Wednesday, January 30, 2008

LILAC programme

The programme for LILAC 2008, the UK's information literacy conference, is now available at
There is a strong programme with parallel sessions and keynotes, including Patricia Senn Breivik. I will be doing a workshop (twice, if there is demand, on Monday and Wednesday) with Lyn Parker and Vickie Cormie: Out-genning the net generation: Second Life as a learning environment. Also from Sheffield University: colleague Sheila Corrall is co-authoring a paper Librarians as Teachers: the Pedagogical Knowledge and Development Needs of Subject Librarians, Pam McKinney from CILASS is presenting on Information literacy through inquiry. The closing date for delegate booking is February 29th 2008.
Photo by Sheila Webber: White lilac, April 2004

Monday, January 28, 2008

Horizon report

The latest Horizon report is out, sponsored by the New Media Consortium and Educause. This report annually identifies technology-led trends and challenges. One of the key challenges identified is as follows:
"The academy is faced with a need to provide formal instruction in information, visual, and technological literacy as well as in how to create meaningful content with today’s tools. Webbased tools are rapidly becoming the standard, both in education and in the workplace. Technologically mediated communication is the norm. Fluency in information, visual, and technological literacy is of vital importance, yet these literacies are not formally taught to most students. We need new and expanded definitions of these literacies that are based on mastering underlying concepts rather than on specialized skill sets, and we need to develop and establish methods for teaching and evaluating these critical literacies at all levels of education. The challenge is to develop curricula and assessment rubrics that address not only traditional capabilities like developing an argument over the course of a long paper, but also how to apply those competencies to other forms of communication such as short digital videos, blogs, or photo essays."

In fact there are already definitions of information literacy that encompass this broader perspective, the CILIP definition as well as the one by me and Bill Johnston, but I suppose, particularly in the USA, it's the ACRL standards - which are very focused on special skill sets - that dominate. However, still good to see information literacy plainly. (Actually I also still think arguments over the course of a long paper are the bigger challenge than writing blog posts!)

The report identifies 6 technologies that "will significantly impact the choices of learning-focused organizations within the next five years, namely: Grassroots Video; Collaboration Webs. (e.g. edit group documents, hold online meetings, swap information and data); Mobile Broadband; Data Mashups; Collective Intelligence. "In the coming years, we will see educational applications for both explicit collective intelligence ... and implicit collective intelligence, or data gathered from the repeated activities of numbers of people.; Social Operating Systems. "The essential ingredient of next generation social networking, social operating systems, is that they will base the organization of the network around people, rather than around content." They give descriptions and examples of each.
New Media Consortium and Educause Learning Initiative. (2008) The Horizon report: 2008 edition. NMC.

Photo by Sheila Webber: My shop (selling photos) in Second Life. Well, it's sort of Web 2.0. The New Media Consortium also has a very strong presence in SL.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Learning styles and communication

Exploring learning styles - implications for communication in the workplace is a new one day seminar taking place in Liverpool, UK on 9 June 2008. The Tutor is Deborah Dalley and it is part of the training programme offered by NoWAL, a consortium of all the UK University and Colleges of Higher Education libraries in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. Delegates will identify their preferred style of learning and examine how that influences the way you interact with others. Information on NoWAL courses is at:

Photo: another picture of my orchid.

Health information article

Marshall, A. and Henwood, F. (2007) "Informing Health: a participative approach to health information provision" Library and Information Research, 31(99) "This article reports on a research project which took place in Brighton in 2006. It was part of ongoing research into the role that information and communications technologies (ICTs) might play in enabling access to health information. ... The discussion focuses on three themes arising from the study: different interpretations of health and health information; the role of libraries in health information provision; the benefits and issues of working in a partnership which includes community participants. "

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Search history

A nice tip from Greg Sheaf on the lis-infoliteracy discussion list for saving search histories (useful if you want students to present evidence of their searches, and/or analyse what they have done) Apparently if you use the Firefox browser the history is saved in a file called history.dat, which is stored in a "profiles" folder. Greg provides useful links:

Photo by Sheila Webber: my orchid has bloomed again!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Second Life talk & article

I will be giving a talk My Second Life after the AGM of the Commercial, Legal & Scientific Information Group of CILIP next Tuesday 29th January 2008 at 6.30pm. I will be giving an overview of Second Life, the virtual world, and go on to give a personal perspective on its uses for education, business and information work. It will cost £5 (payable in advance) to attend the presentation; however the AGM is free to all members of CLSIG. It will be held at; Macfarlanes 10 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1BD. Please contact Kim Mclachlan if you would like to attend:

