Sunday, August 31, 2008

UWA IL strategy development

This is another catch-up post from conferences I've been to. This is one from the Lifelong Learning conference in Yeppoon, Australia, held in June 2008. Pam Barnett, Ruth Browne, Carol Hicks, Philomena Humphries and Felicity Renner's presentation described their initiative at the University of Western Australia to develop a strategy for information literacy. The UWA strategic directions statement on information literacy is here. The reference librarians at UWA developed a forum which:
- examined the literature & other developments by national associations etc.
- discussed the role of the librarian, particularly in rtelation to teaching
- different approaches to delivering IL education
They decided that an online approach was pragmatically a good approach to deal with the large number of students (material could be reused and it avoided time consuming face to face), and responding to students' liking of online.
Other aims had been equity of access and 24/7 - so online was seen as fitting with that. There are compulsory first year programmes ("IRIS"), the subject of another presentation at the conference.
A discussion document has been drawn up by the Forum, which is leading to an action plan for IL across the university. They aim to identify "best practice" guidelines; secondly they want access to information skills training for all students; and thirdly they want to develop material for postgraduates.

There is information on IRIS at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rydges resort, Yeppoon, Australia where the conference was held.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talk from US educator North Lamar on his teaching in Second Life and IBL

On 28 August at 12 noon Second Life (SL) time (this is 8pm UK time) North Lamar will talk about and lead discussion on his teaching activity in SL, and also its relationship with Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). North (Joe Sanchez in real life) has been teaching in SL for several semesters and is also a leader in the Educators’ Coop. This is the latest in the series of discussions on Infolit iSchool in the Centre for Information Literacy Research Series.
The session, which lasts an hour, will take place on Infolit iSchool, in the virtual world of Second Life. You will need to have a SL avatar to attend. The SLURL is (nb you must have the SL browser installed to be able to use this). Note that SL time is the same as US Pacific time.

Information Literate in Second Life

I gave two presentations at the Creating Knowledge conference last week. One of them was reporting, for the first time, some results of my students' investigation into information behaviour in Second Life. Here is the presentation from Slideshare: at the actual conference I gave a little bit more information about the results. First year students on our BSc Information Management programme interviewed people in Second Life and analysed the results in relation to "Real Life" models of information behaviour. The presentation starts with information about the class, and about Inquiry Based Learning, as well as giving some information about Second Life.
Information Literate in Second Life
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: sl life)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chapter call: collaborative assessments

I am working on some more reports from the CK5 conference, but in the meantime ... There is a call for chapter proposals for a book, Collaborative Information Literacy Assessments, to be published in 2009 by Neal-Schuman Publishers. "This book will include chapters co-authored by librarian and faculty teams about successful information literacy assessment initiatives in a variety of disciplines. As a follow-up to our first two books Information Literacy Collaborations That Work (2007) and Using Technology to Teach Information Literacy (2008), this new book will examine collaborative assessment strategies and case studies at the course and program level ... Chapters need to be co-authored by a librarian and a faculty member. Also, each completed chapter should include the following sections: Introduction; Related Literature; Institutional Context; Disciplinary Perspective; Discussion of the Faculty Librarian Collaboration; Assessment Model; Examination of Assessment Results; Impact on Student Learning; Assessment of the Assessment; Conclusion." Send proposals of 1-2 pages to Tom Mackey at no later than October 17, 2008 (also contact him with any questions). First drafts of the accepted vchapters (25-30 pages) will be due on January 30, 2009.
Photo by Sheila Webber: part of CK5 conference dinner, August 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nordinfolit summer school 2009

An announcement was made of the next Nordinfolit summer school with the title Library education: wired (as in networked/Web 2.0-ed etc and as in distance learning). Themes include teaching-the-teachers and using peer-students and teachers. As may be obvious from series title this series is held in the European summer - so probably June next year. The venue will be the West Jutland coast. I think more details will be listed here in due course
Photo by Sheila Webber: waiting for dinner, August 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Evidence Based Practice

At the start of the week I blogged about the Norwegian tutorial Search and Write (available in English and Norwegian). At the Creating Knowledge conference in Turku, Finland, Therese Skagen (University of Bergen Library, Norway) talked about this project in the context of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) and use of projects to develop EBP. She identified some challenges to EBP including time allocation, dissemination (within and outside the library), competences (in research and planning), and resources. Management needs to be supportive, and you need to believe that research can be of value to the organisation.
She suggested trying out EBP in a small area of the library service to begin with. Therese saw gains from EBP in terms of, for example, your own learning, strategic understanding or (organisationally) increased quality of service and better morale.
She went on to talk about the project of making the Search and Write tutorial. It was EBP as they did research beforehand and took an evidence based approach to developing and evaluating it (including drawing out lessons for future project work). Three university libraries collaborated on teh project: University of Bergen, Bergen University College, and Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.
To start with they researched information searching and academic writing, plus they looked at experience from practice within 4 university libraries. They managed to get funding (I think from the Norwegian Open University): someone I was talking to here noted that the fact is that projects which get some proper funding (whether from inside or outside the institution) do have more of a chance of being successful.
A work group for Search and Teach was formed to work on the tutorial; group members came from the 3 different libraries, so they had to "form" as a group. They also had an advisory group with faculty memebrs and other librarians. As well as the actual tutorial, there is a handbook for librarians (in Norwegian) sok & skriv for kursholdere (handbook for librarians) and there will be an article on the pedagogical considerations in the next issue of Communications in Information Literacy (volume 2 issue 1 I assume).
Challenges included the amount of time needed to develop the tutorial, cooperation with partners outside project (someone in the audience, from another university, said that the work group had done a good job of communicating), marketing, and updating the pages (a challenge for the future).
Positive aspects were: success (and experience) in applying for funds, influence on decision making, larger understanding of how the organisation works, developing their role as educators and other professional development.
Someone in the audience asked why the group hadn't used a virtual learning environment - the answer was that this was because the 3 universities developing it had three different systems! I must say I'm grateful, as in its current open form on the web it can be used by everyone.
There is some further information about the project in English at:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Loistokari island, Finland, where we had the conference dinner, August 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Plagiarism and ethics

There were acouple of talks today at the Creating Knowledge conference on plagiarism and ethical issues concerning information. Susanne Holmlund presented on the situation at the Tritonia Academic Library (serving 3 universities in Vaasa, Finland). They provide information literacy education in 3 languages. Obviously there is a challenge in that there are 3 universities, with their different organisational cultures, curricula and approaches to dealing with information literacy - and plagiarism. In the specific library field, there are different licenses for e-journals and databases too!
They have tried to take a more standard approach to IL education, but inevitably they need to tailor them to specific university needs to a greater or lesser extent. With the University of Vaasa they have 2 credit bearing information literacy courses, plus a credit-bearing course for doctoral students on research ethics. On the IL course 1 there is a strong emphasis on ethical issues such as plagiarism and research ethics, as well as information evaluation. There is a pre-test and if people pass this they can be exempted fron attending the rest of the course. The second course concentrates more on putting the students' skills into practice.
One current discussion is whether the current emphasis on online teaching, especially in course two, is most effective: some feel that ethical issues are best discussed face to face. They are also debating whether teaching of research ethics could be done by student teaching assistants (teaching these courses takes up a lot of staff time). Use of wikis for learning and teaching is also being considered.
An interesting exercise she mentioned was a role play in which students had to take the part of different stakeholders e.g. publisher, students, and discuss plagiarism from that person's perspective. The Tritonia library site is at: and there is a relevant paper here .
Eystein Gulbeck (University of Oslo) gave an interesting talk about Discourses on plagiarism and the pedagogic sanctions. He identified that students might see a contradiction in being told to write in their own words and being told to use and cite the literature: an issue here is being socialised into the academic culture. He felt you could link various statements on these issues into different discourses - the formal one of regulations and punishments, and the one about becoming a scholar in the academic discipline. They also get messages and discussions from different places in the university, fomal and informal, written and oral.
He referred to a course Critical and Ethical use of sources. The intentions - what they wanted students to understand and be able to perform - were made clear to the students; Gulbeck, like a speaker I blogged about yesterday, referred to John Biggs idea of constructive alignment (of learning, teaching and assessment). Since a focus on regulations and checking for cheating was not felt to encourage critical thinking, the focus was on group based activities assessd on evidence of critical reading and academic reasoning. Students discussed ways of rewriting examples, learning how to express views in different styles and summarise. In commenting on the course students mentioned both developments in writing and critical reading, and also improvements in ability to cite and avoid plagiarism.
Photo by Sheila Webber: view from art museum, Turku, Finland, August 2008

Social networking

At the Creating Knowledge conference the first keynote today was Mike Thelwall who talked about Information Behaviour and Web 2.0 Social Networks . He noted that top social networking sites had overtaken Google in popularity, so this is a major phenomenon. In the English language sphere Facebook has overtaken MySpace as the most popular.
Mike used danah boyd's (sic) definition of a social network site (SNS): that it allows a person to make a profile, articulate a list of other people and "view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system". Looking at other people's friends is a popular occupation, as is finding out what others' are doing (gossip). Anyway, apparently Youtube qualifies under this definition and some people might use it in that way.

He identified 3 types of social networking site:
Socialising SNS (recreational, for social communication) e.g. MySpace, Twitter
Networking SNS (for non-social interpersonal communication) e.g. LinkedIn (and Ning?)
(Social) Navigation SNSs - social network features to help users find information or resources (e.g. Youtube, CiteULike, connotea)
There was a question about whether Web of Science or Google Scholar would count in the latter category, but they wouldn't, as you don't have a personal profile you can control.

Mike went through a few SNSs including:
Cyworld (the most popular SNS in Korea, where most people are members)
Digg wehere you could e.g. identify an expert and follow what they were identifying as interesting news/articles - this is an example of a site where you can find information through tracking or searching people as well as by searching on subject

In terms of of libraries, uses include:
- Using SNSs to find information
- Using "friends" to give specific advice - including using people as navigation as indicated above
- Suggesting SNS as an additional source of information "or even emotional support"?

Mike's done/is doing a lot of interesting work in analysing web stats including social networking sites: his CV is at

A couple of articles referenced by Mike:
boyd, d. (2006) "Friends, friendsters, and top 8: Writing community into being on social network sites." First Monday, 11 (12).
boyd, d. and Ellison, N. (2007) "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13 (1), 210 - 230.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Turku, August 2008.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

IL for health postgrad students

At the creating Knowledge conference today, Henrik Schmidt who is in the Karolinska Institute University Library talked about some reflections from a course in information literacy for postgraduate students. Helpfully he started with the main message: that it's good to integrate the IL course in a context that seems important and relevant for the students, to construct an alignment between parts of the course, and have learning outcomes that encourage deep learning.
The context was a one week IL course for a health care research programme. The course was appreciated by the learners and he and his colleagues running the course took the time to reflect on why - which resulted in the summary above. He has also written it up as an article in Infotrend (in Swedish, see below) . Key points which he elaborated on included:
Integration - this class was planned as part of planning for the whole programme including the pedagogic approach, so that links could be made.
Alignment - with learning outcomes for the rest of the programme, the school, and also as regards content and approaches to teaching and assessment. Schmidt cited Biggs' constructive alignment model. As well as using the latter in planning, they also used it for evaluation afterwards. Interestingly, the assessment included an oral assessment in which a group was presented with concepts on post-it notes and they had tomake a concept map with labeled links to identify relationships.
Learning activities - flowing out of the learning outcomes and also aligning up with the other elements (activities included buzz groups, snowballing exercise, concept maps etc.)
Climate - this includes organisation , how feedback is give, and the way in which the mode of teaching and learning is communicated to and understood by the students.

Biggs, J. and Tang C. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 3rd ed. Open University Press.
Schmidt, H. (2007) "Constructive Alignment – en tankemodell för undervisning i informationskompetens." Infotrends, 22 (2) 47-57.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Decoration in Turku City Library, August 2008.

