Data literacy seems to be the new kid on the block in the growing attention to different forms of literacies. The reason for the growing attention lies of course in the fact that data, in all its forms, starts to have an enormous impact on our daily lives. Some of those evolutions are clearly situated in the field of media, such as search engines, recommendation engines, personalization of news, etc. However, some of these data driven evolutions are situated in fields outside of media such as smart cities, smart environments, data-based strategies and policies, etc. This evolution provides us with new opportunities, but also brings possible dangers with them such as filter bubbles, fake news, social sorting and digital exclusion mechanisms.

The question then is, what is the relation between media literacy and data literacy? Are current models for media literacy sufficient to understand data literacy? What are the similarities and what are the differences? How can we adapt models to integrate data literacy within existing models and frameworks? The literature on data literacy does not necessarily help, because the literature seems to go in all directions, covering data literacy, statistical literacy, algorithmic literacy, numeracy, etc. Furthermore, the existing research focus on data literacy at the level of the individual, at the level of sectors and organizations, in relation to skills sets and competencies, ec. Yet, we all feel that individual users need new critical skills to understand the use of data, its effects on their individual life and behavior, and the possibilities of making informed choices in relation to data.

In our paper we will first map the current discussion on media literacy by analyzing a broad body of publications in the field and clustering them in terms of definition, scope, target group etc. This provides us with a base to better understand the discussion and to make informed decisions as to how it relates to media literacy. Second, we will use the competence model on media literacy as developed by the Knowledge Center for Digital and Media Literacy Flanders/Belgium to map similarities and differences and discuss them in detail. We will propose possible adaptations to the competence model to integrate the concept of data literacy. Third, we will identify and map existing data literacy projects on the extended competence model. What competences are well covered? Where would we need new approaches to teach specific skills and competences? The last analysis—apart from informing our own work—can inform new actions in the field of data/media literacy. As an example, we will focus on the currently under development Databus that will visit schools in Brussels from 2019 onwards. Although the paper takes a more general focus, we will as much as possible refer to smart cities and our own work on exclusion in smart cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAMCR 2019 Conference. Communication, Technology and Human Dignity.
Subtitle of host publicationDisputed Rights, Contested Truths
Place of PublicationMadrid
PublisherInternational Association for Media and Communication Research
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2019
EventInternational Association of Media and Communication Research 2019 Conference: Communication, Technology and Human Dignity. - Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 7 Jul 201911 Oct 2019


ConferenceInternational Association of Media and Communication Research 2019 Conference
Abbreviated titleIAMCR 2019
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Data Literacy, Media Literacy

ID: 47399813