Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Children's and young people's digital literacies in virtual online spaces

There is some material for those who missed the closing seminar in the Children's and young people's digital literacies in virtual online spaces series (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and organised by researchers at Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University and Lancaster University). This closing event was held in Second Life (SL), the virtual world.
There is a log of the text chat from the event at (the presentations used voice, but there were transcribers text chatting key points for each speaker, and the text chat also reflects discussion).
A set of pictures of the event in Second Life on 19 June can be found here:
The speakers were as follows:
Peggy Sheehy/ (SL name: Maggie Marat) “I'm not good at Math but my avatar is” (her website is at
You can see Peggy Sheehy's slides on Slideshare.
Additionally, Knowclue Kidd produced two videos from Peggy Sheehy's presentation: on Body Image and on Exploring identity.

The second speaker was Rebecca Black (SL: Starseed Sodwind) “Early Childhood Literacy in Virtual Worlds.” Her website is at and the text which was transcribed in the event chatlog mostly uses a text that she provided.

The third speaker was Constance Steinkuehler (SL: Constance Carnot) "Virtual worlds at the nexus of a constellation of literacy practice." Her websites are and At the moment if you go to the conference venue (you need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed on your computer) at you can look through Constance Steinkuehler's presentation on the presentation board, and you can also pick up the conference pack (including a set of virtual clothes with the seminar logos).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ACRL standards & IL indicators in Spanish

Sky and trees, Retiro, MadridVia the Spanish ALFIN blog I was alerted to the Spanish translation of the ACRL Standards for Information Literacy, "Normas sobre las competencias de los coordinadores y bibliotecarios encargados de la formación de usuarios", which are here: and a Spanish translation of Towards information literacy indicators (by Catz and Lau) "Hacia unos indicadores de Alfabetización Informacional : Marco conceptual" here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sky and trees, Retiro, Madrid, June 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

New issue of Journal of Information Literacy

The Summer issue 2010 of the Journal of Information Literacy has been published. Contents include:
- Mapping Student Information Literacy Activity against Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Skills: Judith Keene, John Colvin, Justine Sissons
- A scoring rubric for performance assessment of information literacy in Dutch higher education: Jos van Helvoort
- LibGuides in Political Science: A Gateway to Information Literacy and Improved Student Research: Jonathan Miner, Ross Alexander
- QR Codes: using mobile phones to deliver library instruction and help at the point of need: Andrew Walsh
- Using online video to promote database searching skills: the creation of a virtual tutorial for Health and Social Care students: Karen Gravett
Plus reports on the LILAC conference and on IL education in the USA, and book reviews.
For the free full text go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bottlebrush tree, Blackheath, June 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CILIP Information Literacy Group survey

The UK's CILIP CSG-Information Literacy Group is seeking views on the services, resources and events they provide. Members and non-members are asked to complete a short survey at If you provide contact details, you will be entered into a prize draw. All data resulting from the survey will be kept anonymous. The closing date for responses is 12 noon on 16 July.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The International Information Literacies Research Network

At the COLIS2010 conference the new International Information Literacies Research Network was publicised. "The Network brings together researchers with a shared interest in information literacies research and will focus on sociocultural approaches to understanding information literacies, while acknowledging variation regarding methodological approaches amongst researchers. Through collective efforts our intention is to build a network that can benefit from and enhance research on information literacy practices. The network will enable formalised international research cooperation within small or large scale projects, and it will provide opportunities for researchers and research students to meet and learn from each other." There is a blog/website at and there is also a Facebook group (search on the name of the network), you have to apply for membership, rather than everyone being able to just join.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

