Thursday, August 30, 2007

Company blog evaluation

Via Jill Walker Rettberg at I came across a blog which evaluates corporate blogs: from a marketing perspective, but there is a good deal of overlap with the way you would evaluate it as a business source. One of the assignments that Bill Johnston and I used to use at Strathclyde was to evaluate a company website from multiple perspectives: (if I remember correctly) a marketing perspective, from the perspective of a job-seeker, and a usability perspective: each brings out some fresh aspects and it is interesting to compare them. Anyway, Jill's reference is to Mack Collier's Company blog check feature: there is a collection to previous entries here and at time of writing the latest one was here: You could ask students to do their own evaluation of the blogs from an information or marketing perspective, and get them to compare with Collier's views.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Google blogs

A reminder about about Google's main blog at, which also links to the loads of more specialist blogs they do, including the Librarian central blog aimed at librarians at and the Google news blog (about the Google news search)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Beetles on a sort of cow parsley, Hailsham, July 2007.

LILAC 2008

LILAC 2008 (The Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference) willtake place at Liverpool John Moores University, 17th - 19th March 2008.Further details will follow shortly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Students use of web in Aboriginal studies

The latest issue of Webology has an emphasis on folksonomies and something on Web 2.0. There is also an article:
Aitken, W. (2007). "Use of Web in Tertiary Research and Education." Webology, 4 (2).
This is interesting in actually putting the case for use of the web by students. It describes the example of undergraduates in Aboriginal Studies (in Australia), who were originally discouraged from using the web, but this author explains the advantages. One of the things she raises is how discovering and reflecting on what search terms do, and don't, work can be valuable (e.g. that government agencies talk about air quality rather than air pollution). She also talks about how the usage of words such as "aboriginal" and "indigenous" in websites is interesting to study in itself, with social/political implications.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Passageway, Witham Road, Sheffield, Aug 2007.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Analysis of bibliographies of business students

Thanks to Michael Lorenzen for alerting me to a free article:
Hurst, S. and Leonard, J. (2007) "Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Effect of Library Instruction on the Quality of Students’ Term Papers." Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, 8 (1) .

This was a study of a business class in a US university. There were 2 groups of students, one group did receive training in how to use library resources and one didn't. They were producing an analytical report on a company, and library resources included a market research and financial databases. The group that had received training cited more library resources and the group that didn't had more students who just cited web sites. However, the average grade for the two groups was almost identical (identically high in fact, but I think that is more normal in the US?)
Obviously, there's the issue of what the students DO with the information, not just what they find... "... the papers were graded on multiple criteria and not explicitly according to the number or types of resources cited. The assignment itself also did not necessitate the use of scholarly sources as much as it required students to analyze a company and discuss its actions. The papers were graded based primarily on this analysis and how well the students explained and defended their recommendations. Thus, although good research should lead to improved analysis, the research itself was not specifically graded as a component of the paper. Therefore there was not as much benefit to those citing or using library resources as might have occurred with a different type of assignment."
I would have liked to have seen a fuller explanation of the assignment and the learning outcomes for the class at the start of this paper. I have set similar assignments to the one mentioned, and I also would put a high value on the students' ability to demonstrate their ability to analyse and synthesise the information, and present their argument and conclusions persuasively. Not surprisingly, I do, though, specify that students must use particular sources and that they will lose marks if they don't.
I'd be interested to know what the "internet" sources were too - that could mean students using excellent free directory & trade sites, and official trade and statistics sites, or students relying on the company's own websites and a few media sites. If the "untrained" group had a good number of students just using the latter I'm a bit surprised they didn't get worse marks, since a good analysis has to be based on credible evidence (even if you aren't marking the actual bibliography).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Berries, Hailsham, July 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Academic integrity

The 3rd Asia-Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity will be held at the University of South Australia in December 2007, and the conference organisers are inviting nominations for the awards of Best Original Academic Integrity Resource and also Best Annotated Bibliography of Online Academic Integrity Resources. The successful candidates will be given a grant to cover registration forthe conference. Further details and nomination forms can be found at
The conference website can also be found at

Photo by Sheila Webber: view from Peveril Castle, August 2007

For German-speaking archivists

A bit off-topic, but couldn't resist this. A video featuring 2 lecturers from Potsdam (Germany) talking about why archivists are important and exciting. I thought it was rather cool and liked the way they weren't defensive about it.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Damsons: the stewed ones are as picked in the wood shown a few days ago.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Librarians cited in Australian teaching awards

Picked up from the ALIA list: The Carrick Institute Citations for Outstanding contributions to Student Learning included librarians who have demonstrated excellence in information literacy in Australian universities.
Murdoch University: Merrilee Albatis, Pam Mathews, Margaret Solosy, Soun Wong: For the development and delivery of a flexible program to enhance student information literacy, embedded within the first year degree structure
Queensland University of Technology: Judith Peacock: For developing and leading systemic and sustainable models of intentional information literacy learning which empowers students as independent, discerning and masterful users of information
The University of Sydney: Jacqueline Hicks: For specialised expertise in supporting the diverse learning and information literacy needs of students across a range of subject areas and candidature levels

I see there was also a team in Information Studies at Curtin University who were mentioned. Congratulations to all and there is info on the Carrick Institute website:
Phot by Sheila Webber: Shop in Paddington, Sydney, Australia, July 2004.

