Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Journal club

Today we held the first meeting of a virtual Information Literacy/ Information Behaviour journal club on Infolit iSchool in Second Life, the virtual world, hosted by the Centre for Information Literacy Research at the University of Sheffield. Pancha Enzyme (SL name) of Edinburgh University proposed the idea, and led the first session, which discussed:
Kuhlthau, C. C., Heinstrom, J. & Todd, R. J. (2008) "The 'information search process' revisited: Is the model still useful?." Information Research [ejournal], 13(4), paper 335.
Future events will be announced here and will also be on the calendar at
There is a chatlog of the session here:
I also made a short video (using Screenr and Animoto) with snippets from the session.

The music is "Konkete" by Alain Mikuni

INFORMS survey

Many people find the Informs tutorial software and the information literacy tutorials in the Virtual Training Suite useful, but their funding comes to an end in 2011. There is a survey about their future at
which closes on October 6th. "This survey is part of a consultation programme aimed at finding out whether those who currently use and recommend these products (as well as potential users) value them and whether there might be an opportunity to develop both products within subscription or membership models, possibly with new or enhanced features. Mindset Research, an independent market research organisation, has been asked to undertake this consultation and we would very much appreciate a few minutes of your time to respond to this survey."
Photo by Sheila Webber: near Prague castle, September 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Czech IL group: IVIG

Yesterday I attended the annual seminar of IVIG (Odborná komise pro informační vzdělávání a informační gramotnost na vysokých školách: Information Education and Information Literacy working Group): It is a group of ALCU (The Association of Libraries of Czech Universities). In this post I will mention something about IVIG itself. The Czech for information literacy is Informační gramotnost. They carry out a survey about information literacy in Czech universities every two years and have other strategic actvities.
The main website is here mostly it is in Czech, but if you look at the list of past seminars you will see that one or two of the powerpoints from previous years are in English (you only find those in the full Czech version of the website). They have held an annual seminar for nine years, and in recent years they have had a theme for each seminar (this year it was "new technologies".
Also on the Czech website I will pick out the list of links to definitions, standards and projects worldwide: Obviously if you can speak Czech there is lots more there, such as the list of publications, and full text reports and minutes and presentations.
The home for the reduced size English version is here: Particularly interesting is the English-language document Information education strategy at Universities of the Czech Republic (published 2008) which reviews the situation and makes recommendations.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Prague, May 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Using Second Life as a Learning Environment

Today I presented at the IVIG conference in Prague, Czech Republic on Using Second Life as a Learning Environment. I was responding to a number of questions about teaching, that had been posed to me in advance. In particular I was talking about using Second Life as part of a blended approach to teaching.I will post again about the conference, but here is my presentation. I also showed the video that I posted here yesterday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Second Life and Information Literacy

This is a 3 minute video I created, for use with a talk I'm giving in Prague on Thursday (I'll post the presentation as well). It gives four examples of information literacy /librarians in Second Life: a discussion and an exhibition on Infolit iSchool, the IS Cream van on Vue (Edinburgh University), and Boolean pool on Know How island. Video created by me (Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) using Screenr and Animoto, with creative commons licensed music via Animoto.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Andrew Whitworth at #CKVI

I will finally complete my reports from CKVI. Andrew Whitworth (University of Manchester) delivered the final morning keynote, "The three domains of value: Why IL practitioners must take a holistic approach", at the Creating Knowledge VI Conference held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September, Unfortunately I felt a bit unwell on the final day, so my notes were very scrappy. However, the videos of the keynotes have just been released, so you can Andrew's presentation for yourself! It's at
At the time these were the things I jotted down: he mentioned the work of Rose Luckin on the ecology of resources, and on the curriculum as filter. Andrew saw information filtering being done (for us) also by laws, skills we don't have, organisational procedures etc. In each case someone is making a decision or some system has been given control. He put forward his ideas on the three appproaches to value (subjective, objective, intersubjective, which seems to come from the thinking of Donald Davidson) and why we needed to teach all three approaches. He talked about his own media & information literacy module, in which the assignment is a portfolio, with evidence, to teach information literacy to a specific group. He gave some examples, e.g. a portfolio helping Brazilian footballers coaching young boys.
A couple of websites mentioned by Whitworth: and
The photo shows the posters created by some of the break out groups at the start of the conference.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hispanic Information Literacy

