New E-journal on Media Literacy

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Wed, 9 Feb 2000 11:27:39 -0800 (PST)

For your information. -- Kris

Kristine R. Brancolini, Media and Film Studies
Main Library E170, 1320 E. Tenth Street
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: 812.855.3710 | Fax: 812.855.1649 | Email:

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The title of the new journal is:

SIMILE - Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education

Some information is contained below. Or you can visit the SIMILE
web site at

SIMILE is a new refereed e-journal that will be published quarterly
by the University of Toronto Press starting in the winter of 2001,
with issues appearing at the beginning of February, May, August, and
November. All manuscripts will be subject to a double-blind peer
review process.

SIMILE will focus on topics connected with media literacy instruction
in school, public, and academic libraries, as well as with the role
that teachers, librarians, and information professionals at all levels
can play in bringing about a better understanding of the social,
cultural, economic, and political forces that shape traditional and
new media production.

Contributions are welcomed from throughout the world. Articles dealing
with media issues outside of North America are particularly

In keeping with the cross-disciplinary nature of the subject matter to
be covered, there are 26 Editorial Board members from a variety of
fields, including education, library science, English, media studies,
and history. There is broad geographic representation on the Editorial
Board. Fourteen scholars are from the United States, eight from
Canada, two from Australia, and one each from Mexico and Wales.

The large number of Editorial Board members attests to the interest in
this journal as well as the lack of other periodical venues for the
type of scholarship which SIMILE intends to publish. In addition, the
size of the Editorial Board will ensure scholarly rigor and respect
within the academic community. These are especially important
considerations for e-journals, and the editorial staff of SIMILE and
the University of Toronto Press are committed to upholding high
academic standards in this publication.


The aim of SIMILE is to provide a venue for scholarly articles which
will bridge the subject areas of bibliographic instruction,
information literacy, and media literacy.

Directed at a readership in the fields of information/media studies,
library science, and education, SIMILE will examine ways in which
reference- and teacher-librarians, teachers, and other concerned
professionals can integrate media literacy concepts into instructional
sessions on the use of print and electronic mass media sources.

Reference librarianship has evolved in such a way that professionals
in this area are assuming the responsibility of classroom-based
teaching that stresses how to use information resources for a wide
variety of user groups in public, academic, and school library

As librarians and information professionals assume new roles and
responsibilities, the type of instruction that these individuals have
typically provided should be expanded to include the "politics of

Frequent users of mass media, whether in print or electronic formats,
should be aware that it is not enough merely to access one or more
sources of information. It is equally vital, if not more so, to be
able to analyze, decode, and deconstruct media production in all its
forms, taking into account the socio-cultural and socio-economic
context of its production.

Media literacy therefore refers to the ability to recognize and
analyze the political, economic, and cultural factors which influence
all facets of the information presented through media sources.

Bibliographic instruction which extends the technological know-how of
using library resources to include factors relating to media
production will enable students and the general public to hone the
analytical skills necessary to foster media literacy and to develop a
critically informed stance on a wide variety of information sources.

Librarians and traditional libraries have a special role to play in
fostering media literacy, but it is also recognized that each
individual now has access to a "virtual library" from a desktop or
portable computer. Thus, media literacy concepts may be taught through
distance education by a wide variety of information professionals.

Ultimately, this type of value-added bibliographic instruction will
enable individuals, whether within or outside the traditional library
context, to achieve a clearer understanding of available mass media
resources and to become aware of how meaning is structured and
organized through what is included, emphasized, or excluded in those


SIMILE aims to explore the ways in which social and cultural
environments impact media production and the methods that could be
used to teach the skills needed to "read" these environments. It will
also strive to provide multiple perspectives arising from the diverse
cultural contexts which undergird media literacy issues world-wide.

While mass media delivery methods and mechanisms are constantly
evolving, SIMILE is interested in the content and the
content-providers of mass media. Insofar as traditional media and new
media "no longer exist in mutually exclusive spheres," articles in
SIMILE will examine the content of newspapers and magazines, films,
videos, computer games, on-line databases, and web sources of all
types, whether specialized sites, vertical portals or general-purpose
portals. The images, graphics, sounds, and hyperlinks that constitute
the editorial and advertising content of all print and electronic
media are also open for discussion in SIMILE.

In tandem with the convergence of traditional and new media, the
definition of mass media as either a form of information or of
entertainment can no longer be applied. SIMILE thus understands the
importance of examining the nexus of education, information, and
entertainment in various media formats.

Specific topics within this broad context might be: the impact of the
commercialization of the internet on diverse information sources;
corporate ownership of media sources; media biases; and the presence
or absence of media competition.

Although the primary audience is public, school, and academic
librarians, as well as elementary and high school teachers, SIMILE
will also be of interest to corporate information workers responsible
for tracking mass media trends. Articles should thus suggest
innovative ways to impart the importance of media awareness and
literacy to students and the general public.


A list of the 26 Editorial Board Members, detailed submission
requirements, and more information can be found at our web site.
Please visit us at

Or send an e-mail message to

We look forward to your contribution.