COLIS 2010: Wikipedia studies

I'm giving brief reports from the COLIS 2010 conference in London, UK. I will cover a study of Wikipedia editors and then (more briefly) a study on using Wikipedia editing as a task in schools. Helena Francke (Boras University) and Olof Sundin (Lund University) presented on Credibility in Wikipedia from the perspective of editors. They looked at questions about how credibility was discussed, what types of criteria partcipants consider (as Wikipedia editors) and how the editors themselves use Wikpedia. It was a qualitative study, interviewing 11 people who were experienced editors of Swedish Wikipedia. Since "Wikipedians" share a set of tools, language etc. and have common goals, they could be said to form a network of practice.
In terms of assessing entries, the author was very important, tending to assume that experienced known authors would be more trustworthy than new or unknown authors. The Editors also looked at the history and talk pages to guauge the discussion, to see whether some element was being disputed or changed a lot, or identify controversial issues.Subject knowledge is used to judge which topics are more likely to be subject to bias or inaccuracy. The Editors might compare with other versions of Wikipedia (e.g. English or German) "if there are enoiugh versions that include the same facts, I think you can probably trust them". Unsurprisingly, given the Wikipedia guidelines, citing sources was important too.
In terms of using Wikipedia themselves, the editors used them in ways that are similar to previous studies. For example they used it to get an overview (so absolute accuracy was not necessary), they tend not to use it when they need to be certain abut something and they compare sources to verify information.
However, the editors also use their "inside knowledge" and so again consider the credibility of the author (since they will know the authors from their editing activities) and use all the pages and features of Wikipedia to make their assessments as readers.
One conclusion that could come out of that (I think) is that being Wikipedia editors could make people make more critical and confident Wikipedia users. There are already examples of lecturers and teachers using this approach to educate their students (e.g. as described in
There was also a paper in the information literacy research seminar from Eoro Sormunen, Leeni Lehtio and Heidi Hongisto on Collective authoring of wikipedia articles as a learning task in embedded information literacy instruction (at a school in Finland) . I won't say too much as the paper can be seen at in this location. The authors observed activities in the classroom, where students were set the task of collaborating on the production of Wikipedia articles. They were interested in the information literacy and inquiry based learning aspects. Analysis showed that issues to do with information seeking and use, and discussion about the work process, were the most problems or explained or discussed by the students.
There is also a paper on a first study:
Hongisto, H. & Sormunen, E. (2010) "The challenges of the first research paper – observing students and the teacher in the secondary school classroom." In: Lloyd & Talja (Eds.) Practising Information Literacy: Bringing Theories of Learning, Practice and Information Literacy Together. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, pp. 95-120

Photos by Sheila Webber: University College London (the conference venue), June 2010

COLIS2010: Information behaviour in gourmet cooking

At the COLIS 2010 conference Jenna Hartel (University of Toronto, Canada) talked about Time as framework for information science: insights from the hobby of gourmet cooking. Since it is not so relevant to this blog, I will not cover the part about the framework for information science, but I will give a short glimpse into her research, since I think it is relevant in terms of thinking about the kinds of information activities that people engage with in such a commonplace activity as cooking. Hartel used an ethnographic approach to a study of the use of information in amateur gourmet cooking. She noticed that temporal issues were important and used this factor to identify three temporal arcs:
- lifetime of the cooking hobby (with a "career arc": beginning, development, establishment, maintenance, decline). Early on, there was a focus on learning, later on the focus was on collecting (recipes etc.)
- Subjects (types of cooking e.g. baking, barbecue, Chinese, "that summer I was really into French") The focus here is on classifying, defined as "meaningful clustering of experience".
- Episodes (Doing the cooking!) Hartel identified nine typical steps e.g. planning (which involves searching for recipes) - see the link at the end for her article that gives them all.
I may be misinterpreting, but I think this meant that (for example) someone still in the learning phase who was cooking a French meal would be engaged in slightly different information behaviour to someone who was an experienced cook (e.g. they maybe searching their own recipe collection rather outside sources at the planning stage).
This was a very interesting talk from a research perspective, but also in practical terms I think it could give more purpose to information literacy initaitives in public libraries who were thinking about targetting people interested in cookery (e.g. concentration on finding new recipes vs. organising all the recipes you've collected on scraps of paper, books and bookmarks).
There is an article about her research:
Hartel, J. (2006) "Information activities and resources in an episode of gourmet cooking" Information Research, 12(1).
One article that Hartel mentioned in particular was:
Savolainen, R. (2006) Time as a context of information. Library and Information Science Research, 28 (1) 110-127.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cafe at University College London, June 2010.


