Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gateways to learning

Today at the LILAC conference (pic. of poster gallery on the right - with trademark LILAC balloons) I attended a session on the Gateways to learning project. This is part-funded by the European Social Fund, and involves 5 public libraries and 3 academic libraries in South East Wales. They aim to widen participation in learning through informal learning, which can be a bridge to formal learning. They target any one 16+ years old who is economically inactive e.g. unemployed. There had been a lote of redundancies in that part of Wales (e.g. from the Corus steel plant) and following on from this one of the things that was investigated by th eWelsh Executive was reasons for not participating in learning. This included reasons like lack of confidence and feeling intimidated by formal educational establishments, so libraries' role came to the fore in proposals.

There are people employed by the project who work one-to-one with learners (there have been 1500 of these information literacy taster sessions) and encourage the learners to work through little workbooks that enable them to compile evidence of acheivement in finding and using information to meet a real information need. If the learner completes it all successfully, they can then gain an Open College Network qualification. About 300 people have gone on to do this, sometimes going for the next level of qualification too, and/or investigating more formal learning options. Some of these people have previously had no educational qualifications.

One issue is that the project ends later this year, so that regular library staff are having to plan how they will continue this work, which is obviously meeting a need. I was very interested to hear about this project, as I get asked about public/academic library cooperation (the academic libraries focus on access students in particular, I was told, by the way). Iheard about it (and might have blogged too) when it started up, but hadn't followed its progress. The website is at

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

LILAC conference

A brief blogging moment after the sessions at the LILAC (information literacy) conference, before the conference dinner. I was just in a session from Cathie Jackson (Senior Consultant, Information Literacy and Subject Librarian, Law, at Cardiff Univeristy). She was talking about the interactive subject guide they created on the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities. It is available at and it (and each diagram and interactive exercise, separately) is also available in JORUM, a free online repository for tertiary education:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Scarf and china , March 2007.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Writing for publication

Writing for publication was the title of a one-hour workshop that I facilitated at the LILAC (information literacy) conference in Manchester , UK, today. It was for people who wanted to write and publish more. I set up a little wiki, using pbwiki, which houses the handouts and now also a record of points that people made at the session (my first wiki! - pictured here). I'm not sure if the wiki will continue (there will probably be a better way of "building community"), but I gave out the password so that people at LILAC could edit it if they wanted. This is where the wiki is:

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Volume 2 issue 1 of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is available free at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, Sheffield, March 2007.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Survey of Web 2.0 use

Published a few days ago. It says "This document deliberately contains very little analysis of the data as I’m interested to hear what other interpret from the charts" - perhaps they will be willing to share the JISC grant money too ;-))

White, D. (2007) Results of the ‘Online Tool Use Survey’ undertaken by the JISC funded SPIRE project. University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education

Technology to Teach Information Literacy

There is a call for chapters for a book called Using Technology to Teach Information Literacy, to be published in early 2008 by Neal-Schuman. They want "chapters co-authored by librarian and faculty teams that applied technology to teach information literacy. We are especially interested in novel approaches to information literacy and technology instruction". Please send any questions, and proposals of 1-2 pages to the editor, Tom Mackey, at Proposals must arrive by April 16, 2007. First drafts of the completed chapters (25-30 pages) will be due on July 1, 2007.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Global Challenge of Information Literacy

Articles related to any aspect of information literacy are invited for Vol. 32, Number 1 (Winter 2008) of the Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science (CJILS), for an issue on the theme The Global Challenge of Information Literacy . The deadline for submission is June 29, 2007. Complete manuscripts of approximately 5000 words should be sent to Heidi Julien, School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alberta, 3-20 Rutherford South, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2J4. For manuscript guidelines please refer to the journal’s website at
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Anne's Knoll, Malvern, March 2007.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shock of the social

My colleague Andrew Cox is giving a talk at the Shock of the social conference at the Said Business School, University of Oxford, on Thursday (22nd March 2007), coauthored with me, Philippa Levy and Peter Stordy. The presentation, The use of blogs in inquiry based learning, draws on our experience of teaching team and student blogging in our new core undergraduate module Inquiry in Information Management. You can find our teaching team blog at (to see the presentation, select Shock paper final draft from the column on the right). You will see many ponderings from me on the blog, including a lengthy post Learning about my perspectives on blogging

Photo by Sheila Webber: Host of golden daffodils near the Star and Garter pub, Sheffield, March 2007. Had I taken it a few days later it would have been "host of golden daffodils with assorted beer and coke cans".

