Saturday, February 26, 2011

Survey of supervisors and PhD students

Curtis+Cartwright and Cardiff University are undertaking a study into the role of research supervisors as regards information and data handling skills. They have a survey online: one version for students and one for supervisors at and The study is described at
Photo by Christopher Webber: Crocus fields at the Standard, February 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Survey about use of research in practice

"Staff working on the LIS Research Coalition sponsored Research in Librarianship – Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) project are currently running a poll and would like to invite you to take part. The purpose of the poll is to identify (1) the sources that are used by librarians to generate ideas for improvements in library services delivery and (2) any named LIS research projects that have been particularly influential in inspiring changes to practice. The results will contribute to the broad project aim of exploring the extent to which funded librarianship research projects influence library practice. The poll is aimed at Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals who are based in the UK, but we would still be interested in answers from colleagues from other countries. It should take you no more than five minutes to complete. The poll is open untilSunday 6th March and can be reached via this short link:" (reposted from an item by Hazel Hall)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Student election placards, Feb 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good Practice in Information Literacy for Academic Research

This is a one day workshop on 14 March 2011 at the The University of Warwick, UK. There are presentations on Information Literacy and the Research Development Framework, The 7 Pillars of Information Literacy and the role of librarians, Good Practice in Research Data Management and A Joined-up Approach to Promoting Information Literacy for Researchers, followed by workshop sessions. The cost is £185 for UKCGE (UK Council for Graduate Education) Members and £235 for non-members. This includes a delegate pack, lunch and refreshments. Further info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: student election placards, Feb 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

E-learning to M-learning: supporting learning and information literacy

This is a CILIP course on 13 April 2011 held in London, UK. "Much has been written and discussed about the Google generations brains being wired differently because they have grown up with using the Internet and mobile devices. How can these new technologies be used to support learning and information literacy? E-learning already offers many opportunities, now is the time to discover how mobile devices, personal response systems and QR codes can be a key feature for supporting students in this area."
There is also a course Learning and information literacy in a digital environment on 7 April 2011 in London, UK.
Photo by Sheila Webber: student election placards, Feb 2011

EBLIP registration opens

EBLIP6: Valuing knowledge and expertise The 6th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference 2011 will take place on 27-30 June 2011, in Salford, UK. Rregistration opens on 1st March 2011. Info on the conference at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Poll everywhere

There has been a good discussion on the American information literacy list ili-l in the past few days, about the polling tool Poll Everywhere; the advantages and disadvantages of using it for information literacy. There's a cut down free service, and a priced service for larger use. The ili-l list archive is at and the Poll Everywhere site is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Georges lecture theatre/ student flats (former church), Sheffield, February 2011

Journal club 23 Feb ""Pedagogical Considerations in Developing an Online Tutorial"

The journal club held in the virtual world, Second Life, next meets this Wednesday on 23 February 2011 at 12 noon Second Life time (that's 8pm UK time see for times elsewhere). You need a SL avatar and the SL browser on your computer, to participate, and it is nice if you have read the paper ;-) though the session leader will summarise key points briefly at the start, as usual. Eleni Zazani (of Birkbeck College (University of London), UK, Loreena Sandalwood in SL) will lead discussion. We will be discussing:
Skagen, T., Torras, M., Kavli, S., Mikki, S., Hafstad, S., & Hunskår, I. (2009). "Pedagogical Considerations in Developing an Online Tutorial in Information Literacy." Communications In Information Literacy, 2(2). This is open access,
Where: Infolit iSchool Journal Club room:
Some questions for participants to think about and discuss are:
- Are you involved in creating online tutorials/learning Objects?
- What standards, (IL of pedagogies), if any, do you use while planning online tutorials or learning objects
- Do you find it difficult to apply standards while creating very short tutorials?
- Which is your favoutite software/platform?
- Are there any Information Literacy barries?
- Do online tutorials replace face-to-face Information Literacy sessions?
- What strengths or weaknesses do you see in this paper?

