Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nordic IL journal

There is a new journal announced: a Nordic journal specialising in information literacy, aptly named Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education Contributions are solicited for the first and future issues. I think it's exciting that the number of specialist journals in our field is growing!

Photo by Sheila Webber: Euphorbia, Feb 2008.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free information literacy seminars, 14 March

Information Literacy: strategy and research is the title of a free seminar day on Friday 14th March 2008 in Sheffield. The seminars are organised by the Centre for Information Literacy Research, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield. The morning seminar is Strategy for information literacy. The focus of the is session is on strategic issues, with a strong opportunities for participation in all three sessions.
- Professor Sheila Corrall: Strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education
- Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston: Towards an Information Literate University
- Strategic approaches for information literacy with Dr Patricia Senn Breivik.

The Afternoon seminar is Information literacy research. This session opens with a keynote setting the context for research and practice in information literacy. Presentations of research studies follow, highlighting three specialist areas and illuminating important areas of research in the workplace and in higher education. The afternoon concludes with a reflection and debate on the challenges and excitements of researching information literacy.
- Dr Patricia Senn Breivik: A global agenda for information literacy
- Chris Rhodes and James O’Brien: The IL research agenda as seen by legal information professionals: report on a Delphi study.
- Maryam Nazari: Conceptions of geospatial information and the implications for information literacy education
- Dr Alexis Smith Macklin: A Problem-based learning (PBL) approach for teaching complex information and communication technology (ICT) literacy skills.
- Professor Nigel Ford and Sheila Webber: Research approaches to information literacy: dilemmas, delusions and delights.

More information at

How to book: You can apply for a place in the morning seminar, the afternoon seminar, or both seminars. There is a limit of 25 people in the morning and 40 in the afternoon. The morning numbers are more limited to encourage active debate in a smaller forum. The seminars are free. Tea and coffee are provided as indicated, but lunch is not. If you wish to attend, please email Maryam Nazari at, making it clear which part(s) of the day you wish to attend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Promise of technology debate

Since I blogged an Economist online debate a few weeks ago I've been emailed when a new one popped up. This one might be of interest: here is the blurb that was sent me
"The Economist Debate Series presents another debate proposition that is highly relevant to educators and students. The debate proposition states: "This house believes that if the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing." What do you think? Does technology make life simpler, or does the connected nature of our modern lives keep us in a constant state of information overload? Are students suffering because of the presence of technology? We probably all remember simpler times before our lives were saturated with text messages, emails and Google alerts, but were those better times? We invite you and Information Literacy Weblog readers to weigh in with your personal experiences and points of view on the topic." How can you resist, eh. The opening statements are posted and voting begins today.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Crocus, Feb 2008


On 14 Feb 2008 a discussion on Evaluating educational interventions in Second Life, particularly education for information literacy was held in the virtual world, Second Life. The chatlog is now at and the accompanying notecard is on the web at It includes links to material from the Eduserv meeting that stimulated this event.
Photo by Sheila Webber: the meeting on 14 Feb: you may see the heart shaped cake & rose on the table.

The information literate university: 26 Feb

On Tues 26 Feb, 12 noon Second Life time (8pm UK time) there is a Discussion The Information Literate University in Second Life, the virtual world. Sheila Yoshikawa (i.e. me) will briefly explain the concept that has been developed by me and RL Bill Johnston, and develop a discussion on what this could mean in RL and SL. Venue: Infolit iSchool (45, 202, 22). By popular demand a Notecard (handout) is available from a poster at that location in advance (i.e. now!) (rather than just being available during the discussion)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Study skills for dyslexic students

Study skills for dyslexic students is a useful site at Sheffield University. Actually I think this site could teach something to non-dyslexic students as well. The graphics are nice (I think) and it is audio-led. The topics covered include writing skills, referencing, paraphrasing & synthesis and literature reviews.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Fallen cherry blossom leaves, May 2004

Thursday, February 21, 2008

IFLA database

The IFLA library success stories database has descriptions of projects or initiatives in various sectors, countries and fields. There are only 2 that are indexed as "information literacy" but others to do with e.g. "Libraries as e-learning centres"
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackberry leaves in light snow, February 2008.

