Friday, November 30, 2007

IL as change agent

I have just been attending a very interesting day looking at the University of Abertay's information literacy programme, together with other internal and external appraisers. Yesterday I was at Strathclyde University talking about inquiry based learning, the Centre for Inquiry based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS), and Second Life. I'll post my presentation when I get back to Sheffield and have proper access. For the moment (from an internet place in Edinburgh Airport) here is a link to a presentation that Chris Milne (of Abertay) gave at a Scottish Library and Information Council conference last week. This was highlighted by Christine Irving, so thanks to her. This is: Information Literacy as a change agent at

Edublog award nominees

The Edublog award nominees have been announced. There are various categories for educator blogs, plus a best library/librarian blog category. The information and links are at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

KWIL presentations

The presentations from the Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy are available in pdf form (scroll down the page for the link), and there are some photos. Go to
For German speakers, Thomas Hapke also blogged about it, including about his own paper,

Photo by Sheila Webber: a happy moment after hot chocolate in St Gallen on the Friday afternoon (not a part of the formal programme), Thomas is pictured on the right.

Informs/ Intute

The Final Report of the project to integrate Informs (the tutorial software/service)into Intute is now available on the Informs website at:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blogs and social networks

Yesterday there was a meeting on Exploting the potential of blogs and social networks, held in Birmingham, UK. Part of it was (sort of) streamed into Second Life (where I attended part of the time) - however the venue had technical issues, so this aspect petered out a bit despite the valiant efforts of Andy Powell (pictured in the foreground right in the guise of Art Fossett). As it usually seems at these events, the most interesting bit was possibly when the stream was failing altogether and the assesmbled avatars were discussing the issues amongst themselves.

However, I will pick out a presentation from a student at Bath University (Tom Milburn) which highlights pros and cons of academics using social networking tools like Facebook (basically when they have a clear purpose, the tools seen as useful). All the Powerpoints from the day are together in one giant ppt on Slideshare at
. His starts at slide 77.

Because of the technical problems, and also the fact that I had teaching, I was dipping in and out, but a snippet I caught from another presentation was that a survey at Oxford Uni had shown that the vast majority of students used Facebook. When asked why they spurned MySpace, they apparently replied that MySpace was full of chavs. This seems to fit in with danah boyd's analysis of social networking tools, where she found that preferences were linked to ethnicity/ social group.

Another general observation is that people in charge of the IT side are realising that they have to engage with these "unmanaged" tools rather than just trying to stop people use them (though on this subject, the good blog/bad blog presentation which starts at slide 23 looked rather irritating, but to be fair that was one presentation that I didn't hear).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Web 2.0 matters

The Beyond the Hype: Web 2.0 Symposium is being held in Brisbane, Australia, 1-2 February 2008. There is a call for abstracts, deadline 30 November 2007. "The symposium offers a forum for exploration of the role and future of web 2.0 technology within the ever-changing library industry ... The symposium is called Beyond the Hype because it will not only explore the potentials of web 2.0 technologies to the library profession, but also consider the realities and limitations." For more info go to

On a related theme Gerry McKiernan has created a survey on SurveyMonkey "to identify the use of Web/2.0 technologies for work-related purposes by librarians. In addition, the survey seeks to identify individual and collective attitudes and views about the significance and value of Web/2.0-based research and scholarship."

and there is a Scholarship 2.0 blog at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Poinsettia, Adelaide, Australia, 2004.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Faculty E-book Survey

ebrary commissioned a survey of 906 academics, the 2007 Global Faculty E-book Survey. The goal was to help understand academics' experience with electronic and printed resources. (from the press release:) "Key survey findings include the following:
• "Approximately 50 percent of respondents indicated they prefer using online resources for research, class preparation, and instruction versus 18 percent who prefer print resources.
• "Eighty-five percent of respondents viewed information literacy as very necessary, compared to 15 percent who stated it is somewhat necessary and less than 1 percent who find it unnecessary.
• "Almost an equal number of faculty members require students to use electronic resources as print for course assignments.
• "Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated that Google and other search engines are powerful tools for finding information. Twenty-nine percent indicated Google and other search engines are more useful tools than the print resources provided by the library, compared to 11 percent who indicated they are more useful than library-provided electronic resources."
If you want to receive a copy of the full report you have to register at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Fountain, Madrid, 2007.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My talk at Konstanz