Also Lyn Parker, who has been working with me in SL with my students, has written an article:
Parker, L. (2008) "More questions than answers: the reflections of Maggie Kohime, a virtual librarian in Second Life." Aliss Quarterly, 3 (2) January, 13-17.
The issue is on Web 2.0 and the Library and information service: the publication details are not yet on their website

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Social networking debate

Thanks to Gerry McKiernan for highlighting an "Oxford Style" debate on the Economist website that ends on the 25th January. The proposition is that "Social Networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational method, in and out of the classroom".
There is a proposer, an opposer and a moderator who have each made 2 statements, and others are encouraged to assume psudonyms and join in the debate. The website is at
Skimming, I notice a comment from Postcolonialtech "Yes, internet information may be untrustable. But in fact all information may be untrustable. I cannot say that I find more mis-information (as a percentage) on-line than I find on the shelves of any American Barnes & Noble. The New York Times gets things very wrong. So do textbooks. We either teach students to analyze information from whatever source or we leave then unarmed in the world." which latter statement is picked up enthusiatically by another commentator (of course, they could both be librarians) Postcolonialtech finishes one of his/her comments "My suggestion? If you are university professor, copy this entire debate. Let your students divide up the transcript - analysing claims, positions, strategies, rhetoric, etc. You may begin to show them the dynamics of SNS learning." [SNS = Social Networking .... something?]
Photo by Sheila Webber: a landscape I created in Second Life

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Plagiarism in schools

There are interesting posts in the lis-infoliteracy discussion list and on Moira Bent's information literacy blog, sparked by a BBC story which covered a survey carried out by a teachers' union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (there were 278 respondents, teaching sixth-formers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
BBC. (2008) "Teachers voice plagiarism fears." BBC news. 18 January.
There's a bit more information, including responses to the key questions, on the ATL site at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Old man's beard in sunlight, Lewes, December 2004.

Netskills courses

Netskills are running short courses at the West of Scotland Science Park, Glasgow, Scotland:
Mobile Learning: Education on Demand, 30th January
Assessment Solutions for e-Learning, 31st January
More info at

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


There are already papers available from the BOBCATSSS conference, including some relating to information literacy:
Vezzosi, M. (2008) "Linking Teaching and Learning: A Longitudinal Approach to the Assessment of Information Literacy." In: 16th BOBCATSSS Symposium 2008: Providing Access to Information for Everyone (BOBCATSSS 2008)28.01.2008 - 30.01.2008: Zadar, Croatia. pp. 202-220.
"This paper presents a project of Information Literacy carried out at the University of Parma (Italy). A multi-year Information Literacy programme is offered to a group of students attending the Environmental Sciences degree course. Students’ learning is assessed and measured all along the development of the programme in a longitudinal way and all the learning activities are designed and tailored according to what emerges from the assessment stages. ... Some preliminary results, related
to the first longitudinal cycle (2004-2007) are presented. Students improve, along their study path, in terms of knowledge and skills. Also their attitude towards information develop in direction of increasing awareness and independence"

Koltay, T. (2008) "Information Literacy and Communication: A Theoretical Approach to an Interdisciplinary Issue." In: 16th BOBCATSSS Symposium 2008: Providing Access to Information for Everyone (BOBCATSSS 2008)28.01.2008 - 30.01.2008: Zadar, Croatia. pp. 167-171. (This short paper basically outlines some definitions and models of IL, highlighting links with communication)

Ashcroft, L. (2008) "Adult Learners and Public Libraries." In: 16th BOBCATSSS Symposium 2008: Providing Access to Information for Everyone (BOBCATSSS 2008)28.01.2008 - 30.01.2008: Zadar, Croatia. pp 22-29.
"The UK Government’s ten year strategic vision for public libraries in England was defined in Framework for the Future, which set out current strengths and key areas for development for public libraries in supporting lifelong learning, and the benefits to be gained from public libraries working in partnership with other organisations ... A study for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) undertaken by a team at Liverpool John Moores University reported on the first phase of a project on public library provision for adult learners."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Greenwich Park, December 2008.

