Saturday, March 30, 2013

Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education

The Latest issue of the open-access Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education {No 5, 2013) includes the following articles
- Facing the future: the changing shape of academic skills support at Bournemouth University by Neil Ford, Melissa Bowden
- Facilitating reflective journalling by John Cowan
- Integrating Learning Development into the Student Experience by Pat Hill, Amanda Tinker
- Don’t reinvent the wheel: resources to support the teaching of academic skills across the curriculum by Helen Howard, Michelle Schneider
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ivy, tree, Hailsham, March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy

There is a new paper from the (US) Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment. I will confess that I haven't read this yet: I tried to do a skim read of the start but I think I am still suffering from LILAC-overload, and at the moment I haven't quite worked out what exactly is meant by intersections. I will probably return to this (after I have finished catching up with LILAC - I still have a couple of posts to do).
Therefore I will just quote from the opening page that they saw the three intersections to be:
"economics of the distribution of scholarship (including access to scholarship, the changing nature of scholarly publishing, and the education of students to be knowledgeable content consumers and content creators);
"digital literacies (including teaching new technologies and rights issues, and the emergence of multiple types of non-textual content); and
"our changing roles (including the imperative to contribute to the building of new infrastructures for scholarship, and deep involvement with creative approaches to teaching)." ...
"After articulating these intersections and exploring core responses, the paper recommends four objectives, with actions for each ...The overarching recommendations are:
"integrate pedagogy and scholarly communication into educational programs for librarians to achieve the ideal of information fluency;
"develop new model information literacy curricula, incorporating evolutions in pedagogy and scholarly communication issues;
"explore options for organizational change; and
"promote advocacy."
The full text is online at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Botanical gardens, Sheffield, March 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

CILIP Presidential infolit challenge

Phil Bradley, President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, has issued a challenge to create a 2 minute item about information literacy "in action". The prize is a free place at the Umbrella conference, including money towards accommodation costs, but not including travel costs. Phil writes:
"I’m looking for good professional practice presented in an interesting, arresting way which communicates well the key role played by the library/ information professional in enabling people to become more info savvy. I don’t want to be very prescriptive about exactly what you do or say, other than be creative! However, I’m leaving it up to you to decide exactly how to do this. You might decide to create a YouTube video, a podcast or an interactive poster using Glogster or something similar. Alternatively you might decide to do something on a smartphone or tablet device - it’s entirely up to you.
"The only rule I’ve got is that it can be no longer than 2 minutes. That’s pretty obvious for videos and podcasts, but for other material it might be more difficult, so use as a rule of thumb ‘can it be viewed in its entirety in 2 minutes?’ The main reason that there’s a time limitation is that I’m hoping we get lots of entries and I want to be able to properly look through each one. When you’ve finished it, simply provide us with a link to the resource on the web so I can wander on over and take a look. CILIP will wish to show/use the films that are sent in to showcase the work of the profession and be used as general advocacy tools by our members and possibly those who are external to the profession. Even if you’re not the eventual winner therefore, your work could still end up being seen by a wider audience."
The entries will be judged by Phil Bradley and Barbara Band, and the closing date is 1st May 2013. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snowman building, Botanic Gardens, Sheffield, last Saturday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Collaborating for Deep Critical Information Behaviour #lilac13

Yesterday I gave a presentation at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester with some discoveries from the Deep Critical Information Behaviour project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This was gathering data from students and staff in schools and at university. The principal investigator was my colleague Professor Nigel Ford, and Dr Andrew Madden and Mary Crowder were researchers on the project who, in particular, gathered a large amount of qualitative and quantitative data. I am currently doing more work in siting the research in relation to other relevant research findings and analysing the qualitative data. I have put the presentation on Slideshare and it is embedded below.We will be producing several papers (as there is lots more in the data e.g. a whole strand about Wikipedia use) and also there is likely to be an event in July here in Sheffield, which will include more from the project.

Information Literacy and the 21st Century: a personal view #lilac13

The final keynote at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, was from JP Rangaswami,’s Chief Scientist and chairman of School of Everything. His talk was called Information Literacy and the 21st Century: a personal view. He started by emphasising his belief in the importance of people being able to use and access information. He said that "librarian" meant many things to people (from indices to a shoulder to cry on).
Culture was the first word he put on the screen after that, and talked about how although he himself had loads of books and liked them - books were just one mature technology, albeit a likely sustainable one. At this point her referred to his TED talk, Information is food, which I have embedded below:

Putting up pictures of ancient libraries, he said that "You want people to be in places where information is with joy" - so that people need to enjoy being in the space with information, including the library. Like the first keynoter, he talked about the importance of discriminating between information sources, and being aware of how photoshopping and juxtaposing text and image in what seems an authoritative way can mislead and misinform. Another emerging decisive factor is how shareable and transparent the source is: leading to the success of wikipedia. He pointed out that "sharing happens by design". He felt that this ability to share was restoring the possibility for community that had been disrupted by the growth of easy physical mobility: so people who formerly had had to live in physical proximity could (through improved transportation) been able to disperse, but couldn't neccessarily keep or develop community. Now technology had "caught up" with physical transportation, so communities could be brought with you or newly formed via technology.

The nature of worth and value in relation to information (including books) brought him back to the issue of looking at the book as a form of technology: not conflating the delivery mechanism and the content or message. That was another important thing to discriminate about.

He referred to librarians as advisors, who it was important to trust. This is an important role and librarians can be the "one teacher" who makes a difference and learners talk about afterwards.  This led to talking about the value of story, and librarians as "the future of storytelling". He also gave a new definition of information literacy as "the ability to tell stories" (with accuracy). He saw information as our past, present and future, not a mere commodity.

