Saturday, March 29, 2008

Report from the LILAC conference: 4

On 27 March 2008 on Infolit iSchool, in the virtual world, Second Life, Vicki Cormie (Ishbel Hartmann in Second Life) and I (Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) led a discussion presenting some of our highlights from the 2008 LILAC conference. Some of the discussion participants had also attended the RL conference. The chatlog (transcript) of the session is at and the photo is of the session. The discussion touched on some important issues (subjects of future discussion!)

Vicki Cormie had prepared interesting notes on three sessions that she wanted to highlight, and I reproduce them here, below, with Vicki's permission.

1. The library? Why would I go there? Library use by undergraduate students in China, India and Greece. Speaker; Anja Timm
(Diversity and Social Justice Theme)

This address focused on the information literacy needs of students on taught postgraduate programmes in the UK. The aims of the project were:
"* to inject timely and topical research results into the debate about the way international students are recruited, prepared and taught and how plagiarism can be deterred
"* to develop resources that will be of use to various groups within the the higher education sector and support its engagement with the issues of student diversity and academic writing, e.g. teaching staff, senior managers, educational developers, etc."

The project went out to look at libraries and the ways students used them in China, India and Greece. It was found that there were huge differences in the ways students used libraries for many different factors. In India, students at some of the less affluent universities had libraries that did not meet their needs in any respect, being full of out of date materials and being run by people (rarely librarians) who saw themselves as custodians of the material, and therefore there to protect it from use by the students. The relationship with academic tutors in these colleges, was also found to be strikingly different from the experiences of students in other countries with their tutor being very much as a friend; someone the student could socialise with and be their key contact and problem solver of all issues that the student might come across. Academic tutors are usually not involved with research and tend to teach with fixed texts for the course.

(Sheila adds: a comment from my own experience. A small study by one of my students indicated that at undergraduate level international students might be *more* likely to have experienced good school libraries, perhaps as it is the better off students who have money to go abroad.)

2. Podcasts: IL delivery on demand. Speaker: Rebecca Mogg (Net generation theme)

This short presentation looked at using Podcasts for IL delivery at Cardiff University.
One of the things that I really like about LILAC is the good balance of the academic papers and the practical sessions, and this session was an excellent example of the latter. It was short and to the point and came up with many good suggestions and of practical ideas of how academic liaison can be taught through the use of podcasting.

Cardiff University employed a former student who had worked with student radio to produce a series of short radio programmes which were released on a weekly basis under the title “The Essay Survival Guide”. The programmes were created around a very loose script of questions created by library staff and then answered by using soundbites from students, academics and library staff. The result was a professional and engaging series of programmes that never sounded boring.

3. Role delineation in an iterative, cognitive skills based model of Information Literacy. Speakers: Judith Keene and John Colvin (Practical approaches to information literacy).

This session was a good mix of theory and practice based on several years worth of research done on creating a model of information literacy with mathematics students at the University of Worcester. One of the most interesting things that came out of it, and certainly one of the things that caused the most discussion at the end, was at the different roles of lecturers and librarians in the different stages of the model and whether it was always appropriate for information skills to be taught only by librarians, especially in the sciences.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Report from the LILAC conference: 3: blog reports

Yesterday Vicki Cormie and I led a discussion in Second Life (the virtual world) about our impressions of the LILAC (information literacy) conference held last week. For this we prepared a notecard (handout). "Waste not want not": I thought I could repurpose that material for the blog. I will make this into 3 entries.

In this first one I post web addresses of other blogs that covered LILAC, in the second I will post Vicki's material plus the address for the transcript of the Second Life event, and in the third provide my final round up.

There were a number of parallel sessions at LILAC, but if you look through all the blog entries you will find that, between them, they cover a good number of the sessions. I'm sure I haven't found all the entries, so please add comments to link to any other LILAC reports.
1. There was a dedicated LILAC 2008 conference blog maintained by one of the delegates at
2. If you want to find the other entries on THIS blog, you should be able to do it by searching for the word lilac, using the search box in the top left of the screen. I have also used the blog tag lilac20083. Moira Bent has blogged the conference on Moira’s Info Lit blog with a good number of entries at e.g. at

4. Nancy O’hanlon blogged at

5. Jane Secker (one of the organisers) has given her Reflections On LILAC at

6. Karl blogged at

7. There are 2 entries about the Second Life sessions on my Sheila Yoshikawa blog at
8. Angela Newton (also on the organising committee) reflects at
Photos by Sheila Webber: of the front of Liverpool's Catholic cathedral and of the view from that cathedral down to the Anglican cathedral (with, on the right, the John Foster building in which teh conference took place).

