Friday, November 28, 2008

Still some delay

Just to let you know that I had my appendix removed on Monday and, fingers crossed, things seem to be going ok. However, I feel weak as a kitten and and won't be blogging again for another week or 10 days (or doing things like checking email). Thanks for those who sent good wishes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Possible hiatus

I've been feeling unwell over the last couple of days and am just going to the hospital to see whther it is my appendix. Therefore there may be a short hiatus on the blog

Friday, November 21, 2008

Digital Inclusion

Thanks to Sheena Banks to alerting me to this report, published a couple of weeks ago, from the Oxford Internet Institute, which may inform UK Government policy.

Helsper, E.J. (2008) Digital Inclusion: An Analysis of Social Disadvantage and the Information Society. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.

"This report provides a critical evaluation of the existing evidence on the nature and extent of the ‘digital divide’ and its overlap with social exclusion. New empirical evidence is also presented, backed by a comprehensive methodology that has been applied to three different independent, nationally representative surveys. There are three important outcomes of this report:
• A new empirical model of the links between social and digital disadvantage which will help guide future research and policy interventions in this area.
• Recommendations to enhance existing national technology surveys conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). These enhancements will help to track digital inclusion progress in the future, and also account for new and emerging technologies.
• A short review of the implications of the results for social policy."

- other more specific research reports e.g. digital inclusion and those with mental health problems.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Greenwich Park, October 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recent articles

Some recent articles, all from priced publications I'm afraid. Firstly - the major annual annotated bibliography on information literacy has come out, covering 2007 publications. This is biased towards US publications, but is still always tremendously useful.
Johnson, A., Jent, S., and Reynolds, L. (2008) "Library instruction and information literacy 2007" Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 450 - 514.

Then there are a couple of publications which look at information behaviour. The first reports on students use of a self-diagnosis tool and the second is a study of information seeking in Second Life:
Mansourian, Y. (2008) "Contextual elements and conceptual components of information visibility on the web." Library Hi Tech, 26 (3), 440 - 453.

Ostrander, M. (2008) "Talking, looking, flying, searching: information seeking behavior in Second Life." Library Hi Tech, 26 (4). (available as an electronic pre-print, if you subscribe)

Then, some articles talking about using games:
Clyde, J. and Thomas, C. (2008) "Building an information literacy first-person shooter." Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 366 - 380.

Markey, K. et al (2008) "Designing and Testing a Web-based Board Game for Teaching Information Literacy Skills and Concepts." Library Hi Tech, 26 (4). (available as an electronic pre-print, if you subscribe)

Schiller, N. (2008) "A portal to student learning: what instruction librarians can learn from video game design." Reference Services Review, 36 (4), 351 - 365.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Beech tree, Sheffield, November 2008.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Te Punga

Thanks to Hazel Edmunds of http://www.adsetsinformationweblog.

She pointed me to Kathryn Greenhill's blog, who in turn was highlighting the work of people at the University of Aukland. Kathryn made a video of Liz Wilkinson talking about a tutorial on how to use the Voyager catalogue, Te Punga. Liz Wilkinson talks about the way in which it was designed (with help of learning and web designers) and the reason why they take the approach of incorporating elements which are graphic-novel-like. Kathryn calls her video Information Literacy: Seven ways to think outside the box and identifies the main headings as: Literacy beyond text; Student centred, not library centred; Outside experts; Involve students; Use students' environments; Learning by doing; Make students feel at home.
The Youtube video is at , Kathryn's blog is at and Te Punga is at
The photo is of Christine Bruce and Li Wang, during Christine's visit to Aukland University earlier this year (not connected except as regards information literacy and Aukland University. I am not sure who took the photo.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Virtual worlds: for young and old....

The discussions continue regularly on Infolit iSchool in Second Life (SL), the virtual world. Most recently, Robin Ashford (a librarian from the USA, Robin Mochi in SL) led a discussion about the Academic librarian in Second Life. The picture show the assembled people, mainly from the UK and USA. She was speaking, and other people were using text chat: there is a transcript of the chat here : There was a lively discussion so although you don't get most of Robin's comments, there are other observations you might find interesting. Robin recently did a presentation at a conference in SL and her powerpoint is here:

The previous week, a Professor in the School of Education here at Sheffield University (Jackie Marsh, Jackie Darkstone in SL) gave a talk on Out of school play in online virtual worlds and the implications for literacy learning (6th November 2008). Her blog is here: She has done research looking at how young children are using virtual worlds, particularly Club Penguin. She was speaking in chat, and the chatlog is here:

Finally, there was an exploration of Infolit iSchool (our island) last week. If you can get into SL, there is a notecard with landmarks and commentary here:
and the text of the notecard is on the wiki here

Jorum Forum

Jorum is an online repository for learning and teaching materials. There is a free event on 10 December in Manchester, UK, for Jorum users to discuss the existing service and its future. Email Nicola Siminson, Jorum Community Enhancement Officer, at: if you want to attend. Jorum is at

Friday, November 14, 2008

New information literacy blogs

1) From Christine Irving and John Crawford, their Scottish Information Literacy project blog to share news and ideas:

