Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Seminar in Sweden on workplace information literacy

On 7th April I will be giving a seminar Information literacy in the workplace with Ola Pilerot (Deputy Head Librarian at Skövde University Library) in Stockholm, Sweden. Here are the details: "Information literacy is a phenomenon that has mainly concerned the education sector, in particular higher education. Recently information literacy has been recognized as an essential competence in the workplace context. By highlighting examples from the literature and from their own experiences as educators the seminar leaders aim to present key aspects of the concept of information literacy in the workplace. By the end of the seminar the participants will have:
- learnt about some of the information habits of people at work, as discovered by research and practical examples
- examined their own information habits and roles as working people
- identified some ways in which they can develop the information literacy of their clients/users for those clients’/users’ current or future role as workers
Cost is 2 500 kr or 3 500 kr. More details for those who speak Swedish (though NB my bit of the seminar certainly won't be in Swedish) at http://www.tls.se/kurser/

Photo by S. Webber: Dusk over Stockholm, March 2005.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Examples of assignments

In a recent posting on the ili-l discussion list, Barabara Fister, at Gustavus Adolphus College, USA, highlighted Creative Library Assignments from Our Faculty: a nice list from various academics and Barbara herself

I'll also take the opportunity to mention a page I've referenced before: the Assessment ideas page on the Central Queensland University, Australia, website http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/services/

Photo by S. Webber: Bicyclist in the Englisher Garten, Munich, Germany, Feb. 2006.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

i-witness website

The i-witness website provides some material that you could use to provoke discussion on information society issues. To quote the blurb "The i-Witness website aims to help journalists and others get to grips with many controversial but often under-reported information society topics – from bridging the digital divide to controlling the internet. The site offers a toolkit with topic briefing papers, an online experts database and researched links to essential background information."

The perspective is a critical, international one. There is also commentary on participating the the World Summit in November 2005. http://www.panos.org.uk/iwitness

Photo by S. Webber: Munich airport, February 2006.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Current TV

Current TV has got it all - content uploaded by citizens, voting on which videos get broadcast, tag clouds (that's folksonomy) and a news bulletin that consists of picking up on some whacky site that is popular on Google. http://www.current.tv/ Could be an interesting focus for discussion to do with evaluating content, information economy etc.

Photo by S. Webber: Squirrel in Greenwich Park, Feb. 2006.

Georgia Conference on Information Literacy

The 2006 Georgia Conference on Information Literacy will be held on October 6-7 2006 at Georgia Soutern University, Savannah, USA. There is a call for papers which closes on April 3rd. More info at http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/infolit.html

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

International Lifelong Learning Conference

Registration for the 4th International Lifelong Learning Conference, Rydges Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, Australia, June 13-16 2006 is now open. This conference aims to explore the multiple ways in which lifelong learning is understood and facilitated by means of collaborative partners, effective pathways and successful pedagogies. All registrations received on or before April 14 will be eligible for the earlybird rate. More details, including online registration, at http://lifelonglearning.cqu.edu.au/
Photo by S. Webber: Rydges Capricorn Resort, June 2004. Nice, eh?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

German information literacy project

The Library at the University of Konstanz (Germany) is carrying out a project on information literacy for graduates, department staff, university teachers, postdocs etc. (i.e. after the undergraduate stage) They would like to hear from you, either if you happen to know someone who might be interested in collaboration or has any other information on projects concerning their area of interest. They are interested in similar ongoing projects, mainly for sharing experiences and evaluating them for possible adaptation.

This DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, German Research Foundation) funded project on information literacy took up its work in January. It is aimed at the training and instruction of teaching personnel and advanced students (graduates). The project goals are to explore und invent new possibilities of training specific target groups and to evaluate existing initiatives. These existing projects will be checked for possible modification, adaptation and costumisation for the German and (more generally) european university libraries. They wish to establish international links. More information at http://www.ub.uni-konstanz.de/ik/ (small amount of information in English, most - including some materials e.g. outline of a class - in German only) or email bernd.schmid-ruhe@uni-konstanz.de

Photo by S. Webber: Tree in Weston Park, Autumn 2005.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

school libraries autumn forum

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will focus on Assessing Student Learning in the School Library Media Center at its Fall Forum, to be held in Warwick, Rhode Island (USA) October 13–15, 2006.