Discussions and talks from the Centre for Information Literacy Research

1) There are more discussions planned in Second Life, the virtual world. Each discussion lasts an hour. On Thursday 24th January 2008 (N.B. Now rescheduled to 14th February) at 8pm UK time (12 noon Second Life time) there is a discussion on Evaluating educational interventions in Second Life. On February 7th 8pm UK time (12 noon Second Life time) there is a discussion on Information Literacy for researchers. I will start off the latter session with some feedback from the SCONUL/CONUL event in Dublin on that topic. As usual with these discussions, they are held on Infolit iSchool (in the CILR building, pictured here: coordinates Infolit iSchool 102, 212, 22). In order to attend you will need to have a Second Life avatar and to know how to teleport to coordinates, do basic movement and use the chat function (I'm not being funny there, they're the only requirements really).

2) We also have a programme of research seminars in my "physical" Department; mainly aimed at staff and students in the Department of Information Studies, but I could have been mentioning them here as anyone is welcome. The next one is given by Dr Andrew Madden, on Internet search practices of the general public: 12-13.00 on Friday 25th January 2008 in the Department of Information Studies, 211 Portobello Street, Sheffield (pictured). "This talk reports the findings arising from a study of searches by 103 volunteers. They were observed and interviewed as they performed a number of search exercises. In the course of each session, the subjects carried out several tasks: some were self-selected, others were set by the researchers. Searches were recorded and analysed. The problems encountered by searchers,and their strategies for resolving them, are discussed."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Symposium presentations

There are a few PowerPoints (Getting in Their Space, Confidence and Competence: Evaluating Information Literacy Teaching for Nurses and Information Literacy for the Long Term) plus the results of a caption competition on the website of the Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy 7th symposium (which took place last October) at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Lake Ashi, Japan, 2005.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Assessment of information literacy

A discussion on Assessment of information literacy took place in Second Life, the virtual world on 17th January 2008. It was led by Maggie Kohime (Lyn Parker in real life, a librarian here at Sheffield University). It was held, as usual with these discussions, on Infolit iSchool. Maggie/Lyn posed a number of questions for discussion, such as: What forms of assessment of information literacy are you using with your students? Would you recommend any in particular? How does the learning approach adopted impact on the assessment technique used? For example: Inquiry Based learning, problem based learning. Has anyone measured the impact of different assessment techniques on student learning? Know of any work done on this? How do you ensure that all aspects of information literacy are covered within a programme? There were 8 of us in the discussion forum, from the UK and North America.

The full transcript of the discussion is here: The discussion was part of the Centre for Information Literacy Research discussion series.

Strongest Links

I have mentioned it before but is worth mentioning it again: The strongest links: The Website for UK School Librarians is at with an outline of information literacy and links to models, resources etc.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Greenwich Park, December 2007.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wikipedia, Virtual worlds etc.

On December 17th there was a discussion led by Ishbel Hartmann (Vicki Cormie in real life), reporting on some key sessions from the RL international conference, Online 2008, held in London, UK, in December. The discussion took place on Infolit iSchool, in Second Life (the virtual world) and it was part of the Centre for Information Literacy Research discussion series. There is a full transcript of the session at I'm Sheila Yoshikawa in thsi chat, by the way.

Ishbel provided brief information on sessions by Jimmy Wales, Ian Rowland and Roo Reynolds and the discussion followed on from this. Some of Ishbel's background notes were "Jimmy Wales gave an interesting and entertaining talk on the development and future plans of Wikipedia. He talked about a video which will be released next year looking at how Wikipedia is being used in developing countries, in particular slum schools in India and in creating information resources in African countries (see [unfortunately this starts by basically making fun of librarians]) He then went on to discuss Wikia (, his new project which takes the Wiki forward from being just an encyclopaedia – or “building the rest of the library”.

Ian Rowlands, Senior Lecturer School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London, UK, talked about How the Google generation’ searches for information and the implication for research collections. "This was a fascinating and challenging discussion that there was no such thing as the an age based “Google generation” and that the demographics are far more complicated that we believe." Roo Reynolds (Metaverse evangelist with IBM) talked on Enterprise 3D; living and working in virtual words. The complete audio track and slides are available online