The talk was very engaging and interleaved with the speaker's own stories and anecdotes, and so I couldn't capture the exact flavour: it is worth looking at a video of him in person.

International Students: a collaborative approach to teaching IL skills #lilac13

Here at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, I'm afraid I missed the start of International Students: a collaborative approach to teaching IL skills from Amanda Southam and Julie Moody as I was talking to Brian Kelly after his talk. However, when I sneaked in, she was emphasising the importance of developing material that was jargon-free and straightforward.
 At Plymouth University they developed a programme for tutors (to "teach the teachers") that were a key group for reaching the international students. There was a tutor welcome and training day, and support materials were available online so they could be used anytime and incorporated into sessions. The library materials were designed to improve English skills as well as developing information literacy.
This approach used the skills that the international tutors had developed (language and teaching skills). The librarians do not have time to give intensive training to all students, and it freed up more time to develop better training materials. They feel that it has built an effective alliance and has meant that they are more proactive in their approach.
The feedback from tutors was mostly positive, with comments about students getting more confidence in using the library, liking the library tour etc. They learnt that they needed to have default subtitles on the video, so it was easier to follow and that "less is more" as regards materials, as it could be confusing for the tutors to decide which to use.
Some issues that emerged were: needing to make sure materials are kept up to date, that it is important to get feedback from students and tutors, that working with academic partners has been worthwhile but requires trust, importantly - that internationsl students do need tailored support.
Looking to the future: they hope to work with the tutors will continue, since it is a more sustainable approach. They want better visibility of the IL materials e.g. producing a LibGuide.
The picture is not of this talk, as I was too far from the front to take even my usual mediocre speaker photo - so this is people assembling in the main lecture room on day 1.

LILAC: When Staff and Researchers Leave Their Host Institution #lilac13

Next session for me at the LILAC conference #lilac in Manchester,UK, is When Staff and Researchers Leave Their Host Institution from Brian Kelly (who is shown here checking a handheld device before the session started). Helpfully, Brian already posted his slides at
I agree with Brian that this is an issue that universities themselves have ignored. He started by talking about how the thing that united everyone in the room was that at some point they would leave their institution. Who has responsibility for people when they leave? The basic attitude of universities appear to be that when staff leave, they just cut them off and want them out the door. In some cases there may be no "grace" period, and all your content deleted. In his own institution if people die in post, their accounts are closed and deleted immediately.
Therefore supporting people making this transition seems very relevant to information literacy practitioners: developing skills that can be used beyond university and also being literate in understanding what to do when you know you are leaving.
Since JISC is cutting funding to UKOLN, Brian will be in this position later in the year: but hewants to continue to maintain and manage his profile, protect his content and so forth. His first example was the institutional repository: although it seems very secure, the fact is that with his university's repository the paper stays there, but you can no longer find it through a search - only if you know the web address. When Brian he queried this the response was "Records disappear when someone leaves because that's entirely appropriate" (although the records manager may now try and fix this).
In terms of making yourself findable: previously you might have relied on your university home page. Instead he recommended using Linked-In for your profile and also using ResearchGate for depositing his papers, since he can manage that. With blogs etc. you may also need to move that to a service in the cloud. Brian pointed put that teaching people how to set up their own domain could also be useful.
He moved on to the issue of digital identity and mentioned ORCID ID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). It is a code to uniquely identify scientific/ academic authors, independent of the institution.
Migrating email can be vital, and so you need to know how to do this, manage connections and also migrate your list usage. Very importantly you need to remember which online tools etc. have your email address as your validation address, and change the address, or you may lose access to those accounts.
Brian pointed out that the leaver can bring value to their former institution because of "link love" (links to your material etc.) It should be important to support migration of material so they can continue to be used. However, this whole issues seems to be overlooked by universities. It would be good if librarians took on the opportunity to do something about it.

Learning from the learners: the student voice in information literacy #lilac13

My first session at the final day of the LILAC conference #lilac13 Learning from the learners: the student voice in information literacy from Antony Osborne (Huddersfield). He started by identifying reasons for listening students: for example, they are paying to learn, you are (hopefully!) contributing to their experience of learning, and it can also help you improve the effectiveness of your information literacy teaching. His talk was drawing on his doctoral thesis on The Value of Information Literacy: Conceptions of BSc Nursing Students at a UK University (which I've blogged before, I think it is very interesting).
He started by talking about the danger of making assumptions about students e.g. that young people were all good with technology. Looking specifically at assumptions that people might make about student nurses, he identified that his participants didn't necessarily see "research" as relevant to them (preferring the practical side), that they found the librarians and librarians a bit scary (as they were worried about looking students etc.), that Il labs were going "ok" (whereas some people felt they went too fast, were too big, and didn't include any individual attention for help and reassurance).
So how can you address this? The obvious one is - asking them, and listening properly to the answer. Next Antony advocated avoiding the "smiley face" syndrome, giving people evaluation forms straight after the session and possibly just getting what they think you want to hear. His other advice was: Don't have a one size fits all approach, use focus groups, follow up later (and/or via the lecturer), and use social media to interact.
Finally, Antony mentioned the "Students as consultants" project where they give students basic training, the student observes an educator teaching class, the students interviews the students in the class, and then the student writes a report on his/her findings to give back to the educator. That does sound a useful scheme.

Congratulations to winners of the #lilac13 awards!