Photo by S. Webber: Autumn leaves 2005.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fostering excellence in college teaching

There is a call for papers for the conference on Fostering excellence in college teaching organised by the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning to be held in Palm Springs, California, USA, October 19-21, 2006. "We are especially interested in presentations that demonstrate practical and creative teaching and learning techniques based on personal experiences and/or research that will appeal to colleagues in several disciplines. "Proposals for papers are due by May 1st 2006. Submit proposals via the conference website at: http://www.isetl.org/

Photo by S. Webber: Greenwich Park, Feb 2006.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Swedish workshop on pedagogic methods in libraries

If I guess correctly there is a workshop being run in 3 places on this topic, namely: Bålsta on 20 February, Skövde 27 February and Falun 25 April (in Swedish) organised by the Swedish Library Association's special interest group on library education, and I think this is based around their new book on teaching information literacy "Tänk om…! pedagogiska metoder i biblioteket."
"Workshop om pedagogiska metoder i biblioteket. ... Styrgruppen för Svensk Biblioteksförenings specialgruppen för bibliotekspedagogik vill för deltagarna levandegöra några av de pedagogiska metoder, som presenteras i skriften "Tänk om…! pedagogiska metoder i biblioteket." Vi kommer att belysa sex olika metoder mot bakgrund av konceptet informationskompetens." http://www.biblioteksforeningen.org/konferens/

Photo by S. Webber: Mariestad, near Skövde, April 2005.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Information Literacy Research class

I don’t blog too much about my classes, as I think it is fair on students to talk about them too much on a public blog like this. However, I’ll say a little bit about my new Information Literacy Research class, which started up last week. The aim for students is to deepen understanding of information literacy and of research, and the assessment consists of a seminar paper and a small group project in information literacy. There are weekly seminars. These focus on particular aspects of research (e.g. particular research approaches - such as grounded theory - or methods - such as interviewing) and also involve discussion of information literacy research (both previous research, and the research the students are doing for their projects). Several researchers, from inside and outside the Department, will be coming along to talk. From the Department’s (and my) point of view, it is also deepening our research-led activity.In the first session the students (there are about 10 of them, mostly Masters students, but including two PhD students) shared their experience and ideas about information literacy and about research. On the right is one of the posters produced from this discussion; one group’s thoughts on interesting aspects of information literacy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

One Entry to Research

There is a blog which has been set up to assess the citation databases Web of Science/Knowledge, Scopus and Google Scholar. This is part of a Swedish BIBSAM-project with the project title:"Analys av Google Scholar och Scopus i jämförelse med Web of Science" [Analysis of Google Scholar and Scopus in comparison with Web of Science]. The project ends in August 2006. The blog has reports of different nitty-gritty investigations. It also has FAQs for the 3 services and a reference list.
One Entry to Research - critical assessment of Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. http://oneentry.wordpress.com

Photo by S. Webber: Camellia, Greenwich Park, Feb. 2006.

Monday, February 13, 2006

SCONUL Working Group meeting

Last Thursday I attended the SCONUL Working Group on Information Literacy, in London. I’ve been a member of this Group for a couple of years now (see http://www.sconul.ac.uk/activities/inf_lit/). We have meetings just a few times a year and its always interesting to meet up with other members. In part of the meeting we were looking at how we were going to develop a new position paper on information literacy, including reviewing what has been done with the “SCONUL 7 Pillars model” of information literacy.

Another item was a report from Gill Needham, at the Open University, who had been invited along to talk about the Evidence Based Librarianship conference that she had attended in Brisbane, Australia, late last year. The conference website has already been a link in the blog, but here it is again as there are a number of interesting papers: http://conferences.alia.org.au/ebl2005/conferencepapers.html In terms of evidence based librarianship, this is an area that we will be contributing to via the SCONUL/HEA research review (http://infolit-review.blogspot.com/) not least because the evidence based librarianship movement has tended to put most emphasis on experimental forms of research, and a good deal of good research in our discipline is qualitative research. Therefore there is lots of scope for helping people identify “good” from ... “less good” qualitative research (as opposed to dismissing it all because it’s not got statistics in it!)

Photo by S. Webber: Dusk, Oxford Street, London (the lanterns are part of the Chinese New Year celebrations), Feb 2006.

Multiple discoveries

The issue of scientists "discovering" things that have already been discovered (mostly because they haven't done a proper literature search!) is in the news again.
Kolata, G. (2006) "Pity the Scientist Who Discovers the Discovered." New York times, February 5th. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/
(you need to register to see the full text) "Stephen Stigler, a statistician at the University of Chicago who has written about the phenomenon. Not only does it occur in every scientific field, he said, the 'very fact of multiple discoveries has been discovered many times.'"
Photo by S. Webber: Greenwich Park, Feb. 2006.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pam Bing at CILASS

Last week was actually a busy one for my information literacy, as I was taking the first class for my new module, Information Literacy Research, and also attending a meeting of the SCONUL Working Group on Information Literacy, in London. I’ll deal with them in future entries, but for this entry I’ll mention one of the participants (rather than students) for the class, Pam Bing (pictured right). Pam did an MSc Information Management in our Department, then went to work in the Learning Resources Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. In particular she was involved in information literacy activities such as tailoring of infolit modules in WebCT for individual programmes at Sheffield Hallam (which is the other university in Sheffield.

