Thursday, April 28, 2011

LILAC report: Teachmeet #lilac11

There was a session on TeachMeet: Librarians learning from each other given by Niamh Tumelty and Katie Birkwood at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference held in London last week (here you see the array of fine china at the British Library). I have blogged about teachmeets a few times recently, so I won't say too much about this, but it was very interesting to hear about the background to setting up the pioneering Teachmeets in Cambridge and the practicalities of running them. We are planning to hold one at Sheffield University in November (possible date is 10th November, and we're having one in Second Life before that!) so are collecting advice.
Katie Birkwood blogged briefly about the LILAC Teachmeet session with links to slides she used at Just to note a few points: the events were self sign-up and filled up extremely quickly (the first time using pbwiki and then with a tailored website); they worried a bit that there might be too many people wanting to speak (the idea is that if there are too many, you draw lots to decide who does) but in fact for the first session 50 booked, 40 turned up and 11 spoke; the second time they allowed a larger room with more informal seating, and more time for networking, including "human bingo" (you have a list of things that might apply e.g. "collects stamps", "kendo expert" and have to find people it applies to); the idea is that after the brief (2 or 7 minute) presentations you have few or no questions, and people can either pose questions via a blog/website afterwards, or via post-it note on a public list of the speakers on the day. It was also mentioned that it was good to have people from a variety of sectors, and they phased publicity: there are a couple of hundred librarians in all the libraries at Cambridge University, who resoond very quickly, so they publicised it via some other channels (to attract school & public librarians etc.) first.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Report from LILAC conference: Second Life meeting #lilac11

On Wednesday May 4 2011, in the virtual world, Second Life, (SL) at 12 noon SL time (8pm UK time, see for times elsewhere) there will be a report back from the LILAC (UK information literacy) conference that took place 18-20 April in London, UK. Sheila Webber (Sheila Yoshikawa in SL), Elisabeth Marrapodi (Brielle Coronet in SL), Eleni Zazani (Loreena Sandalwood in SL) and Vicki Cormie (Ishbel Hartman in SL) will report on highlights from the conference. The LILAC conference website is at
The meeting on 4 May is a one hour event, and the venue is Infolit iSchool in Second Life Participants need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed on their computer. This is a Centre for Information Literacy Research event.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LILAC blogging roundup #lilac11

This is a list of some other people's blogposts from the LILAC conference that was held 18-20 April (the photo is of Joy Head, Welsh Information Literacy Project, at the conference). I'm sure I haven't traced all of them. I haven't finished my blogging about it myself either, but you should be able to find all my posts here:
- The archive of #lilac11 tweets is at
- Libby Tilley blogged and
- Andrew Walsh,, and
- Katie Birkwood blogged a full report of day one of the conference at and Matt Harvey also blogged on day one
- Jane Secker blogged briefly about the session on the DELILA (Developing Educators Learning and Information Literacies for Accreditation) project at The DELILA project "will release a number of teaching materials used in information and digital literacy courses as open education resources" and the blog home page is at Jane also blogged about why they have a project blog at

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

LILAC report: Pecha Kucha sessions #lilac11

The LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK, finished yesterday and I will be catching up with posts over the next few days. The final day of the conference was held at the LSE. We were encouraged to go up to the building's top floor at lunchtime to enjoy the views, and I took several photos, including this one.
I'll report here on Wednesday's Pecha Kucha session, where people have to do very short presentations (with 20 slides, each up for 20 seconds i.e. 6 min 40 seconds). There were six presentations (in two groups of three, with brief question time at the end of each group). The included talks on an evaluation/assessment tool, a refreshing approach with "problem clinics", distance learning, and a skills resource. These are quick summaries of what I thought they were about.

1. Can we do it? Yes we can! Information literacy perceptions among Croatian school librarians. Sonja A Špiranec and Mihaela Banek Zorica. This described an initiative from two academics and school librarians in Croatia. The aim was to define information literacy strategy which was sustainable. To develop this, eight workshops were held, with over 200 school librarians participating. They recognised to achieve their goal, it was important to involve all stakeholders, such as head teachers, and a large workshop was held with these stakeholders. Three aims were identified: educational aspects (practical examples and gaining insights); Building up communities (including all stakeholders on an ongoing basis); and Defining bottom-up strategies from the practitioners’ viewpoint. The Ministry of Education recognised this was a useful approach, and so more workshops and progress are planned.

2. Earth to distance learning librarian was presented by Lucy Collins and Mari Ann Hilliar. They talked about supporting distance learning students at Cardiff University. With the increase in student numbers, a personalised service became less feasible, so a distance learning toolkit was developed. It was noticed that people who had a face to face induction were doing better with this toolkit: so how to substitute for this with distance-only students? They looked at free software options. They decided to use dimdim. For a while this was great, but unfortunately it changed hands, so eventually they moved on to Big Blue button, in the version operated by JISC. They found it doesn’t have audience participation/ interaction features they would like. But does have some positive features, including being able to customise your screen. They are targeting specific cohorts together, fitting in with module contact time, with a maximum of 12 people in any one session. They are aware that they need to adopt a strategy which encourages questioning etc. They want screen sharing options (for more learner-centred work) and ability to record sessions.

