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Voyage across a Constellation of Information

Information Literacy in Interest-Driven Learning Communities

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Crystle Martin

What do orcs, elves, and information literacy have to do with each others? Find out in Voyage across a Constellation of Information as we take an in-depth look at information literacy practices (how people find, evaluate, and use information) in the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft and its online community. This book teases out real-world information literacy practices by following players as they solve their information needs through collective activity, relying on and building a set of individual and collective practices within the online community. Voyage across a Constellation of Information offers educators, information professionals, and researchers an opportunity to get an inside look at the new practices of digital spaces, and lays the groundwork for inclusion of these practices into 21st-century education.
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Chapter Six: Collective Intelligence: Navigating the Constellation

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•  CHAPTER SIX  •

The constellation of information for WoW or any online community allows for and encourages multiple levels of communication that support information literacy practices including collective intelligence. The collective intelligence of communities with shared interest-driven activities, like those around video games or hobbies like knitting or making robots, offers a great information source for those who participate in the community who need information or who are getting to know the community. This system of recognition of skills and abilities is prevalent in virtual worlds where a person’s knowledge of the game or the affinity space, as well as their ability to share it with others, is an important way to be recognized as a master. Pierre Levy (1997), the father of collective intelligence, felt that games were not a good place for collective intelligence because he saw MUDs (text based online role playing games or Multi-User Dimensions) as a lesser form of “collectively secreted shared memory” (Levy, 1998), when creating a map of interests of the changing community. Levy felt that the community around games was not rich enough to support collective intelligence. However, at the time of his research he was looking at online gaming in its infancy; and therefore, his theory of collective intelligence in games does not necessarily account for the complex literacy practices of modern game communities.

Participatory culture (Jenkins, 2009) is one way to illustrate practices that are seen in game communities. The literature on participatory culture is well established,...

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