Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Teens and writing

Another interesting report from the Pew Internet / American Life project has was published last week.
Lenhart, A. et al (2008) Writing, Technology and Teens. Pew Research Center.
There were 700 telephone interviews (using quite a robust sampling methodology, explained in the report) and eight focus groups, all with teens in the USA.
The summary is "Teens write a lot, but they do not think of their emails, instant and text messages as writing. This disconnect matters because teens believe good writing is an essential skill for success and that more writing instruction at school would help them." That sounds a bit bland, but there is a lot more detail than that in the actual report! The nature and quality of learners' writing is generally a concern in the UK, too, in my experience.
Photo by Sheila Webber: fritillaries, Eltham Palace gardens, April 2008.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ESCALATE conference:1

I am at the ESCalate conference, which has the theme The Teaching-Research Interface: Implications for Practice in Higher Education and Further Education. ESCalate is the subject centre for education, and the conference is being held at Stirling University. There is a website at but it does not have much info on it at the moment. I am giving a presentation tomorrow about inquiry based learning in our BSc Information Management Programme. When I have finished the ppt I will put it on slideshare (later today ;-) The first photo shows the conference bag, and the free ESCalate umbrella, but not the free ESCalate coffee carry-mug.

The delegates are academics from various Departments, incuding Education, and educational developers/researchers. The keynotes have been from Professor Gill Crozier, talking about her ESRC-funded project looking at working class students’ experiences of higher education, and from Professor Dai Hounsell, talking about some aspects of his team's ESRC-funded research into learning environments of undergraduate students.

There is a page about Prof Crozier's project here with some links to papers. Following wider questionnaires, they tracked 27 students over 2 years, who were based at four very different universities: one elite university, one pre-1992 university, one post-1992 university, and one college that did foundation degrees. The students were diverse in their home situations, as well as the nature of their university experience. For example, the elite university had a rule that students mustn't have outside jobs in their first tem, and they lived in halls, whereas at the college people\mostly lived at home and might be doing a lot of paid work, so that some of them scarcely identified themselves as "students".

Also, for example, while the students at the elite university had been identified as high flyers at school, nutured and therefore had quite positive views of themselves as learners, those from the college and post-1992 university might have low perceptions of their capabilities as learners. One interesting point was that the "traditional" system of the elite university was better at supporting students and helping them to feel at home in the university, whereas emphasis on "independent learning" and moves to e-learning (supposedly to make things more convenient for students) meant that it was even less likely that students would feel that they fitted in and were part of the university. This affects motivation and retention.

One thing that Dai Hounsell observed was that universities have tended to try and preserve the "elite" experience at least for their final year undergraduates, but there is an increasing gap between this final year experience and what students experience in first year. There has been a tendency for the first year experience to be more massified/generalised, with large lectures, use of teaching assistants and so forth. This made students potentially less prepared for a challenging final year: of course this is a familiar pattern from information literacy education, where librarians often seem to observe a sudden focus on information literacy in final year to support dissertation/project work, without a progression to this in previous years.
2nd photo is of woodland outside the conference centre

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Recent articles

Arant-Kaspar, W. and Benefiel, C. (2008) "Tailored in-class mini-instruction sessions for graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses." Reference Services Review, 36 (1), 39-47.
Chalmers, M. (2008) "Lessons from the academy: actuating active mass-class information literacy instruction." Reference Services Review, 36 (1), 23-38.
Riehle, C.F. (008) "Partnering and programming for undergraduate honors students." Reference Services Review, 36 (1), 48-60.
Young, C.L. (2008) "Incorporating Undergraduate Advising in Teaching Information Literacy: Case Study for Academic Librarians as Advisors." The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34 (2), 139-144.
Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom, Hailsham, April 2008.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Information Literacy in the Web 2.0 Environment

Gerry Mckiernan announced that he'd be speaking at the 3rd International Plagiarism Conference, Transforming Practice for an Authentic Future, June 23-25 2008, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. The website is at
Gerry is talking about "The Learning and Teaching Challenges and Opportunities Associated with the Development of Information Literacy in the Web 2.0 Environment" and he's put out a call for suggested websites, references etc. If you want, you can (this being Web 2.0!) add comments to the blog he just started up in this area, namely:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Primula, Hailsham, April 2008.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


In 2007 the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Information Literacy Forum celebrated its 6th birthday with a makeover, and as part of this ALIA members were invited to choose a new name. The winner is Suzanne Parker, from the University of Queensland, who proposed renaming the ALIA Information Literacy Forum as - ALIA PATHWAYS - the website is still at
Photo by Sheila Webber, April 2008: the pathways won't be like this in Queensland! Well, they aren't like that here right now, either

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Babe feature

There was a supplement Libraries Unleashed in yesterday's Guardian. There are articles on innovative buildings, issues to do with digital information, changing careers etc. I'm afraid my ability to critique it sensibly was compromised by my excitement in being quoted in the front-page article (which talks about students' use of information, focused around the "Google generation" report). In particular I (as my avatar in Second Life, Sheila Yoshikawa, seen right) am referred to as a "blue haired babe": probably the only time I'll ever get referred to as a babe in a national newspaper so I am savouring the moment. The whole supplement is available online at,,2274706,00.html and the lead article is here: Brian Kelly wrote an interesting piece on it here.

