Monday, October 20, 2014

Report from #ecil2014

Next from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik was Maria Carme Torras: Libraries Furthering Development: Media and Information Literacy in the Post-2015 Development Framework. Torras introduced the UN post-2015 development framework and pointed out that there were multiple processes feeding into it, with the new framework to be implemented on 1 January 2016. IFLA's goal for new framework is that it should recognise the role of access to information as a fundamental element supporting development, and the role of libraries and information underpinning development. Therefore IFLA has been working with allies in the civil society and development communities and UN states, and has participated in relevant meetings. It also has developed and advocacy toolkit for the post 2015 framework (launced a few weeks ago). This toolkit can be found here: (quoting the website: "IFLA has launched this toolkit to support library institutions and associations and other civil society organisations to advocate for this position. The toolkit provides background on the issues and practical advice on how to set up meetings with government representatives. Template letters, talking points and examples of how libraries help meet development goals are included.") Torras also mentioned the Lyon Declaration.
Torras proceeded to talk about the concept of Media and Information Literacy (as developed and sponsored by UNESCO), and quoted Frau-Meigs as identifying "Illectronism" (not being able to engage effectively with technology as part of information life) as something that could be addressed by Media and Information Literacy.
The IFLA Trend report posed questions which are relevant both to information literacy and to the proposed UN post-2015 development framework. I have blogged about this report and the website is here
Torras identified that building capacity and raising awareness are important. Frau-Meigs (who is a prominent figure in Media Literacy research) has identified a need to "review and retool" media and information literacy education (e.g. integrating into non-formal learning contexts). Torras also mentioned the role in empowering the less privileged and helping them encountering new challenges. As examples drawn from current news stories, Torras mentioned the "right to be forgotten" on search engines, and the issue of providing instructions for your digital footprint when you die (the headline there was "30 million facebook users are dead"! Torras also identified ethical concerns with new developments like Google glasses (talking about her children plotting to use them to secretly record their classmates - of course they got a lesson in media and information literacy!). She finished by raising even more profound issues of neorological, biological and technical technologies combining to transform humans, and the role of librarians and media and information literacy in identifying and tackling the ethical and socio-cultural issues associated with this.

Report from #ecil2014 Saracevic on contemporary US infolit

I continue liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Tefko Saracevic (Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University) was an invited speaker, talking on Information Literacy in the United States: Contemporary Transformations and Controversies.
He started by saying that information literacy was always connected with effective use of information, but now in the digital world it is even more connected, linking with Mike Eisenberg's talk. His aim was to give an overview of IL developments in the USA and a critique of the current ACRL revision of their IL framework. His definition of IL was the ability to use libraries and other informqtion resources to locate evaluate and use needed information effectively: associated with this were six steps which included respecting legal and ethical issues. Saracevic felt that the basic concept was IL even when some other terms were being used, and he saw IL as an umbrella concept.
He traced the origins of IL in the 19th century and it development to a global concept, including the work of IFLA and UNESCO. Milestones such as the Presidential Committee Final Report were mentioned. The current ACRL standards consist of 5 standards and 22 performance indicators (as many of you will know) with a focus on assessing outcomes of progress towards IL, in higher education. Again as many of you will know, ACRL is now revising its framework for IL, and they have produced drafts and engaged in consultation (I have blogged about this, for example here). He highlighted the argument that is presented for making the changes and troubled some of the notions and concepts that are used in the argument and explanation. He also presented his critique of Threshold Concepts (which are used as a basis for the new ACRL framework), and he felt it was "not an appropriate and fruitful approach for achieving a pragmatic framework for information literacy". I feel I must add that he was partly dismissing it because it was not a testable theory, which I do not think is quite the point.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik old town, October 2014

Report from ECIL: Opening; and Eisenberg's lessons #ecil2014

For the next few days I will be liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. The picture shows people arriving at the conference venue. The conference opened with a welcome from the conference chairs, Serap Kurbanoglu (Hacettepe University) and Sonja ҆piranec (University of Zagreb). They announced that this year's conference had the same diversity as last year's, which had delegates from 59 countries. There will be a book of the full paper proceedings available as a priced publication from Springer, as last year (there is a hefty book of abstracts for the delegates here at the conference). Maria-Carme Torras also welcomed delegates on behalf of the IFLA president Sinikka Sipila, identifying the role of information literacy in the Lyon Declaration launched at the last IFLA conference