At the Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy on 9th November I gave a presentation on Information Literacy for Masters students. There were two parts to the presentation. In the first part I talked about an activity that I and my colleague Nigel Ford undertake with taught postgraduate (Masters) students taking our Information Management and Librarianship programmes (about 60 students). It is a formative activity, but involves peer evaluation. The task is to produce a brief written guide and a Squidoo lens or blog, relating to a specified database. The aims are to develop skills in the databases concerned (learning by teaching) and to develop skills in planning and writing material to support information literacy. It is part of a class "Information Resources and Information Literacy" that normally has a 2 hour lecture + a one hour lab each week.

In the first week of the cycle, the students are briefed, and they choose partners for the exercise (signing up using our VLE). They start working on the task by getting to know their database (e.g. Google Scholar or Web of Knowledge) better. In the second week, in the lab session, I and Nigel go over some material (some of which has been posted in advance) relating to production of documentation and to cognitive styles in learning. We answer questions and see how the pairs are working together. The next week there is no scheduled lab as the students should be working on the task, and the lecture session has presentations from practitioners working with information literacy. By the end of this week, students are to post their completed guides to discussion boards on our VLE. In the final lab session they swap guides with another group, and use a framework to evaluate each other's guides and provide feedback. We have a very short wrap up at the end. There is a slide in my presentation where I have a sort of flow diagram representing this process.

In the second part of my session I gave a very short overview of Second Life (SL) and what I'm doing there , including a demonstration. The questions from the audience were all about SL ;-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Case studies

I don''t think I've mentioned the case studies that were commissioned by the CILIP Information Literacy Group and put on the website a few months ago. They are:
Delivering an On-line Information Literacy Programme to Staff at Bradford Public Libraries: POP-i - a Case Study (Rónán O'Beirne, now Assistant Director, Bradford College)
Information Literacy at Newcastle University – a case study (Moira Bent)
Building Foundations: A model of Information Literacy (IL) skills development in a Secondary School (Anne-Marie Tarter, Carol Brook, Alan Chamberlain, Ripon Grammar School)
They can be found here (if this link doesn't work - as i think it is CMS- generated - go to
and follow the link from there.

The sign in the picture means "fishing forbidden" - I don't think the cormorants are obeying!

Blog usability

I was alerted (by the producer) to The Ultimate Guide to Blog Usability: 36 Tips and Resources at
- it may not be the ultimate guide ever (given the way things change ;-) but it looks a very handy page of guidance and tips.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Discussion of Konstanz conference in Second Life

On November 15 I led a discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, reporting back my impressions of the conference in Konstanz. This discussion took place in the Centre for Information Literacy Research on Infolit iSchool island and was focused around issues to do with information literacy education for postgraduates and researchers.

There were a number of people there, including one of the librarians from Switzerland who had also attended the conference. The transcript of the session is at

Monday, November 19, 2007

IFLA Section call for papers

There is a call for papers from the Information Literacy and Academic and Research Libraries Sections of IFLA, for a session to be held at the 2008 IFLA conference being held 10-14 August 2008, in Québec, Canada. The theme is: Return on Investment: Learners' Outcomes in Information Literacy. Do they really learn?. "In this call for papers, we are interested in a wide range of techniques that provide objective measures for assessing students' information competencies. We are looking for speakers who can relate experiences from a practitioner's perspective, as well as presentations of research on assessment of IL programs. The focus can be on diagnoses concerning incoming students, evaluating students' progress towards achieving IL skills or exit assessments."
Submit an abstract of 200-400 words and a one-page biography for each author, including a selected list of previous presentations and publications, by 30 January 2008 to: Agnes Colnot, Service commun de documentation - CS 64302, Université Rennes 2 - Haute Bretagne, F-35043 RENNES Cedex. Please note that all fees, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation, etc., are the responsibility of the authors of accepted papers. There should be full information shortly at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Fountain, Konstanz, Germany.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Information strategies for researchers

