Wednesday, December 27, 2006

ANZIIL symposium

Details of ANZIIL's next symposium, on 29 January at the University of Woollongong, Australia, are on the web at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Oberlaa's window, Vienna, December 2006.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

A happy Christmas to all from the Information Literacy Weblog.

Photo: the Christmas wreath I made this year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Anjos Biblio

There is another useful site from Julio Anjos, who already produces Info Lit World News: this is Bibliorandum, which gives the latest additions to e-print archives in the information field:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Ivy, Sheffield, November 2006.

Engineering IL presentations

The website of the conference (June 2006) of the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education has some information-literacy related powerpoints and posters e.g. The Literate Engineer: Infusing Info Lit Skills throughout an Engineering Curriculum, Info Lit and Learning Outcome Analysis of Freshman Engineering Course

Photo by Sheila Webber: Calatrava Bridge, Bilbao, October 2006.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Articles from ALIA conference

Sorry for the pre Christmas pause - have been on holiday in Vienna. Hereis something I found earlier . I mentioned the new librarians' conference a little while back, it took place at the start of the month. Papers are already archived with ALIA e-prints:

Blanchard, Libbie and Keleher, Jo (2006) "Federated Searching: Is the death toll sounding for Information Literacy? Do we really want to "Google" our libraries?" . In Proceedings ALIA New Librarians' Symposium 2006, The John Niland Scientia Building, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Paul, Lisa (2006) "Librarian as Lecturer: how information literacy is paving the way for librarians to be integrated into student’s learning with advantages for both the student and your career." In Proceedings ALIA New Librarians' Symposium 2006, The John Niland Scientia Building, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

There are also papers and powerpoints linked from the conference site itself at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sydney Opera House, June 2004.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Netskills workshops

Netskills are running more workshops in the UK in 2007, at Nottingham University, in January 2007. They are: Communication and Collaboration for e-Learning; Problem Based e-Learning; Effective e-Learning with Moodle; Information Skills: Is Google Enough?; Blogs, Wikis & Social Networking; Surviving Web Overload. See for full details.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Swan, Blackheath pond, November 2006.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Farewell to Yazdan

On a personal note, today Yazdan Mansourian returns to Iran, his homeland. The photo shows him with my co-supervisor of Yazdan's PhD, Nigel Ford (once again I prove that I am better at photographing flowers than people). Yazdan has also been a good teaching assistant on my information literacy and business information classes and recently (as noted on this blog) contributed to lectures as well, so he will be missed! However, we still have papers to write together, including ones about how a key model from his research (on information visibility) can be used in information literacy education.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Recording & blogging talks

Yesterday (Tuesday) rather than blogging I posted a comment on Brian Kelly's blog entry about Being blogged at an event. I won't reproduce the comments, but the entry stimulates a whole raft of thoughts about: copyright; politeness; attention; & approaches to teaching & presenting. Do people mind being faced with an audience of people apparently immersed in their laptops? Should we, in fact, be planning for how we can help students record their thoughts and our sayings in different ways? (note taking is a skill that many people don't seem to have by the time they come to university).

Do we need to be saying more about rights & permissions at the start of talks and lectures, since it is increasingly easy for students and audience members to be taking recordings and sharing them with friends or on blogs and youtube? If people record a whole session, which as far as I'm concerned would often include other discussion and presentation from students, do people realise that everyone who contributes has intellectual property rights? Unsurprisingly, Graham Cornish, who talked to students here about copyright issues yesterday, made some clear statements about the rights and permissions associated with the powerpoint he presented. Graham was with the British Library as their copyright guru for many years, and now he works freeklance; his website is By the way, a useful site for UK copyright is

I would see knowledge and thought about such issues as being part of information literacy, and obviously many of the IL frameworks list ethical and legal issues as part of IL. One thing that struck me during Graham's talk is the need to be clear about the differences between students infringing copyright and students plagiarising, as I think it is possible to confuse the two if you don't go into enough depth about copyright. Although intellectual property is often seen as a daunting area, I have found that students may actually be interested in exploring it, especially where it relates to topical issues such as downloading music and uploading videos.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield Uni campus, Dec 2006. Not sure if this photo works or not.

Library 2.0 generator

A while ago I mentioned the Web 2.0 bullshit generator. Dave Pattern has thoughtfully created the Library 2.0 generator. This has layers of meaning, since for people who know little about Library 2.0 it nicely confirms all your prejudices by juxtaposing fancy jargon with names you don't recognise, whilst for the Library 2.0 cogniscenti it provides amusing counterpoints of names and 2.0-isms. Plus you feel cool for recognising the words and names. I didn't recognise every single word/name, but enough to feel cool. I will pick out "podcast Lorcan Dempsey using facets". Dave has even put an artefact in a Second Life library that you touch to generate a Library 2.0-ism, and you can't get much more Library 2.0 than that. See:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Pathway by the Information Commons ("more than a library, more than a study space, more than an IT centre") building site, November 2006.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Podcasts on information