This is a Sheffield University Information School, Centre for Information Literacy Research event

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Library advert #savelibraries

Two short adverts for Swansea public libraries that I thought were rather good. Nothing much to do with information literacy, but I will throw in a post relevant to the Savelibraries campaign now and then. Thanks to Scott Vine, who alerted me to these.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Railway tracks, Glasgow, Feb 2011 (I couldn't seem to be able to embed the videos themselves)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bookselling & publishing

When I taught a publishing module I would scan the Bookseller every week, but nowadays I don't make an effort to see the printed version. The Bookseller is the UK bookselling and publishing industry's trade magazine. However, following up a story about today's announcement of the major Australian book chain Angus & Robertson going into administration (following on the collapse of the US' Borders book chain), I also came across this brief report on a survey that found that over-50s were slightly more likely to have e-book readers than younger people. There are also the weekly top book selling lists and the lists of (British) publications for the week.
My attempt to link this to information literacy is: it's a good site if you want to set a task about finding out more about the publishing industry, current trends and the impact of economic and political trends. Scanning the headlines for the past few months shows it is becoming increasingly difficult for people who develop literacy or information literacy skills by interacting with books to come across them for free, whether browsing in bookshops or in libraries.
Other useful sites are the (UK) Publishers Association, the American Booksellers Association, and (US) Publishers Weekly. The latter has reports on the Tools of Change (digital publishing) conference that took place this week.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Railway bridge, Glasgow, Feb 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011


Three articles in Science focus on "the data deluge and the opportunities that can be realized if we can better organize and access the data." These (I think) call for specialist information literacy, although sadly information literacy is not mentioned in the articles. For me it highlights the disciplinary differences in information literacy: in these fields understanding how to retrieve, make sense of and communicate numerical and biomedical data are important for being information literate (knowing how to use textual databases is not enough). The "seventh pillar" of creating new information is also important (and being able to describe the data using an ontology, and share it ethically). Thanks to Peter Willett for alerting me to this special issue.
- Wald, C. (2011) "More Than Words" Science [online] February 11. Discusses use of biomedical ontologies to organise and retrieve information.
- Pain, E. (2011) "Surfing the tsunami." Science [online] February 11. Talks about the problems created by the "heaps of data" in public biomedical data sets. Tool/services mentioned include the Neuroscience Information Framework "a dynamic inventory of Web-based neuroscience resources: data, materials, and tools accessible via any computer connected to the Internet."
- Travis, K. (2011) "Sharing Data in Biomedical and Clinical Research". Science [online] February 11.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ready for rain, Glasgow, February 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Polish article about using Infolit iSchool

This article discusses Infolit iSchool in Second Life, and the information literacy activities that go on there. The other articles look interesting too (if only I spoke Polish!)
Rozkosz, E. (2011) "Multimedialne przestrzenie edukacyjne: wirtualne centrum Infolit iSchool" EBIB, (119).
The picture shows Eva (the author, second right) participating in our discussion about "What inspires your teaching" in SL today

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Social media in and out of the university classroom

A (priced) online session offered on 29 March 2011 by Queensland University of Technology is: Social media in and out of the university classroom, with Howard Rheingold. "This session will focus on the use of social media in teaching, and the kind of collaborative inquiry and peer learning afforded by using digital media as part of a participative pedagogy. Howard will discuss the new literacies that are emerging and need to be taught: attention, collaboration, participation, crap detection, and network awareness. Get set for the 2011 academic year! Challenge your thinking about the literacies required of 21st century learners and learn about the tools and environments that can aide in the development of robust peer learning environments. Howard's presentation will be followed by a dynamic group discussion focused on how libraries of all types can captialise on collaborative inquiry and peer learning, and on how libraries can support the acquisition of new and emerging literacies." See
Photo by Sheila Webber: snow creatures, Blackheath, December 2010

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sharing practice project

Aimed at UK academics, this Sharing Practice projects aims to gather and share stories and evidence about how people teaching in universities change their practice, why they do it etc. Until 4th March they are collecting "change stories".
Photo by Sheila Webber: For sale, Hailsham, January 2011