Netskills courses

Netskills workshops are at various places in the UK and Ireland in October 2007. e.g.
University College Dublin: e-Learning Design & Development
Henley Management College: e-Learning Essentials
University of Manchester: Detecting and Deterring Plagiarism: Information Skills: Is Google Enough?
Newcastle University : Certificate in Training Design and Delivery
Photo by Sheila Webber: Near Speedwell cavern, Peak District, August 2007.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Information Literacy/Second Life

We have had two discussion sessions in the Centre for Information Literacy Research's home in Second Life, the virtual world. The first was explaining the Information Literacy Research map (there is a writeup including a link to the poster here). The second was on "search" in Second Life. The 3rd is on 4th September 2007 at 4-pm UK time (08.00 SL time) and Lyn Parker will be leading a discussion on librarian image in SL.

There is an account of the second, "search", session on my SL blog, including a link to the full transcript of the session, and some web links. The blog entry for the 2nd session is here (n.b. my SL blog is in a slightly Bridget-Jonesy sort of style, though I tone it down a bit for the more serious entries like this). As a result of the session I'm starting a wiki (i.e. on search in SL), which I will be "encouraging" my students to contribute to, if nothing else. I'll announce the web address when it has some content in it.

There is a big Second Life conference; SLCC about to start in Chicago, USA, and the proceedings of the educational track have already been published free at It is useful reading for anyone considering teaching in SL. It includes one case study from a librarian Library Services on the Teen Grid [that's the teenagers' version of SL] by Kelly Czarnecki (Technology Education Librarian, ImaginOn, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County) and a one-pager about activities on Info Island. The conference is also being streamed onto the web and inworld. The first photo shows me at the inworld poster session: I will be asking students to undertake enquiry into information in SL, so this poster on research in SL was interesting.
James Dearnley from Loughborough is moderating a session in Chicago, however I am getting to another SL meeting ... in London on the 20th Sept which will focus on the JISC/Eduserv-funded SL projects. I haven't got a JISC project but I have won the money for a SL island to use next academic year. The 2nd photo shows me at the poster display on Eduserv Island advertising this seminar

I will continue to use the Sheila Yoshikawa (that's me) blog for most SL material and provide summaries here now and then. [Added 24 Aug] The Report on the First Year of Operation
of the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 Project also known as the Alliance Information Archipelago
has just been published at:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Google article

In the latest First monday, an article reporting on a research study carried out at Saint Mary’s College of California into student use of information resources:
Head, A. (2007) "Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research?First Monday, 12 (8).

"Using student discussion groups, content analysis, and a student survey, our results suggest students may not be as reliant on public Internet sites as previous research has reported. Instead, students in our study used a hybrid approach for conducting course–related research. A majority of students leveraged both online and offline sources to overcome challenges with finding, selecting, and evaluating resources and gauging professors’ expectations for quality research."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sloes, Hailsham, Sussex, August 2007.

Subject-specific IL classes

There is a list (with links to class outlines in many cases) of subject-specific information literacy classes at North American universities, posted last week on Lauren's Library blog:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Possibly cuckoo pint?? Hailsham, August 2007.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LOEX 2008

The 2008 LOEX (US information literacy) conference is on May 1-3, 2008 Doubletree Chicago-Oakbrook Hotel, Oak Brook, Illinois. The theme is Librarian as architect - more info at
This conference usually sells out within minutes of opening for bookings, so keep an eye on when registration starts (that date hasn't yet been announced).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackberries in the hedgerow, Cuckoo walk, Hailsham, August 2007.

