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

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Two new articles

Thanks to Yazdan Mansourian for suggesting 2 recent articles, namely:

Lindsay, E.B., Cummings, L., Johnson C. M. Scales, B. J (2006) “If you build it, will they learn? Assessing online Information Literacy tutorials”. College & Research Libraries, 67(5), 429-45.

Warren, L. E. (2006). “Information Literacy in Community Colleges: Focused on learning”. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 45(4), 297-303.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Nettles after rain, Sheffield, Oct 2006.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Media literacy consultation

The European Commission has launched a consultation on media literacy. They define media literacy as "the ability to access, analyse and evaluate the power of images, sounds and messages which we are now being confronted with on a daily basis and are an important part of our contemporary culture, as well as to communicate competently in media available on a personal basis. Media literacy relates to all media, including television and film, radio and recorded music, print media, the Internet and other new digital communication technologies." It is placed within "audiovisual and media policies" and the Expert Group is drawn from the media and communications sector (academics; agencies; commercial side).

The home page for Media Literacy on the EC site is
and you can access the press release and the "questionnaire" (which will require some time to complete, I think). The questions ask about your definition of media literacy, how it should be taught & encouraged, and what initiatives are already going on. It does provide an opportunity to highlight the link with information literacy (not present currently!!) e.g. the last question asks "Could you please list and briefly describe any important and effective initiatives in your country/region/community aiming at implementing and encouraging a critical approach of content, especially information material, available online?" Deadline for response is 15 December.

Photo by Sheila Webber: different kinds of moss, Silver Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan, July 2005.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Marketing Skills for Liaison and Information Literacy

Another interesting Australian event is: CAVAL Reference Interest Group's (CRIG) 2006 Seminar Getting your foot in the door: Marketing Skills for Liaison and Information Literacy on 22nd November, 2006 at William Angliss Institute of TAFE, Melbourne

Photo by Sheila Webber: penultimate batch of apples from my tree, you can see a couple have little holes where the birds have sampled them!

Regional ANZIIL symposium

The next Regional ANZIIL symposium will be on Monday 29th January 2007 at the University of Wollongong, Australia. The ANZIIL website will be updated shortly with further information. The theme will be e-learning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Digital literacies book

A new book is:
Martin, A. and Madigan, D. (Eds) (2006) Digital Literacies for Learning. London: Facet. ISBN-13: 978-1-85604-563-6; ISBN-10: 1-85604-563-3; £39.95
With contributions from various authors: "In Part 1, Literacies in the Digital Age, the contributors analyse how digital technologies have enabled transformative change in the ways in which learning can be constructed, and discuss the nature of the new literacies that have emerged in this new virtual and e-learning environment. In Part 2, Enabling and Supporting Digital Literacies, the contributors go on to consider the ways in which digital literacies can be made available to learners, and how these literacies are being relocated in a more student-centred environment within the broader perspective of learning. "
More information at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Michaelmas daisies, Sheffield, October 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ensuring the Net Generation Is Net Savvy

The Information Literacy land of Confusion alerted me to new papers on the Educause website. The first one is 19 pages, and it defines terms like information literacy, information fluency and media literacy, then summarises some issues to do with student use of resources, and resonses to the situation (like tutorials, curriculum integration). It only seems to refer US work, which I think is a bit of a pity, but nevertheless it could provide a nice introduction or background document on the topic.
Lorenzo, G. and Dzuiban, C. (2006) Ensuring the Net Generation Is Net Savvy. EDUCAUSE. ELI3006.

The second article is called How Choice, Co-Creation, and Culture Are Changing What It Means to Be Net Savvy (i.e. Web 2.0, Library 2.0, blogs, Facebook etc etc etc) and is one of the many items that can be found amongst the loads of useful content about learning & teaching on the Educause Resources section at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Hydrangea, Parkers Lane, Sheffield, October 2004.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

UC&R Innovation Award

The CILIP University Colleges & Research Group invites applications for the 2007 UC&R Innovation Award, which rewards an individual, group or team pursuing innovation and excellence in the area of learning and teaching, and learner support, within academic, national or research libraries. Relevant activity is defined broadly and might involve one, or more of the following: initiating or developing new services; creating learning materials, packages etc; developing relevant applications of new technology; establishing new partnerships/collaborative relationships; undertaking research into any aspect of learner support; writing or achieving publication of a relevant piece of work; delivering a conference paper; staging a relevant event/promoting an individual initiative.

The Award is open to any member of staff employed in academic, national or research libraries in the UK, and to students hoping to work in these institutions. The application form is available from the lis-ucr file store The recipient must submit a report within 12 months of receiving the award. Four copies of letters of application and any supporting documentation should be sent by January 31st 2007 to: Gareth J Johnson, Tel: +44 (0)115-84-67544 Fax: +44 (0)115-84-68244

Photo by Sheila Webber: Bilbao buses are called Bilbobuses, & presumably favourite with Hobbitses (sorry).