Back to a post about a session at the AULIC seminar in Bath on Monday. Zotero was a presentation by Joe Bennett, who teaches in the School of Music and Performing Arts at Bath Spa University and is also doing a PhD at Surrey University. Zotero enables you to manage your references and articles, is free, and is a browser addon for Firefox and a MS Word plug-in, to enable you to integrate it into your work practice.
Joe went through his requirement for a bibliographic/literature management package. This included ability to bookmark and archive web pages with correct citation; cloud-based storage of pdfs & capability to full text search (as his experience was that people didn’t usually get an article and read it all the way through, but rather search for particular things within them); no login/authentication to slow down study process; drag and drop compatibility with Google docs; extracting metadata from full text. He identified that Zotero met these requirements better than Refworks or Endnote and is free up to 100 MB storage (he pays a smallish subscription to have a much larger storage area; making it a “Freemium” (Free/ premium) business model). There was discussion about copyright issues (Joe stressed that this ability to store and search pdfs was really important to him and other researchers, and also said that whilst others could see and search his citations, he did not open up access to the protected material itself)
Joe has a blog Web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning at and this is the post specifically about Zotero
Photo by Sheila Webber: Carfax Hotel, Bath, June 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

COLIS 2010: Information literacy as oppression

Today at COLIS 2010 Brendan Luyt presented a paper coauthored with Intan Azura, The oppressed sigh of the information literate: an examination of the potential for the oppression in information literacy. The speaker started by referring to the paper by Matusov and St Julien (2004) which identifies how print literacy could be seen as a form of colonial oppression. Through the creation of texts, literacy enables bureaucracy. Luyt argued that nowadays colonial oppression tended to take place with mental ratherthan physical property, e.g. where intellectual property is taken from the intellectual commons, "at a time when new technologies are changing the contours of creativity" (e.g. someone can usually sell-on a book or copy bits of it or display it, which it might be illegal todo with an electronic verson).
He thought that, firstly, IL was involved in this through the "push of norms" to do with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and this is leading to a redefinition of IL which has more emphasis on respecting IPR. He thought that learners should be encouraged to trouble the idea of IPR and reflect on what the implications of IPR were.
Secondly, there was the idea that a hierarchy of cultures had emerged, which again could be seen as oppressive. One aspect of this was media concentration (e.g. far fewer companies owning media channels), thus effectively reducing the knowledge pools, possibly replacing knowledge from less dominant cultures, leading to another form of mental colonisation. The implcations for IL education were making sure that we encouraged learners to see the social context of information production, engage critically with the media and so forth. He felt that at the moment there was not enough focus on the social and political aspect of information.
The speaker also mentioned students learning through textbooks, and thus absorbing traditional conceptions of knowledge.
Of course, my take on this would be that the kind of information literacy that I espouse, and aim to engage my students with, is a means of liberation rather than oppression. There were also questions after the talk pointing out that alternative sources of information proliferated (although people still get a lot of information via the "traditional" media), and that people were becoming more likely to be producers as well as consumers. However, I would agree that the kinds of critical and ethical engagement he was talking about is vitally important.
Reference: Matusov, E. and St Julien, J. (2004) "Print literacy as oppression: Cases of bureaucratic, colonial, and totalitarian literacies and their implications for schooling." Text, 24(2) 197-244
Photo by Sheila Webber: Peacock, Prague, May 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