Monday, August 20, 2007

USE 2008

USE-2008. From Information Provision to Knowledge Production will be held 23-25 June, 2008 at the University of Oulu, Finland. this conference addresses "issues related to theoretical conceptions and empirical applications of research on information use in knowledge production processes at different levels of activity in society." There is a call for papers on topics including: theoretical and empirical issues of information use; methodologies in knowledge behaviour, practices and use, including aspects of information literacy. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2007. More information at

Phot bySheila Webber: Cuckoo walk, Hailsham, August 2007. The purple blobs on the ground are fallen damsons, I think.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

US higher education survey results

Interesting article online in the latest College and Research Libraries news - results from a US national student survey:
Gratch-Lindauer, B. (2007) "Information literacy-related student behaviors: Results from the NSSE items." College and Research Libraries news, 68 (7).
"In the November 2005 C&RL News, the Institute for Information Literacy’s College Students Surveys Project Group1 reported their activities and progress in developing information literacy-related items to be included on the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) as experimental items. Ten items were included and administered to 12,044 students at 33 institutions on the 2006 NSSE." Unfortunately actual tables are not in the onlinbe version, though you can email the author to request them. Still, the narrative explains that there were some positive correlations between high scores in some of the library/info literacy items and the student satisfaction/acievemnt items. "The findings are very encouraging and overall support modest to high significant positive relationships between the two information literacy scales and eight scales derived from NSSE items, particularly among seniors with gains in practical competence and general education."

Photo by Sheila Webber: Speckled wood butterfly, Hailsham, July 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Information literacy/ youtube

Since I last looked, there are a lot more videos about information literacy on Youtube, of various interest and quality. This one on Art History publications (done by an art history lecturer) is quite good in explaining in detail the difference between different kinds of publications: scholarly, professional etc.

Photo by Sheila Webber: the orchid on my windowsill is now in full bloom, August 2007.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New articles

In June2007, a number of new articles were published in Library philosophy and practice: http://www.webpages.uidaho.

John J. Doherty: No Shhing: Giving Voice to the Silenced: An Essay in Support of Critical Information Literacy.
Amrita Madray: Developing Students' Awareness of Plagiarism: Crisis and Opportunities
Shilpa Shanbhag: Door-in-the-face: Understandings of Scholarship for Academic Instruction Librarians
S. Ovadia: and Socially-Driven Authority. "For librarians, the challenge is not so much helping patrons to find materials, because products like Digg and Google making finding materials relatively straightforward, but teaching patrons to evaluate what they are finding and how they were found"...
Mariana Regalado: Research Authority in the Age of Google: Equilibrium Sought
Genevieve Williams: Unclear on the Context: Refocusing on Information Literacy's Evaluative Component in the Age of Google
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rose, Sheffield, August 2007.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

German book on "teaching library"

From Thomas Hapke's blog (link on the right) I see that there has been a new book published about the "teaching library", in German, namely:
Krauß-Leichert, U. (Ed.) Teaching Library: eine Kernaufgabe für Bibliotheken. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2007. I'll translate the title as Teaching Library: a key responsibility for libraries.
The book contains chapters on: introducing the concept; identifying current developments; looking at the library's role in an e-learning context (this chapter is by Thomas himself); standards and models of information literacy; planning for teaching and incorprating library instruction in the curriculum; learning to teach; IL at the university of Konstanz; thoughts about pedagogy. (NB as I said, this is German-language: If you want to order it I recommend
Photo by Sheila Webber: Spanish sandals in the sun in Sheffield, Aug 2007.

LASSIE literature review

ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences) has published on its website,
Secker, J. (2007) LASSIE: Libraries and Social Software in Education: Social Software, Libraries and distance learners: literature review: Draft version for comment. London: London School of Economics and Political Science.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Flowers (alstromeria) in my vase, today.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

IL discussions in SL

Three events are planned so far for the Information Literacy Group in Second Life, the virtual world. All will be held in the Centre for Information Literacy Research Office (coordinates: Eduserv Island 200 240 43 – the SLURL is They will be informal discussions, with virtual refreshments available ;-) In each case there is a discussion leader to get things started. Mon 13 Aug: 04.00-05.00 Second Life time (12-13.00 UK time) “The information literacy research map”
Mon 20 Aug: 13.00-14.00 SL time (21-22.00 UK time) “Search within Second Life: challenge or disaster?” (both these first 2 led by me)
Tues 4 Sept: 08.00-09.00 SL time (16-17.00 UK time) “How should librarians present themselves in SL, Facebook etc., with a professional or personal face?" (led by Lyn Parker, Sheffield University Library)

Friday, August 10, 2007

INTUTE tutorials

Intute has just released 8 Internet tutorials for the Arts and Humanities: Internet for Architecture ; Internet for Art and Design; Internet for Media and Communication; Internet for English; Internet for Fashion and Beauty; Internet for History and Philosophy of Science (HPS); Internet for Learning Languages; Internet for Music. This is part of a major programme of change to update and revise all the tutorials in the Virtual Training Suite in time for the new UK academic year (which starts at the end of September). For all the tutorials go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dress and hair pin (using "cutout" effect in photoshop) July 2007.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

LOEX materials

There are some presentations and handouts available from the LOEX (US information literacy) 2007 conference, held in May. Presentations with both ppt and handout available include From Guest Lecturer to Assignment Consultant: Exploring New Roles for the Teaching Librarian and Keeping Up With the YouTube Generation: Collaborating with Student Video Bloggers to Enhance Library Instruction.
One of the links from this page is to a wiki on Media literacy
Photo by Sheila Webber: Band before concert in the Retiro Park, Madrid, July 2007.

