Tuesday, September 19, 2017

First session after lunch at #ECIL2017: Pam liveblogs

Charlie Inskip from the department of information studies at UCL was the first speaker after lunch and presented his research project "on the move", funded by the CILIP information literacy group. The agenda in U.K. HE is increasingly concerned with employability and digital literacy. Information literacy is well understood in the HE context, but is less well understood in the workplace. The context of this research is the financial sector, as this is the number one destination for UCL graduates.   They conducted 18 interviews at an insurance firm in the city of London, and 2 focus groups. Five interviews and one focus group were also conducted with students. Marc Forster's themes of expanding awareness were used to analyse the data. The results showed that students and insurance workers had different language to talk about information literacy. More specific technical terminology was used by insurance workers. Statements were created that were mapped against each of Marc Forsters 7 themes, and an online resource was created.

Joyce Kinyanjui from the University of Zululand spoke about financial literacy of female entrepreneurs in Kenya. 81 million USD were lost on pyramid schemes in Kenya, primarily by women, raising concerns about the level of financial literacy in the population. Female economic empowerment is linked to functional, financial and information literacy. 25% of working age women are illiterate. The study used a mixed methods approach, with a sample of women's entrepreneur groups. The results showed that information seeking behaviour before taking out a loan was not good, they didn't shop around for loans.  Only 20% felt in control of their financial status, and only 30% had a written record of their expenses. There was a link between checking statements and level of comfort with their debt, and regularly checking these is an important indicator of financial literacy. Being in control of the family finances empowers women economically.

Angela Repanovici from Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania spoke about an international project to modernise academic library services in Moldova. They identified different needs for IL at different levels of study, but also in terms of life after university in the workplace. Masters graduates were invited to take part in an information literacy survey about their IL skills and the support available for entrepreneurship. 119 responses were received from graduates who were either working for an organisation or who had set up their own business. The results showed that respondents were heavy users of professional information for their field, and the majority of respondents thought that the library had contributed to the development of critical analysis of information. About half respondents though that their university had made information about financial sources for entrepreneurs available. Most respondents thought that the development of professional competence was up to the individual. The results can be a starting point for the development of joint employer-university courses to buil IL.

In the final presentation in this session, Gunilla Widen and Muhaimin Karin from Abo AkademiUniversity in Finland  presented on the role of information culture in workplace information literacy. There is growing awareness that IL in the workplace is not just a set of skills, it is highly contextual and dependent on the information culture of the organisation. A literature review was conducted to examine information literacy and information culture in the workplace. 23 journal papers were extracted, and 18 were reviewed as containing a focus of IL and information culture. The review found that Information culture is heavily influenced by leadership style, institutional regulation and information politics. Factors such as mission, employee behaviour also affect it. Information culture affects the adoption of new ICT systems, it is not just about the capabilities of the technology itself. Information usage in the workplace is often about social interaction, and it is important to have a transparent, open and positive environment towards information and knowledge.

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