Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Health libraries review/ framework

Health librarians in England will be well aware of the National Service Framework of Quality Improvement for NHS funded library services in England, but this may be of interest to those beyond (note to non-Brits: the National Health Service is UK-wide but the home nations have powers which result in some differences in policy and practice).
The report identifies three "key business objectives" for library services: Commissioning, Access and information/knowledge services staffing. Information literacy is the only subsection within Access. The associated outcome is that "Library/knowledge services provide opportunities to develop information literacy and evidence based health skills. ... All those who work to improve patient and population health are aware of pertinent services and resources and know how to use them." The goals include developing a national information literacy curriculum and "Training should be provided by staff that have completed a teaching skills course" Close liaison with higher education and public libraries is recommended. You can find both the Framework document and the review of library services at

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free information literacy research event 13 August

Centre for Information Literacy Research: summer event
Date: August 13th 2008, 1.30-4pm (You can attend for just part of the programme if they wish)
Place: Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Regent Court building, Regent Street, Sheffield (see
(Building 166 at G3) or (Multimap)
Description: This free half day event presents a keynote from a visiting academic plus reports on research and activities in progress. With a focus on higher education, the talks will appeal to anyone interested in information literacy in different disciplines and contexts. . Email if you would like to attend so that we can order the right number of teas and coffees for the break!
Sessions as follows (a little more info is here)
Welcome (from me) and keynote from Dr Yazdan Mansourian, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Technology, Tarbiat Moallem University, Iran: Implications of the information visibility model in information literacy research and practice. Phussadee Dokphrom Information Literacy of undergraduate students in Silpakorn University Geography Department: emerging findings. Phussadee Dokphrom will report on findings from her doctoral research into information literacy at Silpakorn University (Thailand).
Helen Dobson, University of Manchester Library and MA Librarianship programme Evaluating Information Literacy at the University of Manchester.
Maryam Nazari Conceptions of GIS (Geographic Information Systems/Science) and implications for information literacy.
Pam McKinney, Learning Development and Research Associate (Information Literacy), Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. Inquiry Based Learning and Information Literacy: a report on CILASS experiences.

Seminar in Philippines

The PNU-LISAA, Inc has organised a 2-day seminar-workshop on Information Literacy power packages on September 10-11, 2008 at the Library Conference Room, Edilberto P. Dagot Hall, Philippine Normal University, the Philippines. "Through this seminar-workshop, the Association aims to share and enrich the knowledge of fellow professionals and library personnel on information literacy with customers’ competencies in mind through: (1) introducing information literacy as a power tool in the discovery for best practices enriching customers’ library experience; (2) apply professional assessment procedures in upgrading customers’ information literacy; and, (3) create relevant library information literacy plans and packages."
The fee is 3,000 Pesos; cheque payable to Philippine Normal University-Library and Information Science Alumni Assoc. (PNU-LISAA), Inc., with account number: 470378972, or email with enquiries to Roderick B. Ramos, President, Philippine Normal University,

Monday, July 28, 2008

ISTE standards

Earlier this month ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) issued a 2nd edition of its [US] National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Teachers. This is an association that I wasn't aware of until I went into Second Life (where it is active), to be honest, but it seems to have prominence in the USA. Unfortunately the whole Teachers NETS 2008 only appears to be available in hard copy (you can order on the ISTE site). However the basic standards are at
and the top lines are that teachers should:
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

There are also various other NETS publications that you can download free at
Notably, the NETS for students 2007 ed. identifies five areas and lists performance indicators for each, as listed below. The age of students specified is 4-18 (i.e. pre-tertiary education). I have copied more detail about the third standard since it has the most obvious overlap with information literacy. An issue for me would be: how do these relate to various other frameworks (particularly for information literacy) and: aren't they rather wide ranging? Even leaving aside the issue of information literacy, I think that I would want to facilitate development of critical thinking with technology alongside critical thinking generally. Lots of scope for discussion here - but also resources to explore (e.g. there is a wiki with some examples). The students' standards are:
1. Creativity and Innovation ("Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. ")
2. Communication and Collaboration ("Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. ")
3. Research and Information Fluency. "Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students
a. "plan strategies to guide inquiry.
b. "locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. "evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
d. "process data and report results."
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making ("Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.")
5. Digital Citizenship ("Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.")
There is an accompanying "profile" document which identifies some indicative attainments for particular age groups.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Social networking resource on Netvibes

