenomena.
• Determines probable accuracy by questioning the
source of the data
• Standard Four
• Outcomes
• Manipulatesimages, and data as neededto a new
context.

SourceInformation literacy competency standards
for higher education. (2000). Brochure.
Chicago Association of College Research
Libraries.
38
Information Literacy -Next Steps
• At a presentation on Defining Information
Literacy
• in the 21st Century at the 2004 IFLA General
Conference,
• three areas for moving forward were suggested
• Critical Thinking and Awareness of Information
• Making users self-reliant
• Decoding the Packaging
• Interpretation of statistical data ,
literacy instruction
• the ability to understand why an image is
presented in a a particular way and the impacton
the viewer will become a critical piece of
information literacy.
• Appropriate use of Information
• develop sensitivity to cultural variations in
what is consideredappropriate use of
information.

Campbell, Sandy. (2004). Defining Information
Literacy in the 21st Century. Paper presented at
the World Library and Information Congress 70th
IFLA General Conference and Council. Retrieved
May 1st, 2006 from http//www.ifla.org/IV/ifla70/
papers/059e-Campbell.pdf
39
Information Literacy -Next Steps
• At a colloquium on Information Literacy
and Lifelong Learning in November 2005 sponsored
by IFLA and UNESCO, the importance of critical
thinking and decoding were made clear in
Proposition 5
• The rapidity of technological chance
requires continuous updating of the definition of
Information Literacy and our assumptions about
information technology.
• Information Literacy is the ability to
use
• knowledge and information
interactively.

Garenr, Sarah Devotion. (2006) High-Level
Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong
Learning, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria,
Egypt, November 6-9, 2005Report. Cairo
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Pg.38-39.
40
Information Literacy -Next Steps
In March 2006, the Chronicle of Higher Education
issued a Plea for Spatial Literacynoting
that Spatial literacy is as important a goal
as traditional literacy is. We need to invest our
resources and efforts accordingly.
Newcombe, Nora. A Plea for Spatial Literacy.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 3rd,
2006.
41
What can the U of T Libraries do?
• collaborate with GIS and Data Librarians to learn
more about Statistical and Spatial literacy and
share these concepts with faculty and students.

42
What can the U of T Libraries do?
For example
• at the UTM Library, we have started to
collaborate closely with some faculty on course
instruction and assignments relating to
statistical and spatial information.
• at the UTM Library, we have a well established
course related instruction program. We are now
moving towards embedding information literacy
into the course curriculum, including statistical
and spatial literacy.

43
Conclusion
• The variety of online (statistical and spatial)
resources and software now offered through the
University of Toronto Libraries makes the
teaching of statistical and spatial literacy
essentialand attainable.

44
Questions???