Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mark Hepworth blog

Mark Hepworth has started at blog at - currently focusing on conferences he is attending in South Africa. The blog includes observations on information literacy.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Yeppoon, June 2008. I'll replace this with a photo of Mark when I get back to the UK.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

6º Coloquio ALCI

The 6th ALCI Colloquium Satisfacción de Usuarios: Evaluación Integral de Bibliotecas (User Satisfaction: Integral Evaluation of Libraries) takes place September 21-23, Boca del Río, Veracruz, México. See for more information (mostly in Spanish)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Issue 42 of SCONUL Focus is now available. Articles include:
Helen Fallon and Mary Antonesa. The development of information literacy skills to support a changing postgraduate research environment: an Irish experience
Mary Antonesa. Can information literacy motivate students to become global citizens?
James Fisher and Susan Smith. To PB or not PB: making wikis work for your library
The electronic version is free at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Shells on Yeppoon beach, June 2008

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

The latest issue of the journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (Vol 3, No 2) has just been published. The original articles are "An Evaluation of the Five Most Used Evidence Based Bedside Information" and "Non-use of Library Services by Students in a UK Academic Library" and there are a number of evidence summaries (summarising research evidence from other artilces) e.g. "Canadian Research Librarians have Little Time for Scholarship" and "Students with Non-Proficient Information Seeking Skills Greatly Over-Estimate Their Abilities." Go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Yeppoon, June 2008.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning through inquiry

Just to say that I will be doing more reports from the Lifelong Learning conference, but doing these takes a bit of time and at the moment I'm concentrating mostly on preparing for an event in Second Life (see below) so the reports will come out over the next couple of weeks.

The event is a mini-conference; a Second Life (SL) based track to a real life conference taking place in Sheffield 25-27th June 2008: LTEA2008 (Learning Through Enquiry Alliance conference). Lyn Parker is presenting a talk coauthored with me on Second Life and inquiry based learning at the Real Life conference (I was in fact on the organising committee for the real life event).

The SL mini-conference focuses on Inquiry Based Learning, and takes place on 26th June from 0.00-05.00 Second Life Time (8am-1pm UK time, or 5pm-10pm Sydney time, which is where I am at the moment). It is a free event, taking place on Infolit iSchool (our island in SL). The focus is exploring the nature of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL), and its use in teaching in both RL and SL. The mini-conference is aimed at anyone who wants to discuss the potential of IBL, learn more about it and/ or exchange experience: you may be using IBL already (whether in RL teaching or SL teaching) or just be thinking about using it. Avatars can attend one or more of the sessions. Anyone who wants to attend in SL should email including their real life and second life names

Full details of the SL event are at

Information needs in the financial sector

The latest issue of Information research has just come out. One article which caught my eye was:
Miranda, S.V. and Tarapanoff, K.M.A. (2008). "Information needs and information competencies: a case study of the off-site supervision of financial institutions in Brazil." Information research, 13 (2)

Although they weren't dealing explicitly with information literacy, it seems to me that the "competencies" are essentially information literacy. Much of the information that their research subjects needed was packaged and chanelled to them using information systems. However they still needed skills in:
- making sense of the mass of information;
- analysing it to make decisions;
- recognising new information needs;
- using information management tools to handle the information.
My own interpretation of this is that the research subjects were using, in terms of the SCONUL 7 Pillars model of information literacy, Pillar 1 (Recognising the information need) and later pillars (e.g. Pillar 7: Synthesise and create). It reinforces the idea that, to prepare learners for workplace information handling, it is important not just to focus on the search/retrieve parts of information literacy education
Photo by Sheila Webber: sand crab patterns, Yeppoon, June 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

UNESCO TTT Workshop Quebec, IFLA pre-conference Event.

A further UNESCO Training the Trainers in Information Literacy Two Day Workshop is taking place in Quebec, August 8-9, 2008
Place: Room 1415, La Laurentienne Premises, Universite de Laval, Quebec, Canada
Contact Persons: Albert Boekhorst, Professor, University of Amsterdam, Sylvie Chevillotte, Head, IFLA Information Literacy Section; Caroline Stern, Professor, Ferris State University,
Please visit the website site for further information on the activity, to download an application, and to review the application process.
Speakers at the session are: Sylvie Chevillotte, Sheila Webber (i.e. me), Caroline Ferris, Albert Boekhorst, Lesley Farmer, plus speakers from (world) regional perspectives and workshop sessions.
Audience: Library, information, communication, education, training and related disciplines professionals who wish to acquire the basic knowledge and skills necessary to function as qualified trainers in information literacy .
Attendance Limited: Participants for this workshop will be limited to 25; therefore, applicants should send in their applications as early as possible. Until notified that their application is approved, they should not make any travel plans or travel-related financial commitments.
The website is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Yeppoon, Australia, June 2008