WILU 2008

The 2008 WILU (Canadian information literacy) conference will take place in Kelowna, British Columbia, May 14-16, 2008. There is a website at though at the moment it only has a contact email.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Rowan berries, Sheffield, August 2007.

Teaching portfolios

Registration opens on October 1st for the ACRL Online Seminar Teaching portfolios for Librarians, being held October 29-November 16, 2007. The course is delivered through WebCT.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Recent articles

.. that caught my eye recently

Vol. 12 issue 4 of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (free online) includes various articles on use of social networks including students' use of facebook; also articles on blogging, including on on the differences between male and female British bloggers

Bennett, S. (2007) "Campus Cultures Fostering Information Literacy." portal: Libraries and the Academy, 7 (2), 147-167. (available to subscribers only). "The 2004 and 2005–06 workshops sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and the National Institute for Technology & Liberal Education have generated much data that can be used to describe aspects of the campus cultures at some 130 institutions that foster information literacy. These data are particularly informative regarding collaboration among faculty and academic support staff, curricular reform, the role of chief academic officers, library space design, and the deployment of campus networks and electronic information resources."

Yuen, T.J. and Majid, M.S. "Knowledge sharing patterns of undergraduate students in Singapore." Library review, 56 (6), 485-494. (available to subscribers only). I think this is interesting as students do share information with each other and I think we could help them to do this in a more effective and information literate way - which would also include open discussion about what the boundaries are between knowledge sharing and cheating. I think this latter issue can be genuinely confusing for students.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Honeysuckle, Sheffield, August 2007.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Trails wiki

The TRAILS project was mentioned in an earlier post. There is also a wiki where people can find and add lesson plans for information literacy. This is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rose in early morning, Sheffield, July 2007.

Friday, August 03, 2007

CILR launched

Just a quick post to say that the Centre for Information Literacy Research was launched successfully today in Second Life, the virtual world. Eduserv have kindly given us office space. I will link the press release to this entry later and here is the link to the Centre's website again: and the SL office at (coordinates Eduserv Island 200, 240, 43).

I was please to be joined by 5 colleagues from Sheffield University including Professor Nigel Ford (Nigl Forder in SL), who is Deputy Director of the Centre, and Lyn Parker from the Library.

There were also two representatives from Eduserv, with Andy Powell (Art Fossett) providing a welcoming speech. You can read some of his words on his blog. Additionally there were four people from other institutions, and there were some interesting conversations (as well as a of the usual few SL mishaps: I have written more on my SL blog).

CILR launch today

This week we launched the Centre for Information Literacy Research (CILR), here at the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, UK. We hope it will be a focal point both for developing our own research agenda and working with others. We already have strategic alliances with researchers at Robert Gordon University, Strathclyde University, Queensland University of Technology and CILASS. The website is at

CILR does not have a separate physical office at present, however from 1.30pm today (3rd August) UK time it will have an office in Second Life (the virtual world), courtesy of Eduserv. I have been busy fitting it up with basic furniture, virtual refreshments and so forth, and if you visit at the launch or afterwards you will see we already have a freebie namely a virtual teddy bear. The address in Second Life is Eduserv Island 200, 240, 43, . If you have a SL avatar and can go inworld at 1.30pm UK time (that's 05.30 SL time) then do please join us. I will say more after the launch.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

International Lifelong Learning Conference

The 5th International Lifelong Learning Conference will be held 16-19 June 2008 at Rydges Resort, Yeppoon, Queensland. The theme is Lifelong Learning: Reflecting on Successes and Framing Futures. Potential authors, presenters and workshop conveners are invited to submit abstracts (maximum of 300 words) addressing the Conference theme. The closing date for the submission of abstracts is 7 September 2007.Abstracts for refereed papers, presentations, workshops and symposia sessions will be assessed by the Program Committee and authors will benotified of the result by the end of September 2007. The Conference offers a variety of options: Submission and presentation of a refereed paper; Presentation of a non-refereed paper; Presentation of a workshop; Presentation of a symposium session.

For more information on the Call for Abstracts visit the 2008 Lifelong Learning Conference website at: