Friday, November 28, 2008

Still some delay

Just to let you know that I had my appendix removed on Monday and, fingers crossed, things seem to be going ok. However, I feel weak as a kitten and and won't be blogging again for another week or 10 days (or doing things like checking email). Thanks for those who sent good wishes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Possible hiatus

I've been feeling unwell over the last couple of days and am just going to the hospital to see whther it is my appendix. Therefore there may be a short hiatus on the blog

Friday, November 21, 2008

Digital Inclusion

Thanks to Sheena Banks to alerting me to this report, published a couple of weeks ago, from the Oxford Internet Institute, which may inform UK Government policy.

Helsper, E.J. (2008) Digital Inclusion: An Analysis of Social Disadvantage and the Information Society. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.

"This report provides a critical evaluation of the existing evidence on the nature and extent of the ‘digital divide’ and its overlap with social exclusion. New empirical evidence is also presented, backed by a comprehensive methodology that has been applied to three different independent, nationally representative surveys. There are three important outcomes of this report:
• A new empirical model of the links between social and digital disadvantage which will help guide future research and policy interventions in this area.
• Recommendations to enhance existing national technology surveys conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). These enhancements will help to track digital inclusion progress in the future, and also account for new and emerging technologies.
• A short review of the implications of the results for social policy."

- other more specific research reports e.g. digital inclusion and those with mental health problems.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Greenwich Park, October 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recent articles

Some recent articles, all from priced publications I'm afraid. Firstly - the major annual annotated bibliography on information literacy has come out, covering 2007 publications. This is biased towards US publications, but is still always tremendously useful.
Johnson, A., Jent, S., and Reynolds, L. (2008) "Library instruction and information literacy 2007" Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 450 - 514.

Then there are a couple of publications which look at information behaviour. The first reports on students use of a self-diagnosis tool and the second is a study of information seeking in Second Life:
Mansourian, Y. (2008) "Contextual elements and conceptual components of information visibility on the web." Library Hi Tech, 26 (3), 440 - 453.

Ostrander, M. (2008) "Talking, looking, flying, searching: information seeking behavior in Second Life." Library Hi Tech, 26 (4). (available as an electronic pre-print, if you subscribe)

Then, some articles talking about using games:
Clyde, J. and Thomas, C. (2008) "Building an information literacy first-person shooter." Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 366 - 380.

Markey, K. et al (2008) "Designing and Testing a Web-based Board Game for Teaching Information Literacy Skills and Concepts." Library Hi Tech, 26 (4). (available as an electronic pre-print, if you subscribe)

Schiller, N. (2008) "A portal to student learning: what instruction librarians can learn from video game design." Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 351 - 365.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Beech tree, Sheffield, November 2008.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Te Punga

Thanks to Hazel Edmunds of http://www.adsetsinformationweblog.

She pointed me to Kathryn Greenhill's blog, who in turn was highlighting the work of people at the University of Aukland. Kathryn made a video of Liz Wilkinson talking about a tutorial on how to use the Voyager catalogue, Te Punga. Liz Wilkinson talks about the way in which it was designed (with help of learning and web designers) and the reason why they take the approach of incorporating elements which are graphic-novel-like. Kathryn calls her video Information Literacy: Seven ways to think outside the box and identifies the main headings as: Literacy beyond text; Student centred, not library centred; Outside experts; Involve students; Use students' environments; Learning by doing; Make students feel at home.
The Youtube video is at , Kathryn's blog is at and Te Punga is at
The photo is of Christine Bruce and Li Wang, during Christine's visit to Aukland University earlier this year (not connected except as regards information literacy and Aukland University. I am not sure who took the photo.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Virtual worlds: for young and old....