I came across a whole academic class-worth of podcasts from the the University of California at Berkeley (I know I came across this resource via another blog - but can't currently remember which one! When I've traced it back, I'll make an acknowledgement). The class is called History of Information and it covers topics of great interest to anyone concerned in information science and the information landscape. Most of the lectures are from Paul Duguid, of the Social life of information fame. I've only listened to some snippets so far, but intend to listen to some of them properly. Sessions include ones on intellectual property, information work, information economy etc. As you might imagine, one of the lectures I sampled was on Internet and Information Literacy. However, I think he is unaware that there is actually a concept "information literacy" already, since he seems to be talking about other things (interesting though those other things are). On the other hand, perhaps I should listen to all the talk before commenting ;-)

My only pedagogic comment would be that the lecture seems to dominate this class - but that's useful from a podcasting perspective (much more difficult to capture sessions with lots of class discussion and interaction without more sophisticated sound setup). The page from which you can listen or download is

Photo by Sheila Webber: Hawthorn Terrace, Sheffield, November 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another take on the doctors google story

Thanks to Vivienne Bernath for emailing me about another story on the "research" that showed that Doctors might find Google useful for diagnosing patients. It's in the Australian newspaper The Age and the principal reason for linking to it is really the photograph....
Reuters and AFP. (2006) "For rare diseases just try Google." The Age, 10 November.

Friday, December 08, 2006

LILAC earlybird registration

Earlybird rates are avialble for registration for the LILAC conference until December 31st, 3 day rate:£295.00 - plus vat : go to

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Intute updates

Intute has released a number of new Internet tutorials for the Social Sciences, to add to the updates to Arts and Humanities tutorials a couple of months ago They can all be found in the Virtual Training Suite at Social Sciences tutorials updated: Internet Business Manager; Internet for Business Studies ; Internet Economist ; Internet for Education; Internet for Government and Politics; Internet for International Relations; Internet for Lawyers; Internet for Social Policy; Internet for Social Statistics; Internet Social Worker. Udpated Arts/Humanities tutorials are: Internet Archaeologist; Internet for Historians; Internet for Modern Languages ; Internet for Performing Arts; Internet for Religious Studies; Internet Philosopher.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Taken on the magical boat trip by the Goteborg Archipelago during the 2004 phenomenography conference.

Conference presentation

Here is the pdf of the presentation that Bill and Stuart presented at the Phenomenography conference in Hong Kong today: Further reflections on the phenomenographic team research process. As the title implies, it is probably of interest mainly to qualitative researchers! We were reflecting on the impact of working as a team (rather than e.g. as a lone researcher, or in a hierarchical way) on the analysis process. We used an account of team working from another research, Bowden, as a point of comparison. We intend writing this up as a paper. Looking back again to the 2004 phenom. conference in Sweden, above is a picture taken by Bill which shows me (right) and Stuart (left) enjoying the coffee break whilst fellow delegates debate the finer points of phenomenography.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Phenomenography conference

On Thursday Bill Johnston and Stuart Boon will be presenting a talk that I have co-authored with them, at the Phenomenography Special Interest Group workshop in Hong Kong. This event happens every couple of years , and we were all able to go the last one in Goteborg in 2004 (Stuart and Bill are pictured outside Goteborg University on the right), but unfortunately I couldn't get to Hong Kong this time ;-( Our talk is called Further reflections on the phenomenographic team research process, so we are looking at how we worked as a team, particularly in the analysis phase (of our project on UK academics' conceptions of teaching information literacy). Great names in phenomenography are there (e.g. Ference Marton), and there are also participants who may be familiar from this blog and elsewhere e.g. Christine Bruce, Mandy Lupton and Sylvia Edwards. In case you don't know, phenomenography is a research approach which it is valuable to use if you are trying to identify variation in people's way of experiencing or conceiving of a phenomenon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Birmingham Re-Usable Materials (BRUM) Project

The Birmingham Re-Usable Materials (BRUM) Project aims to "develop 15 electronic re-usable learning objects (RLOs) to aid student's information skills then explore academics' and students' perception and use of the learning objects as they are embedded into the curriculum." There is a website to host the learning objects at and a blog at A week or so ago they said they were "interested in hearing from anyone who is currently undertaking any similar projects particularly those involving working closely with academics to embed training." Nancy Graham, or Ann-Marie James,

This was one of the projects supported by the Eduserv Foundation as part of their Information Literacy funding programme. The others to receive funding were Christine Irving and John Crawford (Glasgow Caledonian) for their work on an information literacy framework; Kingston Hospital NHS Trust on behalf of the E-learning Group which aims to develop an Information literacy learning tool for healthcare staff; and Netskills, to develop two workshops for the school sector.

Photo by Sheila Webber: The Sage (large building) and The Baltic, dusk, Newcastle, November 2006.

Fly the web (again)

Just discovered Dave Pattern's blog at (a mixture of automation e.g. a post on "export from the OPAC to and LibraryThing", and Alfred Hitchcock) and also a couple of photos taken during my talk (Dave was a speaker at the event, see below). It reminded me that Brian Kelly had suggested tagging things to do with the event in a standard way. I'm not yet using the beta features on Blogger, though....

Photo by Sheila Webber: dusk on the Tyne (photoshopped), Nov 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More new literacies

Thanks to Dave Parkes for alerting me to a post at Findability which talks about a digital media and learning initiative to help determine how digital technologies are affecting young people's behaviour ( and a white paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture in which Jenkins, the author, proposes eleven new skills or literacies... I approached the latter rather sceptically, and still think there's a certain amount of old-wine-new-bottles going on, but some of the explanations of the "new literacies" are interesting (concerning play, remixing etc.).

