Monday, November 29, 2010

Netvibes page about Web 2.0

I just updated my "Web 2.0" Netvibes page (I'm using it in a class tomorrow). It has links to some "what is ..." items, some items relevant to learning about Web 2.0 (I particualrly recommend the Cambridge University 23 Things blog) and some automatic searches on Web 2.0. It's at I also updated the Netvibes tab that has links to my own social media etc.
Unfortunately I realised belatedly today that my Pageflakes page that aggregated links to information literacy RSS feeds from blogs etc. has disappeared (or rather Pageflakes has), so I will try and recreate that somewhere else (possibly on Netvibes).
Photo by Sheila Webber: traditional photo of my watering can in the snow, this morning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Article against library cuts

Everyone seems to be linking to this, so I might as well do so too: people are encouraged to leave comments to counter some of the "but we don't need libraries now everyone has the internet" nonsense that has been posted so far.
Bennett, C. (2010) "Without libraries, we will lose a mark of our civilisation." Observer, 28 November.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Web 2.0 Untangled: Technology-enriched IBL

At #web2untangled, held in Oxford yesterday, Professor Philippa Levy and I gave a presentation: Starting as we mean to go on: Technology-rich Inquiry Based Learning in the first undergraduate year. The first part talks about what Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is, the second part is an example of the IBL approach in our first year of the BSc Information Management, and the third part identifies some themes in the research literature which address IBL and technology. At the end are 2 slides of the references, and a link to the Sheffield companion to Inquiry Based Learning, which you can download from here.
This is the presentation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Web 2.0 untangled: Scientific social networking

At the #web2untangled Lucy Power (Oxford Internet Institute) talked about Scientific social networking and open notebook science today. The conference is organised by COFHE and UC&R and takes place in Wolfson College, Oxford.
She said that scientists are using the existing Web 2.0 tools to practice open science, communicating with the general public, and to interact with each other. She mentioned the use of Friendfeed (which enables you to aggregate RSS feeds), where there is a group (for example) called The Life Scientists. Within this group, the scientists have very specific discussion about their work. Participants report using the Friendfeed group for things like: securing research funding, writing grant applications, collaborating, reporting on conferences, publishing, solving problems and searching for information. The scientists report that they are able to build up rapport throught the more "lightweight" conversations, as well as having more heavyweight exchanges, and both are valuable. They are also able to expand their networks (e.g. to include librarians!)
Lucy identified one scientist (Cameron Neylon) who she felt was using Web 2.0 to its limit, with an open lab notebook, by publishing about everything he was doing in his lab, on his blog at The second example was of the Open Notebook Science awards run by Jean-Claude Bradley (who I recognise, because he is also active and famous in the science community in Second Life!). The third example was of an academic who had his first year Physics students do open lab notebooks: example is here.
To summarise - why are scientists using these technologies? One thing is that they get fast answers from a global, expert audience. Also it is open and informal, and enables them to network and form a community. Friendfeed in particular is seen as useful because it allows you to aggregate feeds from all sorts of social fora (Twitter, Facebook etc. etc.) so you don't miss anything.
Involvement from librarians might include: using Friendfeed groups to get into an academic community, and helping in archiving/ accessing the discussions. Questions afterwards also included issues to do with promotion (can you put this on your CV, as an academic) and the relationship with formal publishing.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Grounds of Wolfoson College, Oxford, this morning.

Web 2.0 Untangled: Elluminate use by the OU library

At #web2untangled in Oxford today (where I'm speaking later) the third talk is from Helen Clough at the Open University. For those outside the UK, the Open University is the major distance learning university in the UK. Elluminate is one of the online learning platforms that they use, and the OU library is using it as well. Helen is describing its use, and the feedback they've had. Because I want to drink the coffee I've brought in, I'm goingto be lazy and embed the ppt here instead of writing about it ;-)