Last chance for proposals for VWBPE

The closing date for proposals for the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference is 15th February 2011. This conference, held mostly in the virtual world, Second Life (the picture shows one of the venues last year), runs for 48 hours 17-19 March 2011. "This grassroots, community-based conference attracts faculty, instructors, trainers, administrators, instructional designers, technical specialists, and members of organizations from around the world. Those who create teaching/learning environments, resources, tools, support services and professional development opportunities internal and external to virtual world environments participate."
Website at

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This inspired my teaching! 16 Feb in SL

Discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, on 16 February 2011, 12 noon Second Life time (that's 8pm UK time): This inspired my teaching! You need a second Life avatar and the Second Life browser installed on your computer, to participate.
What book, article, web resource or movie has inspired *your* teaching? Please come along and share! Sheila Yoshikawa will start off by highlighting results from a UK and a USA survey of what delegates at 2 key information literacy conferences had found inspirational (LILAC and LOEX of the West). They varied from fiction (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Little Women) to educational classics (e.g. Freire's work) to practical tutorials and books by librarians, to tales of inspirational individuals. This is different from the usual teacher's reading list! The list from the UK study is at and the US list is in:
Brier, D.J. and Lebbin, V.K. (2006). “Ike loa: a list of influential books shaping the instruction librarian’s teaching and learning philosophy”. Reference Services Review, 34 (4), 607-643.
The venue is

Friday, February 11, 2011

Visual literacy standards

The ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Standards Task Force has made a draft of the ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education available. They are inviting feedback via their blog, or emailed to Denise Hattwig - closing on March 31st.
The blog is at (it has an interesting account of how they worked to define visual literacy) and the draft standards at
There is also a virtual open meeting to discuss them online at the ALA Midwinter conference on Wednesday 16th February, 11.30-13.00 Pacific Standard time (which is 8 hours behind UK time). You register at "please note there are three IRIG meetings listed; please select the 2/16/2011 VLTF meeting"
Photo by Sheila Webber: sprouts growing under a net, Hellingly, January 2011

Health literacy

Thanks to Vivienne Bernath in alerting me to a study about the use of Google by people to diagnose their own illnesses, commissioned by BUPA (the healthcare company). She sent me a link to this Australian news item
Moses, A. (2011) "Alarm sounded over Dr Google's diagnosis.", February 10.
This is the press release on the British BUPA website from January (it ends with "Bupa’s tips for checking information quality")

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Horizon Report 2011

The New Media Consortium has published the latest Horizon Report "Each year, the Horizon Report describes six areas of emerging technology that will have significant impact on higher education and creative expression over the next one to five years"
This time the technologies are:
- One year or less to adoption: Electronic books, and mobile devices
- 2-3 years to adoption: Augmented reality (presenting contextual information over a picture of the physical world), and game-based learning
- 4-5 years to adoption: Gesture-based Computing, and Learning Analytics. "At its heart, learning analytics is about analyzing a wealth of information about students in a way that would allow schools to take action. This information can include student profiles within an institution’s database, as well as the interactions of students within course management systems" and any other data. (Hmm, this all hangs on the quality of the data and the sophistication of the programmes and people interpreting it).
Picture taken in Second Life by Sheila Webber

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Call for IL papers: Danish Library Research

There is a call for papers for a special issue on Information Literacies (“Informationskompetencer i en kontekst- og mediebaseret sammenhæng”, looking at information literacy in specific contexts/ media) in the journal Danish Library Research. The call is in Danish, for articles in Danish. However, they will also accept articles in English. More information on the International Information Literacies Research Network blog where I found this information:
Photo by Sheila webber: Across the sky, Hailsham, January 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Follett information literacy challenge

The Follett Challenge is a competition which offers a prize to schools ("K 12") in the USA. They have to "Develop a plan describing an existing information literacy based local school program for students, demonstrating how the program makes use of technology and content to improve student engagement." and make a short video about it. The challenge is open now and closes on 1st June 2011. Follett sells educational products and services, including educational technology. More details at
Photo by Sheila Webber: winter trees in school grounds, Hailsham, January 2011.

