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A Taxonomy of Digital Literacies

23 April 2009
Richard Francis, Greg Benfield, Steve Burholt, Abi Ball, Chess Black

The following taxonomy builds on an initial set of attributes documented in the Mapping of
Graduate Attributes paper (URL AESC) and has in various drafts been discussed at eL@B
meetings and seen by various School Academic Boards and Programme Design Teams.
Note: these need to articulate with Information literacies, and learning skills. The library has
this under discussion and a paper (Vaughan 2009) is in draft.
These could then be used to modify and enhance the present set of Brookes transferrable
We imagine that responsibility for drawing from these sets and articulating graduate attributes
would belong with schools and programmes. There may be an overarching set of university-
wide graduate attributes as well.
We see these attributes as applying to staff as well as graduates.

Brookes Digital Literacies

N.B. Not every programme will instantiate all these literacies. They are not in any intended
order of priority. They are not meant to be prescriptive, exhaustive or mandatory. They are
offered as a starting point for Schools and programme teams to audit current practice and
determine aspirations. It is intended that the agreed list of digital literacies for each
programme will be published in programme specifications. We would expect programme
teams in particular to determine the precise literacies for their discipline or subject.

· being confident, agile adopters of a range of technologies for personal, academic and
professional use
- have the ability to apply general software interface principles to
independently explore new software
· using digital tools to reflect on and record learning and professional and personal
- knowing and observing appropriate conventions on authoring in a variety of
media and in a variety of professional and academic contexts
(note: we see this as an academic literacy rather than specifically digital)
- ability to search, aggregate and organise digital information from a variety of
sources for personal use
- ability to represent oneself online in a suitable way for academic and
professional purposes
- ability to use digital technology to represent oneself to employers and within
professional communities
- selecting and using appropriate technology for recording and representing
academic, professional and personal development
· engaging productively in relevant online communities;
- adopting technologies suitable for the group over individual preference
Brookes policy is that all fields should include the development of six transferable skills;
these are listed at:
- selecting and using appropriate communication technologies for group work
- knowing when and how to maintain appropriate levels of privacy in drafting
and publishing to appropriate individuals and groups
- effectively managing group interactions using multiple technologies;
- selecting and using technologies suitable to represent and synthesise
individual and group knowledge/learning
· communicating effectively online2;
- developing fluency and projecting one’s ‘own voice’ in online authoring and
· proficiently managing digital information, including searching for, retrieving, evaluating
and citing information appropriate to their subject matter;
- selecting and using appropriate authoring technologies from a range (e.g.,
Gmail, Wikis, Word, PowerPoint, CAD, Dreamweaver)
- ability to securely and responsibly manage one’s own and other people’s
data and online identities

• placeholder for subject-specific literacies

Benfield, G & Francis, R (2008) A Mapping of Graduate Attributes for a Digital Age at
Brookes. Available online at:
%2BBrookes.doc. Accessed 02/02/09.
Vaughan, Neil (2009) Information Literacy competencies. Brookes Library internal
consultation document.

Richard Francis, Greg Benfield, Steve Burholt, Abi Ball, Chess Black. 30 Jan 2009

(where the combination ‘effectiveness’ and ‘being online’ is likely to be defined by the
professional context, e.g. perhaps in some disciplines at some levels maintaining active
membership of professional groupings using email is appropriate, while in other disciplines
and levels one might expect collaborative document authoring using advanced design tools)