World Book Day

Today is World Book and Copyright day everywhere except in the UK and Ireland (where perversely we celebrate it in March). The official UNESCO site is here, mentioning initiatives in various countries. According to the UNESCO website "Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died" on 23rd April 1616 (but Wikipedia says that the UK and Spain were using different calendars so it wasn't the same day, although the same date: and Wikipedia is never wrong, is it ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Information Literacy Workshops in Iran

I have received the following report from Dr Yazdan Mansourian, a graduate of our Department and now Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Tarbiat Moallem University, Iran. He has his own blog at and is pictured third from the left in the photo (which also shows the examiners at his PhD viva, Barry Eaglestone and Bill Johnston, and Nigel Ford, who, with me, was Yazdan's co-supervisor) . Yazdan writes:
"During the last 14 months I have been running several workshops on Information Literacy (IL) skills for various groups of postgraduate students in Iran. Although ICT facilities are reasonably accessible at the Iranian universities and are heavily used by students, IL teaching is relatively recent in the Library and Information Science (LIS) community of the country. However, a quick look at the Persian LIS journals shows an increasing interest to this issue among the LIS experts. A number of MA and PhD theses in Iranian LIS departments have been done on IL and the first national conference which was specifically focused on IL's research and practice took place four years ago. The proceedings of this conference, a number of IL books, a couple of MA and PhD theses and a fairly extensive collection of journal articles altogether form the main IL literature body in Persian language. Also on the ACRL website the Persian translation of IL Competency Standards for Higher Education is available too.
"Therefore, looking at a broader picture, this series of workshops is only an example of the progressive trend to IL in Iran. During this period of time I learned that Iranian students are so enthused about learning IL skills and some of them are already very good at it. In particular, they have their own ways to satisfy their information needs which are not necessarily well-matched with IL standard skills but it does the job for them. They build these skills based on their constant interaction with the online world and through knowledge sharing with each other. Nevertheless, they want quick answers to their questions, mainly on the Web, and do not worried about the authenticity and reliability of the retrieved information. For instance, they use Wikipedia in a great deal and cite it very often. The Persian version of Wikipedia is also growing very rapidly.
"Among the main IL skills these students are so keen to learn advanced search techniques and they always seek out new search tools. Like many other countries Google is the most popular search engine in Iran but the students are interested to learn about other search engines too preferring advanced techniques like clustering in
"At the beginning of the workshops, most of the participants believed an information literate person is the same as a computer literate one. However, after attending the workshop their comments show most of them have a new perception of it at the end.
"I have categorized my workshops into three groups including: the Basics of IL skills, Advanced IL Skills for Social Science Students and Advanced IL Skills for Medical Students. I use the ACRL and the SCONUL standards as the main conceptual frameworks of my workshops. However, as the participants do not like the theoretical discussions on this issue I always try to present them more practical guidelines, give them actual tasks to carry out and follow it with my comments on their works. To highlight the importance of the IL skills I usually ask the participants to do some challenging search tasks at the beginning of each workshop to stimulate their attention to the IL skills. Interestingly, they usually learn more from their failures in search rather than their successes.
"I try to make them aware about the importance of having the IL skills and its great role on their educational and everyday life interaction with various information resources. To achieve this, I have designed practical examples to show them the basics of how to define their information needs more clearly, how to select appropriate search terms, how to develop more effective search strategies, how to delve into the deeper layers of the Web, how to reflect on their search procedure more realistically, how to evaluate information resources more critically, how to cite properly and finally how to avoid plagiarism.
"In general, besides the skills that they might learn they have a chance to discover more about some aspects of IL which are usually remained unknown for people and I think these are the main impacts of these workshops." (Copyright Yazdan Mansourian, 2008)

Friday, April 18, 2008

UNESCO: "Towards information literacy indicators"

UNESCO has published a new "conceptual framework" paper, Towards information literacy indicators. It was authored by Ralph Catts (from Australia, currently working in Scotland) and Jesus Lau (Mexico, former Chair of IFLA Information Literacy Section). It "includes a definition of information literacy; a model that links information literacy with other adult competences, such as ICT skills; and a description of information literacy standards in education" Issues of ethics, and IL in oral cultures are mentioned.
The proposal is to use UNESCO's LAMP survey to "measure" IL: "the Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP) has applied surveys carried out by OECD to developed a household survey of Literacies applicable across many countries. LAMP is currently being piloted and it has been reported that LAMP data will be available from 2009." So far I have just skimmed through the publication, in order to write this blog entry. It is obviously worth a close look. The press release is here and the paper itself at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackheath, April 2008.