Web 2.0 Untangled: Ethics and law

Eric Davies talked about Web 2.0: Weaving ethics and law at the #web2entangled conference in Oxford that I am attending today. This presentation identified how may issues there were, and how few of them were really resolved. He started by asking us to talk amongst ourselves about what ethics meant. He defined it as "moral coices and the values that lie behind them", whilst laws were "agreed principles established by law and society".
Meanwhile, Web 2.0 is enabler of creative change - enabling distributed co-creation and so forth. He cited Shoshana Zuboff (Creating value in the age of distributed capitalism): with the focus now on individual creation. Eric characterised this as a mutation in the producion/creation process. This brings empowerment, but also responsibility, to the individual. However, the implications for organisations, as well as individuals, have not really yet been explored properly.
In terms of education he saw the mutation manifesting as e-scholarship, and changes in approach to learning and teaching. Eric mentioned Badrul Khan's framework for e-learning does include ethical aspects, which concern "social and political influence, cultural diversity, bias, geographical diversity, learner diversity, information accessibility, etiquette, and the legal issues." (quoted here). He also mentioned other studies which have revealed the concerns about Web 2.0 (such as identity, authority and security) and ways in which Web 2.0 has been used in education (e.g. building relationships, showcasing work). In the latter context, problems that have emerged include ownership issues, disruptive interaction, illegitimate use of content, protecting the anonymity of students and generally protecting their space.
Therefore key issues are: trust, privacy, data protection, copyright, plagiarism, unacceptable use (in terms of content and activity) and diversity (cultural diversity, accessibility etc.). In terms of unacceptable use, there are all sorts of ways in whichthe law could be broken, or local acceptable use guidelines could be breached, from statements that could be seen as inciting terrorism or were libelous, through to unacceptable advertising. Eric identified the great tension between enabling and regulating, with monitoring bringing its own concerns (e.g. privacy and censorship). This was seen as a big problem area that was not really being grappled with adequately.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Iced leaves in the grounds of Wolfson College, Oxford, this morning.

Web 2.0 Untangled: 1

Today I'm at the #web2untangled Web 2.0 Untangled conference in Oxford, organised by UC&R and COFHE. Peter Godwin started off the day with a talk entitled Library 2.0: bah humbug?. He began by highlighting how the number of older (50+) users has increased dramatically, and that we are finally entering a phase where e-books are getting used and not just hyped. Talking about the pervasiveness of mobile technology, he mentioned the ECAR study of undergraduate students and technology.
Peter thought it was the time to reflect on how useful Web 2.0 was, and what it was really for, as librarians tend to be enthusiatic about it, but students don't really use the range of Web 2.0 tools (e.g. are less likely to blog and use social bookmarking sites). He mentioned a new JISC report Managing students's expectations of university. One role of librarians is helping students to see how they can use tools like Netvibes to keep on top of material for their studies.
Coming to information literacy, Peter emphasised that librarians have a big role, but weren't the only people who were concerned with it. He felt that for information literacy in future, sifting and evaluation would be more important than search. Helping students to scope the topic was also important: students finding it hard to understand how they can home in on what they are supposed to be addressing.
In terms of creating material, Peter talked about Screenr (here is one of his videos), which I've been using for a while (though I've mostly used it to create videos about Second Life so far).
His final words were that for the social, mobile population, information literacy was about changing attitudes, not so much about skills.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Grounds of Wolfson College, Oxford, this morning.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Information literacy: what's in it for you?

A one-day event on 20 January 2011, held in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow , Scotland, is Information literacy: what's in it for you? "Hear expert speakers discuss information literacy in the workplace, in education and in general and participate in specially arranged workshops to help you explore some of the key issues." To book, go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Beech, November 2010, Sheffield

Friday, November 19, 2010

SL journal club: 24 Nov and 14 Dec

The information behaviour/ information literacy journal club continues in Second Life, the virtual world. All are welcome to participate (you need a SL avatar and the SL software on your computer). These are both one hour sessions, with a short introduction in voice, main discussion in text chat.