Photo by Sheila Webber: part of "One hundred books" by Stephen Hurrel, Leeds Metropolitan University, Nov 2006.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blogs and blogging in libraries

This was the title of the presentation I gave at the Fly the web event mentioned in the previous post. Since Dave Pattern had just made everyone a blogger through the practical exercise in the previous session, I didn't have to spend time explaining what a blog was! However, I did identify characteristics which I think lead to blogs being (quoting from my powerpoint) "Good for news, things with timelines, developing ideas; Not so good as a reference tool or to foster ongoing discussion on a range of topics." I drew a disctinction between individual bloggers and organisational bloggers. I talked about my experiences of blogging (as an "individual" blogger - it's certainly not part of my job description, and it isn't hosted at Sheffield either, now).

I identified four areas in which blogging can be useful for libraries, and gave some examples of blogs of different kinds. I also highlighted some management type issues. Finally I identified some resources for library blogging: articles, wikis, search tools etc. For example sites that are useful for searching library blogs are:
Anjos, J. Infolitworld news: blogs.
Bradley, P. Librarian Weblogs. (Google custom search, 25 blogs)
Bradley, P. (2006) Librarian weblogs. Pageflakes.
(has search options for Google & Liszenembedded)
Libworm. (Searches 1400 RSS feeds)
Liszen. (searches 500 library blogs, Google custom search)

My PowerPoint is available in pdf format at:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Newcastle road bridge, Nov 2006.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fly the web

I'm blogging from the CILIP Universities College and Research Libraries seminar Fly the web: power to the user, which is focusing on Web 2.0 applications. Everyone else is creating a blog in blogger in a hands-on session, but I thought I would sneak into this instead and mention some useful insights so far. Brian Kelly (UKOLN) gave the introduction, and he has posted his material at It includes his PowerPoint and some bookmarks. He gives an introduction to the concept and some of the tools and application areas. I won't try and answer the question "what is Web 2.0?" in this entry, as he's done that already!

Things I noted down include: that Web 2.0 is essentially a marketing (rather than technical) term; the importance of as a search tool for blogs; how Northumbria University is using Google maps in a neat way to customise maos for particular occasions or events. Also he highlighted the use of the tag "embarrassing" in (the place where you can create a catalogue for your books online - mentioned in one of my postings a while back) where people use the tag to flag up books they are embarrased about owning!

The session I'm in at the moment is being run by Dave Pattern (pictured above), Library Systems Manager at the University of Huddersfield. He gave a nice introduction and again has posted his presentation at together with a very useful set of links. He's actually started talking again, so I'd better stop blogging!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

First year information literacy class

On Monday, in the "lecture" session of the Information Literacy class for 1st year Information Management students I had invited Alex Peng and Pam McKinney to respond to a few questions I had supplied to them earlier. Alex is a successful graduate of this course and is now studying for a PhD in the Department (an information management topic supervised by my colleague Dr Miguel Nunes). Pam has been mentioned on the blog before, as the information literacy expert in the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. She graduated from our MSc IM course, and had a job at Sheffield Hallam University (the Other university in Sheffield) before joining CILASS. The questions I asked them were "How has being information literate helped you personally?", "Are you continuing to learn about information literacy & have your ideas about IL changed over time?" and "Have you any tips and favourite websites".

As you might imagine, I liked the way that Alex started off, by saying that "Based on my personal experience, I will strongly agree that information literacy skills are the most crucial skills that we should have in the information age." His tips at the end were about keeping track of the material you collect as you go along (rather than trying to go and find them again the day before submitting an assignment), using "different information sources for different purposes/ questions" and also organising material as you went along, so you could find it more easily.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park/ Sheffield University, Nov 2006, with a touch of Photoshop.

Virtual Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments – what’s all the fuss about? is a one day conference at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, 11 December, 2006. It aims to illustrate how VLEs have developed recently and will address the issues for the future. It includes an overview of e-learning; a presentation on SOLSTICE and Blended Learning; a critical perspective on VLEs and other talks and discussion. For more info go to


Indulging in nostalgia briefly, looking at the the Information Today blog covering the Online conference in London which ends today. I missed the very first Online (or IOLIM as it was then), but I attended all of them from the 2nd in December 1979 (I was of course very young then ;-) firstly on the British Library exhibition stands, then as speaker and/or UKOLUG Help Desk person and/or a member of the conference organising committee until a couple of years ago. Anyway, I couldn't go this year, so the blog has given me a flavour of what went on, as do a few other blogs like that of Phil Bradley who was involved in several sessions. (Added later) So nostalgic did I become that I rooted out the pdfs of Inform, the Institute of Information Scientists' newsletter I used to edit: here is the Jan 1997 issue where I did a long roundup of what was hot at Online 1996 including a very nice cartoon from Richard Wilson (the information scientist, not the actor).

Photo by Sheila Webber: London Eye, Sept 2004.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Last call for LILAC papers

Oops! forgot to get this out earlier. The call for papers for LILAC (Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference) closes on Friday 1st December at midnight. Use the form at:
Keynote speakers include: Dr Christine Bruce, John Dolan, Sir J A Muir Gray, Professor Ross Todd.The conference Themes are:
Recognising the need; Advocacy, marketing and promotion; Practical approaches to Information Literacy; Information Literacy and citizenship; New areas for practice and research; Ethical use of information. The conference will take place in Manchester, 26-28 March 2007.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Christine Bruce (left) & Mandy Lupton.