3. Nancy Goebel talked at gathering evidence on information literacy assessment and evaluation. She was describing the open source software WASSAIL, which they developed. The WASSAIL home page is here: It facilitates questionnaire data acquisition and processing, including helping to process pre and post tests and individual session evaluations. In WASSAIL you can add questions, create templates, input data and produce reports. You can have multiple choice and scaled answers, and also open ended questions. You create the questions, group them into templates, create a web form (specifying expiry dates etc. or some special features). After the responses come in, you can generate reports. For pre and post test, you can generate a “gains analysis” chart (showing change from pre to post test). This tool won the ACRL Instructional achievement award in 2010.

4. Rowena Macrae-Gibson talked about Upgrading to Upgrade at City University. They saw a need for a resource that brought together information on lifelong learning skills, recognising that students preferred having short snappy materials, using different media, and may start at a basic level. It includes study tips, mindmapping, lectures, employability etc. Upgrade was produced by a team. They overcame problems of lack of money and local website functionality by embedding/ linking materials in materials in the cloud. They use Wordle to describe content visually. The resource complements face to face teaching, and material can also be used in workshops or lectures. They see it opening up doors with the official university website. Upgrade is at

5. Susan Boyle of University College Dublin talked about Problem Clinic: Information Literacy triage. She described a global confusion crisis, symptoms include being google eyed, blurred vision and so forth. The clinics for students are active learning sessions which include practicals, attacking afflictions like googlitis and Wikipedia dependence. So – you take histories, note symptoms, diagnose and then recommend therapy. Firstly you need to be an active listener, note the priority symptoms, then treat with a demo, tutorial or game, depending on the symptoms described. For an example of “games” she has got a matched cards game (matching a strategy and what you use it for). Then there is a stepping stone game, putting steps in process (e.g. getting an article) in the right order. A variety of treatments was recommended, as well as engaging the student brain creatively at the start. At the end she quoted some problem-clinic testimonials from students. This talk was a good example of using the “IL as …” approach consistently, effectively and amusingly.

6. Finally Andrew Walsh (University of Huddersfield) talked about using active learning techniques in information literacy instruction. He emphasised that technology was not required for active learning (which he defined as learning by doing), although it could be a useful tool. In terms of instant response, he mentioned using “Poll anywhere” (free online version), but also using cards, getting people to stand up or sit down, having people run to different spots in the room. He also mentioned non linear presentations (have images for each section, get the audience to pick an image to determine what comes next), and instant podcasting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LILAC report: Students helping students: a peer-led learning model with an information literacy focus #lilac11

Another post - from the final session at the LILAC conference in London. Students helping students: a peer-led learning model with an information literacy focus was a presentation from Tamsin Bolton and Tina Pugliese (University of Windsor, Canada).
Tamsin said at the start how she has a broad conception of information literacy, and she wants students to think about information literacy in a broader sense, so they can go out as information literate citizens. The involvement started with a conversation with an academic developing a module called Ways of knowing, which was a response to retention issues, with students who find it difficult engaging with academic study. It has student mentors embedded in the classroom, and they have to take a course beforehand, so they can support engagement with learning. The mentors sit in class (in red shirts) and lead discussion sessions.
Librarians worked with individual first year groups the first two years, and then started to see potential problems. One was that the students created communities (including the student mentor), and when the librarians intervened it wasn't having as much impact as the student mentor's input. Therefore it seemed sensible to but more focus on using the student mentors as mentors in information literacy as well (and train them to undertake this role). However the mentors expressed discomfort with the role, feeling they didn't have the right skills. This led to the mentors' preparation course having a strong information literacy component. The three main units are mentorship & leadership; critical thinking & information literacy; and planning & feedback. It is emphasised that information is not just about doing assignments, but has wider citizenship and global dimensions.The mentors do a research paper, critical analysis, and reflective practice (keeping weekly journals).
Tamsin said that whilst, to start with, the emphasis was on the mentored first years, but engagement with the senior group of mentors has also been important, and the mentors also feel that beinga mentor has improved their approach to study and actual marks.
This initiative has grown, so now 2000 incoming students will be working like this with mentors (mostly now in other classes, not in "Ways of Knowing" classes). It means doing work with different departments on developing the teaching, learning and assessment in line with this approach, with more rersearch-based assignments. A key benefit for librarians is getting touch with a wide variety of modules via the mentors, and being seen as a support and expert by the mentors.
Tamsin also mentioned that the original objective, improving student retention, also appears to have been met, with improved statistics.