November Journal club meeting
When: Wednesday November 24th 12 noon SLT (see for times elsewhere)
Where: Infolit iSchool
Pancha Enzyme (Edinburgh University) leads a discussion on:
Sundin, O. & Francke, H. (2009). "In search of credibility: pupils' information practices in learning environments" Information Research, 14(4) paper 418. [Available at]
Please read the article - to start things off we'd like you to think about the questions:
- What strengths/weaknesses do you see in this study?
- How do you address assessment of authority/credibility in your information literacy teaching?
- What changes, if any, does this study prompt you to think about making to your current practice?

December journal club meeting
When: 14 December 2010, 12 noon SL time(see for times elsewhere)
Where: Venue:
In December's journal club, Maggie Kohime (Sheffield University) will lead discussion on the article:
Hauxwell, H. (2008) Information literacy at the Service Desk: the role of circulations staff in promoting information literacy. Journal of Information Literacy, 2(2),
The picture shows the journal club room, where there are links to the above articles and information on the first two meetings

LILAC 2011 booking open

LILAC is the UK's main information literacy conference. In 2011 it takes place 18-20 April, with the first 2 days at the British Library and the third day in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Book before December 31st to take advantage of early bird prices:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Halloween leftover, Sheffield, November 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ALIA Information Online 2011

The 15th ALIA Information Online Conference & Exhibition takes place from the 1-3- February 2011. It is held at the Conference & Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. As you might expect, there is a focus on the digital library/ user, and the conference includes some information literacy papers e.g. Integrated literacies: every player wins a prize: Judith Peacock (Queensland University of Technology)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meeting on indicators for media and information literacy (MIL)

UNESCO organised a meeting working on a framework of indicators to measure media and information literacy (MIL) internationally. The meeting attended by representatives of 17 countries, and held on 4-6 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. It involved specialists from the field of media, information, education, curriculum development, psychometrics and statistics. A document had been prepared by Susan Moeller, (Professor, Director of International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, University of Maryland), Jesús Lau (Director of USBI VER Library, Mexico), Ammu Joseph (independent journalist from India) and Toni Carbo (Teaching Professor and iSchool Program Leader, Drexel University Center for Graduate Studies). It was decided that there should be two types of indicator:
"Tier 1 Indicators: intended to measure enabling factors that influence how individuals acquire MIL competencies and how well public and private institutions promote media and information literacy"
"Tier 2 Indicators: intended to measure MIL competencies for all individuals in a society with additional consideration for teacher trainers and teachers in-training and in-service."
There is a report at which also says that "The initiative to develop indicators to measure media and information literacy was spearheaded by the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector in cooperation with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the UNESCO Office in Bangkok. UNESCO is presently validating an action plan that was prepared and proposed by the participants of the meeting. The report of the meeting will be published by the end of this year."
Photo by Sheila Webber: I think I may have featured this photo before, but my university just grubbed this rose out of its flowerbed in one of their "neatening" exercises, so this is a memorial to how pretty it was ;-(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Year Experience in Higher Education

Today, Bill Johnston was the guest expert in my Education for Information Literacy module here at Sheffield University. I don't think I have mentioned the book he published earlier in the year:
Johnston, B. (2010) The First Year at University: Teaching Students in Transition. Open University Press.
Amongst other things, he emphasises the importance of information literacy in the first year experience at university, and for lifelong learning. You can see a description of the book and download chapter one here:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Problem Based Learning (PBL) Today & Tomorrow

Facilitate, the Irish Enquiry and Problem Based Learning Network, announced its 1st international conference entitled Problem Based Learning (PBL) Today & Tomorrow, May 26-27 2011 in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. For more information go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: blurred creeper, Firth Court, November 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Learning in a Changing World