The first keynote was a passionate and engaging talk from Michael Eisenberg, University of Washington, on Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Work in Information Literacy. He said that he was retiring in a couple of months, and therefore he was taking time to reflect back on his career, and look at milestones, the lessons learned, challenges and opportunities for information literacy. He started by looking back to his encounter with his doctoral advisor, Tefko Saracevic, and remembered how helpful he had been: two lessons emerged from this - the value of nurtusing young researchers and the continued importance of relevance (Eisenberg's thesis topic) in the networked environment. In fact relevance and credibility could be said to be more important today, when the issue is information abundance rather than information scarcity.
Stepping further back in time, Eisenberg identified the importance of having someone with an enquiry-based approach mentoring him when he was starting as an educator. He valued this involvement in innovative pedgagogy and use of technology as a basis for his career as an educator. Asking meaningful questions, finding quality sources are part ofthis, and "inquiry in itself is an important goal in education" - and vital for (and in combination with) information literacy.
The next focus was studying librarianship, in a career shift from teaching "Library Science - I get tingley even now" ;-) He talked about his teachers, and in particular the issue of service vs. instruction (education) as a role for librarians. He felt that librarians needed to focus on people and their needs, which can be true both for good service and for good education. He felt that there should be a shift from conceptualisation to action, because information literacy was still not reaching everyone, whereas "every human being has the opportunity to become information literate".
Next milestone (or milestones) were to do with technology - thinking back to the various stages of increasingly powerful devices, particular the wonders of Apple technology and then the stages of the internet (through gophers, Mosaic etc. - a nostalgia trip for me too). Looking forward "I'll be the first one to sign up for the brain implant" - he saw that technology will develop and learners need to be supported in meeting life's information challenges. However, whilst technology is important, it does not "change everything": for example he saw the elements in the information seeking process being the same (e.g. selecting, identifying the context and need).
The final moment in time was his first venture at developing an information skills curriculum for schoolchildren. He admitted that he felt discouraged at teh time when the meetings seemed to be focused on getting "laundry lists" of resources, rather than the search process (which is how he saw information literacy, and which he advocates).

His frustration with this process contributed to his eventual development with Bob Berkowitz of the Big6 model of information literacy. Eisenberg provided an interesting insight into how they moved towards framing the Big 6 in terms of process, skills etc. because that behavioural approach is what helped teachers, parents to "get it" (rather than their initial, more conceptual approach). He felt that some of the broader approaches (conceptually and pedagogically) risked losing a focus on information, and were also more difficult to implement in a classroom. So that his conviction from his experience ("kindergarten to doctoral students") was that the process/skills approach was the best way to ensure everyone developed information literacy.

Eisenberg was "insanely optimistic" about the future of information literacy, because he felt that it was so essential to 21st century living. He menioned Obama's declaration of an information literacy month in the USA and the changes he felt had to come about in US education. Eisenberg also praised the ECIL conference as "the richest environment for information literacy".
As a faculty member in an information school, I was heartened to hear Eisenberg say that "Information Schools are built on an information literate foundation". As regards having information literacy in all parts of the educational curriculum and for all people, there is a way to go and this is a challenge that must be taken up. However, optimism is justified because "This is our time".

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The seven pillars of chocolate literacy: a new curriculum

To celebrate chocolate week I am posting this slightly whimsical play on the famous Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. I present the 7 Pillars of Chocolate Literacy: only chocaholics need read on.
I admit, I am a chocoloate addict. I don’t need vast quantities, but I feel edgy if I don’t know where my next chocolate is coming from. To avoid a chocolate meltdown it important to develop chocolate lifeskills and become an independent chocolate learner.

Identify. First you need to recognise the nature of your chocolate need. For example, what is the context in which you will be consuming the chocolate? is the need for an urgent chocolate fix, or are you planning for a long term chocolate future?

Scope. You need to identify the gap between the chocolate you have and the chocolate you need. For example, you might have a half eaten Toblerone and a handful of milk-chocolate covered peanuts, when you sudenly feel the urgent need for a nice chunk of 70% cocoa dark chocolate. What options for filling the gap are available to you? Are there any shops open? Do you have any chocoholic friends that might be prepared to help? Think out of the chocolate box, too: if you’d wanted milk chocolate, there would be the possibility of scraping the chocolate off the peanuts.

