Friday, January 22, 2016

New #SCONUL 7 Pillars publications: employability lens; review

Firstly, there is a new lens for the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) 7 Pillars of Information Literacy, published on the SCONUL site on 14 January. This is the Graduate Employability Lens on the SCONUL Seven Pillars, authored by Stephane Goldstein (InformALL). The lens itself identifies what the graduate understands and is able to do in each of the 7 pillars (which are: Identify, Scope, Plan, Gather, Evaluate, Manage, Present). Additionally, Goldstein summarises some literature, models and views (from interviews) on employability attributes, desired capabilities, universities' approach to employability and IL in the workplace. He identifies elements which, he proposes, do not fit in the current core model. These elements are: business and customer awareness, coping with workplace complexities, analytical skills and problem solving, ability to work socially, career manageent and lifelong learning capacity. The lens is at and the lens plus the report is at

Secondly, also new on the SCONUL site, is:
Goldstein, S. (2015) Perceptions of the SCONUL seven pillars of information literacy. London: SCONUL. (8 pages). This contains a "light touch" literature review and "an examination of the feedback on the Seven Pillars that Moira Bent (University of Newcastle) has been collecting in recent years". It finishes by making some recommendations (noting that the model has "stood the test of time"): that further lenses should be developed and that the model might sometimes need to move from its "seven pronged" arrangement so that cross cutting themes could be identified.

I have just been marking an assignment in which I ask students to reflect on a search activity, using three of the pillars (Identify, Plan and Evaluate) so you can see that I still find the SCONUL model useful. Personally I find the "top line" one word descriptions, and the diagram, the most useful part. It makes it much easier to communicate than the wordier frameworks, particularly when I'm teaching people who haven't come across the IL concept before. I tend to turn to other models (for example, ones that had emerged from research) when we were delving into more complex or specific contexts. However, I'm glad that SCONUL are keeping the 7 Pillars model alive and these 2 publications are definitely worth looking at.
7 Pillars diagram: SCONUL, released under creative commons

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