IL for pharmacy students

I am at the Creating Knowledge conference in Turku, Finland (using the laptop shown here). I will be blogging a number of sessions, and I'll start with ones from this morning. This is a conference of about 200 delegates, mainly from Nordic countries, particularly Finland. I'll start wth a session on Information Literacy for pharmacy students.
Heikki Laitinen talked about information literacy for pharmacy students at the University of Kuopio, Finland, where he is an information specialist. He noted that student in pharamacy are using information sources very soon after they start the course, and obviously the information needs change through the programme.
He mentioned a project amongst Finnish libraries to create doscipline-specific distance learning courses in information retrieval - this project is called TieDot. They developed the pharamaceutical course at Kuopio. It is currently available using Moodle, and at Kuopio is compulsory for all pharmacy students and is credit bearing. It is introduced in a face to face class. The content covers the scholarly publishing process as well as skills in information searching and knowledge of key sources. There are optional exercises where students can send their answers to the course tutor and get feedback. Feedback from the students was positive in terms of perceived relevance and learning, although there is a minority of students who would perefer face to face teaching.
His colleague who is an academic in the pharmacy department took over to explain aspects of teaching of information literacy in the curriculum in more detail. He also emphasised how professional accreditation means that there are constraints on what can be taught. Also the structure means that there are about 150-200 students in first years but many fewer in the final year. So two approaches are taken: the online course "pharmacology on the internet" and a critical journal club for the final year students. The online course has increasing emphasis on critical evaluation of the internet e.g. comparing an article from the web (which looks plausible but in fact is biased) with textbooks and investigating the author. The journal club has students critiquing articles from different perspectives. There are 3 relevant references:
- Macdonald, E. and Saarti, J. (2007) "Learning from other's mistakes: one approach to taeching ifnromation literacy. Liber quarterly, 17 (2).
- MacDonald, E. and Saarti, J (2003) "Pharmacology on the Internet – a Web-CT Course Teaching Information Literacy for Pharmacy Students in the University of Kuopio". Bioscience Education e-journal, 1.
- MacDonald, E. and Saarti, J. (2005) "Evaluation of a web-based course teaching information literacy to third year pharmacy students in the University of Kuopio, Finland". Pharmacy Education, 5,1-5.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Search and write

I have just travelled to Finland for the Creating Knowledge V conference, where I will be presenting 2 papers, and I intend to blog some of the experience. Being in a Nordic country it's a good time to promote a nice resource Search and write, or in the original Norwegian Søk & Skriv (the resource is in both languages). There is a basic information literacy tutorial and one more focused on the dissertation process - the latter has a week by week account of the progress of the student, Oda, as she refines her research question and gets to grips with the literature. I like that it says that "Both searching for information and writing are creative processes and the search for information is an integral part of thesis writing."
Photo by Sheila Webber: my washing enjoys the breeze, Port Julia, Australia, July 2008.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Information Literacy Assessment: Some online tools and guides

Thanks to Eva Horning for identifying this page on the IASL (international school librarians) webpage. Some of the links are more generally about teaching information literacy, but there were certainly a couple I hadn't come across before. I think I might have blogged this previously, but it is worth noting since it was checked in June 2008, and is based on information in the 2007 book by Farmer and Henri, Information Literacy Assessment in K-12 Settings (K12 being what they call schools in the USA).

Photo by Sheila Webber: Coffee in the Timeless Way cafe, Hobart, Tasmania, July 2008.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Thanks to Christine Irving who alerted me to the article:
Rich, M. (2008) "Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading" New York Times, 27 July.
It includes a video which features a family where the parents read lots of print and the children lots of online. At time of writing there were 166 comments on it as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Report from LILAC: 5

Whilst checking back through draft blog entries I came across a number of unfinished conference reports. Ooops! One of them was from the LILAC conference, the UK’s major annual information literacy confernce which took place in Liverpool 17-19 March.