COLIS 2010

I am now attending the COLIS (International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science) conference in University College London, UK: I will intersperse posts about COLIS and the AULIC seminar (also at some point I will catch up on the other events I attended last week!) So, as a first post from COLIS: Anna Lundh talked today about studying information needs as question negotiations in an educational context: a methodological comment. As you will see if you get to the end of this post, there are, in particular, implications for those who are supporting learners who have been told to think up a topic or question of their own.
Lundh identified that information needs have been traditionally seen as the factor that triggers someone into seeking information. Therefore information needs have been seen as important, but not investigated nearly as much as information seeking. Taylor (1962) identified levels of need: the visceral need (the actual unexpressed need), the conscious need, the formalised need and the compromised need (the latter is the one presented to the information system), and there has been more research on the last two levels. However this assumes the information need being isolated to the individual. Lundh was taking the starting point that information needs can be seen as question negotiation, emerging through "social interaction and language use". If you take that standpoint, then you have to think of an appropriate way to research it, and Lundh talked about the concept of language games and looking at use of language in social interaction. When looking at negotiations, you have to consider who is interacting, when and where.
Her own research has been in a primary school in Sweden. The children were told by their teacher to investigate a question about something they were interested in. Thus they had to think up their own questions. She observed how the questions did gradually emerge from interactions between the teacher or librarian and pupils. Lundh showed an example where a question posed by two young pupils started as vague ("drinks"). The interaction with the librarian was almost imposing a question on the girls, although that evidently was not the librarian's aim: she probably thought she was helping them to clarify their question into something achievable. Lundh presented this incident effectively, having converted (for confidentiality) some still video frames into comic strips, so you could see the body language of the participants as well as what they said. In this kind of situation, talking about negotiation does seem more meaningful than "identifying the information need", since the latter could imply that the "information need" is already decided, whereas in fact it will not just be articulated, but also determined, by the dialogue that takes place with others. This is a subtle shift, but it is (my interpretation) one from thinking you are neutrally trying to tease out the need that has been poorly articulated, to one where you are more openly acknowledging that you are influencing what the final need (and "solution") will be.
I think it is true, also, when students are developing research questions (whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level) that a process of negotiation goes on between the student, the supervisor (e.g. me), the literature (which, if it is engaged with well, can help spark new ideas and directions, and change the research question, and thus the information need), and anyone else involved in mediating the literature or the topic (e.g. librarians).
An article about a previous stage in the research is: Lundh, A. (2008). "Information practices in elementary school" Information Research, 13 4).
Reference: Taylor, R.S. (1962) “Process of Asking Questions” American Documentation,13 (4), 391-396.
Photo by Sheila Webber: I didn't take any photos today, possibly because I'm suffering awfully from hay fever. This is a photo of Bath, June 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

QR codes

I'll do some blog posts about the AULIC (Avon Libraries In Cooperation) event (held at Bath Spa University) where I was speaking today. Andy Ramsden (Head of e-learning at the University of Bath) talked about the use of QR codes (example QR code on the right). Although QR codes are not central to information literacy education, this was a useful talk, so I will do a quick report on it ;-)
Their primary use is probably linking the physical and digital world (e.g. a QR code on a poster with a web link) also for linking the web and mobile phones (e.g. to get a bookmark from the screen to bookmark on your phone, rather than typing in long URLs or uploading). To use QR codes, people need the QR scanning app on a camera phone and good connectivity. They could, e.g., go to using their phone’s browser, and then see the apps compatible with their phone and download one. At the moment it looks like it is more useful for e-admin than e-learning, unless is used creatively with other tools. Obvious implementations: getting contact info quickly via a QR code onto their phone; getting feedback (e.g. a QR code on a poster advertising information literacy training sessions which takes you to a page where you can book a place); automatically generating a QR code when you find a book on the catalogue, so you can pick up the location details; subscribing to news feeds; having codes in physical locations so you can scan and it will say where you are or pick up an audio tour. Key is “getting the information to the person when they need it”. Andy talked about results from a survey undertaken by 4 universities. 40% of learners surveyed had heard about QR codes, and nearly 10% had used one. 98% had camera phones, about 50% had wifi capable phone and had a data tariff (but in both cases quite a lot of people didn’t know whether they had or not). Only about 17% said they were likely to use their own money to access learning stuff on their phones, which highlights how you have to be cautious about planning learning involving use of learners’ own mobile devices.
Bath University have a QR codes blog at with useful posts highlighting what has and has not worked at Bath University. There are also other links to useful e-learning things on the side of the blog. Andy's presentation is on Slideshare at (you can click that link, or scan the QR code at the top of this blog post, created using the page on the QR generator page on the Bath website)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Managing information for research

Anything by Elizabeth Orna is worth looking at, but I seem to have missed mentioning the book that came out last year:
Orna, E. and Stevens, G. (2009) Managing information for research: Practical help in researching, writing and designing dissertations. 2nd edition. Open University Press. ISBN: 9780335221424
It is particularly strong in the area of information design and using information to communicate your ideas effectively, as well as managing information through the dissertation process.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rose next door, June 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some recent articles

Zuccala, A. (2010). "Open access and civic scientific information literacy." Information Research, 15 (1) paper 426. Open access at

