“It lives all around us”: Aspects of data literacy in teen's lives

Leanne Bowler, Amelia Acker, Wei Jeng, Yu Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In this paper, we examine young people's data literacy in terms of their awareness of data and the rhetoric that surrounds it, as well as their knowledge of data flows. This is the first phase of the Exploring Data Worlds at the Public Library research study research study, a two-year research study that explores the ways that libraries can address data literacy programming by helping teens understand, create and manage the digital traces of their data in meaningful, efficacious, and ethical ways. In this first phase of the study we explored the question What do young people understand about data within the context of their everyday lives and in relation to personal data management. We present here the findings from a series of semi-structured interviews with young people, ages 11 to 18, that examined teens' perceptions and general knowledge of data in their lives. Results suggest that the teens in this study had varying interpretations of the nature of data and a broad understanding of the lifecycle of data, but most found it difficult to connect with data at a concrete and personal level, with the notion of a personal data dossier either non-existent or abstract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project’s grant number is RE-31-16-0079-16.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 by Association for Information Science and Technology


  • data awareness
  • data lifecycle
  • data literacy
  • data science education
  • public libraries
  • social media
  • user characteristics-adolescents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


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