Open Thinkering


Web literacies? (v0.2 beta)

Web literacies? (v0.2 beta)

In the run-up to me starting full time with the Mozilla Foundation I’ve been continuing my thinking on web literacies.

The above diagram is based upon the excellent work of Michelle Levesque, my diagramming of her work, and some subsequent post-it notes.

I’m thinking out loud here.

Things that have changed since the last version:

  • Move from ‘web literacy’ to ‘web literacies’
  • Themes (exploring, connecting, building, protecting) organised hierarchically
  • Removal of ‘calling APIs’, ‘manipulating data’ and so on
  • Update: The colours no longer mean anything (thanks @PatParslow!)

I realise that the last of these could be contentious. The reason I’ve removed these more technical aspects has nothing to do with whether I think they’re important. Of course they are.

It’s just that if you start from the endpoint of describing someone who’s ‘web literate’ I think it’s entirely possible not to be able to ‘call an API’ yet still be web literate.

What do you think?

I’d really appreciate some feedback – this is still very early work! 🙂

16 thoughts on “Web literacies? (v0.2 beta)

  1. I think the grid format makes it instantly appear columns are related info, especially as they are the same colour. Might be better to coordinate row colour if that info is related. 
    Also, the appearance of Protecting, Building, Connecting, Exploring…. Is that a ‘start at the bottom’ and work up, ladder-type approach to digital literacies. 

    I guess what I’m getting at, is that regardless of content, the end user can view the grid in different ways. I initially looked at top left, but ‘I think’ that is the highest level of the literacies (although might be wrong). 

    1. I would love to see your rationale for moving from “literacy” to “literacies” implied by the graphic. If that’s not possible, I think a description of why these descriptors result in “-ies” would be nice.

      Speaking of what is represented in the graphic, Peter Reed’s ideas about color also make me think that something about comprehending/composing with visual and audio modes in addition to linguistic text would be nice.

      Finally, I’d love to know more about what you mean by “protecting.”

      1. Hi Anna and thanks for the questions. 🙂

        1. My work around digital literacies (see has led me to believe that we’re always dealing with multiple literacies when in the realm of new literacies. They’re many, various and context-dependent.

        2. I definitely need to do something with the colours!

        3. ‘Protecting’ is a term I’ve inherited from Michelle. Perhaps another term would be more useful? (I do, however, believe the Open Web needs ‘protecting’ given the walls being put up by Facebook, Apple, etc.)

  2. Very interesting stuff, Doug! I agree with Peter’s point that there are multiple points of entry into the diagram, which makes it very easy to read and interpret for anyone.

    My question would be: where would you situate ‘data curation’? I suppose it overlaps with several of the categories (crap detection, sharing, and remixing).

    1. Hi Benoît and thanks for the comment. 🙂

      I’ll have a think about ‘data curation’, bearing in mind Clay Shirky’s observation that “it’s not information overload, it’s filter failure”. Perhaps something about filtering should be in there?

  3. Fascinating and thought provoking stuff Doug.

    Is there an intention for a sense of progression from left to right as well as from bottom to top? I get a sense of that in some, but I’m not sure it holds for Protecting (although I may have misunderstood what you mean by ‘Open Web’) Likewise designing for audience I think is something people could understand without needing to know anything about HTML.

    Is there a sense in which linking and copying are at one level, while embedding is closer to sharing?

    Finally, ‘Public vs Private’ made sense in terms of ‘protecting’ from v.01, but I’m not sure it does under the heading Exploring. (Unless I’ve misinterpreted it!)

    Looking forward to seeing the next version!

    1. Hi Dave, thanks for the comment. 🙂

      I hadn’t intended progression from left to right (just from the bottom upwards) but it’s something I could think about, thanks!

      I’ll have to explain what I mean by each category – that’s a very good point…

  4. I love the fact that you’re adopting an open approach to developing this. Some of the comments above are excellent. 

    I know I mentioned the ladder stuff above… I think it might be useful, if it was deliberately ordered to almost suggest a hierarchy or literacies (or categories of literacies), which in turn will provide an interesting discussion around which comes first. Come to think of it, I think, from bottom upwards is the right order, which is funny because protecting is so crucial, but unless you are doing the stuff below, you have nothing to protect. Sorry, rambling again. 
    Keep up the good work buddy. 

    1. Hi Pete, you’re absolutely right about making more explicit my thinking around this.

      I had included an arrow on the left-hand side pointing upwards to indicate progression, so perhaps I’ll re-instate that for v0.3!

  5. Excellent diagram, Doug, my immediate thought is that perhaps the connecting row should read; licensing >  sharing > inking  > communities – because it is the licensing that determines how stuff can be shared and used? 

    1. Hi Theo, thanks for the comment.

      Interesting that you read that the skills were building left to right. I hadn’t actually intended that, but looks like something I could work on! 🙂

  6. Hi Dave
    Increasingly professionals, including academics, are creating presence online to advance their careers and market their ideas. Articulating, constructing (marketing) *self and idea* is a dimension of digital literacy that has substantial power for those who are good at it. In the table noted above, ‘building’ and ‘identity’ needs to intersect. Of course, this assumes left to right lateral reading – but the table encourages same. Cheers

  7. Hi Doug – I just sent you a long email with some thoughts as we bounce back and forth between my post around this and yours here.

    I’ll try and summarize a bit:
    * I think this needs to be split not along row levels, but along personas, and my suggestions are citizens, makers, and crusaders
    * the vast majority of people will be citizens – so our efforts go to increasing the web literacy of citizens
    * once you are levelled up as a citizen, you can explore aspects of being a maker
    * makers level up, and some of their making can tackle aspects of the crusader literacies
    * crusaders are the most focused (e.g. identity crusader) but need a full understanding of other pieces – e.g. you can’t get to Level 2 in identity crusader-ship unless you are Level 1 in all the other protecting skills

    (and this is the point at which I go off and think about federated comment crusading, and wish that we had Salmon so this comment here could teleport over to my post )

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