Award winners were announced at the conference dinner at the #lilac13 LILAC Conference last night. Winner of the Information Literacy Practitioner of the Year Award was Kim McGowan (Learning Advisor and Information Literacy Academic Liaison Librarian, University of Cumbria) and runner up was Michelle Schneider (Skills@Library, University of Leeds).
The Credo Reference Digital Award for Information Literacy was won by Open University Library’s Digital and information literacy (DIL) framework and Being Digital site (Jo Parker, Katharine Reedy, Kirsty Baker, Natasha Huckle and Matthew Taylor). Highly commended were The Final Chapter: the undergraduate research project guide (Sally Dalton and Skills@Library, University of Leeds) and The Final Chapter: the undergraduate research project guide (Sally Dalton and Skills@Library, University of Leeds).
It had already been announced that winner of the student places at the conference were Darren Flynn (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Roisin Cassidy (from my own department, University of Sheffield).
Congratulations to all the winners!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Extending the academic library: social responsibility, information literacy and schools #lilac13

Next up for me at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, is Extending the academic library: social responsibility, information literacy and school, from Carol Hollier (University of Nottingham: she was the presenter), Annike Dase (Nottingham Academy) and  Neil Smyth. As it says in the abstract "University of Nottingham librarians created a pilot for an information literacy service targeting schools in the local community. The project’s aim was to transform a piecemeal array of school visits to our libraries into a consistent service delivered by librarians in collaboration with local schools, university faculties, and the Widening Participation Office."
A particular stimulus was the more competitive environment, with students having to pay more for their education in the UK etc., but it did also fit in with university aims to widen and promote access to its resources within the local community.

They already had visits to the library from schools, but it was very ad hoc and piecemeal. It also tended to be the more privileged schools. The librarians decided to have a more systematic programme, with an explicit agenda of widening participation. There was a lot of consultation, involving librarians and also some other staff such as academics and widening participation staff. They went beyond the university as well, to get an insight into what is going on in secondary schools.

There is a lot of variation between English schools, from schools where the qualified librarian is doing excellent things with full support from the school, to ones where there are "lunch ladies" minding the library. Whereas for IT skills and literacy there is careful progression through the primary and secondary schools, there is no such progression for IL.

The "Step into University Libraries" visits for local schools focus on library locations, because there are lots of places that books can be, and on finding a book in the catalogue. A bit more than half the time, visitors ask for an academic to be there (to e.g. give a talk in their subject area) as well as having a librarian there. The aim is for school students to go away with a positive experience, feeling they would be able to find a book. Then there are optional items for students, e.g. tailored to A level students or at pre-16 students.

Success factors have emerged as: that "visits and activities need to be timely and curriculum related"; and that they need to work closely with school leaders. One of the suggestions from the audience was also working with primary schools, which is also an interesting idea!

The information literacy challenge in public libraries in Wales #lilac13

The first session I'm attending this afternoon at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, is The information literacy challenge in public libraries in Wales, from Gina Maddison. Gina herself has a public libraries and adult learning background. There was lots of detail in this presentation, and I'm afraid that I didn't manage to capture all of it! The Welsh Information Literacy project is often given as a good example of a national initiative on IL that has succeeded in getting attention and impact at the strategic national level.

She started by asking us where a young person would look for information about Wales: using the obvious answer (Google) Wikipedia is the top entry, followed by a commercial site (Visit Wales) and the most accurate information is on the Welsh Government's website (which is the fifth hit - and Gina mentioned that there some inaccuracies in the Wikipedia entry!) Looking at the demographics: there is a high level of unemployment in Wales and also concerns about standards of teachers' literacy. There has been an increase in poverty and evidence of the disadvantage that this brings with it.

Gina went on to talk about the history of the Welsh Information Literacy Project, which I have blogged about, so you can find that information by searching using the tag Wales Aims of the first and second phases included developing accredited units of learning in information literacy (with the Welsh agency Agored), and developing an overarching statement of IL for Wales.

Phases 3 and 4 has three strands: work with schools, advocacy and public libraries. There are three part timers employed by the project, one per strand. It is based at Coleg Llandrillo in North Wales.Gina drew attention to the Mapping of best practice exercise - the publication is also on the project website: The project website is at

One of the leaflets I photographed above is on "Information Literacy in the workplace", produced last year, which highlights how IL can save time and help businesses in various ways. There are also various Welsh policies to do with employment, lifelong learning etc. and they have identified the rol of IL in relation to each of these.

Current projects are: two pilots embedding the IL framework in schools; Identifying IL champions in each local authority library service; Supporting training of public library staff; and supporting delivery of formal qualifications in IL.

Giving more details about the schools side: it is embedded in the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification, and there are school visits and mapping to school literacy frameworks. They are including IL in primary schools, as they think it is important to start at that level, and also IL advocacy at teacher training colleges.

There is a lot going on with the public libraries IL champions programme: this includes staff taking the AGORED IL qualifications, addressing the IL element of local strategies (e.g. for supporting particular populations), communication through various media and advocacy for IL. The way that the qualifications are approached (e.g. which level of IL qualification, and which particular services it is linked with) varies between authorities. For example, health information is of particular interest in one authority. Assessment is via logbooks, which fits in with the practicalities of the workplace, and allows them to use evidence from the searches etc. that they are working with. If you want to find out more about any aspect, you can find the details of the project staff on the website.