ALIA Conference Papers

The Australian Library and Information Association Conference in September 2006 had a number of papers on information literacy, and there are some now available full text on the site e.g:
Search challenges as assessment tools: A collaboration between the library and the 21 st Century Information Fluency Project in Illinois by Dr David Barr, Bob Houston, Dan Balzer, Paula Garrett and Dr Carl Heine, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Innovation in a podshell: Bringing information literacy into the world of podcasting by Jody Atkinson, Jaya Berk, Joanne Comerford and Sonja Olsen, Curtin University of Technology, Library and Information Service

Go to :

Photo by Sheila Webber: Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia, 2004.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Google & doctors

Bill Johnston alerted me to a story in the Metro free newspaper reporting on an article which showed that doctors could find some useful information on the internet to help diagnose illness and disease. I'm not sure this is something you could disagree with, in that with the very respectable sites from the US NIH and UK NHS etc. etc. of course there is some good information out there. However, it seems to have been interpreted in terms of "doctors only need to google symptoms, just like you could." As interesting as anything else are the responses on the BMJ site (e.g. "This is research?")

Photo by Sheila Webber: Late blackberries, Nov 2006.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Aslib Engineering Group 2006 AGM and Information Literacy Presentation

The 2006 Aslib Engineering Group AGM will be held at the Defence College of Management and Technology on the afternoon of 13 December. There will be two presentations on information literacy, followed by a tour of library facilities at DCMT. Talks are: Developing a Bespoke Online Information Literacy Tutorial: the DCMT Experience (Ruth Hunn, DCMT Library, Cranfield University) and Information Literacy at Imperial College London (Debbi Boden, Imperial College. Contact Rachel Daniels: by 4th December.

Photo by Sheila Webber: More reflections, Nov 2006

Fly the web: power to the user

A half-day event, Fly the web: power to the user, is organised the the University, College and Research Libraries Yorkshire & Humberside section on 1st December 2006 at Leeds Metropolitan University. "Web2.0 and Library 2.0 are terms becoming increasingly commonplace. This half day event will give an overview of the new concepts and technologies being introduced, as well as some guided hands-on experience of using them." There are talks from Brian Kelly, UKOLN (Overview of the new technologies) and me (I'm talking about Blogs and blogging in libraries) and there is a hands on session from Dave Pattern, University of Huddersfield. There is also an optional session on the implementation of RFID. Cost: £ 20.00 per person (plus VAT), including refreshments. For further information please contact: Helen Coman Tel: 01484 473679

Photo by Sheila Webber: Reflection of an autumn street, Nov 2006.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


On Thursday I was one of the participants in an event convened as part of the Library Information Management Employability Skills (LIMES) project. LIMES "aims to facilitate skills development by creating learning and teaching materials, that reflect current employability skills in the Library and Information Management sector, and embed them in the curriculum." As part of this they are encouraging the creation of material for lecturers to use in their teaching of library and information management students. LIMES has identified a few areas of particular interest, namely marketing, cataloguing & indexing and information literacy. The event I attended was aiming to create a Community of Practice for information literacy, and there were both lecturers and practitioners there.

We discussed possible areas where new material was needed to support both education in information literacy and education for how to teach information literacy. As part of the latter discussion, we debated the extent to which people can be taught about how to teach IL during their courses. I, and other colleagues in information departments, felt that there were limits to the extent to which we could cover this, at least in the compulsory part of the curriculum (bearing in mind there are only 2 semesters of teaching in our Masters courses). Obviously, though, we aim to make students aware that this is a key role, introduce them to some of the issues (e.g. we have 2 practitioner speakers, talking to our students about IL in a university and a corporate setting, in a couple of weeks time), and also address it directly to some extent (I already described the search/teach exercise in the blog). It's difficult though: there are so many skill and knowledge areas that librarianship and information management students are expected to cover in the compulsory part of the course. Students also come in with a wide variety of first degrees and experience, & a wide variety of career goals (IM students, in particular, mostly don't go on to work in "libraries").

The event was held in Birmingham central library, a very active library which is in a central square that currently hosts a Christmas market with a German slant (see photo above: actually this was the only sunny part of the day!). See for more about LIMES

Friday, November 24, 2006

Moira Bent's blog

Yesterday I attended a event to do with the LIMES project (more in my next entry) which was also attended by Moira Bent, who I have mentioned before on this blog. Moira is was awarded one of the Higher Education Academy's National Teaching Fellowships, and she is using the money associated with this to pursue a project concerned with developing university teaching staff's interest in IL and to pursue her own interests and research in IL.

Anyway, she alerted me to the fact that she has her own Information Literacy blog at and it is well worth looking at. It has an entry about the LIMES event yesterday, and in particular it has entries on her month-long study tour of Australia. Plus she has some really nice photos, especially of birds and animals.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Ice plant (sedum) and autumn leaves, Nov 2006.


