Friday, February 08, 2008

Information Literacy for researchers: 1

I will report in a few postings from the one day conference Information strategies for researchers: where are we making a difference? organised by CONUL and SCONUL in Dublin on 31 January 2008. Moira Bent (Newcastle University) is blogging the conference too at I'll start with the talk she gave together with Jo Webb (De Montfort University) on Information Literacy in a researcher's learning life (see also their book, referenced below) , then move on to my own talk.

They referred to the seven stages of a researcher’s life, in particular identifying early, mid and late career phases, each of which had certain characteristics and activities. Similarly, information literacy and information needs could vary depending the stage the researcher was at. For example, mature researchers might want information for different purposes (keynote papers, reviews), and would already have a good picture of the information landscape. One of the key themes of the conference was that you couldn't treat all researchers the same, and this talk helped to draw out some of the differences.
Webb, J., Gannon-Leary, P. and Bent, M. (2007) “Providing Effective Library Services for Research”. London: Facet. ISBN: 978-1-85604-589-6

My own slides Information literacy: a researcher’s perspective are on slideshare, embedded below (I hope). I started by referring back to the "7 ages" model identified by Bent and Webb, and also highlighted differences in information behaviour, using some quotations from my own research. Some of the differences I mentioned were:
- Nature of information – such as spatial or molecular data, where manipulating it is part of being IL;
- Different disciplines e.g. current searches less important in English than Chemistry;
- Different kinds of personal information behaviour e.g. browser, information encounterer, searcher;
- Different research approaches (most obviously qualitative vs. quantitative);
- Different conceptions of research (e.g. focused on output vs. making a personal research journey)
I also talked a little about my role as research supervisor, research project leader and individual researcher.

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