Using visual literacy in teaching and learning #lilac13

Second day at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, and I attended a session on Using visual literacy in teaching and learning, from Gwenda Mynott and Catherine Bonser, Liverpool John Moores University.
They gave "The ability to understand and produce visual messages" as a straightforward definition of visual literacy. They also referred to the ACRL guidelines Then the speakers gave examples of what they did with their students.
Visual boards. They ask students to put together images that represent their experience e.g. if the subject focus is management, the learners were encouraged to select images about work experience, that represent what they think work is, hobbies and clubs that might have a managment aspect to draw out. It gives a good focus for discussion, drawing out reflection around the subject. Also it is good for getting to know the students.
Selecting photos of leaders. The photos selected by students were put physically on the wall, and they could be grouped in different ways (e.g. sector, male/female) to stimulate discussion around the notion of leadership.
Drawing - for example drawing pictures of themselves as learners. At this point the speakers highlighted that of course not everyone is a visual learner, some people don't like being asked to draw things, so that examples can include text as well as drawings.
Concept maps of key key concepts and theories - they used this for assessment, and stressed that you needed to develop the learners' confidence in developing them. I have found this myself when I've used concept and mindmaps in teaching and assessment of information literacy - there are usually some people in the class who are immediately pleased we are using them, and a few who say they hate having to do them. The presenters highlighted the need to think-through what criteria you will use for assessing the concept maps.
The photo shows me taking a picture of someone taking a picture of the presentation

Monday, March 25, 2013

Supporting workplace information literacy at university #lilac13

My final session of the first day at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, is: Is it possible to support workplace information literacy already at university? An opinion paper, from Christina Brage and Kajsa Gustafsson Åman, both from Linköping University Library. The talk is based on a survey carried out last year. Their goal was to gain an understanding of the graduate's information world. They were looking at what type of information and information tools the alumni used, and whether the IL training at university had been useful in the workplace.
The survey instrument was an online questionnaire, to alumni of 10 programmes, with 12 questions including free-text options. They analysed all responses together, then by programme and by question.
90% had particiapted in IL training: 63% had found it useful in their studies, 38% useful for work outside university (sometimes because they were using the same sources). 48% were using research databases, 35% using scientific journals (mostly lawyers and physicians). 92% solved information problems through discussion with colleagues, 90% learning from experience, 88% by using relevant literature. 67% were using books, 64% news articles and 63% professional webpages. Teachers were high users of these last 3 categories (perhaps not having access to the databases).

As a result the presenters identified a need to have more emphasis on certain aspects in the information literacy curriculum, such as how to restructure information, how to monitor social media, use open access journals and use alerting feeds. They have made a LibGuide aimed at people outside the university, and also are designing an information literacy contribution to a "goodbye" course being organised by one of the programmes.

Towards a model of critical information literacy instruction #lilac13

Here at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester I am now in a session with Lauren Smith, a PhD researcher at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. She is giving a talk based on her PhD topic, Towards a model of critical information literacy instruction for the development of political engagement and knowledge. As with all my conference posts, this is my instant take on the session, so apologies to Lauren if I got any of it wrong.

She is interested in a model of information literacy in secondary schools that is more critical and engaged. She started by highlighting that young people are interested in social political issues, but may be more likely to engage with issues (rather than parties) and in an informal way. She cited a researcher who had identified that you cannot defintely say that young people are less potically engaged than previous generations.

Lauren had read more about critical pedagogy (particularly the work of Giroux e.g. this). Going on to critical literacy, this involves engaging critically with the ideas expressed in the text. In the area of information literacy, she has identified that there have been various authors who have critiqued the notion of information literacy. Whilst there is a rheteoric about the value of information literacy for democracy, there is a lack of research, which is a gap that Lauren aims to address. By drawing on the concepts of critical literacy and information literacy, she has identified a potential critical information literacy.

Her methodology is one of mixed methods, but with an emphasis on qualitative data and employing a critical theory approach. She will look at a small group of secondary school students, get a perspective on their factual knowledge about local and national politics (updating and revising a social attitudes survey). Lauren will then use repertory grid interviews to understand how the young people conceive of the topic of politics (here is an article by one of my colleague using this approach . She will also ask them to keep diaries about their experiences with politics information, and finish with focus groups or interviews.

Exploring the information-seeking experiences of mature learners #lilac13

Here at the LILAC conference #lilac in Manchester I'm at the session “Time’s a factor here!” Exploring the information-seeking experiences of mature learners from Sarah Clark, Rogers State University. She had put some quotes from her research on her blog She is Assistant Library Director and is a PhD student investigating the information-seeking experiences of mature students (she was presenting results of her pilot study). She saw the research problem as that, while IL is a key skill, the uncertainties of information seeking may lead a mature student to believe they are incapable of success, and librarians can help the students navigate that process, if they understand the students' context.

The participants were at a university (Northeastern State) which has a lot of "non traditional" students, for example older and studying part time. She used comfortable venues for her interviews, using a narrative inquiry approach. Sarah was looking at the students' experience through the lens of Carol Kuhlthau's information seeking model: you can find out about that on Kuhlthau's page here:

Sarah presented the stories of a couple of the participants. In "Ashley's story", Ashley was 44, with 3 adult children. She felt "blocked and overwhelmed". She was blocked by the APA format and having to conform to presenting in particular layouts and she found "research" stressful. There was a lot of fear and anxiety. However it was something she found difficult to talk about with teachers and librarians, as she said that "smart people intimidate her". A key stimulus for improving her confidence was a new relationship, with a boyfriend who encouraged her to study actively. In conclusion, on one hand she felt she was a "lost cause" and on the other felt that she was discovering more strength than she thought.