The discussions continue regularly on Infolit iSchool in Second Life (SL), the virtual world. Most recently, Robin Ashford (a librarian from the USA, Robin Mochi in SL) led a discussion about the Academic librarian in Second Life. The picture show the assembled people, mainly from the UK and USA. She was speaking, and other people were using text chat: there is a transcript of the chat here : There was a lively discussion so although you don't get most of Robin's comments, there are other observations you might find interesting. Robin recently did a presentation at a conference in SL and her powerpoint is here:

The previous week, a Professor in the School of Education here at Sheffield University (Jackie Marsh, Jackie Darkstone in SL) gave a talk on Out of school play in online virtual worlds and the implications for literacy learning (6th November 2008). Her blog is here: She has done research looking at how young children are using virtual worlds, particularly Club Penguin. She was speaking in chat, and the chatlog is here:

Finally, there was an exploration of Infolit iSchool (our island) last week. If you can get into SL, there is a notecard with landmarks and commentary here:
and the text of the notecard is on the wiki here

Jorum Forum

Jorum is an online repository for learning and teaching materials. There is a free event on 10 December in Manchester, UK, for Jorum users to discuss the existing service and its future. Email Nicola Siminson, Jorum Community Enhancement Officer, at: if you want to attend. Jorum is at

Friday, November 14, 2008

New information literacy blogs

1) From Christine Irving and John Crawford, their Scottish Information Literacy project blog to share news and ideas:

2) From Anup Kumar Das, links to UNESCO Resources on Information Literacy
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

Fair use

On November 11th the Center for Social Media published
Media Education Lab (2008) The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Washington: School of Communication, American University.
"This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use." The aim is to help "reclaim" some fair-use practices of using material in education, legally. Since it is published in the USA it will not reflect the exact legal situation in other countries. Nevertheless, a good deal is similar and it states the issues and possible responses very clearly. There is an accompanying video on the web with people stating the need for the guidelines.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ORT Argentina

Following my post about sessions at the Online Information conference I was called by someone who had a brief to write about ORT and was asking me why I had picked out the ORT Argentina session. The simple answer was that it was becuase it had the phrase "Information literacy". However, in response to that, I have dug a bit more, including reading more carefully through the long abstract for the session, which is here.
I still think it is interesting (fortunately) since the initiative involves students at school, and their teachers, creating and using blogs. This would seem to develop information literacy, learning more about how to handle and use information through creating it, and becoming a more informed information consumer.
ORT is "world's largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation" ( although its initiatives are not restricted to Jewish people. In Argentina it has a compex with 2 schools and two further education colleges, all with a high technology focus/infrastructure. There is information (in Spanish mostly) about ORT Argentina here and there is a page of links to blogs here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

The Academic Librarian in Second Life

A discussion taking place in the virtual world, Second Life. You need a Second Life avatar to attend. All welcome. Thursday 13th November at 12 noon SL time on Infolit iSchool. Robin Mochi (Robin Ashford, George Fox University, USA, in RL) leads a discussion on The Academic Librarian in Second Life (SL). Focus will be on her role as an academic librarian assisting a faculty member with his first class in SL. Potential roles of academic librarians in SL will also be discussed.
Location is Infolit iSchool

12 noon SL time is 8pm in the UK. Time in other places:
This is part of the regular CILR/ Infolit iSchool discussion series. Infolit iSchool is the University of Sheffield island shared by the Department of Information Studies and School of Education

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Editors as Information Officers

This was the heading to one of the diagrams in a report commissioned for Associated Press:
Associated Press and Context-Based Research Group (2008) A New Model for News: Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption. AP.
The diagram in question said that "Editors must find ways to connect a story’s entry points for users – providing them with more information than they could find by searching or scrolling." The idea is that people have more than enough facts and superficial/ disconnected headlines, and want more back stories, updates and spinoffs.
Obviously the other side to this (i.e. my perspective) is that people could be educated to make these connections, by learning to browse more effectively, for example, and that perhaps information professionals might be well qualified to become editors...
The report itself describes an ethnographic study into 18 people's news habits: 3 each in India and the UK and the rest in the USA. I initially found the way they described the methodology a bit gushing, but in fact it goes into quite a lot of detail about how they did the study and is more accessible than a lot of research descriptions. The descriptions of the participants' news habits are also vivid.
This is a study for a news media publisher, which had the ultimate aim of helping the publisher understand how to get people to consume more of their news, so the second part of the report is devoted to proposing a strategy (that is where the diagram came in) and giving a case study of the UK's Telegraph.