Pam now works as the information literacy expert in the team at CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences http://www.shef.ac.uk/cilass/). She coordinates activities to do with an “Information Literacy Network” we are developing with the library and this Department, and is involved in CILASS projects with other arts & social science departments. In my Department, Information Studies, she is doing work on an “Information Literacy audit”, a CILASS project which I’m leading. This will involve interviewing staff about the extent to which information literacy is covered (taught and assessed) in all the individual modules in this Department.

Pam came along to the Information Literacy Research class partly out of interest, but also because the coursework for this class is 75% working on a project in small groups. Two of these potential mini projects are related to this CILASS project, and she was able to explain the context, and she’s also a contact for these mini-projects. In due course, I’ll let you know how the CILASS project gets on.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Shambles Information Literacy

There is a good section of annotated links to a variety of material relevant to information literacy on the Shambles web site which is "designed to support the international school communities (teachers, support staff, administrators, students and families) in 17 countries in South East Asia." It is maintained by an educational consultant, Chris Smith, and the Shambles website seems a useful portal in general for the educational/ICT area. The information literacy Shambles page is at http://www.shambles.net/informationliteracy/

Photo by S. Webber: Snowdrop, Sheffield, Feb. 2006.

Research strategies special issue

There is a call for Papers for a Special Issue of Research Strategies: "Serving our Graduate Students Through Tradition, Innovation, and Collaboration."Proposals should identify the proposed article's connection to the overall theme of service to the university graduate student population, as well as the type of article proposed (e.g. research study, literature review, commentary). One-two page proposals for articles to be included in this collection should be submitted electronically to Gretta Siegel, guest editor, no later than March 15th, 2006 siegelg@pdx.edu

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

5th mexican information literacy conference

The theme is Assessment and Evaluation: Key Elements to Information Literacy Programs. The conference will be held on October 18-20, 2006 at Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There will be simultaneous English & Spanish translation, so papers can be in either language.

There is a call for papers. Key topics are: Usefulness of evaluations; Shared responsibilities when evaluating; Librarians as instructors; Main theories on educational evaluation; Context that determines forms of evaluation; Evaluation methods and techniques; Most commonly used tools; Evaluation and the support of standards; Evaluation within different pedagogical models; Best moments for evaluation; Technology support.
Further information on the program from: Berenice Mears bmears@uacj.mx; Jesus Cortes jcortes@uacj.mx; Jesus Lau jlau@uv.mx . Registration information from: Jose Maria Palacios jmpalaci@uacj.mx Web site (in Spanish currently): http://www.uacj.mx/dhi

Photo by S. Webber: Deer in Nara park, Japan, July 2005.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Googleverse and the missed opportunity

I seem to have been the only person in the blogosphere to have overlooked the launch of the Google Librarian newsletter. "Google and librarians share the same mission: to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The article in the first issue How does Google collect and rank results? is a straightforward summary of what one had gathered already, but nicely written and with a couple of "exercises" to use with students to help them understand the principles. There's also a link to the ever-amusing Pigeon Ranking spoof they did. http://www.google.com/newsletter/librarian/ librarian_2005_12/newsletter.html

The second issue at http://www.google.com/newsletter/librarian/ librarian_2006_01/newsletter.html starts with "It's only been a month since we sent the first issue, and already hundreds of you have written to tell us what you think" ;-) There is a short item following up on issue one to explain on what Google means by "most trusted" sites, plus an article Beyond Algorithms: A Librarian's Guide to Finding Web Sites You Can Trust by Karen Schneider (Director, Librarians' Internet Index) which is fine, but pretty much the usual stuff. The Google people also apologise in this issue for calling their first issue an "edition" and rather annoyingly they also don't seem to have cottoned on to the concept of a journal homepage. However, on the other hand, I suppose this could be seen as rather endearing. Were it not that they shared our mission " to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" Hmmm.

This venture might explain why I got an email before Christmas.... it arrived while I was away, then I didn't open it for ages because I thought it was a routine Google Friends email ... it turned out to be an email from someone at Google (addressed to me and a clutch of other people, some of whom I know) inviting me to send my CV to Google. Perhaps I was at a low energy point, but once I'd worked out it was (I think) for real I just felt a bit perplexed ... but if they are trying to build up contacts with the library and information community I suppose it is less baffling. I imagine it's a bit late to email and say "Hi! I just realised that email you sent 2 months ago was the opportunity of a lifetime! Yo Google!" On the other hand, I might get a free Google T shirt out of it.