As well as presentations being online there are also podcasts of the keynote speeches and I would highlight those of Patricia Senn Breivik and Tara Brabazon as both being particularly good keynotes. The keynote podcasts can be accessed from and other presenters' powerpoints can be found by clicking on the link to the relevant parallel session from the programme page at

In my forgotten draft blog post I'd described one of the sessions which was interesting in not being about IL in a formal setting - so here's what I said. Alan Seatwo talked about How information helps to promote diversities and social justice: an overview of the information literacy project involving voluntary and community groups in Liverpool. His ppt is at Alan is “Knowledge Management Specialist at Edge Hill University. He is involved in a knowledge transfer project which meant running courses for community workers which improved their information literacy skills, and he also works with community-focused groups, applying his information literacy and information management skills. With the latter activity, he gave the example of his involvement in implementing a child protection policy; locating information, participating in meetings and supporting decisions etc.

Alan noted the wide difference between large social action groups like Age Concern (which have their own library/information setup) and small groups who may be suspicious or sceptical of working with someone from an “official” organisation, and will need to understand the benefits of information literacy in relation to their specific needs. Alan said that “it takes time and trust” to form relationships (though I suppose that is true anywhere!) and also you needed to take time to understand the processes and policy in the context you were working. One other point he made (that we didn’t have time to discuss) was that e-learning was not liked much by people in this context.
As well as the ppt linked above, there is an article in issue 41 (2007) of SCONUL Focus
Photos by Sheila Webber: of Liverpool Roman Catholic Cathedral , and of lilac on a lilac bush in a park near me that has just been ripped out by the Council in the name of "improvement".

IVIG 2008

The 6th conference of the Czech information literacy working group, IVIG 2008, takes place on 25th September 2008 in Prague, Czech Republic. For more information (in Czech) go to

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Student views on assessment and plagiarism

Through a link, in ICS subject centre news, I stumbled across the Higher Education Academy audio and video pages. As well as a few keynote talks (including Laurie Taylor, always good value, although the sound could be clearer!) there are some videos with clips of students, and sometimes staff, talking about their perspectives on: (separate videos) plagiarism; assessment; marking criteria.

Photo by Sheila Webber: a less than informative map on Great Keppel Island, Australia, June 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cyberlearning: a reflection

Thanks to Gerry McKiernan for alerting me to this report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Task Force on Cyberlearning in the USA.
Borgman, C. et al (2008) Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge: A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation.

They define cyberlearning as "learning that is mediated by networked computing and communications technologies." Because arts and humanities subjects are outside the scope of the NSF (which is a funding body in the USA) those disciplines are not addressed directly. There is also some focus on learning outside formal education, though, since they see great value in using the "cyberinfrastructure" for enabling such learning. I have not studied this report properly, but my two key comments so far would be that:

a) It is a useful document in summarising trends, and providing some interesting recommendations about collaborating to improve resources, strategy and practice;

b) Unfortunately it references almost exclusively literature about e-learning, neglecting the vast literature about learning and pedagogy in general which can inform teaching practice in whatever medium. This is a definite weakness, in my view, as it feeds the delusion that it is technology itself that "transforms" education, rather than the creative practice of good pedagogy in whatever medium is appropriate. I'm scarcely a technophobe educator since I use a range of e-learning and virtual tools/ environments (Second Life, WebCT, blogs, etc etc etc), but my ability to plan and facilitate a meaningful learning path, and to use cybertools when and if appropriate, is more important.

Now I realise that there are specific political and strategic reasons for this focus, in that funding may be guided by recommendadtions, and technology and information content are more obviously within the NSF remit. However, I still find it disappointing that it has an emphasis on technology and teaching as "content", neglecting equal considerations of how you facilitate good teaching and (equally difficult) good learning. It's not as if we haven't already seen the results of this technophile approach: i.e. technology being used in pedagogically poor way that isn't much help to learning.