Advocacy and Marketing for Libraries

Advocacy and Marketing for Libraries is a conference 17 – 18 April organised by the Finnish Library Association, Library of the Finnish Parliament and Helsinki Metropol (HelMet) Libraries in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen Cities. There are presentations from South Africa, Namibia, Scotland and Finland. Registration form is at

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tertiary/secondary article

As a follow up to the Scottish information literacy item, a recent article:
Crawford, J. (2007) "Information literacy: the link between secondary and tertiary education project and its wider implications." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 39 (1), 17-26.

On a related theme from a later issue:
Williams, D.A. and Wavell, C. (2007) "Secondary school teachers' conceptions of student information literacy." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 39 (4), 199-212.

And while I'm mentioning that issue I might as well also cite ;-))
Webber, S. and Zhu, W. (2007) "Employment information needs of Chinese young adults in Sheffield." Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 39 (4), 223-233.

Photo by Sheila Webber: light snow yesterday, Sheffield, Feb 2008.

It's a Virtual Life: exploring social networks

The East of England Information Services Group (ISG) is running this one-day seminar in Ipswich on 17 April 2008. Speakers include Phil Bradley and (why I'm mentioning it in particular) Lyn Parker who will be referring to her experiences on our Second Life island, Infolit iSchool. Speakers cover various web 2.0/3.0 type applications including a couple of case studies. The programme is at (a limk on the right a little way down) You can book online at: Closing date: 4 April.
The photo show me, Lyn (far left) and Vicki at my house in Second Life discussing the session we are doing together at LILAC in March.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Training the trainers in Turkey

The UNESCO Training the Trainers in Information Literacy Workshop hosted by the Department of Information Management & Faculty of Education of Hacettepe University will take place in Ankara, Turkey, 3-5 September 2008. There is a limit of 50 delegates. "School and university librarians, teachers and faculty, school principals and other administrators who are involved and/or in charge of developing and delivering information literacy instruction and pedagogical development are invited to apply." Priority is given to people from Caspian and Black Sea neighboring countries, Southwestern Asian, and Eastern European/Balkan countries. There is more information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailsham, Feb 2008

Joy of cataloguing

Not new (last November) but this LONG post has attracted a lot of comments: someone (not a librarian, indeed I don't think librarians are mentioned) explains at length how he went about classifying his personal library. He went for Library of Congress classification... Grossbart, Z. (2007) The library problem.

Monday, February 18, 2008

IFLA Newsletter

The IFLA Information Literacy section newsletter is out: it includes reports of sessions at last year's IFLA conference (in South Africa) and of other international initiatives. And it has a photo of a warthog!
Photo by Sheila Webber: green shoots, February 2008, Hailsham.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

IL in Scotland update

John Crawford has recently announced that "the Scottish Information Literacy Project has been funding by Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) to undertake a project entitled: Adding value to LTS Information Literacy Online Service: Exemplars of good practice. The proposal aims to identify exemplars of good practice within the cross curricular area of information literacy for dissemination through the LTS Online Service which offers an important mechanism to keep education authority and school staff informed and supported. The Scottish Information Literacy Project will work with three partners, North Lanarkshire Council, Education Resource Service; Information and Learning Resources, City of Edinburgh Council and North Ayrshire Education Resources Service to identify exemplars of good practice in information searching in schools which will be matched against the National Information Literacy Framework standards being developed; a copy of which will be made available to LTS for publication as part of the information literacy section of the LTS Online Service" The project website is at:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rocks at Sandycove, February 2008.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project Information Literacy

Thanks to Lyn Parker for alerting me to this.
There is a project gaining momentum in the USA, in particular to research undergraduate's students' information behaviour when carrying out assignments. The website at says that "Ohio State University, Sonoma State University, City College of San Francisco, and University of Southern California have expressed interest in participating in the study." One study has already been undertaken at Saint Mary’s College of California. This project explored the following research questions through focus groups, analysis of student assignments and questionnaire:
"1: How do students, majoring in lower division Humanities or Social Sciences courses, conceptualize the course-related task of research and operationalize these concepts into research activities that are assigned by faculty in courses they are teaching? When a professor assigns a project, requiring research, what does this learning task involve, from students’ points of view?
"2: What information resources do students majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences turn to and use to carry out course-related research? Where does the search for research materials start, where does it end, and why? How do lower division students in Humanities and Social Sciences ultimately select research sources for course-related work and how do they determine “quality” resources vs. “non-quality” resources?
"3: What challenges, barriers, and obstacles exist for students conducting research in the Humanities and social sciences fields?" (Report is at )

Photo by Sheila Webber: top of the Martello Tower (James Joyce Museum) Sandycove, February 2008.