Veronica's story was the second one. She was 39, a single mother, who had left school early and working part time while she studied. A key thing for her was her passion about topics, which kept her going through the ups and down of researching the topic. Veronica felt she needed that personal interest to motivate herself to get stuck into an assignment. Time was at a premium for her (a reson why she preferred topics she was already knowledgeable about). In contrast with Ashley, she did ask for help and had found a librarian useful, and showed her work to her peers and teachers to help improve it. She also "hopes to help others via her writing."

Sarah compared the two stories. Similarities were technology travails (using applications, access to teh internet etc.), citation style struggles, challenges with personal life (but which they downplayed as causes of stress), and managing time. Contrasts were "supportive and unsupportive relationships", "university as helper or obstacle", "feeling passionate vs. feeling blocked".

Looking at the stories through the lens of Kuhlthau's model, Veronica was able to negotiate all the stages in the process, building on preexisting strengths. Ashley had major problems at the explore, formulate and collect stage, and at the present stage (particularly in terms of "actions"). One of Sarah's conclusions was that information literacy and reference did not seem to influence the affective domain (feelings). Also experiences from outside the library influenced attitudes about searching and the library. Both students "seemed to be driven (or blocked) by their feelings."

I think a key message for me was the importance of looking at learners in their own context and working through the different complicated factors that are impacting their life as learners. This can help educators and librarians to help the learners more effectively.

Steve Wheeler: #lilac13 Learning 2.0: Digital pedagogy

Here at the LILAC conference in Manchester, the first keynote was Steve Wheeler, on Learning 2.0: Digital pedagogy. Steve's blog is Learning with 'e's (I think there may be a pun going on there) and his Slideshare is here. I will summarise some of the points that caught my attention, with some of my own thoughts mixed in. He identified that today's learners need to know the "why" of things, the critical and transformative element of learning. In discussing the role of libraries in this, he quoted Ian Clark "Libraries are a bridge between the information-rich and information-poor", feeling that they still had arole as regards content, services, spaces and skills. He identified the huge amount of stuff being published online every minute and noted some digital trends (like gaming; but I know that some libraries are very much up with this trend!)

He showed a diagram of "Learning 2.0" which included User generated content, networking, voting, tools, sharing, tagging and collaborating. He also showed a picture of students taking pictures of a slide which he captioned "Taking notes" (which does resonate, but personally I think that although this can be useful, it means even less than with conventional note-taking that the learner will have engaged their brain with that "content". I am thinking here of the times I've taken pictures of slides at a conference ;-)
Steve talked about user generated content, both in terms of your own content (like blogs and slideshare) and using it as part of students learning. Obviously if you are using this approach is enfolds several different areas of knowledge and skill (e.g. copyright, dealing with the technology, writing in different styles).

He also mentioned the "Flipped classroom" idea, which he expressed in terms of "flipped roles", e.g. getting the students to research the subject and present their discoveries in class (something I do as well). One thing he emphasised which I don't always allow enough time for is the "bearpit pedagogy" aspect i.e. challenging the students and getting them to defend their views and evidence.

Steve went on to talk about very young people and the importance of mobile technology and he showed this video: He also, though, cited the research which differentiates between people who use the digital applications and those who don't use it very much (rather than talking about natives and immigrants):
Kennedy et al. (2010) "Beyond natives and immigrants: exploring types of net generation students" Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26 (5), 332–343.

Steve emphasised that learners need "digital wisdom" - a critical and questioning approach, and also identified various literacies that are important - within which he particularly highlighted transliteracy. He finished by talking about crowdsourcing, particulary in relation to Wikipedia, MOOCs and connectivism, and Twitter. Steve mentioned about how using these tools can expand the boundaries of the classroom, as you can involve people outside the "classroom" in real time.

Flipping the classroom libguide #lilac13

First post from the LILAC conference in Manchester, UK - and its about a session I've not attended! My workshop on the #infolit project was at 10am and I'm afraid I took an hour to chill out with a coffee afterwards (I'll blog about my session later). However the people who were using the room after me looked like they were running an interesting session: Creating time for learning: strategies for flipping your library classroom, Erin Davis and Kacy Lundstrom. Thanks to Victoria Cormie ‏@Viche for tweeting a good link from the session, a Libguide on Strategies for Flipping the classroom:
Coffee and netbook after my workshop, using free wifi in Manchester Uni's Blackwells

#infolitpro Profiles of the Information Literacy Professional #lilac13

Today I am giving a workshop at the LILAC conference in Manchester about a new IFLA Information Literacy Section project that I'm leading: #infolitpro: Profiles of the Information Literacy Professional. I will do a write-up after the workshop this morning, but in the meantime below is the poster I will also present at the conference, and here is the just-started blog:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Secker named as Mover and Shaker!

Jane Secker has been named one of Library Journal's Movers and Shakers 2013 - more info at

event: Information Literacy: the Teaching Takeaway

A CoLRiC event, Information Literacy: the Teaching Takeaway is being held in 2 venues: 7 June 2013, City Library, Newcastle, UK and 21 June, Northampton College, UK. £65 for CoLRiC members; £90 for non-members.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snow in the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield yesterday.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ready or Not, You Will Teach, and Here Is How You Can Get Ready (webinar)

There is a webinar from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST): Ready or Not, You Will Teach, and Here Is How You Can Get Ready Delivered by Dr. Charles Curran, it is on March 27, 2013 at 2:00pm-3:00pm (USA Eastern time: that will be 6-7pm UK time, as we don't go over to summertime til the 31st) "This webinar on the teaching responsibilities of academic librarians is offered at the urgings of observers who note two things: academic librarians do lots of teaching and many academic librarians approach this task with little training in teaching. Therefore, this session will examine those aspects of Information Literacy (IL) that impact teaching responsibilities—the “so what?” of the Google Age, the proficiencies academic librarians must acquire in order to make IL happen, and the partnerships with faculty that academic librarians must forge. The webinar will present some specific recommendations for professors who train MLIS students to be academic librarians and for the MLIS students, themselves."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ice on the grass, March 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Beyond the PDF 2 #btpdf2