Teaching skills for Librarians

Teaching skills for Librarians is a one day course from Jo Webb and Chris Powys, on Monday 7 July, held in the Department of Information Studies, The University of Sheffield, UK. "A key course aimed at building on your current experiences of teaching information skills in libraries and learning centres. Developing new skills and adapting to new learning environments is essential for increasing levels of information literacy amongst our users. This one-day participative course will provide stimulating discussion and an excellent opportunity to share experiences. Practical tips for teaching library users will be set within a theoretical framework of teaching and learning." A completed booking form is needed to reserve a place, contact Hannah Rose ( Cost is £70 plus VAT.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Guided Enquiry

The School Library Association is running a course Guided Enquiry: Personalised Learning Through the School Library run by the well-known Ross Todd. Of interest to "Anyone with an interest in school libraries and wishing to promote the best learning opportunities for students in information age schools through a guided enquiry framework." It is being held in the Methodist International Centre, London, UK, on 19 May 2008. Discount deadline is 7 April 2008 and Closing date is 5 May 2008. For more information go to:

Photo by Sheila Webber: more snowy primroses, March 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

College Information Literacy Efforts Benchmarks

Primary Research Group have released a report based on information from "more than 110" North American universities College Information Literacy Efforts
The cost is 75 US dollars (you can download the pdf for this price from their website) and the ISBN is 1-57440-099-1. It has statistics on various things such as whether the university requires an information literacy test for graduation, what sessions are provided by librarians and (since this is a North American publication) information relating to IL in english composition classes. The Primary Research home page is at and you can find the item by selecting Publications and then Library publications. The press release giving some highlights is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Primroses in snow, Sheffield, March 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper

Thanks to Gerry McKiernan for highlighting this presentation given by Andreas Brockhaus and Martha Groom on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2008 Online Spring Focus. Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper "To enhance the learning experience of a term paper, students were required to publish their papers in Wikipedia. Publishing for a large audience provided authentic feedback and encouraged students to do their best work. Using Wikipedia also allowed students to connect with a vibrant community and share their knowledge by making their papers publicly accessible." You can see the ppt (and, I think, the ppt with audio but I was doing this blog entry at a computer that had sound disabled ;-) at
You might want to look through the rest of the programme at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Hawthorn, Hailsham, 2005.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

LILAC conference: 2nd report

This is the second report on the LILAC (UK information literacy) conference which is taking place in Liverpool, UK, 17-19 March. In this post I’ll concentrate on workplace information literacy. Firstly, the photo is part of a poster which gave results of a survey of Australian Government librarians, that was carried out a few months ago (authors are Jennifer Kirton, Lyn Barham and Sean Brady, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute).

Some of the questions asked the librarians the extent to which they saw each of the six information literacy standards (as outlined in the ANZIIL framework) as being their job to develop with departmental staff. They also asked about the information literacy training that was carried out.
On Monday of the conference I attended a presentation from John Crawford on the study Christine Irving and he had been doing into workplace information literacy. This is part of their overall project in Information Literacy looking at the spectrum of sectors and including development of the Scottish Framework for information literacy (which I’ve blogged about before and which was the subject of a conference keynote). Their project website is at and there is a page specifically on workplace IL.

John started by highlighting some of the previous research into workplace learning, giving a summary which stated that “All theorists (e.g. Lave and Wenger) agree that learning in the workplace is a form of social interaction”, but that there is disagreement as to whether learning is exclusively situated in the particular workplace (or whether it is more amenable to influence from and to the outside world). John noted that the library literature and educational theory literature don’t connect (well, actually he talked of a “complete disjunction”) and one aspect which pedagogic literature neglects is that of intellectual property.

Another couple of points I’ll pick up are that he felt that “the daily round of tasks” could substitute for the curriculum in developing information literacy. This fits in with things I’ve blogged before about tying IL training in with workplace tasks or forms (such as linking into project cycles). The issue of “professional ideologies” was also raised, and I think there are parallels here to study of academics, where conceptions of information literacy are seen from the perspective of someone within an academic or professional grouping (e.g. a chemist’s perspective of information literacy).

John reported on findings from interviews with care home staff, staff at the Scottish Tribunal, Scottish Government, and Social work and NHS staff. As I would have expected, people were an important source of information in all cases, and this means that the role of human relationships in information activity needs to be taken into account. Adult literacies training was seen as "powerful driver" that might encourage information literacy.

Also unsurprisingly (I'm afraid), public libraries were not seen as relevant to people's workplace information needs. One point made in the conclusion was that "an understanding of what constitutes information literacy is widespread in the workplace but is often implicit rather than explicit and is based on qualifications, experience and networking activity." There was a lot of interesting material in teh presentation and John & Christine intend to write it up and also are pursuing follow up activities.