LILAC report: Using Cross-Cutting Groups to Enact Information Literacy Strategy #lilac11

This is a report on an afternoon sedssion from the last day of the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK (though the picture is from a workshop on the first day). The session I'm writing about is Using Cross-Cutting Groups to Enact Information Literacy Strategy: A Comparative Case Study of Norway and the UK from Sheila Corrall (University of Sheffield) and Maria-Carme Torras (University of Bergen). This is the abstract. They identified the shift from a focus on operational matters to strategic development of information literacy. It has been shown that it is quite common to use cross-institutional task forces to approach this, but there is little research on this, so they thought it would be useful to compare what happened at the University of Bergen and at Sheffield University. They started by giving some background about both universities.
They were able to draw on an evaluation of Sheffield's Centre for Inquiry based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences project (specifically, an initiative within that, the Information Literacy Network (ILN), were able to use minutes from meetings etc. at Bergen University and engaged in a reflective dialogue. Sheila said a bit more about the ILN (which I was involved in and have blogged about before), which raised awareness of IL in the university. Activities incuded workshops for academic staff (as part of developing learning and teaching strategies), presentations (internal and external) and gathering good practice. We felt that at the end of the CILASS project information literacy became part of university vocabulary, and involving both Information School staff and librarians was valuable. IL is now mentioned in various strategy documents at Sheffield University.
Maria took over to talk about the Library Teaching Group at Bergen. It consists of representatives from each of the seven branch libraries, with both less, and more, experienced staff. This group was focused on embedding IL, working on approaches to teaching and developing materials, identify ways of evaluating teaching and to collaborate with other groups. Continuing Professional Development is also a role of the group.
As a result, the library at Bergen has become more visible as an educational partner (with people outside the library), they have developed a good deal of tailored information literacy education, and also created a community of practice around the changed approach toIL. They also feel they have triggered an organisational change, with a research support group being formed, and a teaching and research support position being created.
In terms of institutional strategy, at Sheffield University IL has been identified as an objective for student learning in the Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy, and it is one of the graduate attributes. It is also now a key theme in the Library strategic plan, and two departments developed their own plan for IL.
At Bergen, the University stated that integration of IL and ethics should be prioritised, something which is reinforced by recommendations at the national level, although a weakness is that it is not monitored closely. Also they have been involved in consultations on key strategies and institutional plans and policies.
The value of having a dedicated staff member was highlighted (for coordination, keeping momentum, carry out specific initiatives etc.): there had been one at Sheffield (in CILASS), and there will be the new position at Bergen. At Sheffield, strategic alliances with learning support staff, students and "early adopter" academics was important. Maria highlighted collaboration with the University Centre for the Study of the Sciences and Humanities and with the Division of Academic Affairs (particularly around academic integrity). Also they have collaborated with the Teacher Development Programme to develop a course in research ethics for university staff (although funding for this is not yet secure).
In terms of professional development, Sheila mentioned that this included spreading development to IT and paraprofessional staff, not just the subject liaison libarians. At Bergen, there have been continous plans and specific courses.
Enablers at Sheffield included academic endorsement of IL, institutional opportunities, and team working, and restraints include the loss of momentum when the CILASS project finished. At Bergen enablers included the quality of the members, the diversity of membership, support of the library director and restraints included lack of ownership by other staff, the ambiguous status of the group and (as at Sheffield) competing demands on time.
In both cases the groups moved their original mandates. Having regular meetings and someone dedicated to drive things forawrd was valuable. Project funding can also have a disproportionately large effect.

LILAC Report: my poster

I am at the third day of the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK; this third day is at the LSE. I'm having more connectivity problems today, so I'll have to catch up afterwards. In the meantime - this is a picture of my poster (Developing concepts of information literacy) at the poster session yesterday. You can look at/ download a copy of the picture via my previous blog entry
Lots of interesting sessions, so I will have a lot to blog!

Information Literacy Practitioner of the Year award #lilac11

The winner of the UK Information Literacy Practitioner of the Year award was announced on Tuesday night at the conference dinner at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. The winner was Duncan Chappell, Glasgow School of Art Library, in particular for his work on InfosmART (he is shown accepting the award in my rather poor photo). There is an article about this initiative here:
Chappell, D. (2011) "Information Skills for Art and Design: The InfosmART Project at the Glasgow School of Art Library" FUMSI, 4 January.
The runner up for the award was Sonja Haerkoenen, Subject Librarian - European Studies and Psychology, at Cardiff University. The awards were judged and presented by Liz Chapman and Gaynor Eyre

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LILAC report: Teacher-Librarian Collaboration in Supporting the First Research Process lilac11