For the ARLIS conference workshops I was running yesterday in Liverpool I created a set of pages, Social Networking, using Netvibes. This enabled me to put together feeds from blogs etc, links to websites, a couple of tools like web and video search boxes, some embedded items and boxes of text for explanations etc.
The pages are at
I identified social networking tools as ones which had been primarily designed for social interaction and sharing - so I excluded Web 2.0 applications like wikis which are more focusd on collaboration, and blogs which from the start were not only social networking tools. There is a general page with some general information and links, then a page each on Microblogging (e.g. Twitter), Facebook etc, and virtual worlds (the latter page has "entrances" to 2 Google Lively rooms and then just a couple of links to do with Second Life - I don't see SL as just a social networking tool either).
Any feeedback on the Netvibes pages welcome. I'm not sure at the moment whether I'll keep them up to date or not, but I think the various links there should work for a while yet.
Photos by Sheila Webber: The conference was at Liverpool University, opposite Penny Lane (as in the Beatles song)

Plagiarism survey

Mandy Cumbridge, Learning & Research Support Co-ordinator (School of Arts), City University, has a survey on academic librarians involvement in teaching students about avoiding plagiarism: go to

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Art libraries and information literacy

I'm running a workshop for the ARLIS (art librarians) conference today (on social networking tools; I will be posting about that). Information literacy items I happened to come across whilst preparing were:
- A 43 page document (updated most recently July 2007): Information Competencies for Students in Design Disciplines at

- A 6 page report from the Art Libraries Society of North America conference 2007, covering talks from the session called Communication and Collaboration: Working with Faculty for Information Fluency

Photo by Sheila Webber: Approaching the art exhibition on Cockatoo island, Sydney, Australia, June 2008.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talks by Dr AnneMaree Lloyd in Sweden

Talks by Dr Annemaree Lloyd, School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
1) 28 August, 1:15 PM - 3:00 PM, Gothenburg University. Lessons from the workplace: Information literacy as practice. "Drawing from social and practice theory, and from empirical research into workplace information literacy, this presentation will explore the role of IL in the construction of workplace knowledge and consider the challenge this poses for researchers and educators and information practitioners." More info:

2) 29 August, 10-12.00. Drawing from others: Ways of knowing about information literacy performance. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Great Keppel Island, June 2008

Infolit blog feeds

I have put together a page of feeds to various information-literacy related blogs using Pageflakes. It is a work in progress (suggestions welcome) and I haven't been able to link to some things which are useful because of problems in getting a feed. Still there are some "personal" and association (e.g. ACRL) weblogs which deal centrally with infolit, feeds from a couple of discussion lists, selected blogs in associated areas (web 2.0 and education) and feeds from a couple of journals. The page is at

In fact my original purpose was to import this page into Second Life (SL, the virtual world), taking advantage of a tool (the Daden Navigator) that allows some interactivity with web pages inworld, but it turns out that SL can't cope with Pageflakes pages. Still, I hope the page can still be useful in the normal webosphere.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yet more papers

Libri has a special issue from the i3 conference last year. Libri makes papers open access after one year, but at the moment these articles are for subscribers only: see
- Carol Kuhlthau: From Information to Meaning: Confronting Challenges of the Twenty-first Century
- Stefan Ek and Gunilla Widen-Wulff: Information Mastering, Perceived Health and Societal Status: An Empirical Study of the Finnish Population
- Louise Limberg et al: What Matters? Shaping Meaningful Learning through Teaching Information Literacy
- Anna Lundh and Louise Limberg: Information Practices in Elementary School
- David Streatfield and Sharon Markless: Evaluating the Impact of Information Literacy in Higher Education: Progress and Prospects
- Helen Partridge et al: Community Information Literacy: Developing an Australian Research Agenda
- Lynn Connaway et al: Sense-Making and Synchronicity: Information-Seeking Behaviors of Millennials and Baby Boomers

Thanks also to Jacqui Weetman DaCosta who alerted the lis-infoliteracy list that issue 114 (Summer 2008) of New Directions for Teaching and Learning is devoted to information literacy. The journal home page is at:

