Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where to find information

Where to find information is a guide produced for the general population "a simple and basic road map to find their way through the information maze." It is 46 pages long, compiled by Derek Kinrade and Philip Wark, and illustrated by Chris Bazeley. It is published by the National Information Forum in association with The Community Services Group Information Literacy Group of The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. The guide is being made freely available to UK libraries for issue to readers, but otherwise costs £2.99 plus post and packing from National Information Forum, PP905, BT Burne House, Bell Street, London NW1 5BZ, UK. Contact

I must confess that I was not aware of the National Information Forum, however I obviously should have been. It is "a voluntary organisation committed to encouraging the provision of information to those disadvantaged by lack of information, including disabled people, ethnic minorities, refugees, young people leaving care or custody, gypsies and travellers."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Wall of Firth Court, October 2007.

Information literacy and the use of space

This is a workshop held by the Staffordshire University Information literacy Community of Practice (SUILCoP) on 7 November 2007. It will take place at the Ashley Centre on the Leek Road campus of Staffordshire University, UK. The cost for the half-day is £30.
There is a booking form at and information on their overall programme at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2007.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learning library papers (in German)

From Thomas Hapke's blog I see that presentations from Die lernende Bibliothek 2007 ("The learning library") conference are available. This took place in September at the University of Innsbruck. Thomas particularly highlights Susanne Rockenbach's paper "Neugier! Und Zweifel! Informationskompetenz anders!" (Curiosity! and dispair! Information Literacy with a difference")
(in German)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn leaves, October 2007.

Call for chapters

There is a call for chapters for a book: Issues in Information and Media Literacy, a volume of case studies and academic papers to be published by the Informing Science Institute. For more information go to
Authors may submit a short proposal (1000 words max) for clarification of whether their submission will fit the book. Proposals should be sent direct to the Editor at by 15th November 2007. Full chapters are to be submitted by 31st December, 2007. Volunteers for chapter reviewers are also wanted: see

Monday, October 29, 2007

Critical Literacy

I am embarrassed to say that I have not been properly aware of the activities of the Critical Literacies Project based at my own university.

There is interesting material on the site (
), including a chapter which outlines and reflects on the nature of critical literacy. The focus on Friere's work reminded me of Susie Andretta's information literacy work inspired by Friere's "pedagogy of the question." My eye was caught by the "Key tenets of critical literacy": interesting also to debate whether these are tenets for IL. Certainly they touch chords with me, although the dominant mode of addressing IL does not emphasise this side of things so explicitly: to quote the first few tenets (and think about substituting "information literacy" for "critical literacy")

"Literacy is not a neutral technology, it is always ideologically situated. It is shaped by power and, in turns, shapes subjects and discourses (Freebody and Luke, 1990).
"2. Learners are differently positioned in relation to access to dominant literacy discourses through aspects such as ‘race’, class, culture, gender, language, sexual orientation, and physical abilities (Meacham, 2003; Vicars, 2003).
"3. Critical literacy practices can foster political awareness and social change (Freire & Macedo, 1987; Luke & Freebody, 1990)." (quoted from: Larson, J. and Marsh, J. (2005) "Critical Literacy." In: Making Literacy Real: Theories and Practices for Learning and Teaching. London: Sage.

As with digital literacy, there is an overlap in the concept/subject, but it is clear that they are not the same thing.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn, Sheffield, October 2007.

ISIC call for papers

The Information Seeking in Context (ISIC) conference 2008 will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on September 17-20, 2008. A doctoral workshop will be held in conjunction with the conference on September 16, 2008. Conference paper submission deadline (complete papers) is February 1, 2008. Doctoral workshop paper submission deadline is March 1, 2008. For more information go to:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn leaves, October 2007.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

LILAC call for papers open

The call for papers is open for the UK's information literacy conference, LILAC. The deadline for proposals is 14 December 2007. The conference takes place in Liverpool, UK, 17– 19 March 2008. All presentations should address one or more of the conference themes, which are:
- Supporting researchers
- Diversity and social justice
- Practical approaches to information literacy
- The net generation
- Ethical information
- Staff development and Information literacy
- Marketing Information literacy
You can propose: - Short Papers (15 minutes in length with 10-15 minutes for questions); Long Papers (30 minutes in length with 10-15 minutes for questions); Demonstrations / workshop sessions (1 hour); Symposiums (1 hour); Poster Presentations
For more information go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Couldn't find my photos of lilac: at least these are sort of lilac-coloured: Greenwich Park, April 2007.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A vision of students today

Thanks to A source of inspiration blog (
) for highlighting a new video from Michael Wesch. It comes out of an exercise where 200 of his students were ask to contribute to a Google Document (i.e. shared via Google Docs) about a students' life (by implication, in the USA). The video mostly consists of students holding up placards, pieces of paper etc. with "facts" about their lives - that they will read 8 books a year, but read over a 1000 facebook profiles, for example. However it does end with a few comments about the value of using chalk and blackboard (it makes the lecturer move about!)