Thanks to Chris Armstrong for alerting me to the following two articles produced by authors in and around Aberystwyth. Here are the references plus parts of the abstracts:

Lonsdale, R. and Armstrong, C. (2006) "The role of the university library in supporting information literacy in UK secondary schools." Aslib Proceedings, 58 (6), 553-569 "Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this research is to report on the findings of the CrossEd-2 study which investigated the role of the university library in delivering information literacy skills relating to the use of e-resources to secondary schools in the UK. Methodology - A quantitative survey of all university libraries in the UK was undertaken using an e-mail questionnaire to identify the incidence of current collaboration. A return rate of 36 per cent was achieved, and the data provided information on the types of collaboration taking place in a total of 20 universities. These were categorized and used to select a survey population of six university libraries for the qualitative study. Data collection for the case studies was by means of face-to-face and telephone interviews with university librarians, using semi-structured interview schedules."

Foster, A. E. (2006) "Information literacy for the information profession: experiences
from Aberystwyth." Aslib Proceedings, 58 (6), 488-501.
"Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to report on the rationale and key learning processes for students of librarianship and information studies (LIS) at the Department of Information Studies, University of Wales Aberystwyth. Its purpose is to raise awareness of
the ways in which professional training can incorporate research, and ultimately inform professional practice, and to describe the way in which recent research can be used to shape the curriculum. Methodology - A literature review, identification of key principles for curriculum development, and discussion of processes is provided. Key learning outcomes for the course are put forward and the approach taken to them described."
The home page of the journakl is

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, Sheffield, Nov 2006.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ICT Literacy

The Educational Testing Service has published a presentation in which it summarises some of the results from students taking their ICT Literacy test (which covers aspects of information literacy). Data is taken from the results of over 6,000 test-takers in 2006. They emphasise the extent to which students failed to achieve full scores: presumably partly to demonstrate the value and rigour of their (priced) test, but the presentation could also provide useful data for people who wish to argue that students are coming into university with insufficient information literacy.
ETS. (2006) 2006 ICT Literacy Assessment preliminary findings.
see also
Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, Sheffield, Nov 2006.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Information: Interactions and Impact conference

The Information: Interactions and Impact (i3) will be held at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, from 25th to 28th June 2007. There is a call for papers: abstracts should be submitted by 22nd January 2007.
"i3 is concerned with the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information and how this interaction can bring about change in individuals, organisations, communities and society. The conference will look beyond the issues of use and accessibility of technology to questions about the way interaction with the information and knowledge content of today’s systems and services can make a difference to people’s lives. The aim is to bring together academic and practitioner researchers with an interest in: the quality and effectiveness of user/information interactions (e.g. information literacy); patterns of information behaviour in different contexts; impact of information or information services on people, organisations, communities and society (e.g. social, learning, cultural and economic outcomes of engagement with information). "
The conference website is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tivoli Gardens, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Oct 2006.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Internet Librarian International 2006

This took place last month in London, UK and you can find some of the presentations on the website including ones from the session on Information Literacy, Virtual Learning and Social Technologies from David Ball, University Librarian, Bournemouth University (UK) and Kara Jones, Subject Librarian, University of Bath (UK). There are also useful presentations from experts like Karen Blakeman (on Out-Googling Google: Finding What Google Misses. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ljubljana, Oct 2006.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Swedish conference papers

Thanks to the Feltänkt? blog for alerting me to a the papers from the 2006 Mötesplats inför framtiden conference which was held in Borås, Sweden, in October. Unfortunaely for me almost all the papers are in Swedish, but I can tell that a few of them are about information literacy. You can find the conference papers linked from here

Photo by Sheila Webber: Newly reopened Mappin art gallery (now called the "Weston Park Museum"), Sheffield, Nov 2006.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pathways and possibilities

The ALIA Information Literacy Forum will be holding a one-day event as a pre-colloquium to the NLS2006 Pathways and Possibilities symposium. The Information Literacy Forum satellite event will be held at the University of New South Wales Library, Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, 30th November, 2006. Presenters include Christine Bruce, Leanne Lovegrove (Indigenous students and the "aunty" model of information literacy), Sarah Graham and Clare Glanville. Go to for more information.
Photo by Sheila webber: Doyles, Sydney, Australia, July 2006.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

IL in Public Libraries in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

The following report was sent to me by Mary Nassimbeni, Centre for Information Literacy, University of Cape Town, It is based on a report by Francois Hendrikz, Director of the Mpumalanga Provincial Library Service who initiated the project. You can also download this entry: (Photo by Sheila Webber: Dahlia, Blackheath, Nov 2006)

Information Literacy Campaign in Public Libraries in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa

Introduction: The Mpumalanga Library and Information Service in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Information Literacy presented the first of three planned information literacy (IL) workshops from 27 until 30 June 2006. The workshops are part of a pilot information literacy campaign made possible with the funding from UNESCO’s Information for All Programme. This campaign is the first of its kind in Mpumalanga (and probably South Africa) where public librarians are being given the opportunity to develop their information literacy skills and to apply them in their libraries. From the response received from the participants is it clear that the campaign will contribute toward skills development and a better understanding of the challenges faced by public librarians in the field of information literacy.

Project goal: The overall goal of the project is to raise awareness of information literacy in the public library service and to establish, in the first instance the necessary skills of 30 public librarians in Mpumalanga so that they may improve their service delivery and raise the profile of the public library by enskilling library users in a variety of information literacy interventions.