Online workshop on academic integrity

Online workshop: Building a Community that Values Academic Integrity takes place February 25 - March 7, 2008. The moderators are Gary Pavela, Director of Judicial Programs and Student Ethical Development, University of Maryland and Kimberly Bonner, Executive Director, Center for Intellectual Property, University of Maryland University College. This is a priced workshop.
"Studies show that establishing a community of shared academic values fosters academic integrity in the classroom. However, establishing that community may be more difficult when students adopt the values of a digital "remix" culture that challenges the traditional understanding of authorship. How do institutions foster academic integrity values in light of changing cultural norms? Are there special techniques and tools required? Are the best tools to use in preventing academic dishonesty "technical" like And are there additional legal and ethical issues involved when using technical measures to prevent academic dishonesty?" Website at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Field, Hailsham, January 2007.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brabazon googles (not)

University of Brighton academic Tara Brabazon seems to be getting a lot of coverage for her "anti Google" stance, which she's been writing about for some time. There is an article in Times online, quoting some of her views (she's giving an inaugural lecture), which had 38 comments at time of writing:
Frean, A. (2008) "White bread for young minds, says university professor." Times, 14 January.

Obviously I'm not going to disagree with the idea that students should be encouraged to be more information literate! Banning students from using Google and Wikipedia in their first year (as she's quoted as doing) seems a bit odd to me, though, as I would rather support students in understanding how to discriminate between sources of information. She could probably have made a nice case study out of what she actually said and what was reported in the media and what comments people made (e.g. perhaps my report here is moving even further away from what she meant...), had her students been allowed to use it.....

Photo by Sheila Webber: Greenwich Park, December 2007.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Information behaviour of future researchers

A research review has been published, which had the aims of establishing:
"whether or not, as a result of the digital transition and the vast range of information resources being digitally created, young people, the `Google"generation’, are searching for and researching content in new ways and whether this is likely to shape their future behaviour as mature researchers?
"whether or not new ways of researching content will prove to be any different from the ways that existing researchers and scholars carry out their work?
"to inform and stimulate discussion about the future of libraries in the internet era."
It was co-funded by JISC and the British Library. The JISC press release is here and it has been picked up by the press e.g. here. The latter story is probably also prompted by the fact that the Chief Executive of the British Library, Lynne Brindley, has just been made Dame Lynne Brindley (I worked for her for a while when I was at the BL....) This is the review:
University College London (UCL) CIBER group.(2008) Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. London: University College London. CIBER Briefing paper; 9.

Photo by Sheila Webber: London, December 2007.


There is a call for papers for the Libraries in the Digital Age conference, to be held in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia, 2-7 June 2008. The two themes are Part I: Education and training in digital libraries and reference in digital libraries. The call for full papers closes today (sorry I didn't pick that up earlier) but the call for posters and demonstrations deoesn't close til February 1st. The web site is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 2004.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The third issue of the open-access (i.e. free online!) Journal of information literacy has been published at Highlights include the use of Wikis, Information Literacy and older people, together with articles from practice and book reviews. The next issue is due in April 2008

Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailsham, January 2008.

Reminder: call for papers

This is a reminder that the Australian Library Journal has a call out for papers on community and workplace information literacy. Guest Editor is: The Australian Library and Information Association Information Literacy Forum (Contact: Helen Partridge Full papers due: February 15 2008. For more information see my previous blog entry.

Friday, January 11, 2008

E-learning call

The IFLA e-learning discussion group is planning an interactive discussion session on e-learning at the next IFLA World Library & Information Congress: 10-14 August 2008, Qu├ębec, Canada. They seek proposals which focus on a learner centred approach to e-learning - in continuing professional development/ workplace learning, information literacy programs and LIS education. You might be exploring questions such as: What does a learner centred approach mean for both the environment and the teaching method? How is the learner taken into account when planning and presenting e-learning programs?
The format is short 15 minute presentations followed by facilitation of discussion. Proposals may be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Send proposals (300-500 words abstract, name, position, affiliation, address, phone, short biography) by February 1st 2008 to the Co-Convenors of the IFLA e-Learning Discussion Group, Anna Maria Tammaro, Sylvie Chevillotte Ian Smith
A formal paper, for inclusion on the IFLA conference website, will be required by May.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailsham, January 2008.


The student-led BOBCATSSS 2008 symposium Providing Access to Information for Everyone takes place in Zadar, Croatia 28-30 January 2008. It includes 2 sessions on information literacy. Registration and programme info at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Ivy leaves in snow, Sheffield, January 2007.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Events from CILIP

The future of learning and information literacy . London, UK, 1st April 2008. Programme: Technology's impact on the brain; Information literacy development - existing approaches vs. new models; Popular manifestations of the Web 2.0.