Training the Trainers in Tallinn

A UNESCO Training the trainers in Information Literacy workshop takes place on 20-21 August 2008, in Tallinn, Estonia, hosted by the Institute of Information Studies of Tallinn University and National Library of Estonia
The aim of this Workshop is to provide facilitators of information literacy with up-to-date knowledge and skills, and bring them together to discuss and share knowledge on current issues, theories, teaching and learning approaches and methods, as well as best practices and lessons learned in facilitating the development of information-related competencies.
Main topics of the Workshop include: Explaining the concept, and importance of information literacy and lifelong learning; Presenting information literacy models, programs and standards; Sharing best practices and lessons learnt in facilitating information literacy; Analyzing the characteristics of learners, their needs and learning styles; Describing ways of embedding information literacy into curricula.
School and university librarians, academics, school managers and other administrators who are involved and/or in charge of facilitating the development of information-related competencies are invited to apply. A maximum of 50 participants will be accepted to the workshop mainly from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries, and Northern Europe.
Applicants must fill out the online application form on the Workshop website ( before the July 20th. Communications of all kinds should be directed to Sirje Virkus:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Yeppoon, Australia, June 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

IL and Lifelong Learning

On Tuesday I gave two presentations at the Lifelong Learning conference in Yeppoon, Australia (that's a picture of the tea tent). One presentation was on Second Life and Information Literacy (I might do another post on that), but the main one was Fostering Lifelong Learning through Information Literacy education: Exploring conceptions in different disciplines and framing pedagogies for lifelong learning. You will find it embedded below (or follow the link from the title): I have added an extra slide (compared with the actual presentation) to explain a bit more what we were doing in the presentation. The abstract for it was as follows: "Information Literacy (IL) has been acknowledged as a key element of lifelong learning (Candy et al., 1994). The aim of this presentation is to explore the lifelong learning dimensions of pedagogies for IL in different disciplines. Our starting points are the categories of pedagogy for IL identified in a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). We will look at them in relation to: a.Candy Report’s attributes and qualities of the lifelong learner in relation to the ideal structure of the undergraduate curriculum described in that report. b.The competing models of lifelong learning identified with OECD and UNESCO respectively. The AHRC project investigated conceptions of UK academics in four disciplines: Marketing, English, Chemistry and Civil Engineering. It is notable that some conceptions of teaching IL focused on the requirements for the students’ course of study, whilst others focused on supporting students both in their course and for their life beyond university. For example, in marketing one conception of pedagogy for IL was Helping students understand how information literacy is critical to them, for marketing and life whilst another was of Upgrading students’ information toolbox at an appropriate point (of the course). We will reflect how these differing approaches relate to different aspects of Candy’s model/structure. Similarly, some conceptions focused more on students’ development as people and citizens (thus with more connection to the UNESCO view), and others on students’ development as practitioners. The discussion will be augmented by evidence from the literature and the authors’ experiences of implementing IL in the University curriculum, including Webber’s work as a CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences) Fellow at the University of Sheffield.

Candy, P., Crebert, G. and OLeary, J. (1994) Developing lifelong learners through undergraduate education. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. National Board of Employment, Education and Training Report; 28.
publications_resources/profiles/nbeet/hec/ developing_lifelong_learners_through_undergraduate.htm

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Approaches to web searching, and teaching it

Today there is an "Information Literacy Symposium" at the Lifelong Learning Conference.
Currently Sylvia Edwards and Lynn McAllister are talking about the modules they have developed building on Sylvia's research into undergraduate experiences of web searching. The presentation began by giving a summary of this. The experiences were
- Information searching seen as looking for a needle in a haystack.
- Information searching seen as finding a way through a maze.
- Information searching is seen as using the tools as a filter.
- Information searching is seen as panning for gold.

She has described this research in a website: If you click the link to the Flash animation you will go to a site that includes animations that portray each category - if your computer does Flash, do explore this area (the link is in the middle of the paragraph of the site's home page).
Sylvia went on to describe variation theory - which regular blog readers will remember is an approach I am taking with our new Education for Information Literacy module. You are helping students understand by designing learning which brings out the differences in different approaches to (in this case) web searching (in my case, teaching information literacy).

Lynn took over to describe the online modules (ROSS:Reflective Online Searching Skills) that are based on Sylvia's work, developing students in all of the "lenses" on web searching. The module is also based around a cycle of action and reflection. ROSS "was developed as an online learning tool to help students develop their skill and knowledge in online searching." Last year it was embedded in two first year units, in Science Faculty and in the IT faculty. The latter is a 3rd year module, with coursework assessment. They work on an information consultant's report as one of their assessments, and they work through ROSS whilst they are doing this. Ross starts with a video of a client interview (helping students identify client information needs).