Freepint seems to have diverted its feature-type articles into FUMSI. FUMSI stands for Find, Use, Manage and Share Information (sort a sort of information literacy mantra). "FUMSI publishes articles, tools, and a monthly magazine, to give you practical help with information skills.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sign of spring, Hailsham, Feb 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NordINFOLIT Summer school 2008

The NordINFOLIT Summer school 2008 takes place 16-20 June in Ulvik, Norway. The themes is: Fra praksis til teori og fra teori til praksis om bibliotekarens handlingsberedskap i m√łtet med brukeren. Registration by 1 March 2008 For more details go to:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Swimmer in February at Forty Foot, Sandycove, brrrr.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Understanding information literacy: A primer

Understanding information literacy: A primer is a new free publication, by Forest (Woody) Horton, for UNESCO. "Through this publication, UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) explains in an easy-to-understand and non-technical fashion what "information literacy" means." Available at
to download in English or French. Contact Ms Annick Ongouya ( for printed copies
Photo by Sheila Webber: looking towards Dun Laoghaire from the James Joyce Martello Tower, February 2008.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Information Literacy and researchers: 3

In this final post on the final post on the Information strategies for researchers conference (held in Dublin on 31 Jan) I will mention the talks by Angela Newton and Dermot Diamond. Angela Newton (University of Leeds) talked about “The challenges and opportunities of Roberts funding for Libraries” (“Roberts” funding was available to UK universities to support development of researchers’ skills)
Having an existing good relationship with the Staff Development Unit had helped them get their hands on Roberts money. They had got an extra member of staff to work for 18 months as Information Literacy Officer who had an input to undergraduate IL training, meaning that the subject liaison librarians could spend more time with research students. They developed workshops tailored to different needs. Cooperating with other parts of the university meant that they got better market intelligence.

The need to understand what the research students’ information literacy needs were was emphasised again. Newton notes at the end of her 2006 article (see below) “Where the information literacy of research students is concerned, one size does not fit all, and finding ways of responding to that challenge through flexible self-directed learning is critical.”

Professor Dermot Diamond, Director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, talked about “Knowledge management in a Dynamic Research Environment; past, present, future”. He emphasised the role of key performance indicators: publications, citation counts, research income. He urged Irish libraries to bid for currently available funding and also encouraged librarians to be ambitious.
“Libraries need to be in the thick of the battle to manage and exponentially increasing knowledge base” Librarians should have “Involvement in the development of tools to enable researchers to easily find and download relevant information” “Involvement in the development of tools to enable the impact of research to be accurately assessed”
Note that he thought that librarians should be developing tools, not just helping people to use tools, although he still saw that as a role too. He also highlighted how bibliometrics will become increasingly a hot topic in the UK as the next national research assessment will put much weight on citation counts.

Newton, A. (2006) “Reaching out to research students: Transferable skills training in context“ Paper presented at the Creating Knowledge Conference, Copenhagen.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Forty Foot looking towards Dalkey, Ireland, Februuary 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Information Literacy & researchers: Part 2

Firstly I'll mention that on 7th February I led a discussion in Second Life, the virtual world, reporting back from the Information strategies for researchers conference (held in Dublin on 31 Jan) and discussing issues to do with researchers' information literacy. The transcript of the talk is online at The picture shows some of us as the meeting drew to an end.

The first speaker at the conference in Dublin was Andrew Booth (Sheffield University). He referred to his useful review on information literacy for researchers (referenced below). He had given this review the subheading “Researchers require tailored information literacy training focusing on information management, not simply information retrieval.” This was a theme that emerged in several talks.

