Sunday, April 24, 2011

LILAC Report: SCONUL seven pillars new edition #lilac11

At the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK, Moira Bent and Ruth Stubbings (SCONUL Working Group on IL) launched a new version of the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. Well done to the SCONUL Group for working on a revision.
The new diagram is circular (like my Second Life 3D version of the pillars, so I will not have to change that much!) and obviously still has 7 key elements. They also still cover the same basic areas but have been renamed and given fuller scope notes. The pillars and the first-level descriptions are (I quote):
"Identify: Able to identify a personal need for information
Scope: Can assess current knowledge and identify gaps
Plan: Can construct strategies for locating information
Gather: Can locate and access the information and data they need
Evaluate: Can review the research and compare and evaluate information and data
Manage: Can organise information professionally and ethically
Present: Can apply the knowledge gained: presenting the results of their research, synthesising new and old information and data to create new knowledge, and disseminating it in a variety of ways."
In addition, each pillar has a section “understands” (e.g. for “Identify” one of the elements is “understands that being information literate involves developing a learning habit so new information is being actively sought all the time”) and “is able to” (e.g. for “Identify” one element is “Is able to identify a lack of knowledge in a subject area.”). The “understanding” elements are meant to define “attitudes and behaviours” and the “ability” elements are core “skills and competencies”.
There is a basic model for Higher Education (obviously, in particular UK HE), and also a “lens”, or version, tailored for Researchers. The idea is that different “lenses” will be developed “for different user populations to enable the model to be applied in specific situations”.
I haven’t had time yet to review the differences between the old and new model in detail, so I just have a few immediate impressions. The fuller explanations under each pillar look useful. I never thought of the pillars as being strictly linear, so I like the circular diagram, and de-emphasising the novice/expert aspect seems a good idea. Some people made a big thing of attacking the 7 Pillars for being linear, which it is more difficult to do now.
I think I like the 7 short snappy headline words (I’ll need to work with them a bit more before deciding!) On the negative side, I am a bit sorry that the “create” element in the last pillar is not so prominent. Anyway, I’m also glad that this was launched towards the end of my academic year, as it will give me time to rework material for the autumn semester! I will also revisiting the Second Life version: I won’t need to change the shape, but will update the names and descriptions.
The home page from which you can download documents (the core and the researcher lens) and these images is The above images are released for use by SCONUL under a Creative Commons licence.

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