Project objectives: 1. To introduce the theoretical concept of IL to the Project participants.
2. To provide them with the opportunity of designing a practical information literacy campaign for their library during the introductory workshops.
3. To allow them to implement their information literacy campaigns in at least 15 libraries over a three month period.
4. To provide the opportunity for participants of the Project to learn from each other’s practical experience through sharing their experiences and lessons learnt during a follow-up workshop after a 3-month period.
5. To measure the impact of information literacy campaigns in the libraries through library user feedback and through monitoring visits by officials from the Provincial Library Service.
6. To identify best practice and spread the lessons learned to other libraries in the province.
To address the above goal and objectives the introductory training workshop was held between 27 and 30 June 2006.

Purpose of the introductory workshop: The workshop was designed to provide an opportunity for gaining an understanding of the role and potential of information literacy education in public libraries. Its specific focus was on how to plan for and implement an information literacy campaign in a number of selected public libraries in Mpumalanga. It introduced participants to information literacy and information literacy education with specific reference to the contribution that public libraries can make to their users and potential users (e.g. school learners) and their effective use of information

Proccedings of the workshop: 1. The workshop was presented by Associate Professor Karin de Jager and Associate Professor Mary Nassimbeni from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Information Literacy
2. The 28 participants included 21 public librarians from ten Municipalities and one Department of Correctional Services. Seven staff members from the Provincial Library Service also attended.
3. The presentation was a mix of theoretical input, discussion with participants, a visit to the local Public Library and practical hands-on exercises. It involved: Practical examples to illustrate IL programmes; Discussion with participants during brainstorming sessions to elicit ideas about possible campaigns; Group work to start designing an IL campaign; Participants’ learning from each other during discussion, planning and report back sessions; Learning materials and handouts made available to all participants.

Outcomes of the workshop: At the end of the workshop all participants:
Appreciated the value of IL education in a public library setting; Had a greater awareness of how IL relates to the work they already do in their library; Drafted an outline of an IL campaign that they would like to implement in their library; Received advice on to proceed with planning and implementation when they return to their library; Understood the guidelines of how to monitor and evaluate their campaigns.
Participants were given three months until September 2006 to refine their project plans and to start implementing their projects, during which time they received support from staff of the Provincial Library Service

Conclusion of the first phase: Evaluation of the workshop showed that it achieved the objectives of the first phase of the Project. All participants enjoyed the exposure to IL, new knowledge and the practical and interactive nature of the presentations. We are now ready to proceed with the next phase of the project, and hope to be able to report findings of our research in 2007.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Public Libraries in the Learning Society

The PuLLS project (Public Libraries in the Learning Society) end of project conference takes place on 24th November 2006 in The Hague, Netherlands. Libraries from the UK, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Spain developed and tested a model for supporting lifelong learning and developing information competencies amongst EU citizens.The conference will report on findings from the project and have presentations from other speakers. Registration is free, but numbers are limited: go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Prairie garden, Sheffield, Oct 2006.

LOEX call for papers ends today

Thanks to Vivienne Bernath for alerting me to the fact that the LOEX (US Information Literacy conference) call for papers ends ... today! The conference is held in San Diego, USA, 3-5 May 2007 and the theme is Uncharted Waters: Tapping the Depths of Our Community to Enhance Learning. If you have any last minute great ideas wing to this website
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bilbao, Spain, Oct 2006.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Open University free material

When I was at the SCONUL Working Group on Information Literacy meeting last Friday, Jo Parker of the Open University mentioned that there was a new OU free content site. It is worth exploring at with material on study skills (including use of the internet and learning-to-learn) as well as other topics such as business and education. I spotted several sections relevant to me and my students.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn leaf, Sheffield Botanic Gardens, Oct 2006.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

As we may think: email me if you'd like a copy!

Recently an article of ours was published. I am allowed to distribute pdf copies to friends, but not to just post it to the web (according to the copyright agreement) - so please email if you'd like a copy, The paper was based on the keynote Bill and I did at the WILU conference inCanada last year.

Johnston, B. and Webber, S. (2006) “As we may think: Information Literacy as a discipline for the information age” Research strategies, 20 (3), 108-121.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, Sheffield, November 2006.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Blogging, inquiry

Continuing the themes of blogging and enquiry from the post below, the lastest issue of the US-based SOS for information literacy project's Educator's Spotlight digest has articles on "Blogging: A Tool for Information Fluency" (in schools) and critical literacy ("Dr. Daniel Callison, Professor and Executive Dean at the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, discusses how mastering the skills of critical literacy can prepare students to apply the inquiry process as a means for social and political action.")

Photo by Sheila Webber: Congress Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Oct 2006.


Early this morning (well, early for me) I attended an "Inquiry Based Learning cafe" event organised by CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences). It was held in the CILASS room in Bartholme House (see right, taken on my way there). Sabine Little was talking about blogs and blogging. She had "blogged" her PhD and is a key person in the CILASS blogs, so gave her personal experiences as well as a more general overview about blogging, and blogs in inquiry based learning. One thing she mentioned are two colleagues in the English Department who are asking their students to blog a class, and the lecturers themselves also blog reflectively after classes (all in WebCT I think), thus modelling behaviour for the students.