The 3 British participants are from Brighton, "selected because the city is quickly attracting a young new population with its universities and established cultural life" which rather seems to leave out of the picture the discarded chip packets, pebbles, and dogs on string (I grew up there) (and a fine place it is too ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Brighton Beach, December 2007.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning is often associated with Information Literacy and there are some initiatives in the UK on this at the moment. Firstly, NIACE hosts an independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning: it started in 2007 and ends next year. There is a long page linking to papers which present evidence on various aspects of lifelong learning, and a paper The Impact of Lifelong Learning and Poverty Reduction has recently been published by the Inquiry itself. The home page is:

Secondly, the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning (CALL) was launched on 30th September. It is supported by various associations and trade unions and is planning to lobby the UK parliament on key issues early next year:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2008 (Sunday was Remembrance Sunday, and today is the actual Remembrance day)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Online conference

The Online Information Conference, held in London, includes a couple of presentations about information literacy, both on Weds 3rd December.

Media Literacy matters: Fiona Lennox, Policy Executive, OfCom, UK "In this presentation, Fiona will discuss the findings of recent Ofcom research which sheds light on how people in the UK population access, understand and create digital communications. She'll examine the skills gaps highlighted by the research and discuss how media literacy initiatives can help to address these." and Ort Argentina virtual campus project: a case study about information and media literacy in K12/compulsory education; from Guillermo Lutzky, Professor, Virtual Campus CEO, ORT Argentina ORT. Web address is:
Photo by Sheila Webber, October 2008, Weston Park.

Friday, November 07, 2008

TTT in India

Here is a report on the Indian Train the Trainer events that were inaugurated on Wednesday and finished today. This is the UNESCO-sponsored series to train people to train in information literacy. "The Workshop was inaugurated by Dr Amrik Singh, educationist and former Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University. In his address, he stressed the importance of information literacy training at school level and of the need to promote wider use of knowledge and information through informal channels" There is a report, and a link to the website, plus pictures at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry leaves, Autumn 2004

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Recent articles

Mark Hepworth and Marian Smith have announced that their paper:
Hepworth, M. and Smith, M. (2008) "Workplace information literacy for administrative staff in HE" Australian Library Journal, 57 (3), 212-236
is now in their Institutional Repository at:

This reminds me that I ought to start depositing my papers! In the meantime, I just had a short article published:
Webber, S. (2008) "Second Life for Business: Ten Techniques." FUMSI, October.
FUMSI stands for Find Use Manage Share Information, in case you didn't know.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Information Literacy week at Sheffield

Last week we had an information literacy week here at Sheffield University. It was organised by the Information Literacy Network, which consists of people from my Department (Information Studies), the library, and the Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences.

Part of the week involved us blogging about the week and about our experience on Sheffield's Good Practice blog, which is a blog in which the focus is on the learning and teaching experience at Sheffield. At the moment you can just go to the home page of the blog and browse through the last entries:

For later consumption; I started off by saying why I though information literacy deserves more than a week, and also about a Second Life meeting about information Literacy, Maria Mawson talks about getting large groups engaged, Pam McKinney blogged about her information literacy journey, Sheila Corrall talked about information literacy and employment (plus a summary of an event we had) , Lyn Parker about information literacy and Web 2.0, and Vic Grant about the role of information literacy in employment (health sector perspective).

There are many entries from University of Sheffield staff and students on the Good Practice blog (about learning and teaching), and you might well find it interesting to browse further. I will probably blog about a couple of the individual activities from the IL week here as well.
The illustration is a mindmap created by a student group, showing the value of information literacy in their future work (see Pam McKinney's blog post about this activity) - thanks to Stanley Keng, Nick Nicolaou, Swastik Synki, Anna Nibbs and Luciana Santas.

Information Literacy Education (new book)

Torras, M and Saetre, T. (2008) Information Literacy Education: A Process Approach Professionalising the Pedagogical Role of Academic Libraries. Chandos. Paperback: £39.95 ISBN 978-1-84334-386-8 (1-84334-386-X)