Jacqui also mentioned 2 new books:
Cook, D. and Sittler, R. (eds) Practical pedagogy for library instructors: 17 innovative strategies to improve student learning. Chicago: ACRL, 2008
Cox, C.N. and Lindsay, E.B. (eds) Information literacy instruction handbook. Chicago: ACRL, 2008.
I think that they are also the publishers of Christine Bruce's new book which comes out later this year.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Great Keppel Island, Australia, June 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

LOEX 2009

The 2009 LOEX Conference (the major US information literacy conference) will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 30 - May 2, 2009. See

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Infolit papers at the World Library and Information Congress

There are a number of presentations relevant to information literacy at the World Library and Information (IFLA) Congress which takes place in Quebec next month. Presenters provide full text papers for the IFLA website, and the ones linked below are already on the site. In the end they are translated into several languages as a rule: some of the items below are already available thus, and more translations are likely to go up after the conference. The papers are all linked from one very long "Programme" page

Firstly, there is a substantial session on Wednesday 13th August organised by the Information Literacy and Academic and Research Libraries IFLA Sections. Return on investment: learners’ outcomes in information literacy. Do they really learn?
- Indicators on ‘information literacy’ and the Information for All programme; a challenge for libraries by Simon Ellis (Head of Science Culture and Communications, UNESCO Institute for Statistics)

- Quels enseignements retenir de l'évaluation des competences documentaires des étudiants qui accèdent à l’enseignement supérieur en Communauté française de Belgique? by Bernard Pochet (Gembloux Agricultural University, Gembloux, Belgium) and Paul Thirion (Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium)

- Could learners outcomes in information literacy be measured: pluses and minuses of testing by Natalia Gendina (Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts, Kemerovo, Russian Federation)

- More than mere collections: portfolio’s as direct and authentic - assessment of information literacy outcomes by Barbara D'Angelo (Arizona State University, Mesa, USA)
- We have evidence, they are learning: using multiple assessments to measure student information literacy learning outcomes by Gabriela Sonntag (California State University in San Marcos, San Marcos, USA)

- Students’ perspective of the information literacy program offered by the University of the South Pacific by Gwen Noeline Mar (University of the South Pacific Library, Suva, Fiji)
- Appropriation du questionnaire d'auto-évaluation des connaissances informationnelles par les bibliothécaires: le cas des sciences de l'éducation et de l'anthropologie à l'Université de Montréal by J-F Durnin and Catherine Fortier (Montreal University Libraries, Montréal, Canada)

Interesting papers elsewhere on the programme are:
Do librarians like to learn online? by Debbi Boden (University of Worcester,Worcester, UK) and Ruth Stubbings (Pilkington Library, University of Loughborough) (This is about e-learning initiatives for information literacy education for library staff)

Information Literacy by Design: An e-Learning Wiki for Librarians by Corinne Laverty (Queen’s University, Canada)
and the wiki she is speaking about is at

Scholarly E-reading Patterns in Australia, Finland, and the United States: A Cross Country Comparison by Carol Tenopir, Concepción s. Wilson, Pertti Vakkari, Sanna Talja and Donald W. King

An innovative ICT solution to steer rural communities to global understanding: a case study from Durban, South Africa by Elizabeth Greyling (Senior Systems Librarian, eThekwini Municipal Library, Durban, South Africa) and Ronel Smith (Project Leader, Digital Doorway, Meraka Institute, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa)

I have also highlighted some papers to do with Web 2.0 here
Photos by Sheila Webber: Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia, June 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Plagiarism: workshop + reports on conference

1) A Plagiarism workshop: what is plagiarism and how can librarians help students avoid it? is led by Judy Reading, User Education Co-Ordinator, Oxford University Library Services for the Education Librarians Group (CILIP). It takes place on 11 September 2008 at the University of Cambridge, UK, book by emailing Libby Tilley

2) The 3rd International Plagiarism conference took place in June 2008. The conference website is at: - they say they will put up the proceedings but they aren't there yet. In the meantime there is a very useful conference report in the Plagiarism Today blog at
. There is another from Debora Weber-Wulff, here (both bloggers note the shift in emphasis from punishment/detection to plagiarism prevention), and she also runs a plagiarism portal in German, Portal Plagiat, at Lastly, what Gerry McKiernan terms the "Director's cut" of his keynote at the conference is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Derwent river, Tasmania, July 2008

Google Lively

I have signed up with Google Lively, another free virtual world, though rather limited in functionality at present. This is me in my "room" trying to work out whether it has applications for information literacy.

If you are a Google Lively user (the application can be downloaded free at you can enter the room below. The video streaming from Youtube (into the little TV) is "IC Girls" - a music video made in/about the Information Commons at Sheffield University.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Services Group Information Literacy Framework

NHS Scotland NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Services Group has produced an Information Literacy Framework to support the development of information literacy among healthcare staff, patients and carers. "The Framework is intended to support the development of improved, confident information-use among the workforce and general population of Scotland, envisioned by the Scottish Government in its action plan Better health, Better care."
A draft of the Framework is at
and comments are welcome via a discussion forum at
Photo by Sheila Webber: mailboxes, Port Julia, Australia, July 2008

Up Close and Personal

A one day conference Up Close and Personal: our changing roles in a digital learning age is held in Ormskirk, Uk, on 5 September 2008. The conference is organized by NoWAL (North West Academic Libraries) Cost is: NoWAL Members: £50; Others: £75. Keynote speakers are Tara Brabazon, Alison Mackenzie and Margaret Weaver. "The conference aims to explore the following strands in the context of role change and working differently: Innovative partnerships and relationships that are emerging to enhance e-learning support and experiences; The changing way that staff engage with their users for example via social software, web services, personalized learning, Library 2.0 and the implications for practice; New roles and skills emerging as a result of the implementation of technologies in the physical, and/or virtual learning environment; Skills development of our users in a digital world and the impact on our ways of working" More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Port Julia, Australia, July 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

EnIL International School

The 2008 EnIL International School on Business Information Literacy has been announced. It takes place in Rome, Italy, 13-17 October 2008. Early registration (by 8 August) is 150 Euro, after that the registration fee is 200 Euro. Special registration fee: 30 EUR for participants from the following countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine. Topics include: Approaches and frameworks to Information Literacy; Value of information; The scientific information universe; The business information universe; Tools for information access; Structure of scientific literature and scientific writing style. Teachers will be Information Literacy experts and representatives from the major suppliers of information services.
More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Great Keppel Island, June 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Information Literacy and the grim reaper

The CAVAL Reference Interest Group (CGRIG)is holding its 2008 seminar on 26th November, as usual in Melbourne, Australia. This year's theme is: Information Literacy: is the Grim Reaper knocking at the door?. In the morning there are a variety of perspectives on information literacy education, and in the afternoon a choice of three workshops: Managing your enthusiasm (covering issues such as burnout!); Getting under the Grim Reaper's Cloak: Scaffolding and assessing literature research skills across the years and Designing teaching spaces for Information Literacy.

Sounds good! For more info go to
If you follow the link to past events (on the right of the above page) and to events in 2007 etc. you will find powerpoints etc. from their past information literacy seminars and conferences.
Image is copyright Meredith Badger, who designs an attractive graphic for every CRIG annual event

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Information literacy in transition

I have been trying to catch up on other people's blogs ... there are some very useful posting on Moira Bent's. One of them is an article available for downloading free (you have to register - free - first).

Ben, M. (2008) "Information Literacy and the Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Education: Measuring Perceptions." Enhancing learning in the social sciences, 1 (1).
Abstract "How people perceive information literacy and how they think others perceive it can affect how they teach and learn. The transition from secondary to tertiary education offers opportunities to develop information literate students. Variations in perceptions of information literacy in schools and universities in the UK and New Zealand are being investigated using phenomenographic techniques. The research focuses on students studying Chemistry or English in their final two years at school and their first year at university, their teachers and library staff."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hakone, Japan, 2005

Plagiarism video

I came across this video - evidently a project for students in the US. It made me smile ;-) "Why not to party and not to plagiarise" by Michael Mohamed, Sumit Patel and Matthew Elliott.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Proceedings of KWIL conference

The full text proceedings of the Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy are now available free for download in pdf format. I did some blog reports on this when I spoke at the event last year. The list of papers is below.
Kohl-Frey, O. and Schmid-Ruhe, B. (Eds.) (2008) Advanced Users: Information Literacy and Customized Services: Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy. Konstanz: University of Konstanz. (Bibliothek Aktuell; Sonderheft 17)

Patricia Davitt Maughan: From Theory to Practice: Insights into Faculty Learning from the Mellon Library/Faculty Fellowship for Undergraduate Research
Susie Andretta: Everybody Can Be an ‘Advanced’ Learner with Information

Thomas Hapke: Between Dewey and Dewey – Information Literacy in Germany between a Librarians’ and a More Holistic View
Alexis Smith Macklin, F. Bartow Culp: Reaching Graduate Students: A Community of Practice for Teaching ICT Literacy
Lydia Bauer et al.: Collaborative Design of Ontologies: Theory, Opportunities and
Convenient Applications

Carol Leibiger, Will Schweinle: The South Dakota Information Literacy Exam: A Tool for Small and Medium-sized Universities to Document and Assess Information Literacy of Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Susanne Mühlbacher, Rainer Hammwöhner, Christian Wolff: Workplace Information Literacy in the Scientific Field – an Empirical Analysis Using the Semantic Differential Approach
Oliver Kohl-Frey: Information Literacy for Graduate and Postgraduate Students: Experiences from the University of Konstanz
Mary Harrison, Rosie Jones: Two Roads, a Single Destination: Supporting the Information Literacy Skills Needs of Advanced Users at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
Hannah Rempel: Information Literacy at the Point of Need – Literature Review Workshops
Debbi Boden: Gaining a PILOT’s Licence: Supporting Researchers at Imperial College London through the Postdoctoral Information Literacy Online Tutorial
Nicole Krüger: EconDesk – Getting the Content of Need at the Point of Need
Sheila Webber: Information Literacy Education for Masters Students: the Search/Teach Exercise

Photo by Sheila Webber: Great Keppel Island, Australia, June 2008


CILIP in Scotland is now accepting bookings for Web quests, Treasure Hunts, Hotlists and Subject Samplers, which takes place in Edinburgh on Fri 12 September.
"This workshop will introduce webquests where learners answer questions by following links to websites. It is intended to encourage learner engagement in active, dynamic, enquiry based e-learning by developing realistic problem solving activities that encourage the application of analytical, creative and critical thinking skills."
More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sails in Hobart harbour, July 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Physics information fluency

Just happened across this blog which was set up in 2006 by Pat Viele, physics and astronomy librarian at Cornell University in the USA: Physics Information Fluency, http://physicsinformationfluency.

Photo by Sheila Webber: View from Mount Wellington, Tasmania, July 2008

Reflection on LTEA2008: people as information sources

I spent a lot of time the week before last preparing for, and then running, the track of the Learning Through Enquiry Alliance 2008 conference that took place in Second Life (SL), the virtual world. The real life conference was in Sheffield, and I was running the Second Life part from a hotel room in Sydney, Australia. The focus of both was Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). There is a lot of information about all parts of the conference on the conference wiki,

In the SL part there were about 20 delegates from a variety of countries. There is information about the sessions at and in particular there is a transcript of the chat about information literacy and IBL in SL at and information on my guided tour of my 3D model of the research process at (I haven’t yet put the other chat transcripts online). I was on the organising committee for the real life conference in Sheffield, and I have (and will be) highlighting some sessions from that too. Here are a few thoughts about "people" as sources of information, emerging from one of the discussions in Second Life.

The chat about information literacy focused on issues to do with "evaluating" information, and the nature of information. I suppose because I am now fairly experienced in SL I get a bit baffled on the extent to which people assume that SL is "false" or "inauthentic", and are concerned about who they are talking to (this had emerged in a session earlier on where we had some interaction with the real life conference delegates).

Reading through the transcript I realised that because I do think of SL avatars as people, I am comparing information seeking from/about them with information seeking from "real people". One of the delegates in our SL chat talked about how people might trust him for information because you could see he owned the SL land and could tell he “lived” there. This is like someone in real life wanting directions or information about the town, seeing someone standing in their garden and assuming that person will know about the area (and this seems quite a rational assumption).
LTEA2008 in SL
Also research into everyday information seeking (and most people’s experience) shows that people ask other people a lot for information, without generally pre-screening them to see if that person is “objectively” the best source. However, you may judge from the response made, or the context, or physical appearance, or your existing knowledge of the person as to whether you will place any value on the information they give. I may have said on the blog before that, given the importance of people as information channels (in study, work and personal life), helping students develop more ability to evaluate people as information sources (in real, not just Second, life) could do with more prominence in information literacy education.

Someone at in the SL chat session mentioned that people at conferences don’t usually have to submit an ID before collecting a conference badge: they could in fact be “anyone”. At the last conference I was at, I didn’t know many people, and I am not as familiar with Australian universities, so it was more difficult to judge them from their badge. So how could tell whether what they were saying was “valuable”? I suppose I used my experience of people (“oops, he sounds like he’s got a bee in his bonnet about that…”), prejudice/instinct (“he sounds amusing”), the subject (though it wasn’t in a central area of my expertise), obvious clues (“she got a paper accepted, she must know something”) and so forth.

Thinking back to students: why are some treated by their peers as more reliable channels (for notes, advice on assignments etc.) than others? Having thought about this some more, I think I should try and bring this question (of people as information sources) more explicitly into my 1st year Information Literacy class next year.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Graduate Information Literacy programme

Back in the UK, I will be catching up with conference reports: today, thinking back to the Information Literacy symposium at the Lifelong Learning conference in Yeppoon. Continuing the "researchers" theme of the post before last, I think the only presentation on information for research students was from Jim Berryman, who talked about the Graduate Information Literacy Program (GILP) for postgraduate students at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. ANU has a high proportion (34% of students) of postgraduate research and taught Masters (or as they called them in Australia, coursework Masters) students - and the aim is to make the proportion larger.

GILP is run from a small unit that is separate from the library, and the aim is develop academic skills including information literacy. They work closely with academic supervisors and other graduate support services.

Sessions in the programme include: selecting and searching subject databases, issues in writing the literature review, producing your thesis in Word or LaTex, bibliographic software. The approach is hands-on, with the focus on 2 hour sessions with 6-15 students. As Jim said, the subjects covered and approach were not unusual, but GILP had received a prestigious Carrick Award for "programmes that enhance learning", and the way in which staff are devoted specifically to postgraduate development is interesting. There is some info on GILP at and a report on the 2006 programme at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Palm tree, Rydges resort (where the conference was held), June 2008

Web 2.0 policy and practice

This is the name of a conference organised by ALISS in London, UK, on 13th August 2008. To register contact Heather Dawson, ALISS Secretary, LSE Library, 10 Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HD,
Speakers are: Libraries and social software: lessons from the LASSIE project. Jane Secker LSE Centre for Learning Technology
- Web 2.0 at the British Library: Adrian Arthur, Head of Web Services.
- A taster: case studies from the Institute of Education: Gwyneth Price Collection Development Services Librarian at the Institute of Education
- Croydon College & FE 2.0: Thomas Butler, Library Operations Manager
- Feeds & Start Pages: Keeping Yourself & Your Users Up-To-Date: Matt Lingard, Learning Technologist in the LSE Centre for Learning Technology
- Enhancing social tagging with a knowledge organization system: Brian Matthews Leader, Scientific Applications Group STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Photo by Sheila Webber: Eucalyptus, Port Julia, South Australia, July 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Student use of ICT

I do some posting to the Information Literacy meets Library 2.0 blog, but Peter Godwin does more. He was first to pick up on the report produced by MORI on behalf of JISC: Great expectations of ICT: How Higher Education institutions are measuring up, published on 12 June 2008. "JISC commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake research among first year students studying in higher education to: 1) Understand first year students’ experiences of ICT use and provision in HEIs, particularly in light of the expectations which emerged from the first study in June 2007 and 2) Examine whether there is a mismatch between expectations and reality." The researchers did just over 1000 online interviews (partly with people that they'd interviewed for an earlier study on pre-university expectations) . There were also four focus groups.

As an educator, one of the bits I found most interesting was "Face-to-face interaction is still seen as the best form of teaching [by those surveyed]. However, the use of ICT in teaching is now perceived to be a good thing, but only as long as it is done well. Face to face interaction supported by inefficient or inept use of technology is worse than using none. In the groups, a minority had had difficulties, but for most, their teachers have a good enough level of knowledge to use ICT." (p10) This is sensible, and chimes in with feedback from students (and I don't think it is just about students expecting lecture-formats: the personal approach seems important to people, which is not really surprising).

The feedback from students on using social networking sites also chimes in with discussions from the sessions Lyn Parker and I have run here at Sheffield: i.e. that students are more comfortable on using them informally, amongst themselves, to support study (rather than having them set up as a formal part of learning.