Plan. Having looked at the options for getting the chocolate, work out a strategy, tailoring it to the chocolate channel you are going to use. For example, with the chocoholic friend you either need to be really persuasive or to lure her away from her chocolate stash and then grab a couple of chunks. A chocolate-literate person is likely to have websites of all the online chocolate vendors bookmarked neatly in a folder, and be able to recognise the word “chocolate” in every major world language. Have a backup plan if your initial strategy fails: for example the first shop you go to may just have cheap and tasteless chocolate.

Gather. Go get the chocolate.

Evaluate. The usual criteria apply here. Currency: is the chocolate within its sell by-date and/or edible? This is most likely to be an issue with old, forgotten bits of chocolate you find at the bottom of your handbag or lingering at the back of a drawer. Coverage: does the chocolate meet all of your chocolate needs or will you need two contrasting types of chocolate? Authority: is the chocolate brand one you recognise and respect? Reliability: is all the chocolate of the brand likely to be good, or is it a bit hit and miss? Price: is the chocolate value-for-money, or is it simply Cheap? The chocolate-literate person will be able to recognise when two-for-one deals are worth grabbing and reject discounts on chocolate that is so dull you ought to be paid to eat it.

Manage. A very important part of chocolate literacy. You need to store your chocolate so that it is easily retrievable, and kept in optimal conditions. The chocolate literate person will scan the environment regularly to ensure that he or she is aware of the latest chocolate trends, and map paths to the nearest chocolate wherever he or she is. Ethical use of chocolate is obviously also vital e.g. responding to others’ emotional crises with offers of chocolate, knowing whether your chocolate was ethically sourced, and understanding when sharing your chocolate is socially unavoidable.
Use of chocolate comes under this pillar too: basically the use of chocolate is to eat it, so this is an aspect that most people find quite straightforward.

Communicate. Knowledge sharing is a key aspect of 21st century society. However, if you have some chocolate and you want to eat it all, telling other people about it is a really bad idea. So the chocolate-literate person will find the delicate balance between sharing (e.g. providing expert advice on the difference between Lindt Extra Creamy milk chocolate and the normal Lindt milk chocolate) and keeping quiet (e.g. about the fact that he/she has examples of both in his/her briefcase).

The next step is developing A New Curriculum for Chocolate Literacy, including indicators for chocolate literacy, and then embedding ANCFCL into as many courses of study as possible. A constructivist pedagogy for chocolate literacy will be appropriate, with a big emphasis on experiential learning. Learners will construct their own context-specific understanding of chocolate literacy, and then deconstruct it by eating the chocolate. I see loads of scope for public-private sector partnerships (i.e. companies give us their chocolate, we trouble the concept of chocolate literacy, and then write obscure research articles whilst eating the chocolate).
If any of you feel this has a future do comment below.
Photos by Sheila Webber: chocolate-related items from Dubrovnik: 1) Milka with biscuit; 2) 100% chocolate desert at the 360 degree restaurant (it was really chocolatey); 3) upmarket Croatian chocolate with praline filling

Friday, October 17, 2014

UNESCO consultation on Internet Related Issues

UNESCO has a consultation in progress on "Internet related issues". The questionnaire phase closes on 30 Nivember 2014. They are asking for responses, including evidence, relating to four areas, namely: access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society. "The questions also explore the intersections between these areas and options for future UNESCO action in these fields."

You will be pleased to know that Media and Information Literacy is mentioned in the "concept paper" (
"Accessibility: UNESCO’s approach is that access to information alone is not a sufficient requirement for the creation of Knowledge Societies. Access to knowledge entails learning in formal and informal education settings. It also entails fostering the competencies of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) so as to empower users to make full use of access to the Internet."

The questions which UNESCO is posing in relation to the area of Access are "What can be done to reinforce the right to seek and receive information in the online environment? What mechanisms can develop policies and common standards for open-licensed educational resources and scientific repositories, and for the long-term preservation of digital heritage? How can greater progress be made as regards inclusive strategies for women and girls as well as marginalized and disabled people? How can accessibility be facilitated through increases in locally produced and relevant content in different languages? What can be done to institutionalize MIL effectively in national educational systems?"