2) From Anup Kumar Das, links to UNESCO Resources on Information Literacy
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

Fair use

On November 11th the Center for Social Media published
Media Education Lab (2008) The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Washington: School of Communication, American University.
"This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use." The aim is to help "reclaim" some fair-use practices of using material in education, legally. Since it is published in the USA it will not reflect the exact legal situation in other countries. Nevertheless, a good deal is similar and it states the issues and possible responses very clearly. There is an accompanying video on the web with people stating the need for the guidelines.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ORT Argentina

Following my post about sessions at the Online Information conference I was called by someone who had a brief to write about ORT and was asking me why I had picked out the ORT Argentina session. The simple answer was that it was becuase it had the phrase "Information literacy". However, in response to that, I have dug a bit more, including reading more carefully through the long abstract for the session, which is here.
I still think it is interesting (fortunately) since the initiative involves students at school, and their teachers, creating and using blogs. This would seem to develop information literacy, learning more about how to handle and use information through creating it, and becoming a more informed information consumer.
ORT is "world's largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation" ( although its initiatives are not restricted to Jewish people. In Argentina it has a compex with 2 schools and two further education colleges, all with a high technology focus/infrastructure. There is information (in Spanish mostly) about ORT Argentina here and there is a page of links to blogs here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, November 2008

The Academic Librarian in Second Life

A discussion taking place in the virtual world, Second Life. You need a Second Life avatar to attend. All welcome. Thursday 13th November at 12 noon SL time on Infolit iSchool. Robin Mochi (Robin Ashford, George Fox University, USA, in RL) leads a discussion on The Academic Librarian in Second Life (SL). Focus will be on her role as an academic librarian assisting a faculty member with his first class in SL. Potential roles of academic librarians in SL will also be discussed.
Location is Infolit iSchool

12 noon SL time is 8pm in the UK. Time in other places:
This is part of the regular CILR/ Infolit iSchool discussion series. Infolit iSchool is the University of Sheffield island shared by the Department of Information Studies and School of Education

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Editors as Information Officers

This was the heading to one of the diagrams in a report commissioned for Associated Press:
Associated Press and Context-Based Research Group (2008) A New Model for News: Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption. AP.
The diagram in question said that "Editors must find ways to connect a story’s entry points for users – providing them with more information than they could find by searching or scrolling." The idea is that people have more than enough facts and superficial/ disconnected headlines, and want more back stories, updates and spinoffs.
Obviously the other side to this (i.e. my perspective) is that people could be educated to make these connections, by learning to browse more effectively, for example, and that perhaps information professionals might be well qualified to become editors...
The report itself describes an ethnographic study into 18 people's news habits: 3 each in India and the UK and the rest in the USA. I initially found the way they described the methodology a bit gushing, but in fact it goes into quite a lot of detail about how they did the study and is more accessible than a lot of research descriptions. The descriptions of the participants' news habits are also vivid.
This is a study for a news media publisher, which had the ultimate aim of helping the publisher understand how to get people to consume more of their news, so the second part of the report is devoted to proposing a strategy (that is where the diagram came in) and giving a case study of the UK's Telegraph.

The 3 British participants are from Brighton, "selected because the city is quickly attracting a young new population with its universities and established cultural life" which rather seems to leave out of the picture the discarded chip packets, pebbles, and dogs on string (I grew up there) (and a fine place it is too ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Brighton Beach, December 2007.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning is often associated with Information Literacy and there are some initiatives in the UK on this at the moment. Firstly, NIACE hosts an independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning: it started in 2007 and ends next year. There is a long page linking to papers which present evidence on various aspects of lifelong learning, and a paper The Impact of Lifelong Learning and Poverty Reduction has recently been published by the Inquiry itself. The home page is:

Secondly, the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning (CALL) was launched on 30th September. It is supported by various associations and trade unions and is planning to lobby the UK parliament on key issues early next year:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2008 (Sunday was Remembrance Sunday, and today is the actual Remembrance day)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Online conference

The Online Information Conference, held in London, includes a couple of presentations about information literacy, both on Weds 3rd December.

Media Literacy matters: Fiona Lennox, Policy Executive, OfCom, UK "In this presentation, Fiona will discuss the findings of recent Ofcom research which sheds light on how people in the UK population access, understand and create digital communications. She'll examine the skills gaps highlighted by the research and discuss how media literacy initiatives can help to address these." and Ort Argentina virtual campus project: a case study about information and media literacy in K12/compulsory education; from Guillermo Lutzky, Professor, Virtual Campus CEO, ORT Argentina ORT. Web address is:
Photo by Sheila Webber, October 2008, Weston Park.