More educational conferences

Another virtual conference on 11-14 June 2007 : Innovating e-Learning 2007: Institutional Transformation and Supporting Lifelong Learning £50. More information here:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Malvern, March 2007.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Finding development information

A free online publication is the Institute of Development Studies' A Good Place to Start - The IDS Knowledge Services guide to finding development information. It can be downloaded from
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blossom in Malvern, March 2007.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Publishing resources

The main web address for Charles Bailey's excellent resources on scholarly electronic publishing and open access is He has been maintaining the publishing resource for years, over a decade I think, but some of the web addresses have changed.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils, Sheffield, March 2007.

Friday, March 16, 2007

IL article

An American news article provides varying views on information literacy and summarises some different approaches, including the Educational Testing Service test.
Foster, A. (2007) "Information Navigation 101." Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 March.
Photo by Sheila Webber: view over Malvern, March 2007.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Embedding information literacy in the curriculum

The Yorkshire Universities Information Skills Group will be running a joint workshop with the CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group on Tuesday 22 May at the University of Sheffield, UK, Embedding information literacy in the curriculum. It is aimed at library staff who are just starting to teach information literacy, although may be of interest to more experienced staff. Includes: IL, what is it and why is it important? Debbi Boden and Ruth Stubbings; Why embed IL? - an academic's perspective, Aidan While, Director of Undergraduate Teaching in Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield; Does the subject make a difference? Sarah Taylor , Vic Grant, and Ellie Clement; A success story from the University of Leeds, Angela Newton.

Cost £35 plus £5.95 VAT (£30 + £5.25 VAT for CSG IL members). Details about travel to the venue are available from Contact Helen Harrington(, with the following details: Your name: Institution name: Postal address: Email address: Addtional requirements, Order number (if applicable) Queries to Lyn Parker ( or Grace Hudson(
Photo by Sheila Webber: Worcestershire Beacon, looking to North Hill, Malvern, March 2007.

Change and challenge

A new book from Auslib Press is: Andretta, S. (Ed) Change and Challenge Information literacy for the 21st century. Adelaide: Auslib Press. ISBN 9 7809 8033 0106. The chapters are: Information literacy: the functional literacy for the 21st century: Susie Andretta
Three decades of information literacy: redefining the parameters: Sharon Markless and David Streatfield
Six frames for information literacy education: a conceptual framework for interpreting the relationship between theory and practice: Christine Bruce, Sylvia Edwards and Mandy Lupton
Models for reflection and learning: a culturally inclusive response to the information literacy imbalance: Hilary Hughes, Christine Bruce and Sylvia Edwards
Communicative competence in the information age: towards a critical pedagogy: Andrew Whitworth
Exploring the challenges of developing digital literacy in the context of special educational needs: Peter Williams and Andy Minnion
Does advocacy help to embed information literacy into the curriculum? A case study: Ruth Stubbings and Ginny Franklin
Facilitating information literacy teaching and learning in a Level 1 sport and exercise module by means of collaborative online and reflective learning: Greg Walton, Jamie Barker, Mark Hepworth and Derek Stephens
Go to Auslib Press for more details
Photo by Sheila Webber: Port Julia, near Adelaide, 2004.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

16th Symposium BOBCATSSS 2008

Thanks to Chris Armstrong for information on the 2008 BOBCATSSS symposium taking place in Zadar, Croatia, January 28-30 2008. There is a call for papers, closing 15 May, and themes include: Information professionals in the information society; Information literacy (a holistic approach) ; Information ethics; Information behavior of different users groups. BOBCATSSS symposia are organised by students and particularly welcome student contributions. More information at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Fish in Dubrovnik harbour, Croatia, May 2004.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

User Education in the 21st Century

The British Business Schools' Librarians Group annual conference this year is User Education in the 21st Century. Speakers include Ruth Stubbings, Chris Powis and Peter Godwin. It takes place 27 - 29 June 2007 at the Marriott Hotel, Northampton, UK. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Worcestershire Beacon, Malvern, March 2007.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Free information literacy event, Sheffield, 30 March

The Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, is holding a free half-day event on information literacy research, featuring speakers from The Department plus a visiting speaker: Dr Christine Bruce, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
When Friday 30th March 2007. Registration from 1.15, programme starts at 1.40 and ends at 4.15.
Where Regent Court, Portobello Street, University of Sheffield
What Programme consists of: Introduction ( Professor Sheila Corrall, University of Sheffield); Guest keynote: Information literacy: models from research (Dr Christine Bruce); Information Literacy research in the Department of Information Studies, and the UK research agenda ( Sheila Webber and Nigel Ford); Conceptions of information literacy of UK Chemistry and English academics (Sheila Webber, University of Sheffield, and Bill Johnston, University of Strathclyde); Mining of search activity data to support information literacy (Professor Nigel Ford and Dr Andrew Madden, University of Sheffield). There will be opportunities for questions and discussion.
How much Free, but please register
How to register: Email Ms Phussadee Dokphrom at
More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Spring/winter, Weston Park, Sheffield, March 2007.

Educational conferences

1) International online conference sponsored by the REAP Project: Assessment design for learner responsibility taking place 29-31 May 2007. Keynote speakers include Mantz Yorke and David Boud. You can submit "a short reflective case study of an implementation, design or institutional strategy for assessment or feedback" by 28 March and registration for this virtual conference is free. Go to for more info.
2) European LAMS Conference, 5th of July2007, University of Greenwich in London, UK. Call for papers is currently out, go to

Italics special issue

I think I missed the Italics special issue in December 2006 (Volume 5 Issue 4) which had articles for the eLIT conference. These include Peter Godwin's "Information literacy in the age of amateurs: How Google and Web 2.0 affect librarians’ support of Information Literacy"; Anne Dickinson's "Transition to the next generation of e-learning: using mind mapping and accessible web pages as part of a university’s academic staff training"; Hesham Azmi's "Teaching Information Literacy Skills: A case study of the QUcore program in Qatar University"; and Ruth Hunn and Darien Rossiter's "Design and development of an online information literacy tutorial: evaluation and lessons learnt (so far) ."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Owl fountain, Geneva, February 2007.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Training end users

Training end-users is an event from the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals. It is being held on 1 & 20 March 2007 in Birmingham, UK and 31 October & 15 November 2007 in London. More information from the CILIP website

Photo by Sheila Webber: St Anne's spring, Malvern, March 2007.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New article on our research

Photo by Sheila Webber: Lac Leman, Geneva, February 2007. Yay, published at last, an article accepted for publication 14 months ago:

Boon, S., Johnston, B. and Webber, S. (2007) "A phenomenographic study of English faculty's conceptions of information literacy." Journal of documentation, 63 (2), 204-228.

Please contact me if you do not have access to JDoc and would like a copy. Here's the structured abstract:
"Purpose – The purpose of this research is to identify UK English academics' conceptions of information literacy and compare those conceptions with current information literacy standards and frameworks.
"Design/methodology/approach: Three year AHRB-funded study involving 80 academics interviewed throughout the UK and using the phenomenographic research method to discover variation in experience leading towards identification of qualitatively different conceptions of information literacy. Conceptions are then reviewed in light of previous research and current librarian-generated frameworks and standards.
"Findings – The findings identify UK English academics' conceptions of information literacy and show them to be both similar to and significantly different from conceptions described in previous research and librarian-generated frameworks and standards.
"Research limitations/implications – The research focuses on creating a conceptual snapshot-in-time for the 20 English academics taking part. The research implies that disciplinary differences in conception of information literacy are significant and suggests further research to assess disciplinary conceptual differences.
"Practical implications – Librarians working with English faculty on information literacy need to be aware of differences in conception between themselves and academics to work effectively. The paper also highlights the significance of information literacy in English faculty's teaching and research practices and this relevance suggests that information literacy should be integrated into course and curriculum design.
"Originality/value – The paper fills a major gap in literature on information literacy by focussing on conceptions of lecturers, thereby counterbalancing the abundance of work produced by librarians. The paper illustrates the complexity of English academics' conceptions of information literacy and informs academics' use and understanding of information literacy. "

Photo by Sheila Webber: Lac Leman, Geneva, February 2007.