Interesting, I think, as a starting point for discussion with colleagues or students themselves - does this correspond with their worlds? And if so - so what? Is the implication that because a student doesn't read books but does use the web, the learning should be more web based? Or (also) that there needs to be more time devoted to helping students understand why books (whether e- or print) are valuable, and providing support in learning how to "read" and "access" academic texts (this is my view: I'm helping students explore Second Life, but also they need to learn how to follow through and critique an argument in an article, or understand summarised knowledge in a book).

The video is at and is called A Vision of Students Today

Photo by Ishbel Hartmann: our first student on our Second Life island (outnumbered 3 to one at that point)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Librarians and Second Life

The latest discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, was What is important for librarians to learn about Second Life and what role should they be taking? This discussion was led by Maggie Kohime (Lyn Parker in real life) yesterday in the Centre for Information Literacy Research, Eduserv Island. We had some people from the UK and some from North America. The log of our discussion is at Lyn posed some questions for us, although we did not keep to these strictly:
1. Librarians need to be able to operate in SL in order to see the possibilities. What functions therefore do you consider to be most important and where should newbies concentrate their efforts first?
2. What things are librarians doing in Second Life? Are they different to RL activities? What scope does the environment give us to enable us to do things differently?3. What are the issues within Second Life that librarians with their various skills can help resolve?
Lyn also provided some references.
Grassian, E. and Trueman, R. B. (2007) "Stumbling, bumbling, teleporting and flying … librarian avatars in Second Life." Reference Services Review, 35 (1), 84 - 89.

Greenhill, Kathryn (2007) "Flying Librarians of Oz: Whats all the fuss about second life and whats it got to do with libraries." Presentation to the National Library of Australia on 14 February 2007.

Hurst-Wahl, Jill (2007) "Librarians and Second Life: it's a source of information, a platform for networking, an opportunity to try out new approaches before you take them to the real world." Information Outlook, June.
The first picture shows discussion underway, and the second is of a meeting later that evening with North Lamar (Joe Sanchez in real life), a North American teacher and researcher, in the water garden I created on our island, Infolit iSchool.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Higher Education Outcomes Assessment

A useful very long page of annotated links is: Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment. This is maintained by Ephraim I. Schechter and hosted by North Carolina State University. "The list currently has about 800 links, including over 300 college and university assessment sites" inevitably with the prime focus on the USA, and on higher education. Impressive almost to the point of information overload, it lists general and subject specific documents, with the longest section having links to the section of US university websites that describe assessment procedures, policies, guidelines etc. It is also excellent in stating clearly when links were last checked and when new material was last added. The address is
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn anemones, October 2007.

Call for papers: community and workplace IL

Call for papers: The Australian Library Journal - Special Issue on community and workplace information literacy. Guest Editor: The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Information Literacy Forum. Contact: Helen Partridge Email: Full papers (3000-5000 words) are due February 15 2008
This special issue is seeking papers on any aspect of information literacy within community and workplace contexts. Contributors to the special issue may like to consider the following questions to guide the development of their submissions:
What does information literacy mean within workplace and community settings?
What strategies are needed to ensure that information literacy is relevant within workplace and community?
What are the priorities for establishing information literacy within workplace and community?
Whose responsibility is it to foster information literacy within workplace and community?
How is information literacy experienced within workplace and community?
What should information literacy education/programmes in community and workplace settings consist of?
How do you measure the information literacy success and improvement of people in community or workplace settings?
What are the economic, social and cultural issues and challenges if people in community and workplace settings are not information literate?
What skills and knowledge are needed by librarians and information professionals if they are to successfully meet the challenge of facilitating information literacy within workplace and community?
How can current LIS education help in preparing the library and information professional for facilitating information literacy in community and workplace settings?
Photo by Sheila Webber: October apple on my tree.

