Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Teaching information skills

PowerPoints are available for an event that took place on 7th February 2007 at the University of Northampton. The presentations were:
How does critical thinking fit into information literacy? Ruth Stubbings, Loughborough University
Perceptions of Information Literacy in the transition into Higher Education. Moira Bent, Newcastle University.
Selling coats in the Sahara: making information skills interesting? Chris Powis, The University of Northampton
So what does it mean? The impact of winning a National Teaching Fellowship. Jo Webb, De Montfort University.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Geneva, Switzerland, February 2007.

Information Skills and Staff Development

Information Skills and Staff Development: Are you doing enough? is a workshop "for anyone involved in the development of staff at universities or colleges " offered by Netskills. Details at:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New literacies sampler

From Dr Joolz' blog I learnt of a new book that can be downloaded complete:
Knobel, M and Lankshear, C. (Eds) (2007) A new literacies sampler. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

I'll select a quote from right at the end from a chapter by Cynthia Lewis (n.b. I'm not pretending to have read everything before that yet!) "As these chapters so clearly depict, young people will continue to engage in a range of new literacies during their out-of-school hours [texting, my-space-ing etc.]. The question is whether we want to make school literacy more engaging for students and more meaningful to their present and future lives in a digitally mediated world. If so, then we need to understand the shifts in practices and epistemologies that have taken place and consider how these shifts should inform our teaching of reading and writing. This volume leads the way in helping us better understand these shifts in practice and the fears that attend them. Like the beginnings of writing research in the second half of the 20th century, this project is about the making of a discipline. As such it will involve re-envisioning what will count as literacy in our digitally mediated times and how our new conceptions should shape the teaching and learning of literacy in schools." (p236)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Decorated chocolate boxes in shop window, Geneva, Switzerland, February 2007 - all those little Panda eyes!.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Items in Update

A few items in the latest Update (magazine of the UK's CILIP) , March 2007

Crawford, John and Irving, C. (2007) "IL and the petition to the Scottish Parliament" Library and information update, 6 (3), 40-41. It is also available online.
Allen, P. (2007) "Developing the best blend? From blended e-learning to blended learning." Library and information update, 6 (3), 26-28. It is also available online

Only available in print: Godwin, P. (2007) "Information literacy and the internet generation." Library and information update, 6 (3), 36-39.

There is also a news snippet on page 3 (thanks to James O'Brien for alerting me to this) "Schhools breakthrough" saying that "CILIP's Information Literacy Group has persuaded the DfES (Department for Education and Skills) that the school curriculum in England needs to incorporate effecrive information literacy training when changes are made in 2008-9". This is not absolutely definite, but things look more hopeful than they did before the CILIP group had its meeting with the DfES.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Geneva University library, entrance hall, February 2007 (I was there for an IFLA Management & Marketing Section meeting)


Photo by Sheila Webber: in memory of Steven Pimlott
Photo by Sheila Webber: in memory of Steven Pimlott, an old friend of my husband who died aged 53.
Here is a link to the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive home page to reflect one of his interests.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Enquiring minds

I have blogged about CILASS, which is focused on inquiry based learning. A project which is exploring an inquiry based approach in schools is Enquiring Minds a "£1 million three-year research and development programme to investigate how children can be effective in shaping their own learning." It is funded by Microsoft, which means there is the occasional oddity (e.g. "Wizard prompts" being identified as enabling tools rather than manifestations of the evil one which should be hunted from your MS Windows/Vista desktop on sight) Nevertheless, some interesting stuff.
Photo taken at the CILASS Academy in the Lake District in January "the inquirers set out on a walk."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

US Information Literacy Summit

The sixth annual Information Literacy Summit in Illinois, USA, Working Together for Lifelong Learning will be held in three locations, on April 3 (Illinois Central College), 19 (Moraine Valley Community College), and 24 (John A. Logan College), 2007. The registration fee is $15 and includes materials, continental breakfast, and lunch. Go to
Snowflake that I created at Make-a-flake

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Academic/ public collaboration wins award

On February 9th, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announced the 2007 ACRL Instructional Section Innovation award winner, The Community Workshop Series, created by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Library’s Instructional Services Department. The award "recognizes a project that demonstrates creative, innovative, or unique approaches to information literacy instruction or programming." The press release is at

The website for the initiative between the University and public libraries to offer free public workshops is here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Euphorbia, which seems to be blooming a little early?