This week there was the Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarhip (FORCE11)’s Beyond the PDF 2 conference, which discussed scholarly communication. The conference website includes a list of tools and resources for "advancing scholarly communication" (e.g. authoring tools, links to metadata standards). They haven't posted videos/presentations yet, but there is a Storify at and a useful summary here from conference organiser Paul Groth: Beyond the PDF 2 – A Quick Recap
Photo by Sheila Webber: angles in the British Library, March 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

cfp Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies

The call for papers for the conference Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies (to be held 28-29- June 2013 at the The Centre for the Study of Literacies @ Sheffield University, Sheffield, UK) closes on March 31.
"This conference will present keynote presentations and seminars around the theme of ‘Everyday Literacies’. The focus will be upon literacies as they are practiced in everyday life, embedded in social contexts. The conference will recognise literacy as a part of human behaviour; as a culturally situated act amongst individuals relating to identity and context. We welcome papers which understand literacy in its broadest sense and as a social practice. Literacies may be defined as local, global, multilingual, ephemeral, material, immaterial, formal or informal, virtual, liturgical, multimodal (etc). The conference will celebrate literacy as a diverse concept, as pluralised. Local, community and domestic practices are likely to be to the fore, with an emphasis on how literacy is embedded in particular everyday identities. Papers may or may not make reference to implications for policy."

More information at

SL Journal Club: 21 March: Student as avatar

When: 21 March 2013 : Journal Club in the virtual world, Second Life at 1pm SL time (which is 8pm UK time, see for times elsewhere)

Where: Infolit iSchool, Second Life, You need a SL avatar and the SL browser on your computer, to participate.

Ridvan Ata (Ridvan Atolia in SL) will lead the discussion of:
Mabrito M. (2012) Student as Avatar: A Study of Informational Preferences in a Virtual World Class. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 8(2)

All welcome! Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MOOCs: librarians, online event, information use, teaching

A few links concerning MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). On the right I have embedded a Youtube video from Dave Cormier, one of the originators of the MOOC concept (note that not all the current MOOCs are in the original spirit of MOOCs!)

Firstly, there is a (priced) online seminar 4-5 April 2013, from EDUCAUSE. It is in the afternoon (noon to 5pm) in US Eastern time. "Over the past year, the massive open online course (MOOC) has emerged as a significantly different course model. But how robust is the MOOC as a vehicle for learning? In this focus session, through presentations and discussions, the ELI will explore the MOOC and its viability as a new learning model." More information at

Secondly, Eleni Zazani was one of the participants in the recent E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC run by people at Edinburgh University (I joined it and lurked: it seemed very well designed and run). She asked participants to answer a few questions about how they got hold of information, and you can find the results of her survey on her blog at

Thirdly, there is an article in the latest issue of D-Lib online journal: Wright, F. (2013) "What do Librarians Need to Know About MOOCs?" D-Lib, 19 (3/4). This identifies some of the issues, most notably serving a population that does not have access to subscribed material, and the fact that the MOOC may be delivered using a learning environment that is not the same one normally used by your insitution. Taken in combination with Eleni's results it points up (to me) the value of developing information literacy which can cope with life outside the shelter of formal education and its subscribed resources.

Finally, an article which presents results of a survey of university lecturers teaching with MOOCs. As is no surprise to me, they spent ages preparing and supporting the MOOCs, but did not necessarily have it acknowledged as part of their workload.
Kolowich, S. (2013) "The Professors Who Make the MOOCs" Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 March.
As a sidenote, the survey asks whether respondents whether teaching a MOOC will lead them to change what they do in the "traditional classroom based" version of the course. I do find this assumption that whatever was being done was "traditional" very irritating. For example with the Edinburgh course, I'm sure one reason why it was well designed etc. was because the tutors had a well-designed, thoughtful, constructivist approach to the non-MOOC they already taught.

New articles in Information Research

The latest issue of Information Research, the open-access peer-reviewed journal is online (Volume 18 No 1, March 2013) at Articles include:
- Peter Stokes and Christine Urquhart: Qualitative interpretative categorisation for efficient data analysis in a mixed methods information behaviour study.
- Basil Alzougool, Shanton Chang and Kathleen Gray: The nature and constitution of informal carers' information needs: what you don't know you need is as important as what you want to know.
- Fahimeh Babalhavaeji and Mohammad Reza Farhadpoor: Information source characteristics and environmental scanning by academic library managers
- Yonghua Cen, Liren Gan and Chen Bai: Reinforcement learning in information searching
Lynn Silipigni Connaway, David White, Donna Lanclos and Alison Le Cornu: Visitors and residents: what motivates engagement with the digital information environment?
- T.D. Wilson and Elena Maceviciute: What's newsworthy about 'information seeking'? An analysis of Google's News Alerts.
- Jia Tina Du, Ying-Hsang Liu, Qinghua Zhu and Yongjian Chen: Modelling marketing professionals' information behaviour in the workplace: towards a holistic understanding
- Pauline Joseph, Shelda Debowski and Peter Goldschmidt: Models of information search: a comparative analysis
- Yusuke Ishimura and Joan C Bartlett: Uncovering the research process of international students in North America: are they different from domestic students?
-Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson: Tweens and their in-betweens: giving voice to young people when exploring emerging information practices associated with smart devices.
- Isto Huvila: In Web search we trust? Articulation of the cognitive authorities of Web searching.
- Natascha A. Karlova and Karen E. Fisher: A social diffusion model of misinformation and disinformation for understanding human information behaviour
Photo by Sheila Webber: signs of life, March 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Google reader replacements (from Phil Bradley)

