Sunday, November 18, 2007

More notes from the Konstanz conference

This is another post about the Konstanz (Germany) Workshop on Information Literacy (KWIL), which ran 8-9 November. KWIL was focusing in particular on information literacy for higher degree students (Masters or Doctoral) and the website is at

KWIL was attended mostly by German and Swiss librarians, with some participants from elsewhere (notably UK and USA, and a librarian from Ghana who was a former student of mine). It was held in English, though.

I will pick out a few of the sessions:
Konstanz University. The hosts for the conference gave a talk about their project to examine higher degree students’ information literacy needs. There is a lot of information about this, and their first project on undergraduate IL needs, at
However, most of it is in German. Some interesting points are that:
- They used small multidisciplinary centre for research excellence (Konstanz University’s Zentrum für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs ) as an access point and test bed. They held a discussion to identify needs. They now see all new members of the Centre as part of the induction and also plan workshops on topics such as open access, searching and personal information management.
- They cooperated with the Politics academics to introduce a compulsory module in a politics masters course in 2006/7.
There is a lot of information given about this (including some course materials) on the above page (in German) and a good summary in the paper (also linked there):
Oliver Kohl-Frey (2007): Mittendrin statt nur dabei: Informationskompetenz und Fachreferat an der Universität Konstanz. [In the thick of it rather than standing on the sidelines: Information Literacy and subject support at the University of Konstanz] Beitrag zum Tagungsband des 3. Kongresses für Bibliothek und Information in Leipzig, 19.-22. März 2007

Imperial College. Debbi Boden gave a presentation about PILOT (POSTDOC INFORMATION LITERACY ONLINE TUTORIAL), a learning & teaching resource developed by Imperial College Library within the Virtual Learning Environment WebCT. It is aimed specifically at research students (and research staff).
- it has a section on the publishing process, including issues to do with copyright, open access etc. This seems to be the areas that is definitely given more prominence when people develop a strategy for people beyond the undergraduate level. It was mentioned by Konstanz, as noted, and also by the speaker from Manchester Metropolitan University.
- It includes some short tutorials with a “get your pilot’s licence” theme, using Flash and funky music. If someone fails the tutorial, the topic gets added automatically to their development plan in WebCT.
- They commissioned a film with student actors “Life on campus” which stresses the benefits of NOT plagiarising (rather than just the penalties for plagiarising) which is used as part of their plagiarism prevention work.
- They produced high quality free promotional items and got the university’s head person in learning & teaching to launch PILOT, making sure it had a high profile.

Mary Harrison. She is specifically appointed to support researcher’s needs at Manchester Metropolitan University Library. One thing she mentioned was a module in the MA Academic Practice (which new academics may take) which is just going to be introduced. It will cover searching, Web 2.0, Open access and managing research information.

Hannah Gascho Rempel described a 90 minute session supporting students’ literature review assignments. The interesting thing was that it was concentrating on understanding the what, why and how of literature reviews; and peers (students) who had already used tools like EndNote were given prominence in explaining the tools’ value

Nicole Krüger (German National Library of Economics) talked about an enquiry service they provide in the economics field. An interesting aspect was that, where possible, as well as giving an answer or just an explanation of how to find the answer, they would also refer people to the relevant section of LOTSE (a German language online information literacy tutorial developed by several German libraries). Thus they seemed to be seeking the “teaching moment”.

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