Citation for published article

Kliewer, C., Phillips, G. A., & Massanelli, M. (2017, April 8). Information & anxiety: The impossibility of 'literacy' and the necessity of agency. Panel presentation at What Is Life?, Portland, OR. Retrieved from


This presentation was originally made available on Medium.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Gumberg Library


Our lives are continuously affected by the information that we encounter in ever-increasing volume. The growing awareness of the dangers of uncritical information consumption (e.g. “fake news”) heightens the relevancy of questions investigating the nature of truth and fact. This anxiety manifests on a more personal level in terms of our vulnerable digital selves—identities can be stolen, personal archives can be lost. Anxiety is deeply personal but can affect public lives, professional lives, teaching, and scholarship as it leads to a loss of nuance and an unwillingness to participate in information creation and exchange. Our personal lives suffer, and so too does public discourse.

Our goal is to give you a framework to understand the concepts in Information Science which deal directly with the issue of reliable information sources and trust in the age of the internet. We are a group of information professionals working in the library and archives fields. Our professional values are specifically codified in order to deal with information anxiety and promote critical thinking, and our daily work is to foster responsible interactions with information. We will draw upon these values as examples in order to find interdisciplinary points of similarity among our audience, and demonstrate strategies for approaching information anxiety across the professions represented.


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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