LOEX sold out

If you were interested in going to the LOEX (information literacy) conference on May 3-5 in San Diego, USA, tough luck, as it apparently sold out very shortly after opening online booking on February 9th. Still, you can tantalise yourself with the programme here:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Scottish Information Literacy Project

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield morning, Feb 2007.The Project Information literacy: the link between secondary and tertiary education is now The Scottish Information Literacy Project: working with partners to create an information literate Scotland. "The project was originally set up to devise an information literacy framework linking secondary and tertiary education, the (Scottish) National Information Literacy Framework. The first draft of this is now almost complete and it is hoped to pilot it with partners in academic year 2007-8. The Project has now expanded to include the role of information literacy in the employability and workplace agendas, in lifelong learning, in continuing professional development and the adult literacies agenda. Advocacy workhas also been undertaken including a petition to the Scottish Parliament. Project funders include Eduserv and Learning and Teaching Scotland." The website is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield morning, Feb 2007.

Monday, February 19, 2007

[Mis]Information Fantasy in Science Fiction

An article which might be useful as a discussion-starter with some audiences is one by L.E Modesitt, a science fiction / fantasy author. It is called [Mis]Information Fantasy in Science Fiction. Modesitt criticises some sf authors and reviewers for assuming that every useful piece of information can be googled, whereas "the difficulties in obtaining the "right" information and data lie not just in the technology, but in the economics, in human nature, and in the requirements of society itself". Modesitt identifies issues of verification, information hoarding & secrecy etc.
He gives examples from some sf books to illustrate his points e.g. "In Neuromancer, [William] Gibson presents a world in which the problems of availability and accessibility are largely solved on a technical level, but for all that, Case, the one-time information/net "cowboy," cannot "Google" for the important information, even when his very life is at stake. In fact, the entire novel deals with all of the effort involved with just one information/data/AI management issue." The article was first published in the New York Review of Science Fiction, issue 220 (2006, vol 19, no. 4, p1-4). He has also published it in 2 parts (14th February 2007 and 17th February 2007) on his blog at

Photo by Sheila Webber: New Information Commons at Sheffield University, opening in April.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Marketing information literacy

There are some PowerPoint presentations mounted from the CAVAL Reference Interest Group conference in November 2006 Getting Your Foot in the Door: Marketing Skills for Liaison and Information Literacy. This was held in Melbourne, Australia. The ppts are:
Angela Bridgland, University of Melbourne: Marketing information literacy: necessity or hype?
Craig Anderson, RMIT: Would you like fries with that? Are liaison librarians really salespeople in disguise?
Jenny Cameron, Victoria University: Keeping your foot in the door: 101 ways to connect with your clients
Carolyn McSwiney, Deakin University: More than meets the eye: Benefits of direct feedback from incoming international students at Deakin University Library.

This conference is at the top of the 2006 CRIG past events page:
Further down the page, by the way, are some audio & ppt files recording four talks at an August 2006 seminar about new technologies (subjects were podcasting, RSS etc.)
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, Nov 2005 (taken when Bill Johnston and I were presenting at the previous CRIG annual conference).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Carribean IL

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston park
Three items: two recent articles -

Hosein, S. (2006) "Teaching Information Literacy at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad." Information development, 22 (2), 110-115.

Durrant, F. (2006) "The World Wide Web Enhancing E-government in the Caribbean: an assessment of government portals or gateway websites." IFLA Journal, 32 (3), 240-250. Whole issue at

Thirdly, a UNESCO initiative that I found out about from an entry on Michael Lorenzen's blog. The progamme "targets primary school students and community residents within the vicinity of the [Tunapuna Public] Library and aims to empower the local community through access to information and knowledge, while improving Information Literacy skills."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston park, Feb 2007.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dutch schools Information Literacy

This interesting (ENSIL: European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy) blog entry is by Helen Boelens of Kalsbeek College, The Netherlands (a secondary school with about 2300 pupils). It has introduced an information literacy framework, and the information specialist (Boelens) has been using action research on this as the focus of her doctoral studies. "The model used for the information literacy instruction is known as the KILM (Kalsbeek Information Literacy Matrix). A detailed description of the KILM will be published on 31 January 2007, during a meeting of Dutch school librarians and other visitors." Her entry has links at the bottom to articles by Boelens on the situation of IL in schools in the Netherlands, and her work.