Teaching skills for secondary school librarians. London, UK. 2 days: 22 May & 25 June. Programme: Principles and theories of learning and the appropriate techniques to achieve them; Managing classes and difficult behaviour; Encouraging learning.

Photo by Sheila Webber: The dome (O2) from Greenwich Park, London, December 2007.

Research in Second Life + Assessment for Information Literacy

Yesterday I hosted another discussion in Second Life (SL), the virtual world. This time the discussion was led by Oshun Akina, and it was about Samples and sampling in Second Life research. The transcript of the discussion is available at and the photo shows us during the discussion.

The next meeting in Second Life in the Centre for Information Literacy Research Discussion Series is at 4pm UK time (8am SL time) on Thursday 17th January. Maggie Kohime (Lyn Parker in real life) will lead a discussion on Assessment of information literacy. The venue will again be Infolit iSchool (our island) in Second Life. You will need to have a SL avatar to attend ;-)

Evidence Based Library & Information Practice Conference

The 5th International Evidence Based Library & Information Practice Conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, June 29th – July 3rd 2009. The call for papers will open in May 2008. Further info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Swans, Blackheath pond, December 2007

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

CSG IL IL Practitioner of the Year Award

There is still time to nominate for the CILIP CSG Information Literacy Practitioner of the Year Award 2008. The winners get £500 to donate to a charity of their choice and £500 for themselves! Recipients of this award are recognised for their outstanding achievement in innovation within the area of information literacy. The IL Practitioner of the Year Award is open to all working in the IL arena and from any sector.

Individuals may nominate themselves or colleagues who they feel have demonstrated innovation in the field of Information Literacy and nominations are welcome for individuals or groups.

The judges will be looking for one or more of the following: Raising the profile of information literacy within your organisation; Developing a system / course / programme / service or product which develops information literacy skills; Evidence of impact; Nominations should demonstrate innovation, initiative and originality

Nominations should take the form of a short description (Between 3 to 4 pages of A4)
Contact details should be provided of the Nominator and if you are nominating someone else, their contact details. Supporting evidence should be provided e.g. Documentation, URLs etc

Closing date: January 31 2008. For more information and for a nomination form please go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailshame, January 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Studying students

I don't think I blogged the free downloadable publication, a book which describes a project to address the research question "What do students really do when they write their research papers?" The researchers at the University of Rochester, USA, used some ethnographic techniques to illuminate this question, including asking students to take photographs and keep diaries. Indeed, the first editor is described as "Lead Anthropolgist" at the libraries. It is interesting both in terms of the research approach usd and the findings.

Foster, N.F. and Gibbons, S. (eds) (2007) Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

There is also a 16 minute podcast about the study at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Barge on the Thames, London, December 2007.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

UNESCO objectives

The IFLA information society working group recently drew attention to UNESCO's latest strategy document. A search of the pdf did not reveal any occurrances of the term "information literacy" (although, as noted in a previous blog entry, one of the UNESCO staff has IL as part of her remit). However, there are paragraphs which indicate commitment to IL concepts: I quote here paras 103-105.
"103. Providing equitable, appropriate and affordable access to communication and information for all is a fundamental requirement for building knowledge societies. Universal access – and knowledge creation and dissemination – depend on an environment that facilitates inclusive communication and information processes involving engagement at all levels, from global, regional, and national entities to local communities and individuals.
"104. In the pursuit of this strategic objective at the global and national levels, UNESCO will promote and advocate for policies bolstering freedom of expression and the right to information. Strong support will be given to initiatives creating in Member States the conditions for media and information networks – including the Internet and new media – to function in a democratic setting and to exercise freedom of expression rights.
"105. UNESCO will also support institutional efforts to build in various countries the capacities of information and communication professionals to create, disseminate and preserve information and knowledge while upholding high ethical and professional standards. Attention will also be paid to promoting the use of multi-platform technologies in order to improve the processing, creation, presentation and dissemination of content. UNESCO will also enhance the capacities of users to access, analyse and determine the relevance and quality of information beneficial to their needs. Particular emphasis will be placed on integrating women in these processes on an equal basis and building the capacities of young people." (p29)
UNESCO. (2007) Medium term strategy. 34 c/ 4. UNESCO.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Giong down before the race, Lingfield Park, December 2007.