Bewick, L. and Corrall, S. (2010) "Developing librarians as teachers: a study of their pedagogical knowledge", Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 42 (2), 97-110. (not free) "A questionnaire was used to collect mainly quantitative data about the teaching roles, pedagogical knowledge and professional development of subject librarians in 82 UK higher education institutions. Two expert interviews and a literature review informed the design and contextualized the findings. The survey showed postholders were engaged in a variety of teaching-related activities, regarded as central to their work. Contrary to assumptions, most felt confident about teaching and thought their knowledge sufficient, giving examples of pedagogical theory gained via courses informing their teaching practice. Although on-the-job development was common, the majority had undertaken a short course and/or extended programme. Respondents favoured incorporating a teaching module into initial professional education and providing tailored programmes for librarians with substantial teaching roles"

International Information & Library Review, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2010, focuses on "International Perspectives on Information Literacy and e-skills". (not free, abstracts at )
Introduction; Forest Woody Horton (like a previous special issue, these articles draw on the UNESCO Training the Trainer sessions)
Developing theory-based, practical information literacy training for adults; Caroline Stern, Trishanjit Kaur
Information literacy in South-East Europe: Formulating strategic initiatives, making reforms and introducing best practices; Sonja Špiranec, Zdravka Pejova
Information literacy for the information literate: A model and case study from the Wuhan UNESCO training the trainers in information literacy program; Ruth A. Pagell, Rajen Munoo
Guiding principles for the preparation of a national information literacy program; Gloria Ponjuan
Measuring the outcomes of information literacy: Perception vs evidence-based data; Szarina Abdullah
Financial literacy and education: An environmental scan; Molly A. Wolfe-Hayes
Middle East information literacy awareness and indigenous Arabic content challenges; Engy I. Fahmy, Nermine M. Rifaat
Helping students become literate in a digital, networking-based society: A literature review and discussion; Nieves González Fernandez-Villavicencio
Social networking and Web 2.0 in information literacy; Amanda Click, Joan Petit

Photo by Sheila Webber: first strawberry, June 2010


There is an Information Literacy programme on 26 June at the American Library Association annual meeting, Sequenced Learning: Applying Information Literacy Continuously Across K-20. Speakers are David Loertscher, Karen Lemmons, Valerie Diggs, Ellysa Stern Cahoy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Second Life and Inquiry Based Learning

On Monday I presented a poster as part of the Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS) summer fair at Sheffield University. It was on Second Life and Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) (this embeds the pdf version that I uploaded to slideshare):

At the fair there were posters on Inquiry Based Learning activities in numerous other Departments of my university (such as Law, English and Engineering). I have mentioned them before, but there are case studies online, some of which have an information literacy aspect. There was also a display from the librarians at Sheffield University and a poster about Sheffield's Information Literacy Network.

I'll also mention that I created a 3D version (in Second Life) of the framework for Inquiry Based Learning that has been developed through research by Philippa Levy (CILASS Director), and I recorded a screencast giving a short tour of the virtual 3D model a few weeks ago. This is the same model that you can see on my poster in 2D form.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Autonomous Learning: SWIM

I am attending the conference organised by the Centre for Promoting Learner Autonomy (CPLA, at Sheffield Hallam University) on Enquiry, Autonomy and Graduateness. I blogged the first plenary session on the Inquiry Based Learning blog here, but I thought I would just pick up on one aspect particularly relevant to this blog. Ivan Moore (who is Director of the CPLA) identified Characteristics of an ‘effective’ autonomous learner, and put forward a SWIM model of autonomous learning:
Stance towards Learning ("Orientation to learning, Appropriate conceptions of learning, Deep approach to learning, A range of appropriate learning styles")
Willingness to learn ("Balance of vocational, academic,personal and social motivations to learn, Intrinsic motivation, Extrinsic motivation, Goals Short - Medium - Long, Confidence")
Information ("Information handling, Access to resources: On line and Paper-based, Role models (people, exemplars, designs), Equipment, Other learners, Contexts")
Management ("Study Skills, Planning and problem solving, Overview & co-ordination, Evaluation & Metacognition, Self-assessment, Focus & ‘stickability’, Time and project management, Balancing social, work and learning needs, Assessment")
Obviously I would expand "Information" to "Information Literacy", but I think it is also interesting to see "role models" identified as important for IL, and note that "contexts" are mentioned (which links up to one of the points I have been making in recent talks). I haven't got a copy of the presentation he did today, but I found another presentation that includes this material (here).
Photo by Sheila Webber: lunchtime