Judy O'Connell alerted me to a newly published series commissioned by library associations in Australia. The Learning in a Changing World series "addresses how the process of learning is evolving – including the array of resources available in the digital age, changing curriculum, and the different teaching strategies needed in order to use new media and technologies. The Learning in a Changing World series presents the core areas for teacher librarians and school leaders to consider for 21st century learning: the digital world, virtual worlds, curriculum integration, resourcing, and the physical environment. All are essential elements to enable and empower our students to be lifelong learners and active participants in our society."
Judy worked on the first two books in the series with Dean Groom. These are called Connect, Communicate, Collaborate and Virtual Worlds. She notes on her blog that "Books like the two we worked on can never stay completely current – but then they are not ‘how to’ guides so much as ‘why you should’ and ‘why you can’ guides. There is enough thought provoking information for readers to leverage and help innovation and change in their own schools."
You can order them via
Photo by Sheila Webber: autumn berries, November 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tweet n Cheerful

I couldn't resist posting about this seminar on use of social media because I like the title. Tweet 'n' cheerful: Social media skills: the future for you and your organisation? is a seminar organised by CILIP East of England ISG on 10 December 2010 at University Campus Suffolk, UK. Seminar leader/ speakers are Karen Blakeman (information consultant), Nicola Millard (Customer Experience Futurologist, BT, Adastral Park), Helen Leech (Virtual Content Manager, Surrey County Library Service), Carl Haggerty (Enterprise Architect, Devon County Council), and Lyndsey Rees-Jones. You can book online at Closing date: 1 December 2010
Picture assembled and taken in Second Life by Sheila Webber: Remembrance room

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hi tech and pop culture in information literacy

Here are a powerpoint on using technology and a description of a pop culture themed information literacy session. Firstly, a description of an information literacy session that used a programme called "Jersey Shore" as its theme, together with examples and links, on Amy's blog: I don't think Jersey Shore is that big over here (assuming we can even get it on British MTV), but obviously this idea might be repurposed for soaps like Hollyoaks, Neighbours etc.
Secondly a new powerpoint from Meredith Farkas High Tech High Touch: Online Instruction:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Remembrance poppy wreaths.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Information Literacy in my future career

Today students in one of my classes exhibited their posters on What Information means in my future career. This is a class of 90 students, mostly taking our MSc Information Management or MA Librarianship. About two thirds of them are from outside the UK (particularly from China) and many of them are not intending to work in libraries: this year Information Management students named careers including IT consultant, working in accountancy, and managing an e-business.
As part of the core Information Resources and Information Literacy class they create posters illustrating what aspects of information literacy will be important in their future careers. They use flip charts and pens mostly, though in some cases 3D items and pictures were added (and one poster had a QR code!). They work in groups of about 6. Last week they started on the posters in a one-hour seminar and this week they finished them (though some had done some work in between) and we had the exhibition from 11-12. People circulated and discussed the posters. The aim is to develop understanding about what IL means personally, and what aspects are important for you to develop further, and it also develops awareness of what information literacy means in different work contexts.
I always find it exciting to see the variety of posters and to hear the discussions about information literacy going on around the posters. I included some information about the activity in this conference poster. Unfortunately most of the photos I took of the event are rather poor, these are a couple of the better ones.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Supporting the learner in the digital age: role and impact of libraries across all sectors

This is a study afternoon on 10 December 2010, at Loughborough University, UK. "The purpose of this study afternoon event is to both support the sharing of good practice as well as allow librarians to explore common issues and concerns." The event is aimed at all library staff with an interest in on-line services and/ or digital learner support. Places are limited: contact Katie Jeffers, Library Administrator at Loughborough University Library (e-mail: or telephone 01509 22 2341) if you wish to attend and/ or need further information. A charge of £10 will be made to cover costs, with money collected on the day (and a receipt given in return).
Photo by Sheila Webber, photoshopped creeper, November 2010

Sunday, November 07, 2010

New issue of Libri

Libri Vol. 60, No. 3 includes the following articles
Paul Sturges and Almuth Gastinger "Information Literacy as a Human Right" Libri, Vol. 60, No. 3: 195-202.
Eeva Kurttila-Matero, Maija-Leena Huotari, and Terttu Kortelainen "Conceptions of Teaching and Learning in the Context of a School Library Project: Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Study." Libri, Vol. 60, No. 3: 203-217.
James E. Herring "School Students, Question Formulation and Issues of Transfer: a Constructivist Grounded Analysis." Libri, Vol. 60, No. 3: 218-229.
David Streatfield, David Allen, and Tom Wilson "Information Literacy Training for Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Researchers: a National Survey and its Implications." Libri, Vol. 60, No. 3: 230-240.
Michael R. Olsson "All the World's a Stage: the Information Practices and Sense-Making of Theatre Professionals." Libri, Vol. 60, No. 3: 241-252.
Priced publication, abstracts are here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackheath market, purple cauliflower, October 2010