Monday, October 22, 2007

WILU 2008

Information on WILU 37 (the Canadian Information Literacy conference), which takes place May 14-16, 2008 in Kelowna, B.C. , is now available online at There is a call for papers which closes on November 30th. They are interested in papers on all aspects of information literacy education, including, including research, policy and practice. Sought for the first time this year are Lightening Strikes micro-presentations (10 minutes) as well as longer presentations and workshops.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, Sheffield, October 2007.

Some recent articles

Pages Pinto, M. and Vinciane Doucet, A. "An Academic Portal for Higher Education Information Literacy: The e-COMS Initiativ." The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33 (5), 604-611 "The e-COMS portal is generic and transversal, and is valid for all university students who need to acquire skills and training in information literacy, particularly in relation to the management of e-learning content. This initiative is a pioneer project in the field of library science and documentation in Spain, and is aligned with the commitment of the Spanish University Library Network (Red Espan˜ola de Bibliotecas Universitarias) to promote the creation and integration of useful teaching materials, to promote information literacy in students and to participate in autonomous learning. This is the philosophy behind the design of the e-COMS academic portal, freely available at ." I have not explored this portal, since my Spanish language skills are poor, but it is indeed accessiblee at that address for Spanish speakers.

Maybe, C. (2007) "Understanding our student learners: A phenomenographic study revealing the ways that undergraduate women at Mills College understand using information." Reference Services Review, 35 (3), 452 - 462. "This research project aims to provide an understanding of Mills College undergraduate students' experience of using information, which Mills librarians can use to develop effective information literacy instructional pedagogy. Using a phenomenographic methodology, 18 undergraduate students at Mills College in Oakland, California, were interviewed and the transcripts were analyzed to reveal the ways that undergraduates experience using information.... Four distinct ways that Mills undergraduates experience information use are revealed in the paper." (An interesting study, though I note that it only seems to have one phenomenographic dimension of variation, which seems suprising ;-)

Mokhtar, I.A., Majid, S. and Foo, S. (2007) "Information literacy education through mediated learning and multiple intelligences: A quasi-experimental control-group study." Reference Services Review, 35 (3), 463-486. "This paper aims to present the findings of a study that investigated the impact of information literacy (IL) teaching approaches, which are grounded in pedagogy, on students' level and applicability of IL competencies. A quasi-experimental control group study was carried out with 476 students, aged from 13 to 15 years old, from four secondary (high) schools in Singapore ... The results of the group reports and project evaluation done by three independent and neutral teacher-examiners, as well as those from the pre- and post-intervention tests, found that the application of either mediated learning (or close coaching) or multiple intelligences helped students perform better in the learning and application of IL skills."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Bookshops beside the Retiro, Madrid, October 2007.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Discussion on European IL meeting and ILI

Today there was a discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, in which I gave a brief report about the meeting I attended in Madrid, and Ishbel Hartmann (Vickie Cormie in RL) gave a brief report on Internet Librarian International, which also took place last week, highlighting a few presentations she had found particularly interesting. That is her in the first photo (and yes, that is a virtual squirrel by her feet, but I have now relocated it to the SL island)

The full transcripts are online. The one for the discussion about the Madrid meeting is at and the one about sessions at Internet Librarian International is at I am Sheila Yoshikawa in these chats, of course.

There were notecards for each of these sessions, which you can pick up in Second Life if you visit the CILR office. I have given the web references of the ppts from Vickie's notecard, below:

Who are the users and what are they doing? John Law, ProQuest (USA)

Virtual Libraries Kitty Pope, Alliance Library Systems (USA)Barbara Galik, Cullom-Davis Library, Bradley University (USA)Guus van den Brekel, University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

New Varieties of Search Tony Hirst, Open University (UK)

Closing Keynote: Facing the Challenge of Web 2.0 as a Disruptive Technology
Phil Bradley, Internet Trainer and Web Designer, SearchEngine Land (UK)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Information Research

The new issue of nformation Research (vol 12 no 4) has just been published at
It provides Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science. Of particular interest is the paper by Sheila Corrall "Benchmarking strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education: towards a working model" which aimed to investigate "strategic engagement with this concept in higher education and to explore the development of indicators to evaluate an institution's level of engagement.... A survey of UK universities (n=114) was conducted to identify evidence of strategic commitment to information literacy. .... The survey found information literacy was well represented in institutional strategies for information, student skills, and learning and teaching, but less evident in graduate attributes and research strategy documents. There were striking differences in the levels of engagement and the quality of strategy statements. The findings were used to define indicators of commitment and to develop an evaluation framework comprising a matrix tool and visual model. " There are also papers on blogging and on other aspects of information behaviour.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tree in the Retiro, Madrid, October 2007.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Discussion in Second Life this thursday