Jill/txt identified news about a politics module about the University of East Anglia where students are getting marks for editing and creating Wikipedia entries. I presume they must be downloading them and then working on them, since otherwise their work might have disappeared by the time it came to be marked. Interesting that this catches the headlines when the exercise itself is not that radical, but certainly it is a good exercise, as there are some very mediocre entries on Wikipedia (e.g.) in the information field, as well as on more sensitive topics.
BBC. (2007) "Students assessed with Wikipedia." BBC News, 6 March.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Information literacy research

My Information Literacy Research module is running for the second year. It is a small class, eight students (from the MA Librarianship and MSc Information Management programmes), but I think that is OK for a specialist area like this. Last week one of last year's students, Rachel Adams (pictured right), came back to talk about her dissertation research, which was on information literacy needs in a public-sector legal department.
This week we are focusing on focus groups. Phussadee Dokphrom, one of my PhD students, will talk about the pilot focus groups she conducted recently at Silpakorn University, Thailand. The participants in her study were undergraduates and she was investigating their experiences of information literacy. Then we will carry out a focus group in class and reflect on how it went.
I'll mention a couple of items about focus groups:
Krueger, R.A. (no date: 2000?) Focus group interviewing. University of Minnesota. (Krueger is author of a book on the topic)
Walden, G. (2006) “Focus group interviewing in the library literature: a selective annotated bibliography 1996-2005.” Reference services review, 34 ( 2), 222–241.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Five Weeks to a Social Library

The Five Weeks to a Social Library course is drawing to a close. This is "the first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries". There are webcasts and links concerned with blogs, RSS & Social Bookmarking, wikis, Social Networking, Flickr and MMOGs, and "Selling Social Software". The course itself was limited in numbers of delegates, but the content is there free for anyone to use. My only problem at the moment is that I haven't got time to explore it properly, as there is lots of interesting stuff. The website is:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Primroses near a path, Hellingly, Sussex, March 2007.

Information Online

The powerpoint presentations from the Australian Information Online 2007 conference (held January 30th to February 1st in Sydney, Australia) are available on their website:
which is here
Photo by Sheila Webber: Taronga zoo, Sydney, 2004.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cyberspace, D-world, E-learning

The 2007 IASL (International Association of School Libraries) Conference will be held at National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan, 16-20 July. The theme is Cyberspace, D-world, E-learning: Giving Libraries and Schools the Cutting Edge. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hellingly, Sussex, March 2007.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

IWR articles by me

Photo by Sheila Webber: Chrysanths & orchids, Photoshop Fresco effect, Feb 2007.
I recently did a vanity search on the Information world review site and rediscovered articles I had written some time ago, mostly in my "business information" phase. They are all short-ish. In case anyone's interested:
Webber, S. (2001) "Getting what you pay for? Information world review, (168), 16-17. (For what it's worth this is the missing "grid on the facing page" referred to in the article).
Webber, S. (1998) “Lies, damned lies and surveys.” Information world review, (142) 1998, 37.
Webber, S. (1997) “The myth of the one stop shop.” Information world review, (131), 26.
Webber, S. (1997) “Pushing users over the edge.” Information world review, (126), 18.
Webber, S. (1997) “Dominance of English fading?” Information world review, (122), 20.
Webber, S. (1996) “Gaping holes in the net.” Information world review, (119), 20.

Information world review is the information industry magazine for the UK and the home page is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Chrysanths & orchids, Photoshop Fresco effect, Feb 2007.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Indian IL articles

Das, A.K. and Lal, B. (2006) Information literacy and public libraries in India. it is available here.
Ghosh, S.B. and Das, A.K. (2006) "Information literacy initiatives in India with special reference to emerging knowledge economy. " In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL 2006), June 14-15, 2006; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Rokib, M.A. [2005?] Information Literacy: A challenge for Bangladesh. Information Society Today.
Shuva, N.Z. [2005?] Information Literacy: Bangladesh perspective. Information Society Today
Photo by Sheila Webber: Geneva, dusk, February 2007.