An article from me about Second Life

Webber, S. (2010) "Investigating modes of student inquiry in Second Life as part of a blended approach." International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1 (3), 55-70.
"This article discusses activities carried out in Second Life (SL), the virtual world, as part of a compulsory class ("Information Literacy") in the first year of an undergraduate programme. The paper aims to identify the contribution of SL to the students’ learning environment and to an Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) approach to programme design. The reasons for taking an IBL approach are explained in relation to institutional and disciplinary goals. The paper reflects on the contribution of the three key learning environments (the classroom, WebCT and SL) to students’ learning. SL is evaluated in relation to a conceptual framework of IBL. It is concluded that SL has made a contribution to students’ achievement of learning outcomes from the class, and has facilitated the development of students’ inquiry skills. In conclusion, further avenues for developing research and teaching are identified."
The articles in this issue also include one from Diane Nahl on information behaviour in Second Life: "Affective load and engagement in second Life: experiencing urgent, persistent, and long term information needs" (pages 1-16)

Friday, November 05, 2010

i3 conference 2011 sponsored place

To add to the last post: early career researchers and practitioners can apply for a sponsored place at i3 (Information: Interactionas and Impact). This includes all conference fees, university accommodation, reasonable travel costs to Aberdeen (up to a maximum of £600 for travel) and access to the social programme. The conference takes place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland from 20-23 June 2011. You have to have a full paper accepted for the conference. Deadline for applications is 14 January 2011. For further information go to the i3 2011 conference website at
Photoshopped photo of poppies by Sheila Webber

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

i3 conference 2011 call for papers

There is a call for papers for the 3rd i3 Conference (Information: Interactions and Impact), which will be held on June 20-23 2011 at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. Keynote speakers include Ross Todd (School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University), Jette Hyldegard (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen) and Eric Meyer (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford).
"i3 is concerned with the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information and how this interaction can bring about change in individuals, organisations, communities and society." Conference themes include: the quality and effectiveness of user/information interactions (e.g. information literacy); patterns of information behaviour in different contexts; impact of information or information services on people, organisations, communities and society (e.g. social, learning, cultural and economic outcomes of engagement with information); and more effective use of information in decision making.
The deadline for submissions (full papers, short papers, posters, and round tables) is 14th January 2011. Further details on the conference website at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn sky, Botanical gardens, Sheffield, October 2010.

Monday, November 01, 2010

2011 Instruction Section: Call for Posters

There is a call for posters for the Instruction Section, at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference, which will be held on June 23-28, 2011 in New Orleans, USA.
"How can we incorporate opportunities for student creativity into our teaching? ... The 2011 ACRL Instruction Section Program will provide participants with an opportunity to explore how they can capitalize on their own creativity to enhance information literacy instruction ... How have you fostered creativity in the classroom? The 2011 Instruction Section Conference Program Planning Committee invites you to submit a poster proposal addressing ways in which you have fostered creativity in the classroom. Posters should use graphic displays to informally present teaching strategies that encourage student creativity as it relates to information literacy. They should be an eye-catching visual representation of the topic, including graphics, tables, charts, text, and images. Poster presenters will briefly discuss their ideas with colleagues as attendees navigate the poster session area and are encouraged to create online handouts for further information ... Criteria for refereed poster session acceptance include: Originality, significance and relevance of the topic; Development of ideas; Examples of creative classroom approach, activities or unique lesson plans; Strength of learning outcomes presented in proposal."
Submit your poster proposal via online form Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Friday, December 17, 2010.
Photo by Sheila Webber, October 2010