It was a small group, but diverse, so I was sitting next to people from Music and Dentistry! The CILASS blog is at and it includes an entry about this session. The CILASS student blog is at

Monday, November 06, 2006

IL in secondary schools

Newly out from the research group at Robert Gordon University is a report of research funded by Scottish Executive Education Department. :
Williams, D.A. and Wavell, C. (2006) Untangling Spaghetti? The Complexity of Developing Information Literacy in Secondary School Students. Aberdeen: The Robert Gordon University and Edinburgh: ScottishExecutive.

This is a detailed case study of an intervention by a teacher and librarian, which draws some interesting conclusions.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Chandelier in the square (in the open air!), Ljubljana, October 2006.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

WILU 2007

York University in Toronto, Canada will be hosting the Workshop on Instruction in Library Use in May 2007 (WILU2007). Currently, a call for proposals is being issued. Would you consider bringing this conference and call for papers to the attention of the readers of information Literacy Weblog?Information about the conference is available at Keynote speakers are Fay Durrant, Patricia Iannuzzi and Rick Salutin. The theme of this conference is Teach Every Angle, aiming to encourage "delegates to think beyond the traditional boundaries of theory and practice to progressive and alternative approaches to information literacy". A link to the call for papers is on the lefthand menu as well as information about the conference and its history.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn horse chestnut leaves, Botanic Gardens, Sheffield, Oct 2006.

Research beyond Google

Jimmy Atkinson wrote to alert me to his Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources. Obviously there are lost of lists of resources out there, but it includes some good links and was put together recently:

Photo by Sheila Webber: This street art from Ljubljana seems to be about someone realising they have run out of credit on their mobile (or is the battery flat?) - very zeitgeisty.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Finnish Information Literacy

The other English-language speaker at the Slovenian information literacy confernce on October 19th was Kaisa Sinikara, Director University of Helsinki Information and Library Services , who was talking on "Information literacy between the theory and practice: experiences of the Finnish University Libraries". She talked about their strategy to bring information literacy to the attention of policy makers and to integrate it into curricula. They seem to have caught the attention of the Ministry for Education, since the Development Plan for Education and Research 2003-8 "stresses the importance of the willingness of libraries to contribute to the development of teaching and study methods, and thus, for their part, to ensure that university and polytechnic gruduates have good information literacy." (quoted from Kaisa's paper in the proceedings)

I mentioned a while ago the national Finnish university information literacy project, and they have some material available in English at This includes the Recommendation for universities for including IL competency in the new degree structures (the new degree stuctures are the 3 year (undergraduate) +2 year (Masters) structure that it part of the Bologna agreement on standardisation of higher education in Europe. This restructuring process is taking place in many European countries and had provided an opportunity to get information literacy into the curriculum. The Finnish recommendation targets 1st year, final year undergraduate and Masters, and makes some recommendations of what should be taught. It must be said that in the UK Bologna has not had so much impact as (except in Scotland) we already have 3 year UG degrees, and the likelihood of us moving to 2 year Masters (from the current one year) is practically nil, unless all universities were forced to do it.

The same basic information is available on the above site in Swedish, and there is obviously more information available in Finnish (use the tabs at the top of the site to change languages), including information about the seminar that takes place this Thursday 3 November Informaatiolukutaidon opintosuunnitelma: hankkeen päätösseminaari which includes a contribution from Christine Bruce.

Photo by Sheila Webber: (l to r) Stanka Jelenc, Kaisa Sinikara, Primož Južnič by the famous three bridges, Ljubljana, Slovenia, October 2006.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Visibility, LAMS sequences and other activities

I spoke too soon in my last post as Monday and Tuesday were heavy teaching days, mostly related to information literacy, that left me zonked..... On Tuesday Yazdan Mansourian was talking about his research to our Information Resources and Information Literacy class (taken by 70 Masters students). As part of this session we had one of the first stages in an action research exercise. We are drawing on his research, and in particular his model of web search visibility, to develop a reflective tool that will help people think about, and improve, their web searching skills. I'll probably be blogging more about this and Yazdan has blogged a little about it too.

Also on Tuesday my colleague Professor Nigel Ford and I were available in the labs for consultation as the same Masters class continued their work on our "Search/teach" exercise, in which they are developing guides and resource links for specific databases (LISA, Google Scholar and Web of Knowledge). By next week they have to have published the guides to WebCT and in the lab next week they will evaluate each other's guides. As part of the class, as I mentioned a little while ago, Nigel and I agreed to develop some sequences in LAMS, as part of the DeSILA project where Sheffield Uni is trialling use of the LAMS educational software.

I have now produced 2 LAMS sequences for this class (on teamwork - they are working in groups - and on evaluating a guide - in fact the guide to LAMS itself). However it has been something of a struggle because of technical problems, e.g. continual error messages with the Preview function that enables you to see what the sequence will look like to students. LAMS seems rather poorly documented, frankly. Grrr, lots of time wasted. We are working with version 1 at present, which has less functionality than v2, but one would suppose it would be more stable. One of the educational limitations of LAMS is the strictly sequential approach you (and the learners) have to take, which seems to make it suitable for smaller, clearly defined tasks.