Alejandro Uribe Tirado has created a very useful site using Google Maps: Alfabetización Informacional - ALFIN Iberoamérica / Bibliotecas y Proyectos. This enables you to click on the name of a Hispanic university at the side: then it pops up showing uou where it is, and with links to their documents or projects on information literacy.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Llandudno, Happy Valley, August 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference

On 27-30 June 2011 is the The 6th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP6) Conference at the University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK. The Call for Abstracts has just gone out. The three themes are: Evidence Based Practice: Reflection;
Evidence Based Practice: Practicality and Applicability?; Evidence Based Practice: Innovation, Education and Research. There is an application form on the website ( and the deadline for abstracts is 3 December. There is also a Facebook site and Twitter presence
Photo by Sheila Webber: On the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales, August 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spanish articles on IL in Higher Education

For Spanish speakers, there is a whole issue devoted to information and digital literacy in Higher Education; Volume 7 number 2 (2010) of Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (spotted on the ALFIN blog)
Manuel Area Moreira: ¿Por qué formar en competencias informacionales y digitales en la educación superior? (why educate for information and digital literacy in higher education)
Juan de Pablos Pons: Universidad y sociedad del conocimiento. Las competencias informacionales y digitales (University and the information society: information and digital literacy)
Cristóbal Pasadas Ureña: Multialfabetización y redes sociales en la universidad (multilteracies and social web in universities)
Miguel Ángel Marzal García-Quismondo: La evaluación de los programas de alfabetización en información en la educación superior: estrategias e instrumentos (evaluating information literacy programmes: stategies and tools)
José Antonio Gómez Hernández: Las bibliotecas universitarias y el desarrollo de las competencias informacionales en los profesores y los estudiantes (academic libraries and the development of information literacy in academics and students)
Carmen Julia Hernández Hernández: Un plan de formación en competencias de información a través de aulas virtuales: análisis de una experiencia con alumnado universitario. (analysis of experience of educational planning for information literacy in virtual classrooms)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Conwy Castle, August 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

User Behaviour in Resource Discovery

Apologies for not blogging for a few days: I felt a bit ill on the last day of the CKVI conference, and then had a hectic time presenting sessions at Lund University on Monday and Tuesday: I'm back in Sheffield now. I have a half finished post about Andrew Whitworth's keynote from CKVI and then will wrap up with a final post.
In the meantime, I noticed a mention of a presentation at the ALT-C conference: Electronic resource discovery systems: do they help or hinder in searching for academic material? by Hanna Stelmaszewska et al.
(PowerPoint at and the paper is in the proceedings which is in one large pdf at )

The presentation was picked up in this article, which simplifies the message somewhat:
Spencer, D. (2010) "UK: Students shun expensive library services." University world news. September 12.
They do, though, mention one of the final recommendations of the presentation: "Embed information literacy at subject (module) level."

The research is reported in full in the JISC report published at the end of June:
Wong, W. et al (2010) User Behaviour Observational Study: User Behaviour in Resource Discovery Final Report. JISC.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn roses in Lund, Sweden, September 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

IL in Online Distance Learning: at #CKVI

Yesterday afternoon at the Creating Knowledge VI conference Sirje Virkus (Tallinn University) talked about Development Of Information-Related Competencies In European ODL Institutions. This is based on her ongoing research, carried out within open and distance learning universities in Europe. She decided to use the concept of "competencies" since when she started her research it was more familiar than "information literacy". Also she felt that it made it easier to identify blocks of competencies (e.g. to do with presenting and communicating information). Sirje started with a survey in members European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, to which there were 71 respondents. Based on responses, she choose 6 universiies (that seemed to have "good practice") for case studies. These case studies showed that at that point (2003-4) even these institutions were at a beginning stage, in that information literacy was not fully intergrated and people were unsure about the success of what they were doing. Sirje gave examples of the reasons why people felt it hadn't developed. One thing she hadn't asked about directly, but which emerged as important, was the question of leadership - good, positive leadership being needed. Another key issue was librarians' lack of pedagogical skills. There is a freely available article which covers some key points of her research here
After the presentation there was discussion about the extent to which things had changed since the years when the data was collected, which we felt it had, although teh challenges are still familiar.
Photo by Sheila Webber: near where I am staying in Bergen