[Apologies to those of you who saw a more enigmatic form of this entry that I meant to save as "draft" last night, but this morning I realised I'd saved it as "publish". At least it didn't have rude words in it or anything]

Photo by Sheila Webber: photo of snow falling on the front yard last week.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Talk at LIS show

My colleague Professor Sheila Corrall is giving a free talk at the Library + Information show on 18th April at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK, Developing Information Literacy: Our Mission for the 21st Century . "Information literacy is recognised internationally as an essential competence for participation in a democratic society. Promoting the profession’s role in IL is one of CILIP’s strategic objectives. Discussion about IL usually concentrates on educational settings. This presentation takes a broader perspective in exploring how all information workers can contribute to developing information literate communities. "
Photo by Sheila Webber: Firth Court, Sheffield University, Feb 2007.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New semester, new search engine

Last week was week 1 of out Spring semester, and was a busy teaching time for me. I was starting off the undergrad and postgrad versions of the Business Information module (my colleague Kendra Albright is coordinating the latter this time around, but she's doing project work in Africa at the moment), leading part of the first session of our new Inquiry in Information Mangement module, having the first session of the Information Literacy research module and also doing a short session on blogging in our Educational Informatics module. The good thing was that all of these are smallish classes (though as in particular the PGs are changing their choices, there's the issue of establishing who is in/out of a class). We use WebCT, which of course means more work managing that, but although I have many criticisms of WebCT, I HAVE now come to rely on it as well as part of my approach to teaching.

In a number of these sessions, a key task was asking students to create group mini-presentations on their existing knowledge/interests in the area. So, in the Inquiry in IM module, our first year BSc IM students were, individually and then in groups, mindmapping their current concepts of IM. There were similar exercises (though not involving mindmapping) in the Business Information and the IL Research modules. The postgraduate Business Information module is at least 50% international students, so people were able to contribute their observations on issues with business information in China, Poland, Greece and Zambia (for example, that businesses in Zambia were mostly owned by external investors, or the different cultures and market characteristics in different regions of China). These exercises help to raise issues for further discussion, and enable us to get to know the perspectives and knowledge of students.
So, finally to the "new search engine". I've also been updating material for Monday's Business Information lab, which includes looking at what search engines are useful for. One place I recommend to students, and use myself, is Karen Blakeman's blog at She regularly posts the "top ten tips" of the participants in her training sessions. This alerted me to a metasearch engine that I really ought to have known about & which I immediately saw the use of, as it enables you to switch between many of the useful engines quickly AND you can tweak your search at each individual engine easily. This is Crossengine at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Catkins in the snow, Feb 2007 (snow has melted now).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Corporate blogging again

To continue the theme of a few days ago - a PowerPoint on corporate blogging, of the "how to" variety from JPB Public Relations:

Friday, February 09, 2007

UK IL courses

CILIP’s Community Services Group’s Information Literacy Group has got a free event, Information Literacy in Schools and Further Education, on 12 March 2007 10am-4pm, in London, UK. Numbers are limited to 25. To book your place please contact Helen Harrington The speakers are:
Professor Dorothy Williams. Making connections: information literacy through the eyes of school teachers.
Dr Andrew Madden. Tracking School Children through the Information Maze.
Lynn Barrett. Assessment and Progression: Where are they and how do we move them forward?
Anne-Marie Tarter. Joined up thinking: librarians and teachers working together to deliver IL

There is also an event aimed at those in higher education Teaching IL effectively in HE on 26th February at St Martin’s College, Carlisle, UK, with cost of £50 or £60 depending on whether or not you are a member of CILIP CSG. Speakers are: Gwyneth Price, Lyn Parker, Chris Powis and Ginny Franklin. Further details at the above page.

Photo by Sheila Webber: first snowdrops, February 2007.

Petition against BL budget cuts

Although the Government has been shaving the British Library's budget, in the sense that it wasn't necessarily covering inflation with increases, it hasn't actually cut the budget before. However, this year it wants to. If you agree this is a bad thing, please consider signing an official online petition. You have to be a UK citizen to sign this. Info on the BL's view is at and the petition is at If you felt strongly you could also email with your name, contact number and a message about why the BL is valuable to you.
Photo by Sheila Webber: The British Library

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Information Literacy and IT course

Photo by Sheila Webber: It snowed today a bit,
Picked up from the IFLA list "This four-week course organised on behalf of IFLA ALP is now in its fifth year in New Zealand. The overall theme is information literacy, with special reference to needs and developments of countries in Asia and Oceania. The course will cover the basics of information literacy and information literacy training skills needed by information professionals in a variety of settings, as well as current IT applications in libraries." The course includes visits to ther libraries and is held at the Victoria University of Wellington Library. For information on the 2006 Workshop, go to

A fee of US$2600 covers all tuition & accommodation. Potential participants should send an email message outlining (1) professional education, (2) professional work experience, (3) level of English ability, (4) reasons for wishing to attend the course, (5) self-assessed IT capabilities and (6)source of funding. Please email this information to: Professor GE Gorman or Dr Daniel Dorner, Asia-New Zealand Informatics Associates, Wellington, New Zealand, Email

Photo by Sheila Webber: It snowed today a bit, so we have "transport chaos" plus lots of news pictures of (in combination) small children, animals, robins and snowmen. I used my red umbrella. (Sheffield, Jan 2007)

Enterprise blogging

Someone whose blog I'm amazed at is that of Daniela Barbarosa, who works with Factiva (now part of Dow Jones) in California. Factiva is a top source for business information (news in particular), something I have to come back up to speed with, as Semester 2 is when I teach Business Information (and lots of other things...). She evidently puts in more than a full days work, and yet she blogs immensely just about every day, including multimedia entries (e.g. an entry which combines web 2.0 and cookery).

