That report was itself a response to a paper from the 1974 National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, which called for the nation to achieve information literacy by 1984. Going further back, Bill Johnson and Sheila Webber link information literacy to Vannevar Bush’s World War II–era treatise on information, science, and warfare, “As We May Think.” The only change to information literacy over the past 70 years is the specter it is invoked to defeat: It is no longer the military-industrial complex, the cost of mainframe production, or the rise of Wikipedia that threaten the stability and certification of social information. Today’s barbarian at the gate is a much more evocative villain, because it is our own reflection.

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