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Information Literacy Statement for Wales

A break from conference reporting to say that the Welsh Information Literacy website is now live, and they launched the Information Literacy Statement for Wales yesterday (which was International Literacy Day) The site is linked at The statement says "As humans, we like to find out about things – whether that’s information about our next holiday destination or a health condition. Being able to use different ways of finding information and being able to judge whether the information is trustworthy or accurate is vital: it opens up choices, empowers us and can give us more confidence. This is information literacy.
"Empowering individuals to seek, find and use the information they need to help them achieve their goals fosters an information literate population. This can lead to social and economic benefits to the Welsh nation.
"Librarians in Wales have come together to focus on information literacy and would welcome working with other partners to achieve this goal. This statement is the first step towards an information literacy framework for Wales, and ultimately, an information literate nation."

Developing conceptions of information literacy: poster at #CKVI

Today I presented my poster at the Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway; Developing diverse learners’ conceptions of information literacy through different tools and spaces. Below is the poster (an embedded link to Slideshare, so you can see a larger size if you click on it) and below that is the abstract that explains more about the poster. Basically it describes three interventions (sets of activities) that I designed and teach. The first two are part of a core class for our Masters students in the Information School at the University of Sheffield (about 80 students, from many countries) and the third is part of an optional class, Educational Informatics (they are all credit bearing classes). The aims of each intervention are stated on the poster.

"The poster portrays three activities that the presenter has used to stimulate students in the Information School to develop their ideas about information literacy. Each of the activities encourages learners to construct their own personal understanding of information literacy by considering various conceptions and perspectives (rather than trying to impose a “one size fits all people” view of information literacy). The first two activities were used with a class of 80 taught postgraduate students; a class with students with a variety of first degree subjects and from many countries around the world (e.g. about a third of the class is Chinese).
"The first activity series made use both of a Virtual Learning Environment, WebCT, and face to face discussion. The presenter used 10 conceptions of information literacy discovered through research (Webber et al., 2005): each conception was set up as a thread on a WebCT discussion board and students were asked to choose (outside class time) the conception they identified with most, by posting to the relevant thread. The most “popular” conception turned out to be information literacy as “Becoming confident, autonomous learners and critical thinkers”. Students provided thoughtful comments, including some which referenced their own cultural/ national backgrounds. In a subsequent class, the “results” were discussed with the class, and students also discussed whether educators and information professionals needed to do anything differently to help people develop the student’s chosen conception of information literacy.
"The second activity consisted of a seminar and a poster display. Students were set the task of producing posters that showed “What information literacy means to my future career”, with each group consisting of 3-6 students. In the first week the groups discussed the focus for their posters and drafted ideas. By the next week each group produced an A0 sized poster: these were put up in a display in Sheffield University’s Information Commons. The exhibition was attended by all students, and by Departmental staff and librarians. This was a very lively session, and the posters demonstrated the variety of career aspirations of the students (including library work in various sectors, but also management roles, consultancy, government posts etc.). Students were able to identify aspects of information literacy most important to them.
"The third activity involved a smaller number of students from the same cohort, using the Virtual World, Second Life. The presenter set up a three dimensional exhibition “What information/literacy means to me” based around quotations from the research study referred to above, and from another study by Shahd Salha (a PhD student researching Syrian school librarians’ conceptions of information literacy). People interact with the exhibition (as avatars), and are then encouraged provide their own quotations."

Slavic Information Literacy tutorial at #CKVI

Today's morning keynote at the Creating Knowledge VI conference was from Erda Lapp (Bochum University Library), on Piloting a National Online Tutorial in Slavic Information Literacy: The LOTSE-Slavic Studies Project at Bochum University Library, Germany.
Erda said that there was a well developed programme of subject-specific information skills, in particular searching skills. This includes lab sessions and roadshows (taking a laptop and materials round and about e.g. to cafeteria, to promote what they do). Through various activities they feel they have made information literacy a core competence on campus.
Specifically, Erda was talking about LOTSE, a German-language information literacy tutorial. She was taling about LOTSE for Slavic studies. The tutorial can be found here: It is a module within a larger Slavistics portal In turn this is part of a set of subject portals
There is actually a menu on the left side, which takes you to LOTSE tutorials in other subjects (e.g. history, business). They each have a diagram at the start which displays all the options, and the menu on the left highlights the key areas (e.g. Finding articles, keeping up to date).
Bochum have used it in various ways. They have a credit-bearing course on searching and accessing Slavic Studies information, which is particularly targeted at first year undergraduates, but is also taken by students at other levels. It is taught by the library jointly with academics. As part of the class, students have to present about a search strategy and hand in the powerpoint. They have taken the work of Carol Kuhlthau as a basis for their approach for the class. LOTSE is used at various points, and Erda described the process that the students go through to develop their search topic, carry it out, and present their results. For example LOTSE has advice on identifying your search topics, including some mindmapping tools (this can be found in the Toolbox area of LOTSE). One of the other things that Erda highlighted were the Tutorials (e.g. one on the deep web) that students are directed to at appropriate points.
Feedback has been that LOTSE gives an excellent overview and supports all steps in the research process, and can be explored at your own pace. The negatives were that the amount of information could be overwhelming and that it was a bit difficult to navigate. Its development will continue, and an advantage is that it is freely available on the web.
In the questions afterwards Erda said that LOTSE was not necessarily used so much in the other subject areas (e.g. engineering, history): it did seem to make a difference that students had a specific motivation and framework for using LOTSE in Slavic Studies (i.e. the class).

There is an article: Lapp, E. and Platte, M. (2009) "Piloting a National Online Tutorial in Slavic Information Literacy: The LOTSE-Slavic Studies Project at Bochum University Library, Germany." Slavic & East European Information Resources, 10, (2 & 3), 257 - 266. There is also a freely available paper on the subject here.

Kari Smith on assessment and equity, at #CKVI

In the last formal session yesterday at the Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September,, Kari Smith talked about Challenges posed by diversity: looking at language and assessment. (I found a pdf of a presentation that covered a number of the same points (and reported on her research) here.)
She defined her key concepts: Ethics "the study of what is morally wrong and what is not"; Equity "when everyone is treated fairly and equally." This obviously sounds simple, but is not simple to interpret and apply. For example, who decides what is morally wrong? Various cultures have different conceptions of morality. In terms of equity - it is finding the balance between what is fair and what is just (and there are not separate words for these two things in Norwegian, which is an interesting problem). In terms of equity, there is the key issue of whether we treat everyone the same, or take account of differences in deciding how to deal with people.
Kari went on to look at equity and assessment. There is internal fairness - assessing "the learner's performance in relation to the context in which it was produced". External justice involves "Similar treatment across a number of contexts and people". Discussion of ethics and equity in assessment has developed as there is "increased use of high stakes testing" (i.e. assessments where a lot hangs on teh results of the assessment), "demand for accountability" (from Governments, consumers etc.), with "Student achievements the main focus for educational policies" and "assumption that changes take place by means of standards" (e.g. that you improve educational quality by increasing standard levels).
She presented reasons why standards were nevertheless useful, e.g. as a basis for discussing professional knowledge and as a basis for assessment. She quoted Biesta (2009) as identifying three functions of education: qualification (which is externally validated); socialisation (which involves internalising societial norms) and subjectification ("independent of norms, enhances individual development": for this, too much attention to standards and norms is counter-productive). She contrasted instruction/training (which focuses on what is known, and is "completed" when a course it done) and education (which means asking new questions, which may not always have an answer). She also cited various authors who have challenged the value of predefined goals, high stakes testing, teaching to the test etc.
She emphasised that all that "can be measured is the concrete learning which the students choose to perform" (and students may not chose to perform to the highest level that they could).
In the final segment of her talk she drew on her research into studying in an additional language. Her participants were studying either in English or in Hebrew, which were not their first languages. The minuses of studying in a foriegn language included that students felt that their first language usage became poorer, it was time consuming to keep up with their studies and they could not read in depth (because they read slowly), there was loss of self-esteem and the students also felt a loss of identity.
Implications: There is not just one type of international student: different groups have different backgrounds and goals. For example, there are students choosing to study abroad full time, or immigrants to a country. Since they have different goals, they should not necessarily be treated in the same way. For example immigrant students, who want full integration into their new country's culture, need strong support nets: internal fairness might consist in extra tutorial support and perhaps extra time for their work, but the standards would be external without extra allowances for their language problems. One thing I will pick out of her conclusion is that students have to know what to expect in terms of "internal fairness" and that teachers have to become more educated about the various cultures and nationalities they are dealing with.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bryggen, Bergen, September 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

CKVI: question sessions

Reporting from the #ckvi Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September, . In the second session this morning the panel (Bill Johnston, Ralph Catts, Vidar Gynnild) responded to questions which had come from the audience. This post just covers some of the questions and answers that came up (one problem I'm having is that my laptop's battery doesn't last as long as it used to, and of course there are no power sockets in the main hall, so I'm partly liveblogging this and partly taking notes by hand).
One set of questions was about challenges for information literacy, including persuading academics to engage with information literacy. Ideas proposed by speakers included including information literacy in new university teacher courses, and showing how it is related to learing outcomes that have to be achieved. It was emphasised that building these collaborations might take some time.
In terms of approaches to convince educators, deans and management to build curricula: one option was seen as the "lighthouse" approach (identifying a champion), however that approach could result in just a small pocket of illumination. The other approach is making information literacy part of the mission of the university (I would add that obviously I have mentioned how that has been valuable at my university). Ralph Catts gave examples from Australia e.g. Queensland University of Technology. Using top library managers (to influence at a strategic level) is important.
Another question was finding a way to connect with academics who are already enthusiastic constructivist teachers but are not aware that there is a connection between what they are doing and information literacy. These were seen as good targets for work with IL. It was suggested that presenting yourself as an educational developer rather than as a librarian could open doors. This change in attitude (that could happen if you take a slightly different role) could apply to students as well (i.e. students treat you differently). There was another question about working with people such as educational developers, and it was agreed that this could be a good strategy., especially if the effort was directed towards credit-bearing courses. Developing all kinds of allies within institutions was certainly a good idea. It also needs to be borne in mind that academics are more likely to collaborate if they see something in it for themselves: which may be enjoyment in better teaching, or may be seeing that information literate students (for example) produce assignments that are easier to mark!
There was one question about plagiarism. The latter can be seen more as part of the broader issue of academic integrity, which includes rethinking assessment practices. A member of the audience emphasised the need to ask "Why?": why are students plagiarising? why are we taking this particular approach to teaching searching? Bill Johnston mentioned that there is also the issue of "why are students at university?": it may be because it is "the thing you do", which in turn means that these students are not so well disposed to learn. This all has implications for how you approach teaching the students.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bergen, September 2010

Bill Johnston Keynote at CKVI

Reporting from the #ckvi Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September, The final keynote speaker this morning was Bill Johnston (pictured): (abstract are at and biography here).
Bill Johnston (Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement, University of Strathclyde) talked on Imagining the information literate university He started by identifying the very broad diversity existing in universities now and then looking at the broad purpose of higher education, quoting Jan Vermunt, who said it was "... to prepare students for lifelong, self-regulated, cooperative and lifelong learning." This involved academics moving from being lecturers to being course designers. He presented the Information Literate University as being an agenda for change in a university: the process of change has been slow in the past and although it still can't be instant it still needs to speed up. He quoted the definition of information literacy that he and I developed (it is on the top right of this blog so I won't re-quote it here!).
In the 21st century there are characteristics of a new information culture (e.g. mobile connectivity, diverse experience of media and the tension between corporate news (what appears in the mass media) and the collective news (in blogs, twitter etc.). He identified how essential understanding of information culture was nowadays: this required broader and more liberal education.
He identified the importance of this information culture in the university and put forward a model for curriculum design. In terms of curriculum renewal, it was important to think about the "end state" (i.e. a graduate in an information culture). To achieve this, Bill identified six areas that needed to be addressed: learning process; learners (e.g. they need to be disposed to learn & engaged); Designs for learning; Contexts for learning; Complex thinking; and applications for learning. As part of this, students should spend more time (for example) engaged in meaningful tasks, and analysing and applying information collaboratively and creatively.

All this requires quite radical renewal of the curriculum and the institution. Forces for renewal include the university's strategic plans, quality evaluation, information literacy (Including theoretically informed case studies), and the involvement of both educational developers and Human Resource Management (since you have to rethink what kind of faculty you recruit).
He finished with the model of an Information Literate University (which he and I developed some years ago and which is pictured on the right, click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture).

Vidar Gynnild keynote at CKVI

I am reporting from the #ckvi Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September, The second keynote speaker was Vidar Vidar Gynnild (Norwegian University of Science and Teachnology) who talked on Teaching and learning in higher education in regard to information literacy and diversity (abstract at and biography are here).
His main theme was the basic need for academics to take a less transmissive approach to teaching. He started by reviewing some different definitions of information literacy: which sounded good, but he was aware that his fellow academics were not terribly engaged in it and did not neccessarily see it as their job to teach. He identified two paradigms. The first was the "Instruction paradigm" e.g. that the mission was to deliver information, the teaching/learning structures consisted of covering the required material, funding was by hours of instruction and faculty were primarily lecturers. However in the newer paradigm, you put learning first. In this you aim to produce learning, structures consists of producing specified learning results, funding goes by learning outcomes, and faculty are primarily designers of learning methods and environments. This means you have to start with the intended learning outcomes.
He mentioned what he called "frame factors" that shape human agency (e.g. mentoring, learning activities, room facilities, social factors) which need to be thought about, and which may be of more or less important. Like Ralph Catts, he identifed the importance of assessment in this process, and how students tend to ask "How does this count towards my grade?".
He finished by emphasising how there needed to be collaboration between faculty and librarians to embed information literacy in the curriculum. He identified some key issues such as academic integrity that prompt such collaboration. He thought that academics such as he could be champions in helping this come about. They can work together to transform a teaching paradigm into a learning paradigm.
Photo by Sheila Webber: yacht in Bergen harbour, September 2010.

Keynote: Ralph Catts at CKVI

I am reporting from the #ckvi Creating Knowledge VI Conference being held in Bergen, Norway, 8-10 September, I am staying in an attic apartment down this street in Bergen (pictured).
The theme of the conference is learning, and also information literacy. There are about 120 participants, mainly from Nordic countries but also from a good number of other countries around the world. The proceedings started with bagpipe playing from the music librarian at Bergen University! The first session featured three keynote speakers, Ralph Catts, Vidar Gynnild, and Bill Johnston. Firstly they each gave 20 minute talks. Their abstracts are at and their biographies are here.
First up was Ralph Catts (Stirling Institute of Education) talked on Teaching and learning in higher education in regard to information literacy and diversity . He felt that universities were now in a new environment, since with the internet there was no longer a "sage on the stage" (although he saw a generation gap in coping with this information flood). This also meant that skills in managing and evaluating information came to the fore, so that we could be a knowledge society, rather than (which was the risk) simply an information society where people consumed (or were fed) information. Applying information to develop your own knowledge was extremely important. Ralph also mentioned the impact of economic cuts (which look like they will be sever in the UK). For example, could we still afford synchronous teaching (which was costly, since labour intensive), when technology meant people could access information at any time?
A key conference theme is diversity, and when prior knowledge of learners is diverse (which is often the case - e.g. different nationalities, ages) then then it's a challenge to identify this so that you can accommodate the diverse needs for learning. For example, mature students may have better communication skills, younger students better academic skills.
Ralph presented a hierarchical model of general skills, and emphasised that informed reflection was important to developing these skills. He went on to identify that there were different ways of developing information literacy in the curriculum: generic, parallel, integrated and embedded. He finished by briefly mentioning his interest in large scale study to measure the impact of information literacy programmes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Effective Assessment in a Digital Age