Anyway, to round off, there is also the Google blog aimed at librarian and non-librarian alike http://googleblog.blogspot.com/. When I just looked at it it had something about the Superbowl, and is therefore pretty incomprehensible to me. However I scrolled down and they had a transcript of their statement on their presence in China, which is rather more interesting.

Photo by S. Webber: Apple blossom, April 2004, with Photoshop watercolour effect.

Credit bearing classes

In 2005 Karen Hunt compiled a list of credit-bearing information literacy courses in
Canadaian universities and colleges http://cybrary.uwinnipeg.ca/about/accessservices/il/cdn_credit.cfm

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tanzanian IL training

Mark Hepworth, of Loughborough University, has been involved in an information literacy training course in Tanzania. This experience has been written up in the following article, including a detailed description of the programme, the students' comments and the course and the approach to teaching and learning.

Hepworth, M. and Wema, E. (2006) "The design and implementation of an information literacy training course that integrated Information and Library Science conceptions of information literacy, educational theory and information behaviour research: a Tanzanian pilot study." Italics, 5 (1). http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/italics/vol5-1/pdf/Hepworth&Evans_finalversion.pdf

Photo by S. Webber: Holly tree in Weston park, Feb 2006.

Review of "Ideas for librarians who teach"

There's a useful review by Stuart Hannabuss of the following book:
Lederer, N. (2005) Ideas for librarians who teach. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press.
at http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/Books/Reviews/ Newreviews/Ideas%20for%20librarians.shtml

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Business information tutorial

Kognito Solutions LLC has produced an online information literacy tutorial to help university students develop business research skills. The Beginner’s Guide to Business Research was commissioned by Baruch College (City University of New York, USA) and developed with Louise Klusek from Baruch’s Newman Library. It's at http://www.kognito.net/infolit/
This is quite a jolly little tutorial, and I might show it to my business information students. I think the shortness is a virtue, in that some tutorials seem to go on for ever. You need Flash and (ideally) sound,however, and the non-web resources are tailored to Baruch's business subscriptions. The company is willing to tailor the tutorial to other institution's needs. There is a press release about it at
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ prweb/20060120/bs_prweb/prweb334573_3

Photo by S. Webber: another in the "blurred pictures of fauna" series: grey squirrel in Weston park, Feb. 2006

Asking questions as part of IL

This article uses the examples of questions to the "Free Pint bar" (a useful discussion board forfor information people) to point out that part of information literacy is knowing how to ask questions. This is something I do cover in my first year information literacy class here, but we are going to focus on this even more next year when we are introducing another 1st year class which is going to take a very enquiry-based approach to learning Information Management. Anyway, the article is:
Macoustra, J. (2006) "Bar Orphans: Getting your questions answered at the FreePint Bar." FreePint, (199), 13-14. http://www.freepint.com/issues/020206.htm? PHPSESSID=46bf859714ff75fe8b4c7feb9b3ea1ed#feature

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Personal Information Management

Whilst checking to see whether the article mentioned in the previous entry was still in the "free issue" (answer, no) I discovered that the current free issue is also interesting, namely Communications of the ACM Volume 49 , Issue 1 (January 2006) which focuses on Personal Information Mangement. Articles include "Searching to eliminate personal information management" (you can search for everything! you don't need to manage it!), "Keeping encountered information" ("Utility, serendipity, and the pleasure of encountering what we save relies on more than search alone when using PIM tools") and an article by one of my colleagues (Professor Steve Whittaker) here, "Email in personal information management". Until it's replaced by the next month you will be able to get free access to this by going to http://www.acm.org/pubs/cacm/homepage.html, and clicking "Free issue" in the column on the left.

Photo by S. Webber: Bird (think it's an immature blackbird), Photoshopped ("drybrush" effect) as it was a bit blurred, Feb 2006.

Article by computing science lecturer on information use

Bruckman, A.S. (2005) "Student research and the internet." Communications of the ACM, 48 (12), 35-37. Accessible via http://www.acm.org/pubs/cacm/homepage.html, but I think only to subscribers.

Amy Bruckman is an associate professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA. She has written a short, readable article about issues concerning students finding good, relevant information for assignments.

Thanks to Thomas Hapke for drawing my attention to this. He writes "Aus Sicht einer Lehrenden ist hier das Thema Informationskompetenz und die Problematik Bibliothek und Internet fuer mich treffend charakterisiert. Dieser Aufsatz trifft den Punkt, um was es beim
Thema Informationskompetenz auch ueber die Aktivitaeten von Bibliotheken hinaus primaer gehen muss: um das ernsthafte Reflektieren ueber Information und deren Zuverlaessigkeit und
Seriositaet im Rahmen des Studiums."