Friday, November 07, 2008

TTT in India

Here is a report on the Indian Train the Trainer events that were inaugurated on Wednesday and finished today. This is the UNESCO-sponsored series to train people to train in information literacy. "The Workshop was inaugurated by Dr Amrik Singh, educationist and former Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University. In his address, he stressed the importance of information literacy training at school level and of the need to promote wider use of knowledge and information through informal channels" There is a report, and a link to the website, plus pictures at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry leaves, Autumn 2004

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Recent articles

Mark Hepworth and Marian Smith have announced that their paper:
Hepworth, M. and Smith, M. (2008) "Workplace information literacy for administrative staff in HE" Australian Library Journal, 57 (3), 212-236
is now in their Institutional Repository at:

This reminds me that I ought to start depositing my papers! In the meantime, I just had a short article published:
Webber, S. (2008) "Second Life for Business: Ten Techniques." FUMSI, October.
FUMSI stands for Find Use Manage Share Information, in case you didn't know.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Information Literacy week at Sheffield

Last week we had an information literacy week here at Sheffield University. It was organised by the Information Literacy Network, which consists of people from my Department (Information Studies), the library, and the Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences.

Part of the week involved us blogging about the week and about our experience on Sheffield's Good Practice blog, which is a blog in which the focus is on the learning and teaching experience at Sheffield. At the moment you can just go to the home page of the blog and browse through the last entries:

For later consumption; I started off by saying why I though information literacy deserves more than a week, and also about a Second Life meeting about information Literacy, Maria Mawson talks about getting large groups engaged, Pam McKinney blogged about her information literacy journey, Sheila Corrall talked about information literacy and employment (plus a summary of an event we had) , Lyn Parker about information literacy and Web 2.0, and Vic Grant about the role of information literacy in employment (health sector perspective).

There are many entries from University of Sheffield staff and students on the Good Practice blog (about learning and teaching), and you might well find it interesting to browse further. I will probably blog about a couple of the individual activities from the IL week here as well.
The illustration is a mindmap created by a student group, showing the value of information literacy in their future work (see Pam McKinney's blog post about this activity) - thanks to Stanley Keng, Nick Nicolaou, Swastik Synki, Anna Nibbs and Luciana Santas.

Information Literacy Education (new book)

Torras, M and Saetre, T. (2008) Information Literacy Education: A Process Approach Professionalising the Pedagogical Role of Academic Libraries. Chandos. Paperback: £39.95 ISBN 978-1-84334-386-8 (1-84334-386-X)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Information Literacy in history

Here are my notes on the two other presentations in the same session as our research presentation at conference, L'education à la culture informationnelle [Education for/in information culture], held in Lille, France October 16-18 (as mentioned in the previous post).

1) David Del Testa (a US academic/historian) et Abby Clobridge (Librarian): D’internautes aux historiens : une pédagogie hybride pour colmater l’observation et l’analyse dans un cours d’histoire aux USA [Internauts to historians : a hydrid pedagogy for developing observation and analysis in a US history course]
This described how students had chosen, digitised and catalogued World War 2 posters. This developed students' information literacy skills, and also helped their development as historians, using real historical documents and reflecting on the documents’ context and provenance. It was a collaboration between a history academic (the course leader) and librarian at Bucknell University, USA.
There is material similar (I think, more detailed) to what was presented at
This web page includes links to a ppt and to documents mapping learning outcomes to those of Middle States and ACRL for information Literacy.

2) Jean-François Courtecuisse : Les pratiques documentaires des étudiants face aux présupposés méthodologiques des disciplines [Students’ information behaviour and disciplinary suppositions about methodology]
This was a description of a study of the information behaviour of history students, based on interview data. They were predominantly using the internet (generally a limited range of sites) and books, neglecting other potentially valuable information sources. There seemed to be an absence of awareness/discussion about the nature of the literature and search tools. Some students said they were cautious about using the internet because they knew it might have unreliable information.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Old Lille, October 2008.

L'education à la culture informationnelle: 3

A further post on the conference, L'education à la culture informationnelle [Education for/in information culture], held in l’Université Charles de Gaulle Lille3, Lille, France October 16-18 ( In addition to the keynote, I was co-author on a research based paper. This was presented in English, but is presented on Slideshare in its French translation by Susan Kovacs.

The main presenter was Bill Johnston, and the paper was also co-authored with Stuart Boon. The presentation was made in English as Developing pedagogical conditions for information literacy: the impact of disciplinary contexts on information literacy education. The PowerPoint has been translated into French as "Développer des conditions pédagogiques pour la culture informationnelle : l’impact des contextes disciplinaires sur l’éducation à l’information". In it we describe our research into UK Civil Engineering academics' conceptions of information literacy and teaching information literacy, and we discuss the implications for learning.

The research part of the presentation is described in English in this existing ppt. Our discussions and conclusions were different, though, finishing by identifying the need for an information Literate University with “Strategic management of information literacy; Curriculum review; Re-definition of roles and activities;
Course re-design & adaptive teaching; Change through innovative projects”
Photo by Sheila Webber: Lille University library, October 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chinese Training the Trainer

The Chinese Training the Trainer workshop (part of the UNESCO series) was held on 21-23 October and had 120 participants. There is a press release about it on the UNESCO website here.