The key points that Andrew makes in his paper are:
“It is inappropriate to attempt to meet information literacy needs of researchers using instruction methods based on undergraduate student behaviours;
“Researchers do not follow the neat stepwise progression from a state of unknowing (“information need”) to one of knowing that underpins most information literacy instruction.
“Information management, rather than information retrieval, should be the focus of information literacy instruction for researchers.
“Where information retrieval is covered it should focus on techniques such as “area scanning”, footnote chasing and known author searching rather than keyword searching of abstracts and indexes.
“Information literacy training should be “socialised” through formal collaboration with supervisors and integration with existing research programmes or research groups.
“Training should focus on achievement of practically based outcomes such as the production of a log book or a portfolio.
“Training should optimally be tailored to the individual and delivered at the time of need.”

Booth, A. (2007) “Information literacy training: what do researchers need”. Research Information Network.

Brown, S. and Swan, A. (2007) “Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and their Services.” Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries.

Calls for professional development sessions

The Association of College and Research Libraries invites proposals for a half-day or full-day professional development sessions to be held prior to the 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting or the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. Submission deadline is April 7 , 2008. ALA Midwinter Meeting workshops will be held on January 23 2009 , in Denver, USA. ALA Annual Conference preconferences will be held on July 10 2009 , in Chicago. "Professional development programs should allow participants to develop skills related to a specific topic and should focus on interactive learning through a variety of presentation styles. Programs that offer practical tips and cutting-edge techniques are especially encouraged. Proposals should explicitly outline activities that will be incorporated during the session to enable attendees to achieve the session's learning outcomes." Proposals should be submitted via the online proposal form at

Friday, February 08, 2008

Information Literacy for researchers: 1

I will report in a few postings from the one day conference Information strategies for researchers: where are we making a difference? organised by CONUL and SCONUL in Dublin on 31 January 2008. Moira Bent (Newcastle University) is blogging the conference too at I'll start with the talk she gave together with Jo Webb (De Montfort University) on Information Literacy in a researcher's learning life (see also their book, referenced below) , then move on to my own talk.

They referred to the seven stages of a researcher’s life, in particular identifying early, mid and late career phases, each of which had certain characteristics and activities. Similarly, information literacy and information needs could vary depending the stage the researcher was at. For example, mature researchers might want information for different purposes (keynote papers, reviews), and would already have a good picture of the information landscape. One of the key themes of the conference was that you couldn't treat all researchers the same, and this talk helped to draw out some of the differences.
Webb, J., Gannon-Leary, P. and Bent, M. (2007) “Providing Effective Library Services for Research”. London: Facet. ISBN: 978-1-85604-589-6

My own slides Information literacy: a researcher’s perspective are on slideshare, embedded below (I hope). I started by referring back to the "7 ages" model identified by Bent and Webb, and also highlighted differences in information behaviour, using some quotations from my own research. Some of the differences I mentioned were:
- Nature of information – such as spatial or molecular data, where manipulating it is part of being IL;
- Different disciplines e.g. current searches less important in English than Chemistry;
- Different kinds of personal information behaviour e.g. browser, information encounterer, searcher;
- Different research approaches (most obviously qualitative vs. quantitative);
- Different conceptions of research (e.g. focused on output vs. making a personal research journey)
I also talked a little about my role as research supervisor, research project leader and individual researcher.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

IL workshop

There is a workshop on 12 March 2008 focusing on information literacy and the strategic agenda. It takes place at Staffordshire University, UK, 1.30-4.30 pm. Speakers are John Crawford (Advocacy - a core function for Information Literacy) and Steve Wyn Williams (Information Literacy and the Leitch Report). Bookings for this event are through the online booking form at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snowdrop in my garden

Schools courses in UK

The School Library Association has a number of courses relating to information literacy around the UK, notably: Information Literacy Skills and the Primary School Library (23 April), An Information Literacy Curriculum for Primary Schools in Scotland (11 March), Information Literacy: Strategies for Development across the Secondary School (1 May). See