Finally I will briefly mention the i-skills in the workplace initiative, which Netskills have been carrying out. (NB for US readers this is not the ETS iskills, it is something that was called "i-skills" first ;-) This initiative is aimed at non-academic staff in further and higher education in the UK. There have been a number of workshops (firstly free, latterly with a modest fee) in which staff could reflect on their own i-skills and aim to develop them further. One tool that has been developed out of this work is a self-evaluation form online, so that people can identify which information literacy or information management skills they most need and how well they think they are doing in them. This is not a test, it is self-rating, but the profile gets stored online so you can refer back to it. This is in the final stages of development and should be made freely available. The website for this initiative (with information on resources and workshops) is at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Problem Based Learning for Information Literacy

I have posted the transcript of the discussion that took place on 13th March 2008, on Infolit iSchool, in Second Life, on Problem Based Learning for Information Literacy at The discussion was led by me and there was an accompanying notecard which is available at as a pdf.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

LILAC conference report 1

This is my first report from the LILAC (UK information literacy) conference which is taking place in Liverpool, UK, 17-19 March. Note there is a dedicated LILAC 2008 conference blog maintained by one of the delegates at

My own active involvement in this conference is leading two workshops on Second Life, the virtual world. Vicki Cormie (St Andrews University library), Lyn Parker (Sheffield University library) and I planned these together, following our joint work with my first year students in Second Life. Unfortunately Lyn hasn't been able to attend the conference, but we were lucky that Pam Dowsett works at Liverpool John Moore's University (where the conference is based) and she is an expert SL librarian and mentor. The short introductory powerpoint to our session is on Slideshare here and I have also blogged about the first workshop on my Sheila Yoshikawa blog here (Sheila Yoshikawa is my name in Second Life)

The other session that I'll mention in this post is the one I just attended Playing catch-up: new initiatives for improving tech-knowledge and information literacy amongst library and teaching staff at the Open University. This session was given by Anne Hewling, from the Open University. She talked in particularly about the Digilab ( ) which is a play and learning space where educators can get familiar with technologies, play about with them, and get to understand how they might be able to use them to support student learning. She described, for example, "Digiquests" where people might be set off on adventures round campus to use technologies to record or capture and solve problems: the idea being (I think) to improve people's confidence in using the technologies and spark ideas of how they might be used in authentic learning situations. There is a Digilab blog at and I notice a recent headline is "Surgeons are using the Wii to prepare for surgery."

Anne also mentioned the information skills tutorial, Safari, produced by the Open University some years ago and apparently revised recently. It is also being launched as "Safari Mobile" for reception on mobile devices.
Photos by Sheila Webber: Liverpool's Catholic cathedral, which is just over the road from our conference venue, and me hovering over delegates on our island (Infolit iSchool) in Second Life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

IL in the curriculum

Here (finally) is the Pwerpoint I presented at the seminar held on 3 March 2008 at Stockholm University. The title of the PowerPoint is Information Literacy in the curriculum: reeal and realistic aims, and it was looking at outcomes for information literacy education. This session formed the second half of a day that was looking at the impact of information literact. Sharon Markless and David Streatfield presented the first half and it had been organised bu Christina Tovote.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Web Search: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

I'v been doing a lot of information literacy things over the last days and haven't had time to blog! I'll do some posts about that tomorrow, in the meantime, a recent book on information behaviour.
Spink, A and Zimmer, M. (Eds) (2008) Web Search: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Berlin ; London : Springer. ISBN: 9783540758280 3540758283
This has chapters from people doing research in different parts of the information science discipline (that is what seems to be be meant by multidisciplinary, rather than looking at searching from the perspective of people in different disciplines)
More information at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Developing a Module on Information Literacy

New from the LIMES project is Developing a Module on Information Literacy (IL) by Barbara Chivers. Aimed at those teaching library and information professionals, there are five "chapters" with titles like "Learning Theories and Information Literacy" which provide summaries of some theories and issues, and short reading lists. There are also supporting documents, including an example assessment briefing and mark sheet for an assignment "Design and prepare a training event to develop information literacy skills" (remember these material are aimed at those teaching librarians, not at the librarians teaching learners, though the material might be useful to them for inhouse training. THe material can be used freely for non commercial purposes with acknowledgement.

Photo by Sheila Webber: St Pancras station roof, Feb 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Librarian, the Library & Becoming Media Literate

The Librarian, the Library & Becoming Media Literate is an event on 24 April 2008, The Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK. "This one day session will introduce the key concepts that underpin notions of media literacy, defined as becoming a 'critical reader' of media texts of all kinds. Participants will be asked to consider the library itself as a form of media production and to apply the key concepts to their own practice, including considering the changing use of libraries in the world of Web 2.0." For more information, go to
£75 per delegate (Student rate: £40)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Virtual Worlds: Libraries, Education, Museums

One thing which I started thinking about was why I am more likely to blog a Second Life (SL) event than a Real Life one. I think the answer is that:

1) in SL I can start the blogging while the conference is on: taking notes on the computer whilst I'm at the conference. The conferences I attend in Real Life don't tend to have facilities for delegates to be connected whilst in the audience; also my laptop has a short battery life so would give out after about one session.