CSG IL Group information Literacy Award

The call for nominations for the CSG IL Group information Literacy Award for
the most inventive initiative in the sphere of information literacy is now
open. Further information can be found at:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Information Literacy articles

Numerous interesting articles in the latest issue of Libri. Only subscribers have access to the latest year (, after that they go on free access ( Vol 57, issue 3 includes:
- Cheuk, B. Delivering Business Value through Information Literacy in the Workplace
- Toledano O'Farrill, R. Information Literacy and Knowledge Management: Preparations for an Arranged Marriage
- Martzoukou, K. Students' Attitudes Towards Web Search Engines - Increasing Appreciation of Sophisticated Search Strategies

The new issue of Communications in Information Literacy has also been issued
This is freely available on the web at The articles are:
Birmingham, E. et al First-Year Writing Teachers, Perceptions of Students’ Information Literacy Competencies, and a Call for a Collaborative Approach
Hautala, R. and Miyagishima, B. Teaching Near The Edge of Chaos: Dynamic Systems, Student Choices and Library Research
Andretta, S., Pope, A. and Walton, G. Information Literacy Education in the UK: Reflections on Perspectives and Practical Approaches of Curricular Integration
Harvey, P. and Goodell, K. Development and Evolution of an Information Literacy Course for a Doctor of Chiropractic Program
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2008.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Useful teaching videos

Checking the links of the information literacy portals in the previous entry, I came across a link on the German portal to a British website that has won an award last week (or at least its creator did). Russell Stannard has created a nice series of Teacher Training videos. He walks you through how to use various tools that might be useful for teaching e.g. podcasts, Youtube, Delicious, Audacity, blogs .. and even PowerPoint and web searching! Each video has segments so you can click to the part of interest to you. I only dipped in, but another good thing was that he gives some ideas on how to use thwe tools, as he goes along. There is a separate section on tools for English as a Second Language teaching.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Lille, October 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Journals and portals

Here is a short post with some more of the information literacy links I put in the notes to my keynote PowerPoint at the conference in Lille.

Information Literacy Journals (all open access)
- Communications in Information Literacy (USA)
- Journal of information literacy
- Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education

Portals (a few examples)
- ALFIN Red: (Spanish)
- LOOWI (Netherlands, Dutch)
- FORMIST website (French)
- Informationskompetenz (German)
- Information Literacy Website (UK)

Photo by Sheila Webber: Fungi, October 2008

Digital natives

A site I came across recently is Digital natives, a small wiki for a collaboration between the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It has some useful inks and some opinion/ discussion sections on Digital Identity, Digital Information Overload etc. The latter section and that on Digital Information Quality are in need of some input from an information scientist/ librarian, but there is some interesting material.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

L'education à la culture informationnelle: Conference Report 2

I might as well continue by linking to my own conference keynote from this conference, (16-18 October held in Lille, pictured here on the first evening): Information Literacy: and international concept. In this presentation I firstly provided evidence for the development of Information Literacy in key areas that can be seen as evidence for an emerging subject area or discipline. Secondly I highlighted some activities or resources in the areas of: health, business, citizenship and education. Finally, I identified some issues for debate. The PowerPoint is on Slideshare at

I used the notes field in my PowerPoint (mainly because they were being translated into French to help people more of an idea of what I was saying). These are not on the Slideshare file: I am aiming to write them up infor a short paper. However, I will give some of the links that were in the notes - actually perhaps I will spread it over a few days or this will be a huge post. Here is the first batch:
Associations (examples)
ANZIIL: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy
Chinese Information Literacy Association (Taiwan)
CILIP Information Literacy Group (UK)
European Forum for Information Literacy
ENSIL: European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy
National Forum on Information Literacy (USA)
NORDINFOlit, a Nordic Information Literacy Forum
Working group Information Education and Information Literacy (Czech Republic)


The CoFHE London and South East Circle (LASEC) is meeting in the Farradane room at CILIP, London, at 3pm on Friday 14th November. There will be a presentation/ demonstration of the Cephalonian induction method and people are encouraged to bring their own induction material. Contact the secretary, Stephen Wickens, if you are attending:
(The picture is loosely associated, being the Farradane Centre on Infolit iSchool in Second Life. Jason Farradane was a pioneer information scientist)

Friday, October 24, 2008

L'education à la culture informationnelle: Report 1

This time last week I had just given my keynote at the conference, L'education à la culture informationnelle [Education for/in information culture], held in l’Université Charles de Gaulle Lille3, Lille, France. I had limited internet access whilst in France and have had a very hectic week, so I have not had the time to blog about it. However I will be making up for that with a few posts, with my own reflections and also drawing on those who could undertsand the proceedings better than I (most of the contributions were in French, unsurprisingly, and my French skills need much improvement). There is basic information about the programme etc at:

The colloquium was originated by ERTE (Erté Culture informationnelle et curriculum documentaire): there is more information (in French) about their projects and research here:
Other French information and library organisations were also involved in the conference.
To borrow from the English-language call for papers "The primary objective of [ERTE] is to propose solutions for improving information literacy education in school and at university. The program has brought together several research laboratories and academic institutions, and the project team includes researchers, library and documentation professionals, teacher training specialists, and school librarians, as well as school teachers and university faculty from all academic disciplines."