Monday, June 14, 2010

Information Literacy for the 21st Century

At the INFORUM 2010 conference in Prague on May 25-27 I gave a presentation on Information Literacy for the 21st century. It did have some elements in common with my Lisbon presentation, but also some parts are different (e.g. it brings in more references to academic material, and expands the explanation of the definition of information literacy).
- There is a paper of about 2000 words I wrote to accompany the presentation:
- Here is an interview for student radio, where I was interviewed by Tomáš Bouda, on this page: (scroll down to see my interview)
- This is the actual presentation:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Geoff Walton wins SLA Infopro award 2010

Congratulations to Dr Geoff Walton (Academic Skills Tutor Librarian and Research-informed Teaching Project Co-ordinator at Staffordshire University, UK) is the winner of the SLA Europe Information Professional award 2010. He pictured (right) with Mark Hepworth (left) at a LILAC conference where he was presenting his research. The SLA is the major professional association for information specialists in the USA and it has an active European branch. Geoff has been prominent in his work ininformation literacy and learning. The Award covers his expenses for attendance at the SLA Conference in New Orleans, USA this coming week, and a dinner is hosted in his honour at the conference.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Department creating their own "library"

Another snippet from the INFORUM conference: Antonie Doležalová, University of Economics, Prague - Faculty of Public Administration, Czech Republic talked about “A Little Bit Different Seminar: To Be His Own Librarian”. (Links to paper and presentation (in Czech) and English abstract at
This presentation was in Czech, and I listened to simultaneous translation, so this is only a short summary. This described a project where the Economics Department at the university put material online at with various kinds of material. They were digitising the material and also “cataloguing” it though I think the library intervened a little in terms of improving keywords etc. It seemed interesting in terms of an academic department and a library cooperating, with useful new material being added to the collection and using the subject expertise of the staff and students in the Department. Also it gave some opportunity (I think) for on-the-spot information literacy education, in terms of legal issues to do with publishing information, and issues of findability.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Transport, Prague, May 2010

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Children's and young people's digital literacies in virtual online spaces

On 19th June in Second Life, the virtual world, is the second half of the final meeting in a seminar series funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC): Children's and young people's digital literacies in virtual online spaces. The first half of the conference takes place in Sheffield, UK, and the conference continues with a free event in Second Life. Delegates will need a Second Life avatar and the SL browser installed on their computer to participate.
The aim of this seminar series is to consider the digital literacy practices which take place in virtual online spaces and to explore potentialities for literacy educators. In this final conference, speakers will consider the nature of literacy in virtual worlds and Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)

The start time is 2pm UK time, 6am Second Life time (for start times in other countries see ). The location is The Second Life schedule is as follows.
- 2pm (UK time) Sheila Webber (Sheila Yoshikawa in SL), University of Sheffield, host in SL - introduction
- 2.10-2.50 Peggy Sheehy (Maggie Marat in SL), I'm not good at Math but my avatar is
- 3pm – 3.40 Rebecca Black, University of California (Irvine)
- 3.50 – 4.20 Constance Steinkuehler, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Virtual worlds at the nexus of a constellation of literacy practice.
- 4.30 Wrap up from Julia Gillen, Lancaster University

Information on the whole day's event is at and on the complete seminar series at

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Transitioning to college

Transitioning to College is a website aimed at helping students transition between secondary and tertiary education. "In the following modules, you will follow Jason and Emily through their first year of college as they are "mentored" by Brian. You'll hear some of their tips for success and learn about the differences between academic and school libraries." There are some short videos (e.g. "talking to databases", in which Brian helps Emily use key terms and Boolean). There are also pdfs and other resources with other tips and advice from "Emily" etc., and some suggestions for educators. It is a resource created in the USA and I am not sure that (e.g.) students in the UK would exactly "identify" with the characters, but the videos are well enough done that it is a bit like a teen soap that they might watch for amusement so they can feel cooler than Emily, Jason and Brian. Or perhaps I'm wrong ... might ask my first years to critique it in the Autumn! The site was "was developed at Kent State University with input from Ohio academic and high school librarians." There are also some abstracts of (US) articles about transitioning here
Photo by Sheila Webber: Chestnut blossom in the Valdstejnska zahrada, Prague, May 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010