The last part of Tuesday was taken up with presentations from Masters students (our Libraries, Information and Society module) on topics to do with the information society: New literacies, the flexible workforce, discontinuous technological change, and digital divides. Some very interesting presentations. In particular I learnt a lot about bar codes and the potential uses of RFID! On Monday, amongst other things, students in my 1st year Information Literacy class were also doing presentations on their response to the question “Given the continuing increase in the spread of HIV/AIDS, have people become complacent about HIV/AIDS? If so, what are the reasons that explain that complacency?”. My colleague Dr Kendra Albright is a research specialist in this area so she was joining with me to plan and support the exercise and give formative feedback. Again, some good presentations.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Tivoli Gardens, Ljubljana, October 2006, (drybrush effect).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Information Literacy in Higher Education

I'm starting to feel almost better, so will be trying to catch up on the blog. On the right is a picture of the excellent freebies that were given to delegates at the Slovenian information literacy conference on 19th October. They included a travel clock and a bag of toiletries from Vichy in a neat lilac bag. Here they are displayed by my hotel bedroom window.

There were two talks in English at the conference, one of which was obviously mine. I talked about Information Literacy in Higher Education, and I had to produce a written paper for the proceedings, and a presentation on the day. I started by explaining my view of information literacy and the SCONUL 7 Pillar model. I went on to talk about three levels where there were factors that would influence the way you would approach information literacy education: the national/regional (for example if there were any relevant laws, like the Higher Education law in Sweden) and also the overall approach to education in the country; institutional (the individual institutional culture, any overarching IL frameworks etc.); and at the programme or class level.

In the PowerPoint I talked a little about how my own goal with teaching information literacy was to help students understand the value of information and information literacy to their lives and work. I went on to talk about collaboration between academic and librarian, including reference to our research on academics' conceptions of teaching information literacy. In the written paper I gave some more examples from the literature, whereas I only had time to deal quite briefly with this aspect in the presentation. I finished with my vision of information literacy in HE. Below are links to pdfs of both the written paper and the PowerPoint.

Webber, S. (2006) “Information Literacy in Higher Education.” In: Stopar, K. and Rabzeljl. (Eds) Informacijska Pismenost med teorijo in prakso: vloga visokošolskih in specialnih knjižnic: Zbornik prispevkov. [Information Literacy between theory and practice: The role of academic and special libraries: Proceedings.] Ljubljana: ZBDS. pp9-20. Pdf of the written paper is at Pdf of the Powerpoint is at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New articles

Unfortunately I still feel rather grotty, and thus have been having to concentrate on work things since I got back. Additionally, Blogger was playing up yesterday. Before I do more entries on the Slovenian conference, therefore, thanks to Ola Pilerot for highlighting a couple of recent articles.

The first one should spur me on to write, since my colleague Professor Nigel Ford and I have been discussing a potential paper about information behaviour and information literacy for ages!
Limberg, L. & Sundin, O. (2006). “Teaching information seeking: relating information literacy education to theories of information behaviour.” Information Research, 12(1) paper 280.
The second article is: Lloyd, A. (2006). “Information literacy landscapes: an emerging picture.” Journal of Documentation, 62(5), 570-83. This aims “To describe the various landscapes in which information literacy has been explored and to propose new ways of thinking about information literacy” and in its approach “draws on constructivist-influenced grounded theory method employed during doctoral research into information literacy practices of firefighters.”

Photo by Sheila Webber: Stall in Ljubljana market, Slovenia, October 2006.

International School Library Day

Monday was International School Library Day. There is information about this on the European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy weblog at There is also a link from this to the School Library Association of Queensland blog which has an interesting short post (13 October) “is web 2.0 a threat for schools?”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Informacijska Pismenost

I am at the conference Information Literacy between theory and practice: the role of academic and special libraries is being held in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 19th October 2006. It is the 2nd Joint Conference of Special and Academic Libraries. This morning I spoke at this conference, and yesterday to students at the University of Ljubljana. I have also been struggling with a bad throat infection for a week, so I am rather glad that the presentation is now behind me! Slovenian colleagues here have been very hospitable and sympathetic and it is also a beautiful city to visit.

There are about 170 librarians and library/information academics at the conference, mostly from Slovenia. The day began with introductions and a refreshing short performance from a classical string duo. Zdravka Pejova was the first speaker, giving an overview of global associations and developments. Her talk was in Slovenian, but I could recognise names etc; she used the CILIP definition of information literacy and also mentioned this weblog!

An interesting publication produced this year is the following, which has been distributed to ministers, university chiefs, Chambers of Commerce and so forth in Central and South East European Countries:
Pejova, Z., Catts, R., Ticha, L. and Dombrpvska, M (Eds) (2006) Achieving an Information Society and a Knowledge-based Economy through information literacy: proposal for an Information Literacy platform and action plan for Central and South East European countries. Ljubljana:ICPE.

All for now. The conference website is at:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ljubljana, Slovenia, Oct 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Information Literacy Community of Practice at Staffordshire University

An Information Literacy Community of Practice at Staffordshire University (ILCoPSU) workshop will be held on 1st November 2006, 1:30 - 4:30pm at the Ashley Building Centre for Professional Management, Stoke on Trent, UK . The speakers are: Susie Andretta: Senior Lecturer, London Metropolitan University (."Reflecting on the Six Frames of Information Literacy"); Alison Pope: Learning and Teaching Fellow, Staffordshire University; Miceal Barden: Dean of Business School, Staffordshire University
More info at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackberry leaves, Sheffield, October 2006