The next session I choose was Together We Are Strong: Teacher-Librarian Collaboration in Supporting the First Research Process of Undergraduate Students, presented by Anne Kakkonen and Antti Virrankoski (Helsinki University Library). This was given in the main British Library conference room: the picture shows the view through a window in the conference hall over the British Library piazza.
The presenters started by talking about what they were developing - referring to the ACRL standards of information literacy. The next issue is how to develop it. Here they presented a pyramid model, from basic studies, through bachelors, masters and finally doctoral studies at the pinnacle. In basic studies they taught students basics of information seeking and an ICT driving licence. After the first year they focus more on skills needed to become experts in their subject field, embedded into teaching of different disciplines.
The first serious research experience is seen as being the Bachelor's thesis. They described its progress in the Department of Geosciences and Geography. Firstly, there are meetings with students deciding the broad topic area of the thesis. A week after that is the first librarian intervention; a lecture on searching and sources in the subject field. This is to support the starting process of defining the thesis topic. In the following three weeks the students do independent searching, with the aim of exploring and defining their research topic. Then there is another library intervention, with hand-on tutoring about information seeking. The librarian acts as session chair and expert searcher, and each student has to present what they have found and how they found it, defining their thesis topic. The subject teacher is also involved, evaluating the research results as a subject expert, and intervening to help refine the students' research questions. One to three weeks afterwards, students have to give presentations of their first research paper and ultimately, of course, the final thesis is submitted.
The presenters felt that all parties learnt from working together in this way. One issue was: librarians have to fit in with the academics' schedule (and now and then the academic does not attend the joint session, which is frustrating). One of the presenters had studied a geography subject, so the question was posed: is it still necessary to have an academic present? He felt that, yes, it was. One thing was that he had specialised in one field, but that the students were covering many different specialisms. Thus you needed the search expertise of the librarians, and the subject expertise of the academics.
I found a paper from the BOBCATSS conference which I think covers the same initiative (in the latter part of the paper) at:

LILAC Report: A practical model for curricular integration #lilac11

Next report from t the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK (this is a photo from the exhibition today). I am now in the session A practical model for curricular integration of information literacy in higher education presented by Li Wang (University of Aukland, New Zealand). This is the abstract.
She talked about four approaches she has identified for IL education in higher education. These are: extra-curriculum (e.g. workshops not attached to any particular programme), inter-curriculum (contributing at some points); intra-curriculum (embedding) and stand-alone (a separate module in the course curriculum). All approaches can be useful, used together.
She presented an example from Engineering which introduces a case study in which the requirement for information literacy is embedded. The involvement is virtual, integrating IL and library material and support into the online case study. Librarians worked with academic staff to develop this.
Wang talked a bit about her PhD thesis which uses the work of Vygostsky (I am hoping to link to it below - if I don't find it immediately, I will try to add it later).
She looked at the curriculum firstly in terms of What: what is the intended curriculum. Then there is the Who - who is involved in integrating IL into the curriculum (e.g. academics, librarians, other support people, Heads of Department). This should involve collaboration and negotiation (she identified a collaboration model). You need to work to identify potential core course and relationships. There is also How should you integrate the curriculum, thinking about aspects such as assignments, online activities, learning outcomes, which need to be contextualised through the whole module and the whole programme. She gave examples of learning outcomes related to various frameworks etc. e.g. Bloom's taxonomy, professional requirements, graduate attributes. The Outcome of all this should be information literate students!
There was a lot of content in this presentation and I wasn't able to capture all of it: I may blog about it again when I can look at it in more detail.

Wang, L. (2010) Integrating information literacy into higher education curricula: an IL integration model. Unpublished PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

LILAC report: Welsh Information Literacy #lilac11

I hope this is a return to blogging as usual at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. I'm in: Welsh Information Literacy Project: our first steps to an information literate nation presented by Cathie Jackson and Joy Head. I have blogged about this before, including the great news that they have second phase funding. Cathie talked about the background of the project, and Joy went on to talk about phase one of the project. The website is in Welsh and English and is at and includes case studies from various sectors. They produced a printed booklet including the case studies (health literacy, rehabilitation in prisons, employability, as well as formal education) to target key decision makers and make it clear why information is important for Wales. The final objective of phase one of the project was producing a draft information literacy fromaework for Wales. I blogged about that here (it is still in the consultation phase).
Phase 2 (just starting) consists of: further development of the framework, advocacy bank of material on IL for schools and colleges, creating accredited units of learnung at levels 1 and 2, analysis of IL in the employability agenda and involvement in digital inclusion "first click" initaitives.
Cathie identified that key factors for success were: collaboration and feeling of ownership (e.g. the representatives of the Welsh Assemby government being really involved), linking to current frameworks for learning (e.g. they found that you couldn't use the word "evaluate" until a certain educational level, to fit with the frameworks) and gathering evidence and selling the benefits. The illustartion shows a promotional postcard.

My computer is unwell #lilac11

I should have paid more attention to the blue screen of death that I got during David Nicholas' talk yesterday, since the next time I logged on, my poor laptop made horrid clicking noises, so I think there is (at the lilac conference) something wrong with the fan. That curtailed my blogging yesterday. I am now resuming with a new smaller laptop: I'm not sure yet about whether I'll be doing many pictures, and I will catch up on yesterday's afternoon sessions later on. I also managed to lose my reading glasses and I missed the first part of Nikki Heath's keynote whilst trying British Library lost property. It sounded really good (giving the perspective of a very active school librarian) so I will also try to catch up on that. Just heard a nice quote from her "Someone dislike sprouts, others dislike reading" (discussing the problem of teachers not reading for pleasure, and how to get them involved).