This Thursday the discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, features me reporting briefly on the meeting in Madrid on Information Literacy and Victoria Cormie reporting back from the Internet Librarian International meeting. It will take place on Eduserv Island in the Centre for Information Literacy Research office at 08.00 Second Life Time, which is 4pm UK time. The coordinates are Eduserv Island 200, 240, 43. In a few meetings time we will be moving to our own island in second Life, Infolit iSchool, which got delivered a very short while ago and is one of the reasons why I haven't blogged about Madrid more (I need to get it ready for students next Monday! nb. it isn't open to the public yet)
This is a sunset view of the tree house on Infolit iSchool (the main buildings are the other side of the mountain), with the more utilitarian student residences hidden off to the left. Apart from said self-built student residences I bought all the buildings off the peg for a total of about £15 rather than doing them myself or paying a designer.

Monday, October 15, 2007


SITE 2008, the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference will be held on March 3-7 2008 in Las Vegas, USA. There is a call for papers still open and information literacy is one of the themes, closing 22 October. Go to for more information

Personal Information Management: PIM 2008 takes place April 5-6 2008 in Florence, Italy, and 22nd October is also the closing date for call for papers for this conference. Information Literacy isn't given as a theme, but it seems to me that it ought to be, seeing as PIM "PIM) is the practice and study of the activities people perform to acquire, organize, maintain, and retrieve information for everyday use" The conference theme is "the disappearing desktop". More information:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Retiro, Madrid, October 2007.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Information Literacy Cookbook

A new book on information literacy from UK authors has been published:
Secker, Jane; Boden, Debbi; and Price, Gwyneth (eds). (2007) Information Literacy Cookbook: Ingredients, Recipes and Tips for Success. Chandos. ISBN 1843342251.

"This book, aimed at an international audience, provides an overview of information literacy (IL) in practice; what it is, why it’s become so important in the library profession and demonstrates how librarians can cultivate a better understanding of IL in their own organisations. It uses the ‘Cookbook’ theme throughout to provide a more informal approach, which will appeal to practitioners, and also reflects the need to provide guidance in the form of recipes, tips for success, regional variations, and possible substitutions if ingredients aren’t available. " There is more information here
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bicycle festival in Madrid, October 2007.

Information World Review

I was the featured blogger this month in Information World Review. The article is online at
I was also visited on Friday by Daniel Griffin, interviewing me for an article on information literacy in IWR prompted by the launch of the Centre for Information Literacy Research. One of the things he asked was how a magazine like IWR could help further the cause of IL. Afterwards I thought that one tends to talk in terms of getting things into magazines, rather than planning how you can work jointly with them to advocate information literacy. (I mean magazines and journals other than those specifically about IL.) I made the obvious points about simply carrying articles and case studies, but there is probably more that could be done, or a different approach ...
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cat and kitten in the Retiro, Madrid, October 2007.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

European meeting

At the moment I am attending the European Regional meeting on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning in Madrid, Spain. There are about 20 participants, from 11 different European countries, plus the representative of UNESCO (Misako Ito) and Woody Hortin from the USA. The meeting is being hosted by the Spanish Ministry of culture. Yesterday we mainly each gave presentations about developments and issues to do with information literacy in our various countries. My head is now buzzing with information and ideas (also my fingers are buzzing since I was the minute taker yesterday, as the only native English speaker apart from Woody!)

I will blog some of the information over the next week or so - I have rather limited access to the internet at the moment during this meeting and then I am with my mother again for a couple of days where I don’t have access.

I took the most notes yesterday about the Spanish contribution. I have mentioned a number of initiatives at various points on the blog, but here they all are in one place. The Ministry of Culture is very supportive (in the welcome address to us, it was stressed that Spain has a commitment to libraries and information literacy and saw access to knowledge and information as a foundation of democracy). Most encouraging! The three people to contribute were Cristobal Pasadas Urena, Jose A. Gomez and Isabel Cuadrado. The key actions from the Ministry of Culture & the Spanish IL community were:
- The meeting held in Toledo in 2006 with theme “Libraries, Learning and the people” in which information, documentation and education professionals came together There were presentations and discussions around the issues of: definition and conceptualisation (including which phrase is used for the subject); the application of IL (e.g. best practice); evaluation of IL; integration of IL into society. The key output was the Toledo Declaration on IL. This Declaration emphasises the central role of libraries and the need for information literacy education. It can be noted that this is not purely library-focused declaration, it is rather education focused.
- Creating a logo (the ALFIN logo) which could represent the concept, and which also includes the definition.
- The website - the website which is a focus for IL development in hispanic communities. The Alfin blog is incorporated in this.
- Online training for librarians. A pilot project started last year. A course was delivered this year on “multiple literacies” (multicultural, digital etc.)
- Institutional collaboration. Last March a work group on IL was created with representatives of different library sectors.