Obviously the other areas are very relevant to information literacy too. More information, and link to the questionnaire, here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik, October 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Issues in 3D worlds research #socmethods

Here is the presentation that Marshall Dozier and I used in our session on Wednesday. It was entitled Social, ethical, digital: issues in 3D worlds research, part of a University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences seminar series on Methodological Challenges.
The livestream was recorded (video and audio) and is available here: (that is the whole seminar, all of which is interesting of course, but our part starts about 1 hour into the recording). This is the powerpoint.

Call for papers: i3 conference

There is a call for proposals for the 2015 i3 conference which will take place 23-25 June 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. It "brings together academic and practitioner researchers interested in exploring the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information and how this interaction can bring about change." The deadline for abstracts is 19 January 2015. Topics include:
- How much do we know about the impact of information behaviours and capabilities on the quality and effectiveness of learning, knowledge building and sharing, decision-making and problem solving, creativity, democracy?
- How do information behaviours and literacies contribute to the economic or social value of information assets or the intellectual capital of an organisation?
- How do/can organisations and communities harness their information assets to meet challenges, solve problems, survive and thrive?
- Is there a connection between information and inspiration?
- How well do our models and pedagogies for information literacy relate to real-world information contexts in workplace, community, education or home environments?
- Are new information environments changing the way people seek and use information?
- What are the methodological challenges of addressing such issues?
Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: cut red devil apple, October 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Overview of Information Literacy Resources Worldwide 2nd edition available

Immense effort has gone into compiling
Horton, F. W. (2014) Overview of Information Literacy Resources Worldwide. 2nd ed. UNESCO.
This lists some key resources in a huge number of world languages.
Photo by Sheila Webber: fluffy cat, September 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Streaming on 15 October: Methodological challenges: The relationship between social and digital worlds

Tomorrow I and Marshall Dozier, University of Edinburgh, will be presenting a talk which will be livestreamed. It is entitled Social, ethical, digital: issues in 3D worlds research and we will actually be delivering the talk within Second Life, delivered via a skype screenshare (and then livestreamed). Our talk is scheduled to start at 2.05pm UK time (see for times elsewhere in the world). This is part of a University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences seminar series on Methodological Challenges. This session focuses on The relationship between social and digital worlds and teh whole event starts at 1pm UK time.
The other speakers are: Jenny Ostini, University of Southern Queensland: How do we “get at” people’s everyday practices of digital technology? and my colleague Jo Bates, The University of Sheffield on The Importance of understanding the socio-cultural shaping of big data infrastructures. The event livestream will be here and the website is here

Monday, October 13, 2014

Christine Bruce and colleagues introduce information experience (and free chapters til 15 October)

Christine Bruce, Hilary Hughes and Ian Stoodley gave a presentation Information Experience: New approaches to theory and practice at the Library 2.014 virtual conference, in which they outlined key ideas and gave an overview of chapters from their recent book. As with other 2014 presentations, the recording can be accessed online and is here: (I had to wait for some time at each stage of accessing this, so don't give up if nothing much happens immediately!)
The book is: Bruce, C. et al. (2014) Information Experience Approaches to Theory and Practice. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN: 9781783508150. The information is here. If you subscribe to the Emerald Library collection of journals you may have access to this book included in your subscription (it is for us at Sheffield University, where I work).
Also note that there are two chapters from the book itself available free until 15 October 2014 (sorry I didn't notice this sooner!)
Photo by Sheila Webber: late hydrangea, October 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Go Digital Newcastle

The CILIP Information Literacy Group (UK) is giving £6,000 to fund a scheme "bringing together public and commercial organisations, local charities and community groups to create a digital support network for residents and businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne... The Go Digital Newcastle: Connecting Our City project will work with government, local charities and community groups to allow digitally isolated residents to access online services and gain digital literacy skills... Go Digital Newcastle: Connecting Our City is the residents’ support element of Newcastle City Council’s wider Go Digital Newcastle initiative, and provides local opportunities for those who feel digitally excluded to develop, or improve, their digital literacy; enhance their employment prospects; demystify the online world; and understand digital citizenship. This project will support people to discover that the internet can be for them, and show them that a few basic digital skills such as sending an email or accessing a bus timetable can go a long way." Announcement on the IL website: Go Digital Newcastle website:
Photo by Sheila Webber: In Lady Dinah's cat cafe, September 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Information Literacy and Further Education