The ever-helpful Phil Bradley has identified 53 possible replacements for Google Reader. He identifies 20 here and he identifies 33 more here. He has tried out some, but not all. As I didn't use Google Reader in the first place, I haven't tried many of these at all: I think just Scoop-it, Netvibes (like Phil, I'm a Netvibes fan) and News is Free.
This is the letter "P" (for Phil) in Neko (Cat) Font: see the website at and thanks to Vicki Cormie for alerting me to this ;-)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beyond access: Turning information into knowledge and power

There was a blog-comment discussion on the Guardian website last week: Beyond access: Turning information into knowledge and power. The lead panel included IFLA's Stuart Hamilton and Jelena Rajic, librarian, Jagodina Public Library, Jagodina, Serbia.

7th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference

Registration is open for the 7th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference, Saskatoon, Canada, July 15-18, 2013 (early bird rate til April 30). It includes the sessions: Sowing the seeds: Information literacy research in science pedagogy journals (Cara Bradley, University of Regina, Canada); Looking for InfoLit: Using syllabi to map strategic information literacy instruction (Katherine Boss and Emily Drabinski, Long Island University Brooklyn, United States)

Friday, March 15, 2013

cfp Segundas Jornadas Regionales de Alfabetización Informacional: ALFIN

The Spanish-language information literacy conference Segundas Jornadas Regionales de Alfabetización Informacional: ALFIN (theme: “Hacia una nueva cultura informacional” (Towards a new information culture) takes place in Córdoba, Argentina, September 19-21 2013, and there is a call for papers and posters, proposals to be submitted by May.
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Mary's church, Hailsham, March 2013

Making an impact in your teaching practice: free events

There are two events free to members of CILIP (the UK's Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Information Literacy Group. The seminar Making an impact in your teaching practice, run by Barbara Allan, is being held in York, UK (1st April, go to and London, UK (3 May, go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Mary's churchyard, March 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Re-purposable tutorial on disseminating research

The East Midlands Research Support Group produced re-purposable online module (with 5 units) to develop the information handling skills of research staff: Dissemination of your research. The partners in developing the module were the universities of Loughborough, Nottingham, De Montfort, and Coventry. The units are: Journals and journal articles; Other forms of publishing; Journal bibliometrics; Author bibliometrics; Networking. This was published in 2012: I noticed them because the authors would now like to collect evidence of how they are being used. The home page is here and they have done presentations on the project e.g. here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Pancras Station, March 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Online Journal Club: 13 March: ANCIL

The next online online blog-comment information literacy Journal Club meeting takes place at 8-9 pm UK time on Wednesday 13th March 2013 (see for times elsewhere - and note that this is one of those times of year when the difference between times in the UK and times in North America are different from usual, because we go over to summertime later than the USA/Canada!).

The topic will be A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL). For those new to ANCIL, you may want to start with the Executive Summary, which is here:

As before, the real-time discussion will take place in comments to a blog post on the journal club website during the hour mentioned above. During that time the authors of ANCIL, Jane Secker and her colleagues, will be present and helping Niamh Tumelty and me facilitate discussion. People are also very welcome to add comments and questions before and after this real-time event.

There is more information on the Journal Club website here: - that is where the blog-comment discussion will take place.
Illustration: Tagxedo of the previous blog post discussion.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Project CoPILOT: Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching

Graham, N. and Secker, J. (2013) Project CoPILOT: Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching: a case study of an international online community. UKOER International Case study."This case study describes the activities of two UK higher education sector librarians, using existing open educational resources (OER), created to support information literacy and digital literacy teaching, to promote OER sharing internationally. This will start with some background information on the previous JISC / HEA funded project, DELILA in which the OERs were created and what our aims and objectives were at the end of that project. We will also describe post DELILA activities that eventually led to the CoPILOT project proposal and how the aims of the proposal were met."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils in snow, Hailsham, March 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

WSIS + 10 meeting

At the end of February there was the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) + 10 meeting: it is "+10" as it is 10 years since the 2003 meeting in Geneva. At the same time there was a meeting for the ongoing work reviewing the Media and Information Literacy competencies and indicators. There is a good deal of information following on from the WSIS meeting. The main WSIS + 10 home page is here:

Notable is a final statment from the WSIS +10 meeting: It is a four page document, and perhaps the most relevant items for this blog are commitments to:
- "Support e-learning through a) the skills to effectively handle information that are reflective, creative and adept at problem solving to generate knowledge, b) transformative mechanisms that enable citizens to fully participate in knowledge societies and influence the decisions which affect their lives, c) the development of inclusive and open pedagogies and practices.
- "Promote information and media literacy as indispensable individual skills to people in the increasing information flow."