Monday, April 18, 2011

LILAC report : official opening and Nicholas keynotes #lilac11

I'm at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. Unfortunately after three solid hours (no break!) of conference workshopping and blogging I already feel a bit blogged-out, so this post on the official opening and first keynote may not be comprehensive. Also this photo is actually wisteria rather than lilac (I took this and the previous photos yesterday). The conference was opened by CILIP Information Group chair Debbie Boden and by Caroline Brazier, Director of Scholarship and Collections at the British Library.
David Nicholas then delivered the first keynote. Nicholas is professor at University College London and director of CIBER. He emphasised a few words beginning with D e.g. decoupling and disintermediation, aiming to sketch out a digital transformation of life and the information landscape.
He felt that there was a need for new and appropraite research methods. He asserted that people "didn't remember" what they did in the digital space but there were new opportunities to map people's digital footprints. I suppose that I would say that people are just as likely to remember what they did online as what they did in a physical space (i.e. imperfectly, but that doesn't mean it is useless to ask them). However, I do see the value of the type of deep log analysis that Nicholas was advocating here. Also he made a good point about using this log data to trigger converations about why people do things e.g. in focus groups.
He talked about some chacteristics of digital information behaviour, such "bouncing and skittering" (people not spending much time on particular pages, taking a satisficing approach, flicking through many sources quickly, hoovering through titles & headings and so forth). A conclusion there was a lot of power browsing, with viewing replacing reading. He gave one of the results as being "abstracts are back".
My blogging was just interrupted by a rather alarming blue screen event on my computer ... but to continue 10 minutes on, Nicholas was talking about how he had found that some users found the databases and journal collections too "empty", lonely and clean: the users expected to see traces of other people having been there, and they expected a personalised electronic greeting. The preference for quick solutions and fast collection of information was also mentioned. If you have read earlier posts from today, you will recognise that some of these information behaviour was identified as being a challenge in workshops sessions at the conference this morning.
Nicholas addressed the complex issue of branding, and how there is both the issue that people find it difficult to recognise who has produced information, and also that people do not neccesssarily trust the brands you would think (he gave the examle of NHS information on a Tesco's site, where people thought it came from Tesco and some were disappointed when they found it was from the National Health Service).
Implications include "chipping away at the capacity to concentrate and contemplate", reading problems, underexploiting the potential of digital information to be transformative, and so forth. Nicholas saw a positive role for librarians in developing more effective information behaviour. In a university context, stressing the link between excellent research and use of the literature is important, and also stressing other desired outcomes of informed information behaviour. For more on the research Nicholas referred to, it is worth looking at the reports on the CIBER website.
Right at the end he raised the issue of whether "information literacy" was the trendiest term, and saw "e-style shopping arguments" as more effective. That can lead to lots of discussion, so I will close this blog post at that point ;-)

LILAC report: Learning literacies through collaborative enquiry #lilac11

Next report from the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK! This next session was Learning literacies through collaborative enquiry; collaborative enquiry through learning literacies. from Jo Ashley, Freya Jarman, Tunde Varga-Atkins and Nedim Hassan (University of Liverpool). This is the abstract. The presenter highlighted:
Beetham, H., McGill, L., & LittleJohn, A. (2009). Thriving in the 21st century: Learning Literacies for the Digital Age (LLiDA project).
The issue of a wider range of students - in terms of background and learning styles - was emphasised, as was the change in desired approaches to teaching. I was interested in this session because it mentioned Inquiry Based Learning, which blog readers will know is an approach that I aim for in a good amount of my teaching. I'll do an advert here and link to the website at Sheffield University that is devoted to IBL
The workshop largely consisted of us working in small groups thinking (for example) of what kind of activities we could plan to address particular learning literacies. I think this material will be made available online later (I will link to it later if it is).
After we had done some groups exercises, the presenter explained what they had done: it involved radically revising a module. The module tutor firstly addressed study skills appropriate to the subject, and then facilitated students creating a wiki. Students had to work in groups to create a resource which would teach the next year's first years students study skills. One issue was that the students did not use all the functions of the wiki without prompting. Learning was supported collaboratively by a team including a librarian and a lecturer. The groups' wikis were summatively assessed (50% of their module mark). Aspects such as use of features (linking etc.), creativity (e.g including pictures and maps, colour) and use of other media (e.g. embedded videos) were considered when marking.

LILAC report: Effective approaches to thinking like a researcher #lilac11

This is my second report from the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. I attended Effective approaches to thinking like a researcher a session from Emma Finney & Deborah Harrop (Sheffield Hallam University). Their goals were aiming to identify challenges faced by learners, apply approaches we could drop into our own sessions and evaluate links between assessment and impact measurement. They are aiming to gather in and publish the input from the groups, so I will add a link when that happens. We were broken into groups of about 4 and work through activity sheets. These are activity sheets based on ones which the presenters had used with bioscience students.
Exercises included (for example) devising criteria for judging the suitability of an article for inclusion in an online journal, and reading an article, then summarising the what/how/why of the article. In each case we were asked to reflect the extent to which this exercise could be used to demonstrate the impact of information literacy.
There was then a discussion about assessment and the extent to which they feel driven to use summative assessment. One comment from someone in a Further Education was that there was a need, but they were not paid to be teachers (I got the impression that for some this was an attitude issue, for others it was an administrative issue about roles in the institution - you are not allowed to say you are a teacher even if you are teaching). A majority saw teaching as a role, but a number felt that they were not neccessarily paid enough to carry out this role! There was a question about the extent to which teaching was covered in library & information courses: I said that this was coming into courses more now e.g. at Sheffield University in a core module and also in various options (e.g. educational informatics). One key question that was raised was: how best can we collaborate lecturers and librarians to maximise reach to the student. Another key point was - work closely on research tasks and agree what you are looking for in summative assessment (lecturer/librarian). Someone mentioned pre and post testing - though the presenters said that pre/post tests didn't neccessarily indicate long terms learning (e.g. retaining 1st year knowledege in 2nd year).
I will also add that I had the embarrassing experience of being asked a direct question when I was blogging and hadn't been listening properly to what was being said.