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

HILT handbook

Cardiff University's Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching (HILT) is now available on the web. "It covers key topics such as Lesson Planning, Delivery, Evaluation and Assessment and also includes examples of our teaching materials. The Handbook was written by a group of subject librarians to support colleagues in the delivery of information literacy teaching within Information Services. However, we believe that there is much which will be of interest and of relevance to the wider IL community." Go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Pearse Station, Dublin, Feb 2008 (filmgrain effect)

People, Places & Pedagogy

People, Places & Pedagogy is a Colleges of Further and Higher Education (COFHE) SW event on Friday March 7 at Yeovil College, Somerset, UK. It costs £10 + VAT to CILIP members and £20 + VAT to non-members. The 3 key speakers are:
PEOPLE: Karen Foster,Head of Learning Centres at Yeovil College.
PLACE: Kate Gardner, the Head of Library and Study Centres at Worcester College of Technology.
PEDAGOGY: Virginia Havergal, E-Learning Advisor - Learning Resources JISC RSC South West.
To book, go to

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Science & health scares in the media

An interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Inside stories, looked at how the "Bird flu epidemic" has been covered in the UK media. For the next week you will be able to "listen again" (go to
). The webpage for the whole series (which looks at major news stories and decisions made by the media on them) is at .
During the programme they mentioned the Science Media Centre ( ) "an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the national news media when science is in the headlines". They obviously target their main service at the UK press, but there are some useful sections on the site e.g. "peer review in a nutshell", "Communicating uncertainty in a soundbite" (which "offers some effective ways for scientists to talk about uncertainty in a brief news interview"). The press briefings are unfortunately not up to date: they say they are revising the site.
Photo by Sheila Webber: January snow in my garden Sheffield.

Inspiring Learning in Further Education

CoFHE East Midlands Circle Event Inspiring Learning in Further Education, 6th March 2008 at New College Nottingham (UK), £40 including buffet lunch and refreshments. The aim of this event is to provide an update on what is happening in Information Literacy and how Further Eduction librarians can use this to inspire students to learn. Sessions on: How the MLA's Inspiring Learning For All (ILFA) framework to evaluate FE library services has been used at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru. (Andrew Eynon, Library Resource Manager Coleg Llandrillo Cymru) ; The mobile college library: reader development in FE, (Pat Hebron, Assistant Librarian, Coleg Llandrillo Cymru) ; Sharing information literacy resources. (Peter Wakefield, Division Head Libraries, Castle College Nottingham) and Julie Wakefield (Information and Learning Co-ordinator, Lincoln College) . To book your place email Janet Gibson, with your name, job title, address for invoicing, phone number and email. Places are limited: book by February 29 2008.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Logo contest

The competition to design an Information Literacy logo is still on - with a $3,000 Dollars prize! You need to design a logo for information literacy work for use by UNESCO, IFLA and anyone else who wants to use it. The deadline is May 15 2008. The guidelines of the international logo contest are at (Click the orange square).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pearse station, Dublin, February 2008.

IL in schools book

A new book is: Dubber, G. (2008) Cultivating Curiosity: Information Literacy Skills and the Primary School Library. School Library Association. ISBN 9781903446423. £7.50 or £6 to members of the UK's School Library Association. "This updated and revised Guideline, taking account of the 2007 Government literacy teaching objectives, explains the importance of embedding information literacy into a whole school, ICT and curriculum context. It outlines and explains the processes of research for young children and shows ways that teachers and librarians can develop and promote information literacy and related ICT skills through the primary school library and link it to classroom practice. It also includes a very useful and practical case study, some templates and a reading list." It can be purchased from
Photo by Sheila webber: Martello Tower housing James Joyce museum, Sandycove, Ireland, February 2008.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Libraries and mega sites

If you have 78 euros to spare then you can buy a new report Libraries & the Mega-Internet Sites just published by Primary Research Group. The market survey was of 120 libraries (mostly in teh USA), academic, special and public libraries about how they use and relate to the mega-internet sites such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, eBay, Amazon, and others. ... This report provides hard data on exactly how libraries are dealing with the emerging internet giants, how they are adopting, negotiating, repelling, embracing and in every way developing strategies to provide the best possible information services to their clientele." It has chapters such as "The Library and EBay" and "Google Productivity Tools". You can order it from
Photo by Sheila Webber: Yellow flowers, photoshop drygrain effect.