The SCONUL (the UK's Society of College, National and University Libraries) Working Group on Information Literacy in collaboration with CONUL (Ireland's Consortium of National and Univerity Libraries) is running a one day seminar, 31 January 2008, on Information strategies for researchers: where are we making a difference? at Dublin City University, Ireland. Speakers include me, giving my perspective as a researcher. The event is free, but limited to 80 participants from CONUL or SCONUL institutions.
Visits have also been arranged to the Long Room at Trinity College and the Chester Beatty Library on the morning of Friday 1st February. Further details and a booking form can be found at

By the way, the CONUL Information Literacy group page is at and it includes links to powerpoints from an information literacy seminar.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn leaves, edge of Lake Constance, Germany, November 2007.

More notes from the Konstanz conference

This is another post about the Konstanz (Germany) Workshop on Information Literacy (KWIL), which ran 8-9 November. KWIL was focusing in particular on information literacy for higher degree students (Masters or Doctoral) and the website is at

KWIL was attended mostly by German and Swiss librarians, with some participants from elsewhere (notably UK and USA, and a librarian from Ghana who was a former student of mine). It was held in English, though.

I will pick out a few of the sessions:
Konstanz University. The hosts for the conference gave a talk about their project to examine higher degree students’ information literacy needs. There is a lot of information about this, and their first project on undergraduate IL needs, at
However, most of it is in German. Some interesting points are that:
- They used small multidisciplinary centre for research excellence (Konstanz University’s Zentrum für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs ) as an access point and test bed. They held a discussion to identify needs. They now see all new members of the Centre as part of the induction and also plan workshops on topics such as open access, searching and personal information management.
- They cooperated with the Politics academics to introduce a compulsory module in a politics masters course in 2006/7.
There is a lot of information given about this (including some course materials) on the above page (in German) and a good summary in the paper (also linked there):
Oliver Kohl-Frey (2007): Mittendrin statt nur dabei: Informationskompetenz und Fachreferat an der Universität Konstanz. [In the thick of it rather than standing on the sidelines: Information Literacy and subject support at the University of Konstanz] Beitrag zum Tagungsband des 3. Kongresses für Bibliothek und Information in Leipzig, 19.-22. März 2007

Imperial College. Debbi Boden gave a presentation about PILOT (POSTDOC INFORMATION LITERACY ONLINE TUTORIAL), a learning & teaching resource developed by Imperial College Library within the Virtual Learning Environment WebCT. It is aimed specifically at research students (and research staff).
- it has a section on the publishing process, including issues to do with copyright, open access etc. This seems to be the areas that is definitely given more prominence when people develop a strategy for people beyond the undergraduate level. It was mentioned by Konstanz, as noted, and also by the speaker from Manchester Metropolitan University.
- It includes some short tutorials with a “get your pilot’s licence” theme, using Flash and funky music. If someone fails the tutorial, the topic gets added automatically to their development plan in WebCT.
- They commissioned a film with student actors “Life on campus” which stresses the benefits of NOT plagiarising (rather than just the penalties for plagiarising) which is used as part of their plagiarism prevention work.
- They produced high quality free promotional items and got the university’s head person in learning & teaching to launch PILOT, making sure it had a high profile.

Mary Harrison. She is specifically appointed to support researcher’s needs at Manchester Metropolitan University Library. One thing she mentioned was a module in the MA Academic Practice (which new academics may take) which is just going to be introduced. It will cover searching, Web 2.0, Open access and managing research information.

Hannah Gascho Rempel described a 90 minute session supporting students’ literature review assignments. The interesting thing was that it was concentrating on understanding the what, why and how of literature reviews; and peers (students) who had already used tools like EndNote were given prominence in explaining the tools’ value

Nicole Krüger (German National Library of Economics) talked about an enquiry service they provide in the economics field. An interesting aspect was that, where possible, as well as giving an answer or just an explanation of how to find the answer, they would also refer people to the relevant section of LOTSE (a German language online information literacy tutorial developed by several German libraries). Thus they seemed to be seeking the “teaching moment”.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Social networking