Perhaps I'm just a cynical Brit, but I can't help responding to the scenario of a "high school student in the year 2015" (given in the introduction) by thinking that it is a bit naive. Installing the cyberlearning technology is less difficult enabling educators to incorporate it into an effective pedagogy and motivating students to engage with it meaningfully. e.g. it says that "At school, she [the high-schooler of 2015] and her classmates engage in creative problem-solving activities by manipulating simulations in a virtual laboratory or by downloading and analyzing visualizations of realtime data from remote sensors." hmmmmm - an alternative scenario is:

Learning facilitator (brightly): "and now we are going to create a wonderful collaborative 3D collage of the environmental impact of YOUR neighbourhood by downloading and anlysing these really funky visualisations and statistics and mashing them all together in a really cool way! And you'll get credit! Won't that be fun!"
High school student 1: rolls eyes
High school student 2: does mime of putting fingers down throat and being sick
High school student 3 (looks up from texting her friend): "We were supposed to have listened to that really dull podcast about this, weren't we"
High school student 4: "How MANY credits was that?"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Presentations from information literacy seminar

Yesterday we held a Centre for Information Literacy Research event here in Sheffield, with five presentations from current or former postgraduate students. The photo shows (l to r) Yazdan Mansourian, Phussadee Dokphrom, Maryam Nazari and Pam McKinney (the remaining speaker was Helen Dobson).

There are two of the powerpoints online in pdf form: The first, from Dr Yazdan Mansourian draws on a model of “information visibility” that he developed as a main outcome of his doctoral research. This model has been used with students at Sheffield university and in two universities in Iran to help students understand their own information behaviour better. The powerpoint (see ) presents the model and the results of using the model with British and Iranian students.

The second paper, from Pamela McKinney, explains the work of the Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS), based at the University of Sheffield and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. She identifies 4 ways in which she and the library have worked with academics to develop information literacy in specific modules or programmes. Her powerpoint is at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Institutional engagement in USA

Thanks to the ACRL blog I came across information about the (US) National Center for Educational Statistic’s report Academic Libraries 2006 which has a table of the percentage of "academic institutions reporting information literacy activities". The indicators of information literacy activity are (with results in brackets, rounded to whole number):
1. defined information literacy or information literate student (48%)
2. incorporated information literacy into institution’s mission (34%)
3. incorporated information literacy into institution’s strategic plan (30%)
4. has institution-wide committee to implement strategic plan for information literacy (18%)
5. strategic plan formally recognizes the library’s role in information literacy instruction (25%)

3,105 institutions responded to this question (86%). The report is at
It is difficult to make exact comparisons, as the type of strategic document that institutions in different countries have to prepare varies, and this study covers libraries in all postsecondary institutions (as you might guess from the large number of them!). However, the results for the 597 US institutions that have PhD as the highest award made (ie probably a reasonable equivalent to UK universities?) were very similar to the global percentages quoted above. Corrall's (2007) study examined documents accessible on UK university websites in 2006 for evidence of strategic engagement with information literacy: it looks from that as though figures for the UK are lower, though as I said, this is not comparing like with like exactly.
I find it interesting that statistics about this are gathered sytsematically in the US at all: it would be a good idea if the same were done in the UK.
Reference: Corrall, S.M. (2007). "Benchmarking strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education: towards a working model" Information Research, 12(4) paper 328.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Quebec central station, August 2008

Informs seminars

Intute is running a series of Informs exchange of experience workshops in the UK. For those that aren't familiar with it, Informs is used to create online tutorials etc.: see
The Informs workshops will include opportunities to exchange experience, hear from people who have used it and learn about new Informs developments. For booking, go to - dates are:
Edinburgh - 1st September - Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue
Birmingham - 3rd September – The Orange Studio
Manchester - 18th September – The Place Hotel
London - 19th September – The Thistle Euston
Photo bt Sheila Webber: Quebec, August 2008.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Information Literacy in Europe

This PowerPoint was presented at the UNESCO-sponsored Training the Trainers (TTT) Information Literacy seminar held in Quebec City, Canada, 8-9 August 2008, as mentioned before. The programme included presentations on information literacy developments in different regions of the world. I presented an overview of European developments: I have added a few notes in this version, including one emphasising that there is a lot going on in many European countries, so in some cases I have given a few examples out of many. The four themed areas (Health, Business, Citizenship/Governance and Education) are ones used by UNESCO in discussing information literacy in some of its major reports.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Information Literacy logo launched