Adapting ROSS to the Environmental Science programme involved quite a lot of change, bearing in mind the lecturer's preferences, the students' learning styles etc. There is less text and are fewer activities. It includes a communication area, as the student expressed a need for this. This ROSS was based on the "dead fsh" problem, and there was then a version for Engineering, similar to Environmental Science, but with a problem about bridge construction.

Student feedback indicated students liked being led through, they thought there ws still too much text. They also wanted the work to be assessed (i.e. wanting direct reward for doing it rather than seeing how it will help them in getting better marks elsewhere). If you want more information, there is a Publications section on Sylvia's website, as noted above, and there is a paper here.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dawn, Yeppoon, Australia, June 2008.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lana Jackman talk

I am blogging from the Lifelong Learning Conference in Yeppoon Australia. Today's first keynote is by Lana Jackman, co-Chair of the National forum on Information Literacy in the USA. I'm having a go at liveblogging it, though I will probably do a bit of editing afterwards. There is more info about her at
and about the NFIL generally at

She described work as chair as "one of my most passionate activities". It may be time of change for NFIL, since they are becoming non-profit corporation, with the current members serving in an advisory capacity as trustees and adopting a social enterprise structure. This is a movement from the current non-profit organisation. They are also likely to have a new home at Purdue University, which is already very committed to information literacy. The official announcement will be make n 2009. The mission of NFIL is "mainstreaming information literacy and lifelong learning philosophy worldwide" and she stressed need for IL and Lifelong Learning (LLL) abilities in current world.

Dr Jackman called IL an "all terrain vehicle that drives us over challenges" and later on she talked about Information as an "Asset based approach" toLifelong Learning (LLL). She identified competitive advantage, of interest to all countries, as dependent on IL and LLL. She also showed a video about "boundary crossing" leadership in the healthcare section, including looking across ethnic, sectoral and cultural boundaries, to address issues and achieve social change.

Dr Jackman saw NFIL as a boundary-crossing organisation: she wants it to move still further in this direction. She took the phrase "Leadership is hope in action" as inspirational in this context - and emphasised the need to go outside the library world to show how IL can impact in other spheres. Engaging the member 93 NFIL organisations "beyond allegiance" was challenging (i.e. beyond them just signing up to the idea of IL, but rather taking it up within their organisations in a more active way.

Dr Jackman talked about milestones of NFIL, founded in 1989 by Patricia Senn Breivik, who led NFIL until recently. These include being instrumental in setting up the Prague and Alexandria meeting that have been so important for the international development of IL.

One slide compared key skills as defined by the American Library Association with standards which are being drafted by the National ICT literacy Policy Council. There is some information about this at I wasn't quite clear of why this was happening, as it seems to me to be taking IL back into the "part of ICT" area, which doesn't seem s agood thing. I may get a chance to ask Dr Jackman more about this.

The NFIL's challenges are: Getting more evidence based research; boundary crossing leadership; "community based participatory research" (involving the community itself in research, and adapting results to real-world environments see e.g.; a diffusion strategy; National ICT literacy challenges (Apparently in the US the digital divide is now being underplayed by the US Government); an enhanced NFIL network. Dr Jackman's challenge to everyone was to go out, outside our comfort zones and do something about IL

SLAMIT Course 2008:

The SLAMIT Course 2008, which focuses on School Libraries as Learning centres, takes place in Druskininkai/Alytus, Lithuania on 19th October – 24th October 2008. Ross Todd keynotes with "School libraries and learning - what are the challenges? "

By the way, I am now in Australia, attending the Lifelong Learning conference. I will make some reports from that, particularly the Information Literacy symposium that starts tomorrow.

Friday, June 13, 2008

PPts from Scottish conference

The presentations from the CILIP Scotland conference are online. There are 2 directly concerning information literacy: Information literacy: tools and resources "An introduction to the Information Literacy Framework and Portal for health information. Presented by Eilean Craig and Rob Westwood" and Teaching information literacy to the net generation "A description of how the National Library of Estonia is teaching information literacy skills to young people, presented by Hela Ojasaar" All the presentations are on Slideshare at, scroll down to see the Info Literacy ones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What does your Facebook say about you?

This was a session led by Lyn Parker and me on 10 June 2008 at Sheffield University; an event of the Information Literacy Network of CILASS (Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences). We were highlighting some issues concerning privacy, data protection, intellectual property, social/academic roles etc.
I have put the PowerPoint on Slideshare, and this includes slides which record points raised by participants in the session (who were a mixture of lecturers and other staff at the university, plus one student): The same evening there was a discussion with a few people (from the USA) on the same topic, but held in the virtual world, Second Life. There is a transcript of the session at

Some recent articles of interest

Harris, B. (2008) "Communities as Necessity in Information Literacy Development: Challenging the Standards" Journal of academic librarianship, 34 (3) , 248-255. "Contemporary standards suggest that information literate activity is a solitary process. As a corrective, research and pedagogical theories related to “learning communities” and “communities of practice” have become valuable sites of inquiry for librarians. The author provides strategies for making community a topic of instruction."