A very interesting part of this is exploring the meaning of concepts such as information and une culture informationnelle - so exploring things at a conceptual level as well as (or even, more than) the practical. I would say that they concept information culture does not even exist, as such, and indeed this was one area that one of the researchers is exploring. Additionally, there is debate about what words you use to describe the concept of information literacy: la maîtrise de l’information is now most commonly used, with obvious overtones of mastering the skills/knowledge required. This will be discussed a bit more in a future post.
Photo by Sheila Webber: a peek at the conference venue

Augustana Information Literacy workshop

The 8th Annual Augustana Information Literacy in Academic Libraries Workshop is on 20 November 2008 and has the theme: Considering Assessment: Evaluating Student Learning and Informing Evidence Based Decisions Using Rubrics and Performance Measures. The leader is Megan Oakleaf, Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, New York. More info at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Information Literacy and Web 2.0

Information Literacy and Web 2.0 takes place 4 Nov 2008 at Dunfermline High School, Scotland. It is organised by the Schools Library Group Scotland and is led by James Herring. More information at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Glasgow, 2005.

LearnHigher website

The LearnHigher website has identified 20 areas to do with learning in higher and further education, and for each area has collected some resources, including their own projects . LearnHigher is an outcome of a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
One of the areas is Information Literacy, and the coordinator is Bob Glass, Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University. There is some material there now, and more will be developed. The Information Literacy section is at

The main home page is and there may be other learning areas of interest to you.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Lille, October 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Information Literate Radio

A UNESCO Press Release announces that "The first Caribbean community library radio Infolight FM 108.0: The Power of the Information Literacy through Young Voices was officially launched by Carl Bethel, Minister of Education of the Bahamas, on 16 October 2008, at the Bahamas Library Service." The first broadcast is November 3rd.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Lille, October 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

An information Literacy week at Sheffield

The Information Literacy Network is an interdisciplinary special interest group created with the purpose of bringing together key stakeholders in information literacy at the University of Sheffield from the Department of Information Studies, the Library and CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences). We are hosting a series of events and activities, with input from students and the Careers Service, in week 5, 27th-31st October 2008 to celebrate the distinctive approaches to teaching and research in the field of information literacy at the University of Sheffield.

We will be offering both face-to-face and virtual discussion and development events, plus we will be taking over the Good Practice Blog ( ) for the week (and also look out for posts on this blog).

More information, including links to booking forms, is available on the
CILASS website:

The items open to those outside Sheffield are:
Wednesday 29th October 12.00-13.00 Room 204, Regent Court, Department of Information
Studies Research seminar "Information Literacy in the schools sector in Syria"

Thursday 30th October 13.00-14.00 Room 204, Regent Court, Department of Information Studies
Research Seminar "Information Literacy in Second Life"

Thursday 30th October 8pm UK time, Infolit ischool island, Second Life
Second Life discussion: "Information Literacy and Employability"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Offener Bildungsraum Hochschule

Thanks to Thomas Hapke, since I noticed on his blog information about a book which is available free online, which has numerous contributions about e-learning, including some related to information literacy (listed below). It is in German.
Hauchner, S. et al (Eds) (2008) Offener Bildungsraum Hochschule. Waxmann Verlag. ("University - open learning space" is a sort of translation of the title)

Wolf Hilzensauer et al: Neue Kompetenzen für E-Portfolio-Begleiter/innen?
Der Kurs MOSEP – More Self-Esteem with my E-ortfolio
(New competencies for e-portfolio companions?)
Martin Ebner, Mandy Schiefner, and Walther Nagler: Has the Net Generation Arrived at the University? – oder Studierende von Heute, Digital Natives?
Svenja Wichelhaus et al: Medienkompetenz und selbstorganisiertes Lernen –
Ergebnisse einer Evaluation
(Media literacy and independent ledarning: results of an evaluation.)
Claudia Bremer: Fit fürs Web 2.0? Ein Medienkompetenzzertifikat für zukünftige Lehrer/innen (Fit for Web 2.0? A media lteracy certificate for teachers)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Squashes, Greenwich, October 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Abstracting and encountering

Today I led a session on abstracting for our Masters students (mostly MA Librarianship and MSc Information Management). We dropped abstracting as a topic for a session for several years, but then reintroduced it and, when we did, we found that students engaged with it. The students read an article in advance, then in the session I briefly go through some key points about why abstracts are useful, what the differences are from an introduction, indexing etc., and how to write one. Then the students draft an abstract in class, swap it with their neighbour, read their neighbour's abstract and make at least one positive and one critical comment. Then we have a discussion about the issues.

Being able to read through something, pick out the key points and present them clearly is a good skill to have in the workplace, not just for study, I think. It is also useful in focusing on how articles are structured, and thinking about how you might identify the key points as a reader.

I have been using an article by Sanda Erdelez on information encountering as the article they have to abstract in class. It is a favourite of mine, since I discovered from it that I was a super-encounterer, and it is also relevant to the themes of our class (which is called Information Resources and Information Literacy, and which covers information behaviour as well).

Erdelez, S. (1999) “Information encountering: it's more than just bumping into information.” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science , 25 (3), 25-29.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Firth Court, Sheffield University, October 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

List of potential diagnostic questions

Mark Hepworth, from Loughborough University, has put together a series of questions that might be used in pre and post diagnostic tests. He is asking for questions and comments from others. The list is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2008.