The latest issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (vol 13 issue 1) is published, available full text online. It includes a special theme of Social Network sites, with danah boyd and Nicole Ellison as guest editors. I particularly noticed
1) The introductory article by the guest editors, Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship, which is obviously a useful overview "This introduction describes features of social network sites (SNSs), proposes a comprehensive definition, presents a history of their development, reviews existing SNS scholarship, and introduces the articles in this special theme section."
2) Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites, by Eszter Hargittai. This reveals that surveys that lump together use of all social networking sites are masking differences (e.g. by ethnicity) in who is using which service. "Are there systematic differences between people who use social network sites and those who stay away? Based on data from a survey administered to young adults, this article identifies demographic predictors of SNS usage, with particular focus on Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, and Friendster."
The issue is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Coots in the harbour (I've never seen so many in one place), Konstanz, Germany, November 2007.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Train the Trainers programme

There is information on the UNESCO website about the Train the Trainers (information literacy) programme which they are sponsoring. This was discussed at the meeting I attended in Madrid couple of weeks ago. UNESCO will pay for expenses of participants (though not speakers) and other direct costs for a meeting in different regions of the world. Specific groups (e.g. small businesses, younf women leaders) will be targetted.
The infiormation is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: kittens inthe Retiro, Madrid, October 2007.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Information Literacy as quality enhancement

Since the focus in UK universities is enhancement of learning and teaching quality (i.e. that is the focus of the Quality Assurance Agency for higher education), I was particularly interested in the posting I just caught up with on the Allek Library blog. Indrani Fisher reports on a meeting she attended as part of the (US) Council of Research and Academic Libraries (CORAL). "One of the member libraries of this consortium is Trinity University, which has made the news lately as they have chosen Information Literacy as their Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) project for their 10 year accreditation renewal. ... Michelle Millet is the Information Literacy coordinator at Trinity University, and she did a presentation on Trinity's (and her) experience during this process." The blog posting is at

I folowed this up by Googling to find pages on the Trinity University site itself, with information about QEP and their initiative
. I only skimmed the documents very quickly, but it looks like excellent stuff (e.g. "Creating the "whole" information literate student will lead to more engaged, more responsible, more creative, and more successful lives beyond Trinity. " ;-) There is a 5 year timetable as part of their key document, which, like the whole initiative, goes under the title Expanding Horizons: Using Information in the Twenty-First Century.

Photo by Sheila Webber: View from the hotel, Konstanz, Germany, November 2007.

Survey of school principals etc.

"62% of [school] Principals and Media Specialists See Danger on the Internet Increasing with Pornography Rated Just Ahead of Predators" is the alarming subtitle advertising a study commissioned by Thinkronize and carried out by Interactive Educational Systems Design in September 2007. Thinkronize have a search engine/filtering product they are aiming at schools, it should be noted. Nevertheless, it seems a reasonable piece of research and the full report is available online. "96% [of the respondents, numbering over 900 people] have varying degrees of concerns that students have the necessary information literacy skills to critically evaluate online content. 88% "strongly/somewhat" agree that teachers need additional professional development to help students with online information literacy skills."
Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc (2007) Schools and Generation ’Net: Online Survey of Principals and Library Media Specialists About the Internet in Education. New York: Thinkronize.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Door of the Stiftungsbibliothek, St Gallen, Switzerland, Novermber 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Digital divide

Belatedly I noticed in the September Elucidate newsletter that there is a report:
Fresh Minds. (2007) Understanding digital inclusion. UK Online Centres.
This draws together existing research and presents an interesting picture of the digital divide in the UK. "We should be concerned not only with the width of the digital divide (the numbers of people affected) but with its depth (the degree of their exclusion). Those left behind now are excluded from services most of the digitally included consider essential to their lives."