There is also some discussion of information content "Students tend to head to the internet as a first port of call for academic research, and predominantly use generic search engines such as Google, but are then likely to check the information they find against other sources such as the library. Some mention Wikipedia as a starting point although again they double check this against references given. The vast majority (69%) like to check the validity of the information they take from the internet" (p34). Hmm. Not sure 69% counts as a "vast majority". To me this survey also says that talking about "ICT" as a thing in itself is too generalised nowadays - student reactions and expectations to applications and support are more complex.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Agapanthus seed head, Hobart, June 2008.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Information-handling training for researchers

The report Mind the Skills Gap: Information-handling training for researchers has been published by the Research Information Network. It has a particular focus on what library and information specialists can do, and how information skills training meshes with other skills training being delivered to academic researchers.
On the website you can download the report, a literature review, cases studies, and details of how the focus groups were run:
There are a large number of recommendations, with action expected from various bodies including SCONUL.
The minority of the research for this report, in fact, consisted of surveying researchers about their needs, which surprised me a bit (the methodology is described towards the end of the report).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Port Julia, Australia, July 2008.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Inquiry and psychology students

I have just made a post on the Inquiry Based Learning blog about a presentation (from the First Year Experience conference) on using an inquiry based approach with first year psychology students at Griffith University (Australia): my summary of her approach to learning, teaching and assessment is here.

Another presentation about psychology students was given at the Learning Through Enquiry Alliance conference in Sheffield a week ago. The title was Journals contain facts, unlike the Daily Mail: implementation of an inquiry-based learning task enabling evaluation of information sources (M. Jones and P. McKinney). The abstract is "Because of its intrinsic 'human interest' content, psychology is often misrepresented or trivialised within the popular media, this contrast between the media approach and the scholarly approach provided a landscape for student inquiry. Participants will be presented with a novel approach to embedding information literacy within the social science curriculum. They will be given an outline of the difficulties one may encounter in designing IBL to be delivered by a team of associate tutors and be able to engage in a critical discourse on the nature of developing information literacy through inquiry." The PowerPoint is here:

There is a blog posting on a number of LTEA2008 sessions including the psychology one at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Bridge over the Derwent, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, June 2008.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

IL at Otago University

Whilst I was a the Lifelong Learning conference in Yeppoon I met Simon Hart(shown right) [added 9 July - many apologies to him for getting his name wrong in my initial post, my only excuse is that I was concentrating too much on the technical challenges, see below, and not enough on what I was writing]. Simon is Learning Service Librarian at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has a blog at and you will find a post linking to a useful mindmapping application and also (if you scroll down) to a number of links to material about Information Literacy at the University of Otago, which are worth looking at. In fact scroll down still further and there is another interesting post about the information research cycle, linking through to an article by Lesley Ngatai "Beyond Searching: Information Literacy for Postgraduate Engineering".
Currently I am staying with my aunt in South Australia (prior to coming home), which is very enjoyable, but she just has a dial-up connection - gosh, do you get spoilt by the speed of broadband!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Inquiry based learning in undergraduate modules

Today I gave a session on the above topic at the First Year Experience in Higher Education conference in Hobart, Australia. I put a posting on on the CILASS IBL blog giving links to material on the two modules (in our BSc Information Management) I was talking about. This blog entry is here, and I am doing a couple more blog entries on that IBL blog. The extended abstract of my session is on this page (you need to scroll down). The discussion included questions about "What was Web 2.0" and people giving some more examples of having students produce posters as output from projects, and having events around the poster displays (our first year students produce posters about their projects and this has worked well).

The delegates at the conference were mostly from Australia and New Zealand, and a mixture of educational developers, student services people, first year coordinators, academics in specific disciplines etc. There is a big literature about the First Year Experience in Higher Education, including some valuable reports from the UK, and as usual it is interesting/ depressing to see that often there is not much crossover of people with different interests. For example, although there was some mention of information literacy and working with librarians by different speakers, there was a lack of awareness of (for example) the amount of work that libraries have done in developing innovative learning spaces. By the same token, I think that the FYHE literature could be tapped into more (perhaps) by the library sector.

There is work on current projects about the first year experience in Scotland appearing at (with a useful links page) and a 2006 literature review at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bridge over the Derwent, Hobart, Australia, June 2008