2) Once the conference is over, I'm there at the computer, ready to write up notes on the spot.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Session from David Loertscher

Today in Second Life, the virtual world, I attended a transmission of a session that was being done by David Loetscher at San Jose State University SLIS. The talk was called How can librarians get back in the information game: new directions in schools and academic libraries and slides are at
Loertscher has done a good deal in the information literacy area.
I must say I never thought librarians were out of the information game, and the ideas were not all new, however it was interesting to see the presenter "live" and I did pick up some ideas and a new thing (to me) i.e. that the American Association of School Librarians had produced Standards for the 21st Century Learner in 2007. You can download the brochure that describes them at
I like the emphasis that the learner must "Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge", although there are some of other statements that I would like to poke about a bit. Anyway, this could be a useful booklet if you are not aware of it already, and in his ppt, Loertscher translates the standards into a dynamic diagram.
Other things I'll pick out of Loertscher's talk are advocating use of iGoogle and blogs, and use of a wiki for "professional literature collaborative synthesis" in a class. In fact the session was more of a dialogue with Robin Williams (not the film actor), rather than a talk, which definitely made it more fun to watch.
The photo shows the auditorium on SJSU SLIS island, with the slides from the ppt mounted up front and the video feed on the screen. Fortunately I'd updated my Quicktime software the day before otherwise all I would have seen is that irritating Quicktime logo.


Another winner from Cardiff University: a series of podcasts which are episodes on student radio.
Topics such as: What makes a good essay? Going beyond the reading list: finding good web sites; Going beyond the reading list: discovering books and journals - and the next one (at time of writing) was going to be on avoiding plagiarism.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Trolleys, St Pancras, Feb 2008 (dry grain effect in Photoshop)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Digital Economy Fact Book

Britton, D. and McGonegal, S. (2007) The Digital Economy Fact Book. (9th ed) Washington: The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

This free book has statistics about use of technology, trends in use of digital technologies etc. with more info about the USA than other countries. The Progress & Freedom Foundation is supported by Google, EMI, Time Warner, Cisco etc.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Light snow in Parker's Lane, Feb 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Information Literate University

I hosted a discussion on the Information Literate University on Infolit iSchool (in the virtual world, Second Life (SL) on 26 Feb 2008. I started by introducing this concept, developed by me and Bill Johnston (Strathclyde University) and the discussion progressed from there. There were librarians from the UK and USA and also one student (from another university).

- The background handout is at (this was given out as a notecard in SL)

- The transcript of the discussion is at N.B. I am Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life.

- There are a couple of references listed in the handout, which are:

- - Webber, S. and Johnston, B. (2006) “Working towards the information literate university.” In Walton, G. and Pope, A. (Eds) Information literacy: recognising the need. Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent: 17 May 2006. Oxford: Chandos. pp 47-58.
- - Webber, S. and Johnston, B. (2004) “Perspectives on the Information Literate University.” SCONUL focus, (33).


Infokits from JISC are are online resources with brief sections identifing key issues,
with links and reading lists. For example the one on personal information management, "Based around the four-phase information lifecycle as a consistent model underpinning the management of all types of internal information, this set of linked resources includes specific strands on records management and email management, providing more detailed guidance in these areas." There are useful guides in other areas like Social software, change management.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, Feb 2008.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Information Literacy meets Library 2.0

A new book, to which I contributed a chapter:
Godwin, P. and Parker, J. (eds) (2008) Information Literacy meets Library 2.0. London: Facet. ISBN 978-1-85604-637-4
"This edited collection from an international team of experts provides a practically-based overview of emerging Library 2.0 tools and technologies for information literacy practitioners; addresses the impact of the adoption of these technologies on information literacy teaching; provides case study exemplars for practitioners to help inform their practice; and examines the implications of Library 2.0 for the training of information literacy professionals." (the last bit is what I wrote about)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Library Arcade

On ilibrarian
) I
saw a post about games-based tools for information literacy skills: the
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries’ Library Arcade. "They have two games so
far - “I’ll Get It” in which players must help fellow students find library
resources, and “Within Range”, a library re-shelving game using the LC
classification system." Go to
I found Within Range curiously addictive, although it didn't seem to always
realise what were the correct places for the books (either that or I was making
mistakes, surely not. Actually MOST fun was putting the books in the wrong
place and getting the booper noise)

New info behaviour/ society articles

James, J. (2008) "Digital preparedness versus the digital divide: A confusion of means and ends" Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59 (5), 785-791.

Choo, C.W. et al (2008) "Information culture and information use: An exploratory study of three organizations." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59 (5), 792-804.