More Training the Trainer workshops

Further information literacy Training the Trainer workshops have been held, sponsored by UNESCO. One was held in Ankara, and there is a brief account of it here. You can also find a small amount of material from it at
where there are also pictures from the Cape Town TTT meeting whach has just been held.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Michaelmas daisy, October 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Information Literacy in workplace contexts

A final catch up post from the Creating Knowledge conference in August. Annemaree Lloyd (shown right at the reception, with Bill Johnston) gave the first keynote, based on her research into information literacy.
She is interested in IL as a sociocultural information practice, created through engagement with others, including through interaction with text, artifacts and observation of others. Thus information literacy is very grounded in context.

She draws on Lave and Wenger's concepts of Communities of Practice, and also on Shatzki's idea of practice as a "bundle of activities". Important is the role of the body in practice: embodied performance as well as what is internalised. In this way she aims to explore informaton as a practice "underpinned by a range of activities". She is interested in seeing how IL skills can be rearranged to meet workplace demands, and in understanding how information is interpreted and contested in a worlplace community

She talked about her study of the information literacy of firefighters. I have used this article with my information mangement students, in a class mostly to do with knowledge management (KM), as it brings together information literacy, KM and Communities of Practice very nicely. Her research showed that while there was some information and IL developed through formal sources (e.g. manuals), more information was gathered through talk, shared experiences and observation of colleagues "developing fire sense" - so they need to develop the ability to read information from the fire situation and the way in which experienced firefighters move and use their bodies in dangerous situations. "constructed through the bodily experience of firefighting". The textual information prepares novice firefighters to act, but they need to become part of the team to learn how to firefight.
In a second study of ambulance workers Lloyd focused in on the idea of the novice and experienced ambulance workers' experience of information. Similarly she found that novice workers needed to experience the social information practice to become effective. These workers will learn to read information from the bodies of their colleagues and their patients. Also similarly, the formal and written information helped to prepare the novice for the workplace, but this information might later be contested in teh light of exerrience.

"IL is more than just a textual pracice, it has social and physical elements" and IL skills are those valued in the setting. Thus the social aspects of information literacy (know how, tacit knowledge and shared stories that come out of practice) and corporeal modality (embodied understanding and skills) have to be developed along with more familar modes of information literacy which are focused on textual and formal information. Lloyd talked about these as forming a new architecture of information literacy. Her research findings have also had practical implementations in the workplaces she has studied.

She has written numerous articles. One available free on the web is:
Lloyd, A. (2007). "Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers" Information Research, 12(4) paper colis34.

Second Life workshop

Vicki Cormie, Lyn Parker and I are running a half day workshop on Second Life, the virtual world, for Aslib Midlands Barnch. It is on 26 November 2008 at Birmingham Central Library, 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm, £35 Aslib members, £45 non-members.
"A half-day practical workshop which aims to help library and information professionals understand the uses of Second Life and to develop their Second Life skills." Details: Margaret Brittin,
The picture shows the 3 of us in Second Life.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Health information

The presentations from the IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section Satellite Session: Libraries without borders: Navigating towards global understanding at the
World Library and Information Congress: in Canada in August are online.
They include: Development of an information skills training delivered to staff of the Centre of Health and Social Services of the Grand Littoral; Where do I start… Training non-medical librarians and technicians in the how and what of medical resources and evidence; Making the case for librarian-mediated searching in academic health libraries; 3-Step Plan to Review and Renew Evidence-based Information-Seeking Skills; Information Overload and Information Poverty: Do they impair healthcare services managers’ effectiveness?; Information use behavior of clinicians of Evidence based medicine (EBM) process in Thailand; Distinguished users: an experience of the Information literacy on the health system (Cuba)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, October 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Another learning tool for staff about plagiarism etc

Thanks again to Vivienne Bernath. She emailed me about Acknowledgement: "a set of resources to support university staff to undertake continuing professional development about academic honesty and integrity issues, especially issues of originality and plagiarism" from Monash University, Australia.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Swans on the Yarra, Melbourne, Australia, 2005.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Libraries Promoting Twenty-First Century Literacies

There is a call from the IFLA Literacy and Reading Section and the Information Literacy Section for Papers for a programme being held at the IFLA (World Library and Information) Congress in Milan in August, 2009. The theme is Libraries Promoting Twenty-First Century Literacies, and it will explore the ways in which libraries can actively promote multiple literacies. The program will feature up to six invited papers, each focusing on a different twenty-first century literacy e.g. print, information, multicultural, visual literacy etc. The paper should say how libraries can promote that literacy, and be based on theory, research, and/or practical applications. Proposals should include a 500 word abstract and basic biographical and contact details of the speaker. Deadline is 15 November 2008, proposals to be sent to Alison Ernst ( or teh subject line "IFLA proposal".
Photo by Sheila Webber: Western Park bandstand.