JISC has produced a guide for Effective Assessment in a Digital Age which incloudes some general guidelines about assessment (in further and higher education), and focuses around some examples of using technology in assessment. The press release says that the guide demonstrates "through ten newly researched case studies how both generic and more complex technologies can increase learner autonomy, improve teaching efficiency and enhance the quality of the experience of assessment and feedback" though I would say the actual studies are more balanced and thoughtful than that implies.
- Text and pdf copies: (scroll to the bottom of the page, oddly it is AFTER the case studies, also availabe in pdf)
- Print copies of it online until the end of October 2010 from
- Online resources to accompany the guide which "include video case studies, a planning tool and expert podcasts designed to support individuals and curriculum teams in harnessing the potential of technology to transform their assessment and feedback practice."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Gates in the Vigeland sculpture park, Oslo, September 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

IL research seminar papers online

Some of the short position papers presented at the Information Literacy Research Seminar 2010 at the CoLIS conference in London have put their papers online (I'm afraid I haven't put my position paper online yet).
- Francke, Helena, Credibility, Materiality, and Mediated Interaction
- Huvila, Isto, What about Creating and Organizing?
- Limberg, Louise, Information Literacies at the Intersection between Information Seeking and Learning: Contexts and Values
- Mackey, Thomas P. & Jacobson, Trudi E., Re-Conceptualizing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy for Social Media
- Moring, Camilla, Learning Trajectories: Becoming Information Literate across Practices
Sormunen, Eero, Lehtiö, Leeni & Hongisto, Heidi, Collective Authoring of Wikipedia Articles as a Learning Task in Embedded Information Literacy Instruction
- Talja, Sanna, From Teaching Information Literacy to Teaching Information Management?: An Information Practice Model for Teaching and Learning Information Competences
They can all be found as links from the International information literacies research network site at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Trainers hanging on a telegraph wire, Bergen, Norway, Sept 2010. I posted a picture of trainers on a wire in Sheffield a little while ago. Is this an international trend?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Study on school leavers' information behaviour

I am in Uppsala (Sweden), and yesterday gave a presentation about the Information Literate University to staff and students at Uppsala University (the pictures are of a workplace in their (very) old Carolina library and some books on the shelves of the old reading room). I have been busy with this and also have had a bad cold, so haven't got time at the moment to write this up properly. Instead here is information on a Swedish dissertation (quicker to post!)
Approaching the future: a study of Swedish school leavers' information related activities is a PhD thesis by Frances Hultgren from the University of Borås. Swedish School of Library and Information Science, published 2009 (in English with a Swedish summary). "The focus of the thesis is on how school leavers deal with the flood of information, advice and expectations that are directed towards them at a structurally induced turning point in their lives. ... The study is based on qualitative research interviews with twenty one school leavers during their last year at school and on a minor discourse oriented study of a selection of the information produced by major actors in the careers guidance system. ... Four approaches to information seeking emerged from participants’ accounts: 1) They use information seeking as a tool in making connections between educational interests and the future labour market 2) They use information seeking both as a tool in finding pathways to occupations and as a means of orienting within an occupational domain 3) Study and career information seeking is put ‘on hold’, and information seeking is associated with planning extended transitions, and 4) Study and career information seeking is avoided as potentially threatening or as meaningless. ... A greater focus on the development of an information literacy is suggested as a means of better supporting young people in the process of making study and career decisions."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Recent information Literacy articles

Kraemer, E., Lombardo, S.V. and Lepowski, F. (2010) "The Librarian, the Machine, or a Little of Both: A Comparative Study of Three Information Literacy Pedagogies at Oakland University. " College and Research Libraries, 68 (4), 330-42. (They divided up a class, so that different sets of students got live teaching, online tutorials, or a blend; and administered pre and post tests.)

Also thanks to Yazdan Mansourian who, a while ago, drew my attention to the articles in the latest Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36 (4) (contents page at
- Lim, A. "The Readability of Information Literacy Content on Academic Library Web Sites." Pages 296-303 (there is a call for more attention to readability to meet needs of diverse learners)
- Green, R. "Information Illiteracy: Examining our Assumptions." Pages 313-319 ("Findings from a qualitative study of the doctoral literature review process portray learners as competent, rather than information illiterate, even though they may not have received information literacy interventions.")
- Su, S-F. and Kuo, J. "Design and Development of Web-based Information Literacy Tutorials." Pages 320-328
Photo by Sheila Webber: People silhouetted against the sky on the top of the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales, August 2010.