The Information for All Programme (IFAP) Bureau of UNESCO also met, and there is a 2 page document listing recommended actions are for 2013, and this includes "Submission of the IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations to the 37th session of UNESCO’s General Conference for its consideration": (thanks to Woody Horton for alerting me to this)

Jane Secker was one of the people in the group reviewing the Media and Information Literacy competencies and she blogged about it briefly here.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Spring succulents and heather, Hailsham, March 2013

Thursday, March 07, 2013

German presentations on users and information literacy

A German-language presentation by Anne Christensen, Librarian at Leuphana University Lüneburg, was tweeted by Thomas Hapke, and if you speak German there are a couple of recent presentations of interest. She just presented Und was erwarten wir von unseren NutzerInnen? (What do we expect from our users) (her answer is - too much and too little) at the inetbib conference (4-6 March 2013). The conference theme was "What do our users and non-users expect of us" (to judge from the programme, they expect open access, apps, e-books etc.) Christensen's previous presentation was Discovery-Systeme und Informationskompetenz (Discovery systems and information literacy). Her slideshare is at
Another relevant presentation at inetbib was from Blanche Kiszio on development of information literacy in an e-learning project at the Institut et Haute Ecole de la Santé La Source, Lausanne: I couldn't find the presentation, but there is an article (also in German) about (I think) the same project here.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pergola, Sans Souci, Potsdam, Germany, September 2009.

UK and Ireland's World Book Day #worldbookday

Today is the UK and Ireland's "World Book Day" - not to be confused with the day that the rest of the world celebrates as World Book and Copyright Day, i.e. 23 April. The UK's large publishing industry is very much to the fore, but there is good stuff (e.g. the £1 books and free tokens, to encourage reading) and some interesting resources. The site for today's World Book Day is at There is information about the actual "world" version of World Book Day 2013 here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Conceptual Relationship of Information Literacy and Media Literacy in Knowledge Societies

A new UNESCO publication: UNESCO. (2013) Conceptual Relationship of Information Literacy and Media Literacy in Knowledge Societies. Paris: UNESCO.
It contains four papers, from authors in China, Mexico, USA and Russia respectively:
- Lee, A.  Literacy and Competencies Required to Participate in Knowledge Societies: WSIS+10: Overview and Analysis of WSIS Action: Lines C3 Access to Knowledge and C9 Media
- Lau, J. Conceptual Relationship of Information Literacy and Media Literacy
- Carbo, T. Conceptual Relationship of Information Literacy and Media Literacy: Consideration within the broader Mediacy and Metaliteracy Framework
- Gendina, N. Media and Information Literacy in Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): A survey undertaken on behalf of UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector.
Download from:

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Value and practice of social networks and social media in education; livestream 6 March #LSENetEd

The talk Value and practice of social networks and social media in education from Ellen Helsper, lecturer in Media and Communications at the LSE, will be on 6th March 2013, 3pm (UK time, which is e.g. 5 hours ahead of US Eastern time). It is an inperson event at the LSE (London, UK) but they aim to be live-streaming it to, so worth turning up on their site to check. "Social media are used heavily by most students, the question is whether these should therefore have a place in education and whether there are limits to what they can do. This talk will be a dialogue between practical experience as a teacher and the research that Ellen has been involved in in relation to the use of (social) media by different social groups. ... The talk will be based on research regarding how different generations learn using new media, what we can learn from young people’s use of and capabilities in using social media and what we know about the adults that are educating these young people and the importance of social networks (in the traditional sense) in creating a comfortable online learning environment."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snowy fern, Sheffield, January 2013

Health Literacy: The Best of Scottish: March 11

Seminar (11am-3pm) in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 11 2013: Health Literacy: The Best of Scottish. "The Health Literacy Group UK invites you to join us for this one-day seminar where we will focus on Health Literacy in Scotland led by the Scottish Health Literacy Action Group (NHLAG). The seminar is free to HL group members & £25 to non- members." Toipcs include: Health Literacy research in Scotland; HL in Primary Care; HL in teh community; HL resources (Learning is Good for Your Health pack). More info at:
Note that there are presentations from previous Health Literacy group conferences, quite a long page of them, at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils, Graveyard, Glasgow, April 2010

Monday, March 04, 2013

New articles in Reference Services Review

Volume 41 issue 1 (2013) of Reference Services Review (priced publication) has papers from LOEX-of-the-West and includes:
- A systematic approach to performative and authentic assessment by Brandy Whitlock, Julie Nanavati (pp. 32 - 48)
- Engagement and assessment in a credit-bearing information literacy course by Jennifer Mayer, Melissa Bowles-Terry (pp. 62 - 79)
- Not at your service: building genuine faculty-librarian partnerships by Yvonne Nalani Meulemans, Allison Carr (pp. 80 - 90)
- Navigating the information-scape: information visualization and student search by Matt Conner, Melissa Browne (pp. 91 - 112)
- Reflections on teaching and tweaking a discovery layer by Amy F. Fyn, Vera Lux and Robert J. Snyder (pp. 113 - 124)
- A new approach to online database instruction: developing the guide on the side by Leslie Sult, Yvonne Mery, Rebecca Blakiston, Elizabeth Kline (pp. 125 - 133)
- Qualitative analysis of student assignments: a practical look at ATLAS.ti by B. Jane Scales (pp. 134 - 147)
Abstracts at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Student Union campaign poster, February 2013

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Rising to the digital literacy challenge: recording and presentations

The presentations and the session recording from the JISC webinar Rising to the Digital Literacy Challenge, held on 28 February 2013, are online. The speakers were:
- Embedding digital literacy in the classroom (Dr Andrew Eynon, Coleg Llandrillo, Wales)
- Addressing the Digital Literacy Void: the FE [Further Education] Lecturer Challenge (Viv Bell, Worcester College, England)
- The risks of NOT addressing digital literacy with staff (Ross Anderson, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, England),_28th_February_2013
Photo by Sheila Webber: Remnants of summer II, March 2013