Yesterday the winner of the information literacy logo contest was announced, at the UNESCO session of the IFLA World Library and Information conference. The winner was the design you see here, from young Cuban designer Edgar Luy Perez, based in Havana. At there is more information about the logo and the designer. You can also download the logo in various formats, and with or without the word "information literacy" (in several languages, with more to be added).
The contest was supported by UNESCO and IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and masterminded by Jesus Lau. There were 198 different logos submitted by 139 participants from 36 countries. The 11 judges represented different regions of the world (I was one of these). The logos were rated online using 7 criteria, which included taking into account how good the logo looked in different sizes and in black and white (as well as obvious things like representing the IL concept). Because it is international, it also had to look good without needing the words "information literacy". In the "about the logo" section of the above website you will see a nice explanation from the designer of the logo on his thinking behind the logo.
The idea is that this should become a recognised logo internationally, with more and more people using it. I will therefore be adding it to this blog, but I need to fiddle with the blog template so I will take a few days before loading it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

IFLA Information Literacy Section

For the last couple of days I have been in Canada, where I was taking part in one of the Training the Trainers seminars. I will do a couple of posts about this. The seminar is taking place immediately before the IFLA World Information Conference, which I'm not attending, although I did attend a committee meeting and later today I will be reporting on the launch of the new logo for information literacy. On the first day of the seminar, Sylvie Chevillotte (current Chair of the IFLA Information Literacy Section) gave information about the IFLA IL section, which started in 2002. The website is at
Sylvie highlighted the online resources directory which I have mentioned a few times before and the IFLA guidelines for IL which are available in English and a few other languages in a link from the section’s web page. Finally there is the section newsletter, which only comes out a couple of times a year, but is interesting (I normally link to it on this blog when a new one is published, again you can access past issues from the website).
Photo by Sheila Webber: "Je ne suis pas un banc" [I am not a seat] (label on a wooden sculpture in a craft pavilion, Qubec, Canada, August 2008)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Caribbean workshop

In June I published a photo from the workshop (30 May-1st June) organised by the University of the West Indies Department of Library and Information Studies and the University Library, Mona, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) aimed at introducing librarians from the Caribbean region to techniques for developing information literacy skills and programmes. It was part of the UNESCO Information Literacy Training the Trainers (TTT) Workshop Series - see and the following was reported after the session.

There were 25 participants - library professionals from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA. They represented public library networks, school libraries, teachers colleges, university libraries, special libraries and other institutions such as the Jamaican Ministry of Education and the Office of the Utility Regulation. The training sessions were delivered by Professor Fay Durrant, and Dr Cherrell Shelley Robinson of the UWI Dept of Library and Information Studies, Mrs Norma Amenu Kpodo, Mrs Verna George and Mrs Karlene Robinson of the UWI Main Library, Mona, Professor Forest Woody Horton, Project Leader, Mrs Barbie Keiser, Information Consultant and Mrs Vanessa Middleton of the American University, United Arab Emirates.

A key output of the Workshop was the action plans developed by working groups and individuals, to implement Information Literacy Programmes in their organizations. Participants identified the scope and content of their programmes in relation to the needs of the members of their organizations, the relevant standards and models, partnership with specialist organizations, expected outcomes, and evaluation of impact. Prizes for the best presentations were awarded to, Jessica Lewis (Jamaica) and Gemma Lashley (Trinidad and Tobago) and Erica Davis and Cheryl Farquharson (Jamaica). This workshop was a satellite activity of the XXXVIII Annual ACURIL Conference and is expected to result in the development of Information Literacy programmes in the participating institutions, and the establishment of Information Literacy Clubs.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Great Keppel Island, Australia, June 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Web Searching, Information Literacy and Learning (Web-SeaL) is a research project funded by the Academy of Finland 2006-2009. "The project aims to study the relations between Web searching, information literacy and learning and to clarify the interplay of information literacy and learning in the Web-dominated information environment." They are holding a summer school 25-26 August 2008 at the University of Tampere, Finland:
Photo by Sheila Webber: a nice clothes stall at Hobart market, Australia, July 2008