Photographic mistake that I thought was rather attractive, October 2007.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Konstanz meeting

I have missed a few days of blogging as I have been atttending the Konstanz Workshop on Information Literacy, (KWIL) 8-9 November, which was focusing in particular on information literacy of students above the undergraduate level. It was held at the University of Konstanz, in the attractive setting on the shore of the Bodensee and on the border with Switzerland. The delegates were mostly from Germany and Switzerland, but with some participants from other countries including the USA and UK.
Unfortunately because I had to attend a meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Sheffield I missed the Thursday morning sessions, which was a great shame as they were good by all accounts! They included a talk from Susie Andretta, and so I will take the opportunity to mention her website, where she has already put her KWIL paper Everyone can be an 'advanced' learner with information literacy , both the PowerPoint and the text version. You can reach this from the IL Research page, which includes other information on her research. Her site also has lots of information relating to her Applied Information Research and Facilitating Information Literacy Education (FILE) modules and other information literacy resources.
Photo by Sheila Webber: War memorial Sheffield, October 2007.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Supporting researchers in academic libraries

This is a half-day event organised by the University, College and Research Group (UCRG) Northern Section of CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It takes place 3 December, pm at Durham University, Durham, UK.
It addresses issues such as: What are researchers' library and information needs, and how are these being explored? What is the nature of the skills agenda for researchers, and where does information literacy fit in? How can we best support researchers in academic libraries?
Cost: £30.00 for UCRG members, £40.00 for non-members (including refreshments and VAT). There are 10 free places for students or unemployed people. For further information and to book a place, please contact Nicola Siminson by 28 November.
Photo by Sheila Webber, October 2007.

Information Literacy Forum birthday

The ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) Information Literacy Forum is celebrating its sixth birthday with an event on Monday, 26 November 2007 at 5:00pm for a 5.30pm start. Venue is the Conference Room, Level 1, Library Duhig Building (Building 2), Campbell Road, The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Australia. A map of the campus is available at Light refreshments will be provided.
Tell Helen Patridge by Friday 23 November if you are going to attend (
Photo by Sheila Webber: University of Sheffield, October 2007.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Library calendar

The new Renaissance Library calendar has been advertised, as usual featuring photos of 12 old libraries. I'm mentioning it as readers of this blog may well also like looking at pictures of nice libraries and I always buy a copy. You can find details at

Also on a library note, the Australian library association, ALIA, is running a blog about the (real!) Australian TV darama The librarians at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Clifton Library, Bristol.

Monday, November 05, 2007

LIDA call for papers

The LIDA (Libraries in the Digital Age) conference is being held as usual in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia, 2-7 June 2008, and a call for papers is currently open. For more information go to:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Mljet, Croatia, May 2004.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Information ethics

Volume 7 of the International Review of Information Ethics ( ) publishes the proceedings of the first African Information Ethics Conference ( that was held in February, 5-7, 2007 in Pretoria, South Africa. This looks a very interesting range of papers, written from different perspectives.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2007.

Is Library 2.0 a trivial pursuit?

This is the title of a one day event being held in London on November 21st. It is free to people whose institutions are members of JIBS (i.e. most UK higher education institutions) and £50 to others. An interesting range of speakers, on Facebook, Second Life, novel ways with the catalogue etc. plus a debate. More info at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield Uni, Autumn colour, October 2007.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Creating an impact: enhancing teaching to large groups

Creating an impact: enhancing teaching to large groups is a professional development seminar for law librarians, being held on 16 November in the Hilton Hotel, York, UK. For more info, go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn shadows, Sheffield, October 2007.

Friday, November 02, 2007

New discussion list

Elearn is a new IFLA mailing list, set up by the IFLA (international Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) E-learning Discussion Group. "This is a discussion list for information professionals who are interested in issues to do with applications of e-learning in LIS education, continuing professional education and development and the operation of library services." To join go to:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackheath on an Autumn morning, 2007.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world

A new report from OCLC, which focuses on the currently fashionable topic of young people and social networking:
de Rosa, C. et al (2007) Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world. OCLC.
"This OCLC membership report explores this web of social participation and cooperation on the Internet and how it may impact the library’s role, including ..... The report is based on a survey (by Harris Interactive on behalf of OCLC) of the general public [6,000 people] from six countries—Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom." There were four key researh areas: 1) Practices and preferences of users in social networking; 2) User attitudes about sharing information; 3) Attitudes to information privacy; 4) Librarians' practice and views on social networking.

Photo by Sheila Webber: War memorial, October 2007.