LILAC report: workshop on 22nd Century Librarians and the death of information skills #lilac

This is my first report from the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. I've managed to get myself up in time and on to the commuter train from South London, and am now in my first session: 22nd Century Librarians and the death of information skills, from Andy Jackson (Dundee University). I've also managed to find a power socket for my laptop, which is always a bit of a miracle. This is a workshop, so I have to spend a good part of the session doing rather than blogging.
The first exercise asked us to identify imporatnt information skills (my group identified recognising an informastion need and sifting & evaluating information) and important professional attributes (my group identified an inquiring mind and committed to your own development). Andy felt that new graduates are likely to be "working towards a different kind of learning outcomes" which may also mean us using new technologies and pedagogic approaches. The learning outcomes would include practical skills like oral communication, time management, numeracy skills and so forth. They would also include graduate attributes plus as ethical behaviour, intellectual curiosity, environmental responsibility etc. (these are all the kinds of thing that we have as part of our graduate attributes at Sheffield University). Andy highlighted that this connected with UK higher education's emphasis on employability and prifessionalism (the quality assurance bodies in the UK also emphasise this, and that always has an impact on what the universities do). All this means that teaching "skills" is not enough, and it also means we need to display these attributes when we interact with learners.
Andy referred to the 6 technologies to watch mentioned in the 2011 Horizon Report, games-based learning, augmented reality, e-books, mobile computing, gesture based computing anfd learning analytics. All theses required auditing our own and our organisation's capabilities and practice.
For the 2nd exercise we had to think about challenging behaviours of learners, what they find challenging about information skills and what would help professional librarians to deal with some of the challenges. A 2nd set of people had to consider what they & theitr learners found challenging about technologies.
Drawing particularly on my group's discussion we identified as challenges for us: that students want quick fixes, that they lack motivation, that it's dificult to get them to reflect and concentrate, that they may be used to being spoonfed, that they always use Google, that they think they know it all already and that they flit6 about in their searching. Things that we thought learners found challenging were: that they might have to se different interfaces, that they didn't find the skills/technologies interesting, that they are challenged by terminologies & classifications, that they are challenged to go beyond the reading list, that they find it difficult to identify their information needs & then evaluating what they've found, that they don't know "what's out there", they find transfer of skills challenging and they are concerned about avoiding plagiarism.
In terms of solutions, we identified: having the library/librarians "embedded" and working with the lecturers, having reflective spaces and reviewing our approaches to teaching and learning (so no "quick fixes" there!). Andy also emphasised the need to engage with the technologies.
PS This also means that information skills aren't dead, just not the whole story!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Developing concepts of Information Literacy #lilac11

This poster is being presented by me at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. I'm also going to be displaying the "favourite" poster created by students and mentioned in the bottom section of my poster.
This is a one page pdf of something designed to be seen as as an A1 sized poster, so you will have to zoom in to be able to read all the text! The abstract is below this embedded link.
"This poster presents ways in which the author aims to develop learners’ concepts of what information literacy means to them, in a core Masters class (“Information Resources and Information Literacy”) taken by 90 students in 2010-11 (60% of whom were international students).
"One intervention makes use both of a Virtual Learning Environment, WebCT, and face to face discussion. The author sets up WebCT discussion threads for 10 conceptions of information literacy discovered through phenomenographic research (Webber et al., 2005). Students select the conception that best matches their own, and post comments on why they chose it. The most “popular” conception, in both years the exercise has run, has been IL as critical thinking and autonomous learning. The “results” are discussed with the class, in terms of implications for organisational and library development of these conceptions.
"The second intervention consists of a seminar and a poster display. Students are divided into small groups and set the task of producing posters that show “What information literacy means to my future career”. The career aspirations of this class are varied (from management and Government posts in China, to library posts in the UK) and the posters are similarly varied in approach and style. This culminates in an hour long exhibition attended by students and staff, which also includes a display of database reference guides produced by students in a further exercise, and selections from their online discussion posts. This provokes discussion around the nature of information literacy and its relationship to employability. The poster outlines key facts about the class, illustrates the aims and steps in the interventions, and include photos of some of the students’ work."
Webber, S. Boon, S. and Johnston, B. (2005) “A comparison of UK academics’ conceptions of information literacy in two disciplines: English and Marketing.” Library and Information Research, 30 (93), 4-15."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Medien- und Informationskompetenz

Bibliothek & Information Deutschland produced (in February 2011) a (German-language) brochure of recommendations, to contribute to the thinking of a German parliamentary Committee of Enquiry. The title is: Medien- und Informationskompetenz – immer mit Bibliotheken und Informationseinrichtungen! Empfehlungen von Bibliothek & Information Deutschland (BID) für die Enquete-Kommission "Internet und digitale Gesellschaft" des Deutschen Bundestages. [Media and Information Literacy: from library and information services! Recommendations from Bibliothek & Information Deutschland to the parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Internet and digital society]. Published by: Bibliothek & Information Deutschland (BID) Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Bibliotheks- und Informationsverbände e.V.
The document advocates the value and key role of libraries, pointing out the extent to which libraries are already supporting information literacy, digital literacy and e-learning. It makes recommendations at the national, federal and regional level, for formal and adult education, and it gives examples from practice.
If you can speak German you may also be interested in the Commission's website. For example, there is a project group on media literacy (the consultation phase of the group has finished).
Photo by Sheila Webber: March 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fostering health information literacy through use of a virtual world

Next Tuesday (19 April 2011) I will be co-presenting Fostering health information literacy through use of a virtual world at the LILAC (information literacy) conference in London (UK), and the slides are embedded below. My co-presenter is Elisabeth Jacobsen Marrapodi, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, USA and the third author (who will not be at LILAC) is Rossana I. Barrios, Biblioteca Conrado F. Asenjo, University of Puerto Rico. This is the same presentation that all three of us gave in Second Life on Infolit iSchool on 13 April 2011. "The presentation identifies ways in which virtual worlds can be used to foster health information literacy, using the example of the virtual world, Second Life (SL). The presenters describe a project involving health quizzes on the web and in SL from a librarian based in the USA, a Spanish-language initiative in SL from a librarian in Puerto Rico, and a joint venture to create an installation about health information literacy."
View more presentations from Sheila Webber

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Future of Informs and the Virtual Training Suite

Intute staff have posted about the future of Informs and the Virtual Training Suite. JISC funding for these services ends on 31 July 2011 and "no realistic alternative funding model for either service has been identified." "Therefore, in consultation with the Informs Advisory Group and JISC, the following ways forward have been agreed. We will investigate releasing Informs as open source software so that it can be installed and run locally in your own institutions. This work is in its early stages, but we will provide more information throughout the next few months, and full documentation will be made available to make the transition as easy as possible. We will keep Informs running at Mimas until December 2011 to allow users to move to the open source version or find other alternatives. Until this time all tutorials will work as normal, and helpdesk support will be available. The Virtual Training Suite site will be available until July 2012, but the tutorials will not be updated beyond July 2011. All Virtual Training Suite tutorials will be individually available to download and reuse from August 2011."
- Intute blog post explaining closure is here:
- The report produced as a result of consultation, plus a memo on Informs as Open Source are at
- FAQ on Virtual Training Suite:
Photo by Sheila Webber: trees in Ambleside, April 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Insights from U.S. Academic Library Directors

A survey of 267 "high-level library administrators" in the USA, published yesterday, identifies some of these administrators' priorities and views. One of the findings is that "Library directors at all types of institutions see supporting teaching and learning as one of their primary missions: 94% of respondents said that they see teaching information literacy skills to undergraduates as a very important role for their libraries. They would also like to work more closely with faculty members on supporting classroom instruction." Ithaka is "a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and networking technologies" (their services include JSTOR)
Long, M.P. and Schonfeld, R.C. (2011) Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2010: Insights from U.S. Academic Library Directors. Ithaka S+R.
Photo by Sheila Webber: near Ambleside, April 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

IL in geology/geography

Blake, L. and Warner, T. (2011) "Seeing the Forest of Information for the Trees of Papers: An Information Literacy Case Study in a Geography/Geology Class." Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (64). "The most valuable lesson that we, as collaborators, have learned from the Information Literacy Course Enhancement Project, is that it is not enough for a librarian or a faculty member to be committed to the importance of information literacy skills in the academic success of students. Both librarians and teaching faculty must have a good understanding of information literacy and the value of incorporating it into the curriculum."
The issue also includes "Assessing Information-Seeking Behavior of Computer Science and Engineering Faculty" by Valerie Tucci (Thanks to Hazel Edmunds for spotting this)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, April 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fostering health information literacy through use of a virtual world

In Second Life, the virtual world, Elisabeth Jacobsen Marrapodi, Library Director, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, New Jersey (USA), Rossana I. Barrios, Biblioteca Conrado F. Asenjo, University of Puerto Rico and I will be giving a presentation: Fostering health information literacy through use of a virtual world (in SL we are Brielle Coronet, Pi Illios and (me) Sheila Yoshikawa). You need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed on your computer to participate.
This is the presentation that Elisabeth Marrapodi and I will be delivering in London at the LILAC conference the following week (we will put the powerpoint online at that point).
The event will be at 12 noon SL time on Wednesday 13th April, which is 8pm UK time (for times elsewhere see
The venue is on our island, Infolit iSchool,
This is a one hour session, with presentation in voice and discussion in text chat.
A Centre for Information Literacy research event

Friday, April 08, 2011

Google OR -Google

Some useful resources from recent seminars run by information guru Karen Blakeman:
- Top tips for searching Google e.g. "Try the two proximity commands. An asterisk (*) between two words will look for your words in the order specified and separated by one or more terms, for example solar * panels. The AROUND(n) command, which is undocumented, looks for your terms in either order separated by the number of words (n) specified, for example solar AROUND(2) panels. Note that AROUND did not work for everyone on the workshop."
- The Powerpoint presentation from the Anything but Google seminar on 5th April 2011:
- Links to sites that are alternatives to Google - from the Anything but Google seminar:
Photo by Sheila Webber: flower arrangement with fritillaries, April 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Library of the Living Dead

Staff at McPherson College's Miller Library in Kansas, USA, have produced a library guide in graphic novel format, Library of the Living Dead. Intrepid bearded librarians extinguish a horde of zombies, teach something about the Dewey Decimal system and demonstrate the value of library and information lore in the process. They announced the publication here (for now just in electronic form, although a print version will be produced) and the pdf is at
Picture from the publication is reproduced with kind permission of the authors.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

BIG: 2011 & presentations from past conferences

The proposal deadline for the 2011 Atlanta Area (USA) Bibliographic Instruction Group (BIG) conference has been extended to April 15th. BIG takes place on 10 June 2011 at the Atlanta University Center, USA. This year's theme is AIM
BIG, focusing on Assessment, Instruction, and Management of the classroom. Submit your proposal here: and the BIG website is at
It is also worth looking at material from past BIG conferences, since there are numerous presentations online:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry blossom, April 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Librarians as teachers network & more teachmeeting

The Librarians as teachers network (for those who want to share experience about teaching) is based at
This seems to be the focus for proposing UK librarian TeachMeets. There are also videos of the micropresentations at the Huddersfield TeachMeet that took place in February 2011 at and lots of information (including presentations) from the Cambridge TeachMeet at
I already blogged about the planned librarian TeachMeets in London and Liverpool (UK). There is also one planned in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Toon Lib TeachMeet on 4 May 2011 (More info, including a link to the booking form, at

The Science Network

A parody of the trailer for the Social Network is "The Science Network" in which PubMed substitutes for Facebook. "Was part of a project for the Imperial College London MSc in Science Communication. Made by Polly Bennett, Katya-yani Vyas & Ben Good." Thanks to Eva Hornung for bring this to my attention. It made me smile, anyway.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Perspectives on the Information Literate University

Last Tuesday I presented Perspectives on the Information Literate University at an internal seminar at the Open University (the photo shows a sculpture outside the library). For those outside the UK, the Open University is the major British distance learning university, which has had over 1.5 million people studying with it in its 40 year history.
It has had an Information Literacy Unit for some time, and the Head of Information Literacy, Jo Parker, had invited me to contribute to the seminar, which was on Innovating IL to engage learners. This was an interesting session, in which there were also presentations about information literacy embedded in a social work programme (there is a book chapter on this, see, the work of a group that is identifying ways of mapping out different ways to plan and monitor modules, and a discussion about information literacy in the context of different programmes.
Here is my presentation embedded from Slideshare:

There is much useful material on the OU's website. There is a page with links to various resources to do with information literacy at
The resources include:
- Information literacy toolkit for lecturers developing modules:
- The open learning unit: Safari - skills accessing, finding and reviewing information
- Open learning Key skill assessment unit: Information Literacy:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Information handling training network

There is information about the Information handling training (Yorkshire and the North East) session which took place on 14 February 2011, which was organised as part of the Research Information Network’s programme. The documents etc. include: Presentation on introduction to the RDF (Researcher Development Framework); Presentation on 7 Pillars of Information Literacy; Presentation on RDF and information handling.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Saturday lunch.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Webology, new articles

Articles in the open access web journal Webology, Volume 7, Number 2, December 2010 include:
- Library 2.0, information and digital literacies in the light of the contradictory nature of Web 2.0 by Tibor Koltay
- Exploitation of social media among university students: A case study by Farzana Shafique, Mushahid Anwar & Mahe Bushra
- Gender-specific information search behavior by Parinaz Maghferat & Wolfgang G. Stock
Photo by Sheila Webber: Camellia petals, Sheffield, April 2011

Friday, April 01, 2011

Evidence based practice

A book chapter available online via Queensland University of Technology's eprint server is:
Partridge, H., Edwards, S. L., & Thorpe, C. E. (2010) "Evidence-based practice : information professionals' experience of information literacy in the workplace." In: Lloyd, A. & Talja, S. (Eds.) Practising Information Literacy : Bringing Theories of Learning, Practice and Information Literacy Together. Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, N.S.W., pp. 273-298.
This reports on an interesting phenomenographic investigation into librarians' conceptions of evidence based practice.The authors propose that "it is through evidence-based practice that information literacy within a workplace setting finds expression" (p294) since there are different information practices associated with the five qualitatively different experiences of evidence-based practice.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils, Open University, March 2011