Periodically I try to catch up, and today I notice that she did an entry on 28th January about blogs in the corporate sector, with some useful links plus some observations from her work with corporate clients. The entry is at The blog home page is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: frosted plants, Weston Park, Sheffield, yesterday morning.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Information Literacy : Making a Difference?

Photo by Sheila Webber: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with Baltic on the far right, Dec 2006.
Information Literacy : Making a Difference? will be held on 2 April 2007, Newcastle University, UK, 9.45am-4.00pm. Key speakers for this event will be Christine Bruce (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information Technology at QUT, Brisbane, Australia) and Sally Brown (Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Higher Education Diversity in Teaching and Learning at Leeds Metropolitan University). The event will be chaired by Moira Bent. This day long event is open to both internal and external delegates at a cost of £40 per person payable in advance. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with Baltic on the far right, Dec 2006.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Culture, Assessment

The latest issue of the IFLA journal has a couple of articles on information literacy:

Dorner, D.G. and Gorman, G.E. (2006) "Information Literacy Education in Asian Developing Countries: cultural factors affecting curriculum development and programme delivery." IFLA Journal, 32 (4), 281 - 293. (This seems to be the same as the IFLA paper presented at the 2006 IFLA conference: An interesting paper this, in relating cultural issues to pedagogic approaches to information literacy.

Murta, L., Stec, E. and Wilt, M. (2006) "Using Assessment as a Tool to Improve Learning: an IFLA Workshop." IFLA Journal, 32 (4), 294-307. "Assessment" here means both assessment and evaluation (of teachers/programmes). It arises from the workshop at the 2003 IFLA conference in Berlin.

You download the whole issue (not individual articles) at I was at that workshop, mentioned above, and this is where I stayed in Berlin during the conference.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Two videos

Two videos to recommend. One I heard about on the jill/txt blog, and now seems to be recommended all over the place: anyway, it's Web 2.0: the machine is us/ing us by Michael Wesch, at Kansas State University and you can find it at I already blogged about it on the Inquiry based learning blog, so you can go here for a little more info

The second is recommended by Vivienne Bernath at Monash University, Australia, and it's from the health literacy site Media doctor It's a spoof doco about a new "epidemic" at
. Some of the commenters on Youtube don't seem to have spotted the spoofiness, but one commenter helpfully mentioned the spoof article in the BMJ that was part of the same campaign against "diseasemongering", so I tracked it down:
Moynihan, R. (2006) "Scientists find new disease: motivational deficiency disorder." British medical journal, 332, 745. (nb the date of publication is 1st April, i.e. April Fool's Day). There is also a follow-up editorial commenting on how the authors of the spoof were surprised how many people were taken in, and there are a couple of amusing follow-up letters in BMJ istelf.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Plane tree in early morning, Blackheath, January 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Participatory media literacy

I was alerted by Dr Joolz' blog to the Participatory media literacy site, which (insofar as it has a Syllabus page) seems to be based aound a course. Anyway it's a wiki-type thing with a lot of useful links to good sites & resources to do with wikis, blogs etc, plus some explanatory text. It's also obviously interesting in outlining another literacy, namely participatory media literacy, meaning (I think) ability to use web-based social & communication tools (like blogs) in order to create, communicate and "participate", as well as using them to get information. Howard Rheingold appears to be lead person. The site is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Garden slippers in dappled sunlight, Kyoto, Japan, July 2005.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Umbrella 2007

CILIP's Umbrella conference takes place 28-30 June 2007 in Hatfield, UK, and it has an information literacy track running throughout. There are contributions relating to different library sectors, health, public library, higher education etc. The programme can be seen at

Photo by Sheila Webber: another view of my bird-of-paradise umbrella.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Research in practice

Research in practice is a project I came across because one of our technical people is working there as e-learning coordinator. I thought is was interesting because if its evidence-base into practice focus. It is "the largest children and families research implementation project in England and Wales. It is a department of The Dartington Hall Trust run in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Social Services, The University of Sheffield and our network of over 80 participating agencies in the UK. ... Our mission is to promote positive outcomes for children and families through the use of research evidence. ... Our purpose is to identify effective methods of understanding and using research by providing services to a collaborative network of committed agencies."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ducks on jetty, Lake District, Jan 2007.