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WIU Libraries to Host Internet Search Competition; Students Can Compete for Cash Prizes

September 21, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University Libraries will host a Digital Literacy Contest 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Leslie F. Malpass Library, second floor classroom. Using the Internet to answer questions, participants will be able to compete for hundreds of dollars in cash prizes. Contestants will be given 30 minutes, 20 questions and Internet access. Correct answers will earn points, and incorrect answers will be penalized; the highest score will win. The contest is open free to all WIU students.

After the contest, WIU Libraries will provide a free dinner and host a discussion about the future of libraries, technology and society. In addition, University Libraries will host a free, 45-minute workshop covering digital literacy at noon, Friday, Oct. 23 at the Malpass Library, room 180.

Created in 2007 by Purdue University students, the Digital Literacy competition now includes other universities, including WIU, Cornell University, Indiana University, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. In 2009, the MacArthur Foundation awarded the Purdue students a Young Innovator grant.

"This is the first competition in which people wield the Internet as a cognitive prosthetic," contest creator Daniel Scott Poynter said. "It's a high-speed battle of Internet-enabled intelligence with three main objectives: to identify people who thrive in information overload; to disseminate their insights; and to create a discussion about how the Internet is affecting the development of our minds."

"University Libraries is excited to be part of this forward-thinking competition," University Libraries Dean Phyllis Self said. "The contest offers a fun, interactive way for individuals to test their digital literacy mettle."

Space is limited so interested individuals should register as soon as possible. Online registration is available at Individuals can also register by texting "signmeup" to 41411 and should include a working contact e-mail address after "signmeup" in the text message.

"Our age is both unprecedented and pivotal. Unparalleled global access to information is accelerating technological and social change. Making sense of our increasingly complex world depends upon becoming better information filters through the help of libraries. This competition is one way to ease ourselves into this exciting future," Poynter added.

For more information, contact Poynter at (765) 588-3620 or

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