Jacobs, H. (2008) "Information Literacy and Reflective Pedagogical Praxis. " Journal of academic librarianship, 34 (3) , 256-262. "Drawing on discussions within Composition and Rhetoric, this article examines information literacy pedagogy. It considers how academic librarians can work toward theorizing our profession in such a way that we may ask new questions of it and foster creative, reflective, and critical habits of mind regarding pedagogical praxis." A North American focus. I like her subheading "thinking outside the rubric".

Korobili, S., Malliari, A. and Christodoulou, G. (2008) "Information literacy paradigm in academic libraries in Greece and Cyprus." Reference Services Review, 36 (2), 180 - 193. "The purpose of this study is to investigate the attitudes and perceptions of Greek librarians regarding information literacy programs and their preparedness for such programs. ... Most libraries do not deliver information literacy programs, but some kind of library instruction."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Copper beech leaves, June 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Joan Ganz Cooney Center

More about digital literacy than information literacy - but I thought this Center's website had some interesting stuff on it (the Center was launched about 6 months ago). "Forty years after Joan Ganz Cooney's landmark study stimulated the creation of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop has established a new center devoted to accelerating children's learning in a rapidly changing world. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center will focus new attention on the challenges children face today, asking the 21st century equivalent of her original question, "How can emerging media help children learn?" " A recent addition is a report rather off-puttingly entitled The Power of Pow! Wham!: Children, Digital Media and Our Nation's Future: three challenges for the digital age. One of the challenges is "Rethink literacy and learning for the digital age" and critical thinking (with information/data) is mentioned.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bicycles, Sheffield University, Fresco effect, June 2008.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Information Literacy : International Perspectives

Another new book:
Lau, J. (Ed) (2008) Information Literacy: International Perspectives. K.G. Saur.
E-book-Edition, 160 pages. 87.00 EUR. ISBN-13: 978-3-598-44094-6
ISBN-10: 3-598-44094-4.

Book-Edition, 160 pages, Hardbound. 78.00 EUR. Special price for IFLA members: 58.00 EUR. ISBN-13: 978-3-598-22037-1; ISBN-10: 3-598-22037-5.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Apple blossom, May 2008.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Plagiarism & citing resources

A couple of interesting sites I came across recently:
Glasgow Metroplolitan College's library guides in multiple languages and podcasts about plagiarism:

Queensland University of Technology's CITE/WRITE site:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bee on my apple blossom, May 2008.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Expanding/Enhancing Information Literacy Using In-World Tools

The transcript of the discussion on Expanding/Enhancing Information Literacy Using In-World Tools, held on Infolit iSchool in the virtual world, second Life, is now available at
The discussion took place on 29 May 2008. It was led by Robin Ashford, a US librarian (Robin Mochi in Second Life). Robin introduced the SLOOg and the Salamander tools, explained their uses and responded to questions (basically these tools allow you to bookmark and tag inworld locations). Robin provided a handout with some core definitions, links and explanations, which can be downloaded from
People had the opportunity to get copies of the tools themselves and the vendors for these are now the Centre for Information Literacy Research building on Infolit iSchool ( )

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Media Literacy

Thanks to Albert Boekhorst for drawing my attention to
Media Education: A Kit for Teachers, Students, Parents and Professionals, which was has been published in English and French by UNESCO in early 2007 (it is dated 2006).

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, may 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Las VI Jornadas CRAI : presentations

Most of the powerpoints from the conference Las VI Jornadas CRAI tratarán: Las competencias en información en las nuevas enseñanzas universitarias (held in Pamplona, Spain) are online at
- you will see the links after the name and titles of the speakers. They are in Spanish apart from my talk (this is the same ppt as I posted to Slideshare and blogged about a few weeks ago). The powerpoint from Carla Basili is not online (it was presented in Italian) but she has directed me to an English-language version of the paper she presented, namely "Theorems of Information Literacy" at

Photo by Sheila Webber: young leaves in Yamaguchi Park, Pamplona, May 2008

New book: Navigating information literacy

There is a new text book about information literacy published in South Africa:
Bothma, T. et al (2008) Navigating information literacy: your information society survival toolkit. Cape Town: Pearson. ISBN 9781770252219. 196pp.
This is a revised edition of a previous publication, and it has an A4 format with many illustrations. The contents are: Information literacy; Information sources and resources; Portals, gateways and library websites; How to construct a search query; Internet searching; Searching databases and online journals; Organising and retrieving information on your computer; Ethical and fair use of information; Referencing and reference techniques; How to evaluate information and information sources; Writing assignments and research reports; 21st Century communication.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Chair, Glimmingehus, Sweden, May 2008