Friday, October 06, 2006

National Poetry Day (oops, yesterday)

I missed marking the UK's National Poetry Day yesterday. Belatedly .... the Scottish Poetry Library includes an interactive poetry map and a nice "email a poetry postcard to a friend" function at Yesterday I paused to listen to 'All These I Learnt' by Robert Byron on Radio 4 (because it mentions all those flowers and insects, such as I love to photograph!). You can play magnetic poetry at (though the kits are strangely specific!) and read collections of verse at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Reflection of the footbridge designed by Calatrava, in Bilbao, Spain, Sept 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Today my colleague Nigel Ford and I had a meeting with Sabine Little and Ola Aiyegbayo about the DeSILA (Designing and Sharing Inquiry-based Learning Activities) project which is evaluating use of LAMS. LAMS enables you to create online sequences of activities for students. So, for example, I have been able to create an online activity where students view a short online article, then make comments about 2 different abstracts of the article, and finally vote on which abstract is best (this follows up a face-to-face session on abstracting, unsurprisingly).

We're intending to use this as a sort of introduction to using LAMS sequences in a larger, new, task which Nigel and I have been planning out for students on our postgraduate Information Resources and Information Literacy module. This larger task spreads over several weeks and involves groups of students producing short guides to key databases and then evaluating each other's guides. This aims to develop skills in the databases concerned, plus develop some skills and knowledge to do with learning and teaching.

Before I knew more about LAMS I envisaged the students being guided through one big sequence, but it is now evident that that isn't really a good idea, so we are developing a number of different sequences aiming at different parts of the task . This (hopefully!!) will help develop students' skills and knowledge and make the whole thing more interesting. As it part of DeSILA the good thing is that we will get an evaluation of LAMS use "built in", so to speak. Anyway, I shall probably report on this further. We might be sharing the LAMS sequences with the LAMS community at the end. I notice that the LAMS page linked to above says that "LAMS is a revolutionary new tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities" which I think is overstating the case more than somewhat, but it will be interesting to see what it can do and not do.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Sept 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


As a recreation I have started creating 2007 calendars with some of my photos. These first 2 offerings are pdf files, each containing 4 x A4 pages (each page with dates of 3 months plus one photo). They are 700-900 KB per file as the photos are full resolution (I do smaller ones for this site). Of course you will be able to get all 4 pages on one page if you want by printing the pdf with "4 pages per sheet". Both calendars advertise this blog on each page ;-)

There is a "Trees" calendar at and a "flowers" calendar (strictly speaking the Oct-Dec photo is of berries, but they were flowers once, see below) at

Photo by Sheila Webber: This is Oct-Dec in the "Flowers", the one that's actually berries: it was taken in Budapest, Hungary, after it had rained and then gone below freezing very quickly so everything got encased in ice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Info Lit World News

If you want to keep track of information literacy blogs and news, you can go to Info Lit World News which aggregates some feeds (including this blog and other well known ones like the FORMIST blog, the Information Literacy Land of Confusion, and the International IL resources directory). This site is produced by Julio Anjos in portugal. Go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Guggenheim Museum, September 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Students' experience of Metalib and Google Scholar

There is a report of an experiment comparing Swedish students' use of Google Scholar and Metalib for their dissertations, carried out for BIBSAM . (from the abstract) "The study concludes that overall, students were not very satisfied with either tool. However, Google Scholar performed relatively better in almost all measurements. Results for both tools were improved by instruction in terms of number of documents saved (Metalib, Google Scholar) and type of document saved (Google Scholar)." (from page 64) "The fact that instruction increased the amount of “peer reviewed” material students found in Google Scholar was a surprise to the designers of this study and should make libraries consider including it in their instructional programs. This study is a strong indication that librarians should not assume that Google Scholar is so simple to use that merely pointing out its existence to students is enough." (and spot the reference in this report to Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - gosh, haven't heard that cited for a while!)
Nygren, E., Haya, G. and Widmark, W. (2006) Students' experience of Metalib and Google Scholar. University of Stockholm.

Photos by Sheila Webber: Guggenheim musuem, Bilbao, Spain - people were really glued to the audio guides that came free with the entrance fee (bottom photo has reflection of me, plus just-seen people sitting and listening inside). Sept 2006.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

School IL article

A short article reports on using learning material (developed by the Scottish Further Education Unit and eCom Scotland) in a school:
McEachern, K. (2006) "New handle on information handling." Information Scotland, 4 (2).

See also:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Fountain, St Stephen's Green, Scotland, Sept 2006.