ALISS list

ALISS has a list of recommended resources for Library induction / information literacy training sessions at

Monday, October 06, 2008


On 5 November the next SUILCoP (Staffordshire University Information Literacy Community of Practice) Workshop features Debbi Boden (University of Worcester), with A dramatic strategy against plagiarism: developing information literacy teaching resources.
It particularly focuses on online resources created at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA
Enterprises Ltd). For more info go to

Photo by Sheila Webber, Sheffield, October 2008


Proposals for presentations and poster sessions at the 2009 SCIL Works are are required by 24 October. The annual SCIL (Southern California Instruction Librarians) Works is a half-day event focusing on information literacy pedagogy. The theme is The Daily and the Visionary: Employing Reflective Practices to Increase Our Engagement and Success. Full info on their website at

Saturday, October 04, 2008

International students

Just published is a study based on about 140 interviews with international students (interviewed in their native language):
Sovic, S. (2008) Lost in Transition? The International Students’ Experience Project. London: University of the Arts.
A number of points emerge which probably apply beyond the university where the study took place. These include (as might be expected) unfamiliarity with the educational approach (e.g. expecting both more guidance and more helpfulness from teachers) and language problems. However it does explore the nature of the language problems in more depth, and also highlights the fact that it is not just to do with "English" as American students come up with a lot of similar comments.

The attitude of UK students emerges as a problem (being impatient and uninvolved), and group work exercises are advocated, even though these have their problems too, since they can help students to get to know each other. Information Literacy is not directly mentioned, apart from being implied in brief discussion of referencing etc. in teh context of study skills. However, it seems to me that the situation that the students are in requires advanced information literacy skills to get up to speed in the new country and environment. Libraries come out well, since they were about the only thing that students mentioned as being above their expectations! (or, in part, the expectations created by the university's marketing blurb). Students say that they would like counsellors who understand (and are from) their own culture, and I was reminded how in Australia there is more native-langauage library and information literacy support than in the UK.

Photo by Sheila Webber, September 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008


Thanks to Alastair Allan for alerting me to the fact that LIBER journal is now open access. The journal is at be accessed at

Thursday, October 02, 2008

21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map

I think I missed picking up on an earlier (see previous post) 21st Century Skills publication, which came out in July. The 21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map was developed by the (US) Partnership for 21st Century Skills and National Council for the Social Studies. It "demonstrates how the integration of 21st century skills into the social studies supports teaching and prepares students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century." I was rather hoping it would actually be a map, but in fact it is another list of skills: defining each skill, then giving the desired learning outcome (plus an example) at each of the US school grades 4, 8 and 12.
The skills are: Creativity and Innovation; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Communication; Collaboration; Information Literacy; Media Literacy; ICT Literacy; Flexibility and adaptability; Initiative and Self-direction; Social and Cross-cultural skills; Productivity and Accountability; Leadership and Responsibility.

The skill of IL is defined as "Accessing information efficiently and effectively, evaluating information critically and competently, and using information accurately and creatively for the issue or problem at hand; and Possessing a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information."
One thing that struck me was that some of the grade 4 (younger children's) activities seemed "higher order" than the older children's. An example for younger chiildren included doing original research (interviewing people in their community) and producing a report; whereas the examples for Grade 12 were focused on using wide ranges of secondary sources - so with evaluation and synthesis, but less emphasis on creating and presenting new information. Interesting. The pdf is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: rowing skulls on the Nervion, September 2008

Skills and competitiveness

A report published in September by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills includes critical thinking and information management skills as vital for international competitiveness. It was published before Lehmann Brothers folded, but starts "Americans are deeply concerned about their present and future prospects in a time of economic uncertainty" ... Other "calls to action" in US education have been, for example, relatively low scoring for US 15-year-olds in the international PISA (Programme for Student Assessment) tests. Information Literacy is included as one of the 21st Century skills (see my next post for the full list, or obviously you can look at the website). The Partnership includes media and technology companies, as well as the Educational Testing Service and some library organisations (see ).

One quote is: "Thinking critically and making judgments about the barrage of information that comes their way every day—on the Web, in the media, in homes, workplaces and everywhere else. Critical thinking empowers Americans to assess the credibility, accuracy and value of information, analyze and evaluate information, make reasoned decisions and take purposeful actio."
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2008) 21st Century Skills,Education & Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide. Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
Photo by Sheila Webber: boats on te Nervion, September 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

High profile plagiarism

Thanks to my colleague Mark Sanderson for alerting me to this story today, which is a nice example of how plagiarism can threaten your career. The title of the BBC news story says it all:
BBC (2008) "Canada PM faces plagiarism claim." BBC News, 1 October.

It is not the Prime Minister, but rather the writer of this 2003 speech, who has now resigned.
Whilst searching for an Australian reaction to this, I came across a current plagiarism accusation: namely the Australian shadow Treasurer is accused of lifting direct quotes from the Wall Street Journal
Franklin, M. and Maiden, S. (2008) "Swan slams Bishop's 'plagiarism'" The Australian, 24 September.
The accused seems to be asserting that she was using some direct quotes made within the article, and so she feels that was OK ... hmmmm .... this makes it even more relevant to tricky questions that you get with coursework! I'll be using these examples with my students.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Trees in Guelph, Canada, May 2005