There is a new page on the Information Literacy website managed by (UK) CILIP IL Group. The page focuses on Further Education, which I believe is rather like Community Colleges in the USA and VET colleges in Australia. The characteristics of FE are outlined and there is an embedded pdf outlining some questions and challenges for information literacy in Further Education, and another with an example information literacy strategy for further education.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Outside the students' union, Sheffield, October 2014

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

cfp #WILU2015

There is a call for papers for the WILU (Canadian Information Literacy) conference. It will be held June 15-17 2015 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The conference theme is Sea Change: Transforming Learning. "The phrase “sea change” is rich with meaning: the OED defines it as an “alteration or metamorphosis [or] a radical change”. The ideas of change, growth, and transformation are central to WILU, where librarians come together to learn and grow as educators, and where we are inspired through our teaching to help transform others. Our theme also points to important changes currently taking place in our profession with the emergence of the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education - a framework built on the idea of transformative learning. For WILU 2015, we invite proposals that are inspired in various ways by the ideas of growth, change, and transformation; that bring us together to explore changes that we have either experienced or inspired, and to examine the transformations that are taking place around us." There are various presentation options (talks, posters, workshops etc.) Deadline for proposals is Monday, December 1, 2014.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn mixture, Sheffield, October 2014

New articles; Bibliography of 2013; EFL; Faculty roles

The latest issue of Reference Services Review (priced journal) includes their annual annotated information literacy bibliography (the first item referenced below). Although with some bias to North America, it is still a very valuable resource every year: the 2013 version includes 501 items, 313 of those covering the academic sector (which always has the largest number of articles). At the moment it is the preprint version which is available on the website, so the articles listed below do not have page numbers.
- Detmering R. et al. (2014). Library Instruction and Information Literacy 2013. Reference Services Review, 42 (4).
- Jumonville, A. (2014) The Role of Faculty Autonomy in a Course-Integrated Information Literacy Program. Reference Services Review, 42 (4).
- Johnston, N., Partridge, H. and Hughes, H. (2014). Understanding the Information Literacy Experiences of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Students. Reference Services Review, 42 (4).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Farewell tall ships, Greenwich, September 2014.

German language tutorial for schools

Librarians in the network Informationskompetenz Berlin/Brandenburg (NIK-BB) have produced an online tutorial (in German) for schoolchildren and those commencing their studies. The tutorial has short sections on identifying your information, finding material etc. and applying the information to do your homework and is here:

Monday, October 06, 2014

Technology enhanced learning and Open Learning

There are some short videos with "highlights" from the European conference on Technology Enhanced Learning that took place in Graz, 16-19 September 2014. (The actual proceedings are in a priced publication from Springer Verlag).
The interviews are at which is part of the Open Education Europa website (worth exploring: lots of project and course listings and resources).
I picked up on this because of the interview with Rebecca Ferguson and Mike Sharples, who are talking about pedagogy in MOOCs (their powerpoint is here: there is also a video summary of the whole MOOCs session and another video is on wearable learning. Following a link, I also found a site on Social Mobile Learning which you might find interesting if you are designing learning using mobile/social media.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

cfp 7th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries

There is a call for papers for the 7th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries which takes place 25-27 May 2015 at IUT Université Paris Descartes, France. The deadline for submissions is 30 of March 2015. "we will emphasise models and initiatives that run under the budget restrictions, such as the innovation, the crisis management, the long-term access, the synergies and partnership, and the open access movement". More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tall ship on the Thames, September 2014

ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Instruction Section social media

As a result of a survey, the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Instruction Section has added to its social media presence, so that you can like/follow/engage on the following platforms:
Twitter @acrl_is
Google+ ACRL Instruction
LinkedIn User name: ACRL Instruction Section
Goodreads User name: ACRL Instruction Section
Photo by Sheila Webber: secret garden, Charlton House, September 2014

Friday, October 03, 2014

LILAC call for papers

There is a call for papers for the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference, that will be held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, 8-10 April 2015. Proposals must be submitted by 5pm UK time on 12 November 2014. This year's conference themes are: IL and employability; Delivering IL through new technologies; IL for the under-18s; Research based IL; Creative approaches to IL; Outreach and collaboration. Proposals can be for short papers; long papers; workshop sessions; symposia; Teachmeet presentations or posters. Go to for more information and to submit an abtract online.
Photo by Sheila Webber: lilac