Keeping on a Spanish note, the article by Bill Johnston and I "As we may think" has been translated into Spanish for one of its journals.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Media Literacy

I have just been pulling together a few links and definitions of media literacy, so I will drop them in here too.
Some associations and organisations
Action Coalition for Media Education:
Alliance for Media Literate America:
Association for Media Literacy:
Charter for Media Literacy & the Media Literacy Task Force (UK):
Media Awareness Network (Canada)
OfCom : Media Literacy (UK communications watchdog):
UNESCO Media Education Programme

Also particularly worth mentioning is:
Media@LSE: website of the Department of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics:

A few definitions are:

“The ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts” Livingstone, S. (2003) The Changing Nature and Uses of Media Literacy. London: LSE

“the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.” Alliance for Media Literate America:

“Media Literacy may be defined as the ability to access, analyse and evaluate the power of images, sounds and messages which we are now being confronted with on a daily basis and are an important part of our contemporary culture, as well as to communicate competently in media available on a personal basis.” European Commission. (2007) Report on the results of the public consultation on media literacy. (p6)

You see a lot of overlap there with the "pillars" mentioned in information literacy frameworks (access, aanalyse, synthesise, evaluate), but a difference is the prime focus on the communications medium (rather than the underlying information need), I think.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hassocks, St Edmunds Church, Peak District, August 2007.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Supporting Children's and Young People's Information Literacy

CILIP's Community Services Group's Information Literacy Group invite has organised an event: Supporting Children's and Young People's Information Literacy in the Public Library. It is held at Derby University, Derby, UK, on Wednesday 10th October 2007, 9.15am-4pm. It is free, with Lunch and refreshments provided. To book your place contact Helen Harrington (, with the following details: Surname: First name: Institution name: Postal address: Email address: Addtional requirements, e.g. diet/access.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheep near Speedwell Cave, Peak District, August 2007.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Discussions in the CILR

There is a further series of discussions in the Centre for Information Literacy office in the virtual world, Second Life. The dates are:

Thursday 4th October. -14-15.00 SL time (20.00 UK time) "Information Literacy and Media Literacy: what's the difference?"

Thursday 18th October 2007. 08.00 SL time (4pm UK time) Discussion based on an IL article (to be selected in advance - suggestions welcome!)
Thursday 25 October, 08.00 SL time (4pm UK time) "What is important for librarians to learn about Second Life and what role should they be taking?"
Thursday 1 November14-15.00 SL time (20.00 UK time) "Inquiry-based learning in SL" All events are held in world in Second Life: Eduserv Island 200, 240, 43
Photos: there was a fireworks display in SL from the ALA yesterday, to celebrate Banned Books week in the USA.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


A recent (August) Educause paper is a short item from Michael Wesch, who produced the popular youtube video, the machine is us/ing us. In the paper he mentions a survey of his students, who (averaging out their responses) said
"I'll read 8 books this semester
2,300 web pages
and 1,281 Facebook Profiles."
Wesch, M. (2007) Human futures for technology and education. Educause.

There is also the digital ethnography blog at which features videos by his students.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheep, Peak district, August 2007.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Getting to grips

Information Literacy - Getting to grips with the Google Generation is a seminar organised by the Career Development Group London and South-East Divisions on 7 November 2007 6-8pm. It takes place in London (SOAS) Costs are CDG Members: £20, Non-members: £25; Students and the unwaged £15. The Workshop leader is Jane Secker, Librarian, Centre for Learning Technology, London School of Economics. It is aimed at staff new to information literacy. It provides some valuable basics on what is information literacy, how it relates to other 'digital literacies' and how it applies across the library sectors. More information and booking:

Photo by Sheila Webber (taken in Second Life): This is the sort of thing that the Google generation generally seem to be leaving to us elders.