LIDA 2009

The 2009 Libraries in the Digital Age conference takes place 25-30 May 2009 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This is the last of this series to be held in beautiful Dubrovnik (I talked at LIDA a few years ago, this is a photo taken then of fish in the clear water) so it is worth going if you can! Themes are: REFLECTIONS: Changes Brought by and in Digital Libraries in the Last Decade, and HERITAGE & digital libraries - digitization, preservation, access. Deadline for paper proposals is 15 January 2009. More information at

Monday, September 29, 2008

i3 conference 2009

The second Information: Interactions and Impact International (i3) Conference will take place at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland 22-25 June 2009. As before, the conference explores the interconnections between information literacy, information behaviour, and impact of information. Key note speakers in 2009 will include Dr. Chun Wei Choo (Faculty of Information, University of Toronto) and Dave Snowden (Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge). More info soon. In the meantime there is information on the 2007 conference at

Added on June 4th 2009 - the conference website is at
Photo courtesy of Robert Gordon University: Delegates from the 2007 conference at the civic reception. I'm holding up my wine glass and grinning, 3rd from the front towards the right.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

BBC blogging

Nick Reynolds talks about corporate blogging at the BBC in this article for FUMSI. It could be a starting point for talking about confidentiality and ethical issues to do with blogging, or about blogging as public relations.

Reynolds, N. (2008) Corporate blogging:how to be open. FUMSI, September.
Photo by Sheila Webber: photoshopped tree, Western Park, Sheffield, September 2008

Call for proposals: Expanding Literacy Studies

Expanding Literacy Studies is an International, Interdisciplinary Conference for graduate students, April 3-5, 2009, at Ohio State University, USA. "Addressing the need for an expanded conversation about literacy that exceeds disciplinary boundaries, this conference is a space for graduate and professional students from all fields to ask questions, consider directions, examine representations, make connections, and share investigations of literacy, broadly defined." Various "literacies" are mentioned (e.g. work, art, health - though information, curiously!) and literacy topics. Submission deadline for proposals for papers, posters, performances etc is October 15, 2008. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Western Park, Sheffield, September 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

1000 posts!

This is the one thousandth post on this blog. Stuart Boon contributed to start with, but most of the posts are by me and it must mean I've blogged over a hundred thousand words! I hope people still find the blog useful - and if you have any information literacy events, publications etc. that you want me to mention, do get in touch.
This is a picture of my Second Life avatar thinking that with that many words she could have written several books by now....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Encuentro de Desarrollo de Habilidades Informativas

The 6th Encuentro de Desarrollo de Habilidades Informativas (Information skills development) takes place in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 22 - 24 October 2008. More information at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lots of new articles

Firstly, in Journal of Information Literacy (vol 2 no 1, 2008) all free at

- Badke, W. A Rationale for Information Literacy as a Credit-bearing Discipline
- Crawford, J. Making new friends: an information literacy trip to Washington DC
- Dotan, G. and Aharony, N. Information literacy roles of library media specialists in high schools: Israeli perspectives
- Gonzalez, L. Information Literacy Programs at the University of Puerto Campuses: a current report
- Sales, D. Towards a student-centred approach to information literacy learning: A focus group study on the information behaviour of translation and interpreting students

Markey, K. et al (2008) "The Effectiveness of a Web-based Board Game for Teaching Undergraduate Students Information Literacy Concepts and Skills." D-lib magazine, 14 (9). (free)

Nazari, M. and Webber, S. (2008) "Model of Geo/Spatial Information Literacy (MG/SIL): an innovative model for transforming learning in GIS education." In: Proceedings of the EUGISES 2008 conference. (free)

Articles in priced journals:
- Chu, S. and Law, N. (2008) "The development of information search expertise of research students." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40, 165-177.
- Furno, C. and Flanagan, D. (2008) "Information literacy: getting the most from your 60 minutes." Reference Services Review, 36 (3), 264 - 271
- Jowitt, A. (2008) "Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealand's Universal College of Learning (UCOL)." Reference Services Review, 36 (3), 312 - 336
- Lwehabura, M. and Stilwell, C. (2008) "Information literacy in Tanzanian universities: Challenges and potential opportunities." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40, 179-191. (reports on a survey of staff and students)
- Shenton, A. Nesset, V. and Hayter, S. (2008) "Children's conceptualizations of the word `Information'." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40, 151-164.
- Trescases, U. (2008) "The role of the library in the first college year: the Canadian perspective." Reference Services Review, 36 (3), 301 - 311. (a review)
Photos by Sheila Webber: autumn anemones, Sheffield, September 2008

Irish Information Skills Community of Practice

Ireland's Higher Education Authority funds the National Digital Learning Repository and on 5th September, it launched the Information Skills Community of Practice which will support the teaching of information literacy. The repository of learning objects will only be available to those in the Information Skills Community of Practice. More info at

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Evidence-based events

Two conferences in this field. Firstly, the Cochrane Collaboration (the key collaboration on evidence in the health sector) has its Colloquium in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, on 3-7 October 2008. Events of particular interest to information professionals are highlighted on teh website at (I'm having trouble with that link, but there is brief info here too)
Secondly, the 5th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP5) Conference has made a 2nd Call for Papers. The conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, June 29th – July 3rd 2009. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: old houses in Stockholm, 2005