Keeping to a Czech theme, the annual meeting on information literacy in the Czech Republic is the IVIG conference. The next IVIG conference is on 23rd September in Prague with a theme of using technologies for learning (I have been invited ro talk about my experiences teaching using Second Life). There is a report on the 2009 IVIG conference (in Czech):
Jankovská, B. (2009) "IVIG 2009 – Informační vzdělávání a informační gramotnost v teorii a praxi vzdělávacích institucí". Inflow. 2 (10)
Inflow seems an excellent publication (if you can read Czech): its home page is at and as well as the regular "journal" it has a very active blog, a facebook page and all the other things you expect of a modern publication ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Peacocks only allowed, Prague, May 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Computer gaming and media literacy

In my final post about the Oeiras a Ler conference in Portugal 20-21 May, I will mention the session from Luís Pereira (Universidade do Minho - Portugal) Contributos dos videojogos para a literacia dos media (Contribution of videgames to media literacy)
Luis Pereira described two research studies: into the opinions of parents about their computer gaming children, and into 10-12 year old’s perceptions of video games. They identified media literacy education needs amongst the children. Building on this research, and on the 20 years of work on media literacy by their group, they produced a colourfully illustrated booklet How to watch TV followed up by one called How to play videogames (both in Portuguese). There are pictures of the covers here:
The booklets are written for parents and children, and give concisely worded information and guidelines (so e.g. it says what really might be of concern or beneficial about videogames, so that it counters scaremongering about them). Very large numbers of the booklets have been printed and e.g. distributed with their regional newspaper as an insert. Their excellent media literacy blog (in Portuguese) is at and the Centre’s website is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Foxglove, Sheffield, June 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Internet Challenge at Oeiras a Ler

Here is my third post about the conference I spoke at in Lisbon, Oeiras a Ler. Antonio Navarro and Maria Jose Amandio talked about the Oieras Internet Challenge organised by Oeiras Municipal Library (Bibliotecas Municipais de Oeiras, organisers of the conference). They were addressing information literacy (which is Literacias de Informacao in Portuguese) and also their library wants to develop learning to learn abilities.
Their Internet Challenge is a yearly event, targeted at the young in particular. They want to improve ability to search the web, and motivate people with more entertaining activities to come to the public library. Any one can apply to be in the challenge. People are set questions and they have to find the answer quickly using the web, in teams of two people. It has several rounds (each round is harder than the last), all on the same day, so it is a marathon from 9am to midnight. It is a public event, like a TV game show, with friends and family encouraged to come along and support their team. Librarians create about 300 questions (quite a hard task, thinking of good questions). There are lots of pictures of the 2009 challenge “Game day” on their blog
The numbers of applicants and of teams selected has increased every year: Year 1 (2006): 32 teams; Year 2: 56 teams; Year 3 (2008) 61; Year 4 (2009): 70 teams (with 119 applications). They are aiming for 98 teams this year. At the conference, we were given a live demonstration, using two volunteer teams from the audience. First, each team chose a topic (e.g. science) then questions from chosen themes were mixed up. A question was posed (e.g. what is “2 loaves” in Czech) on the big screen and it was the first team to answer got the point (if correct) or a point deducted (if incorrect). The whole thing seemed fun, and also very interesting in terms of how people where finding the answers (you could see what was happening on contestants screens too).
A similar kind of thing has been done by some universities in North America, see the Digital Literacy Contest website.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Swans under the Charles bridge, Prague, May 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Libraries and transliteracy

Salem Press announced their library blog awards. First place in the "general" category was for a blog that started in February 2010 and I hadn't picked up on yet, namely Libraries and transliteracy, a blog maintained by four North American librarians http://librariesandtransliteracy.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Retiro Park, Madrid, break in the free open air concert on 30 May (programme here)