Monday, February 07, 2011

ICT Literacy

Information and Communication Technology Literacy: What Do Businesses Expect and What Do Business Schools Teach? is a report by Radwan Ali and Irvin R. Katz published by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) in August 2010.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailsham, January 2011

Friday, February 04, 2011

Save libraries day #savelibraries

Men of Britain 5th February is Save Libraries day, organised by the UK's Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) "looking for help from across the globe with a day of action in support of UK public library services" which are being seen as soft targets in the current swathe of public sector cuts. The webpage with suggestions is at You can tweet about it using the hashtag #savelibraries, to say why public libraries are important. The poster on the right is one of a set created from old wartime posters by Phil Bradley: the complete collection is here. There are a whole range of reasons why public libraries are worth saving: not just in terms of books, but for internet access, as a comfortable "third place" to learn and relax, a place to come across new ideas and so forth. However, just as important is the work of librarians in helping people to get the most out of information and books, for all aspects of peoples' lives.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Improving Students' Web Use and Information Literacy

A new book aimed at teachers and school librarians.
Herring, J. (2011) Improving Students' Web Use and Information Literacy: a guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet. ISBN: 978-1-85604-743-2
You can get the table of contents and chapter 1 ("The big picture: learning and teaching in today's schools") on the Facet website:
Photo by Sheila Webber: birds on a branch, Hailsham, January 2011 (photoshopped)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

iCritical Thinking test

I don't think I have blogged the fact that the name of the test produced, sold and administered by the (US) Educational testing Service (ETS) is now called iCritical Thinking. This was formerly called iskills, and before that was called the ICT Literacy test (I think the content has also changed a bit each time). It incorporates aspects of information literacy. To quote their website "An outcomes-based assessment, the iCritical Thinking Certification measures applied ICT literacy skills through a range of real-world tasks." "features real-time, scenario-based tasks that measure an individual's ability to navigate, critically evaluate and understand the wealth of information available through digital technology" "is endorsed by the Global Digital Literacy Council (GDLC) and aligned with the nationally recognized Association of Colleges & Research Libraries (ACRL) standards"
Photo by Christopher Webber: me near Conwy, September 2011

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

RAILS rubrics

From the University of Kentucky, newly on the RAILS (Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy skills) website, are some rubrics. Rubrics outline what is required to achieve a particular information literacy standard (e.g. for "Constructs effective research strategy" it identifies what would be seen as "emerging", "developing", "proficient" or "distinguished" performance). I think you could also characterise this as a criterion-referenced approach to assessment (in all cases in it a good idea to tell the students what the criteria are, so they know how they are being judged, obviously).
It is interesting to look at the rubrics and compare with one's own teaching e.g. I couldn't adopt the rubrics as they stand, because I leave using using controlled vocabularies until a late stage, but put early emphasis on thinking of different search terms. Also, this rubric just addresses searching (by implication) electronic resources, rather than using a range of sources (such as books or people).
It is very useful to look at the rubrics though, and the authors say "feel free to modify and save a new version of any rubric on the site or upload a new rubric you use with your classes or instruction program."
I was sure I had mentioned RAILS before but I can't seem to find a post about it , so here is general information. RAILS "helps librarians assess student information literacy skills exhibited in "artifacts of student learning" like research papers, presentations, worksheets, portfolios, or reflective journals. Using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics and the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as starting points, RAILS assists librarians who seek to create campus-specific rubrics, "norm" them for use with multiple raters, and gather results data that inform instructional improvements." It is based at Syracuse University's iSchool, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and has several universities (including Kentucky) participating in the 2010-11 cohort. The website is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rails on the Cuckoo walk pathway, Hailsham, January 2011

ACRL winners

The (US) Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) recently announced the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, Janice Welburn, Marquette University, and the 2011 Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards (Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College, Grinnell College Libraries and the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University).