WILU 2009

The 38th Annual Workshop on Instruction in Library Use / 38e Atelier annuel sur la formation documentaire (WILU, the Canadian information literacy conference) takes place at the Université Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada, May 25-27, 2009. There is a call for papers with a submission deadline of December 8 2008. The theme is "reflections": "Reflections can involve: * Research into learning theory; * Investigation into instructional practices; * Exploration of the learning behaviours of our students; * Examination of our identity as teachers." Proposals can be submitted for either 45-minute presentations or 7-minute "lightning strike" presentations. More info at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Boats and reflections, Hobart, Australia, July 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Blogging: and spam

Last Thursday I (as Sheila Yoshikawa) led a discussion in Second Life (the virtual world) about blogging in Second Life. The chatlog (transcript) is here: and this is a picture of the discussion. Most of the people there were bloggers, including some with Second Life blogs. Some more general points came up e.g. about using blogs for projects, and a couple of people found their blogs to be useful evidence of what they were doing. I briefly discussed a tool that can be used to blog directly from SL ( ).

On another blogging note: The number of spam comments submitted to this blog have increased lately (I think there would be a great deal more if I didn't moderate the comments: spammers generally go for the easier non-moderated targets). There are some "blogs" which consist entirely of spam, and I just draw attention to this one because it has evidently mangled one of my posts to create spam. Search Google for "Sheila Webber: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen" (the photo I used in my posting) and you will find the original entry and the entry in the spam blog (I don't want to create a link to it directly!) There is no blog author name, so I suppose I should complain to Wordpress to get it and its semi-plagiarised content taken down. It may be that the author is misusing their digital or information literacy skills to create some sort of personal gain - though I'm not really clear what kind of gain....

Generation V

Gartner Group have identified a new "generation": "Generation Virtual (also known as Generation V) is not defined by age — or gender, social demographic or geography — but is based on demonstrated achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights." They have identified 4 levels of engagement (from creator to lurker). The idea is that businesses will want to provide (virtual) tools to encourage Generation V-ers to socialise around the business, and thus help market, improve and promote products & services.
This would seem relevant to educational institutions who will have Gen V-ers as learners but also as staff. There is a recently published Gartner report which costs US$195 so I can't give any more details, but the press release is at and there is an article in Forbes by a Gartner employee:
Sarner, A. (2008) "Generation Virtual". Forbes, 30 April. Although that particular article is awash with business jargon, the Gen V idea makes more sense to me than talk about "digital natives" or "Millenials".

Monday, August 04, 2008

Copyright tutorials

A good number of helpful suggestions about tutorials on UK copyright arose from a question on the lis-infoliteracy discussion list. The posting in which responses are summarised is here
Links include a JISC tutorial at
aimed at academic staff. This seems useful, but I did notice one link that was slightly outdated - to the Intellectual Property Office website - the copyright section on that is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Eucalypt, July 2008.

Friday, August 01, 2008

International students

A recent SCONUL publication which I think can be useful to information literacy specialists too:
Senior, K. et al. (2008) Library services for international students. London: SCONUL.

Includes explanations, examples/brief case studies, advice and a list of "key concepts. Some of the latter are directly relevant to information literacy e.g. "Design information literacy programmes which challenge students to think about their information literacy ability, rather than just learning technical search skills."
Thanks to Moira Bent, one of the co-authors, as I saw this mentioned on her blog.
Photo by Sheila Webber: on the back porch, Port Julia, Australia, July 2008

Information in Life

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the USA has a series of over a hundred videos Information in Life at
- although the North Carolina channel is on youtube it isn't subject to the normal length restrictions and many of the videos are of lectures or longish interviews. 1 hour lectures aren't always that enticing to watch, but there are some interesting speakers and interviewees in there e.g. Danah Boyd on social networking and Joanne Marshall on evidence based librarianship. I noticed this item in the IFLA Social Sciences Libraries newsletter by the way.