International Conference on the Development of Subject Librarianship

There is a last call for papers for the International Conference on the Development of Subject Librarianship and Personal Librarianship to be helsd in Beijing, China, October 14-16, 2008 organized by the Library Society of China Academic Library Division, BALIS University Net Library of Beijing, and Capital Normal University Library in cooperation with DRCnet (Development Research Center of the State Council of P. R. China). Themes of the Conference include Subject librarian services and information literacy education. Abstract Submission by May 1, 2008, Completed Paper Submission: May 15. More details on the website, for the English version.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ramshorn churchyard again, April 2008.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Information literacy and the use of learning support materials.

The next Staffordshire Universit Information Literacy Community of Practice Workshop will be held on 21 May 2008 and will focus on information literacy and the use of learning support materials. The workshop will take place at the Ashley Centre on the Leek Road campus of Staffordshire University from 1.30-4.30 pm. The cost for the half-day is £30. Speakers: Supporting Information Literacy at Cardiff University: Cathie Jackson, Cardiff University; Selling Information Literacy to the Web 2.0 generation: Paul Johnson, Staffordshire University. Go to

Two discussions in Second Life: 17 and 24 April

Two more discussions are taking place in Second Life (SL), the virtual world: you will need a SL avatar to attend. The first , Pitfalls for librarians in Second Life is on Thursday 17 April 2008, 12 noon SL time (8pm UK time), on Infolit iSchool (45, 202, 22). Discussion is led by Pam Dowsett (Pam Ribble in SL, pictured), who outlines some pitfalls for librarians setting up services in SL - and tips on how to avoid them! Pam has extensive experience as a SL mentor and working on the SL reference desk.

On Thursday 24th April, 12 noon SL time on Infolit iSchool (101, 211, 22) The role of libraries in reaching everyday SL users. Discussion is led by Margaret Ostrander (Testy Outlander in SL) who has spent the last two months conducting research about the information seeking habits of everyday Second Life (SL) users. Research findings showed that none of the users interviewed had used SL libraries, and nearly all were unaware of their existence. What should the role of the SL library or librarian be beyond the borders of places like Info Island? Why are so many SL users unaware of SL libraries? What is your institution doing to provide outreach into the vast corners of this rich virtual universe? How can the everyday information seeking behaviors of SL residents inform library services?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Web 2.0 and information literacy

I have posted the transcript of the discussion on Web 2.0 and information literacy that took place on Infolit iSchool on 10th April 2008, in the virtual world Second Life (SL) at . Discussion was led by me (Sheila Yoshikawa in SL) and coincided with release of the new book Information Literacy meets library 2.0 (ed by Peter Godwin and Jo Parker, published by Facet Publications, which I blogged earlier). The accompanying notecard had the links etc which are in this blog entry:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Creating Knowledge

Registration is open for the Creating Knowledge V conference being held in Turku, Finland, 20-22 August. The theme is Information behaviour on the Internet – challenges for libraries Keynotes include Annemaree Lloyd (Australia) and Karen Fisher (USA). I am presenting 2 talks:
"Information literate in Second Life" and
"Developing student information literacy: influence of disciplinary contexts and implications for library practice" (with Stuart Boon and Bill Johnston, Univ. of Strathclyde)

Sunday, April 13, 2008


An article which talks about how "The information literacy and technology targets in the standards of the [US] National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) parallel the information literacy standards developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)", with reference to teacher training departments/colleges, is republished on
Birch, T. et al (2008) "Partnering With Librarians to Meet Ncate Standards in Teacher Education" 13 April. "Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning."

Photo by Sheila Webber: snowy camellias, April 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Staff development for IL

Mark Hepworth recently posted information that JISC have published a report, i-Skills: An investigation of the staff development issues relating to i-skills development, based on a study carried out by a team including Mark Hepworth, Marian Smith, Ruth Stubbings and Andrew Wilson (from Loughborough University) and Melissa Highton, Helen Howard and Angela Newton (from the University of Leeds). It looks at information literacy from the perspective of people in the Finance Department and the Research Office at Loughborough University, with data collected through interviews and focus groups. At there is an executive summary and a link to the full report.
Photo by Sheila Webber: snowy tree, Blackheath, April 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scottish Information Literacy Project

There will be an open meeting of the Scottish Information Literacy Project, to report on recent developments and the piloting of the draft National Information Literacy Framework Scotland. It takes place on Wednesday 28th May 2008, 10-16.00 held at Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland. Project website is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: the "Learning Gallery" in the library in the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, April 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Training the trainers

There is further information about UNESCO's Training the [information literacy] trainer initiative. There are training-the-trainer events between May 2008 and January 2009. The venues are: University of the West Indies; Universiti Teknologi Mara, Malaysia; University of Tallinn, Estonia; IFLA 2008 World Congress, Quebec, Canada; Hacettepe University, Turkey; University of Cape Town, South Africa; Wuhan University, China; Regional Library of Andalucia, Granada, Spain; Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt; Punjabi University, Patiala, India; Pontifical Universidad Catolica Peru. For more information see

Photo by Sheila Webber, Glasgow, April 2008

Generational markers

There is a table of "generational markers" as generated by Jennifer James for her keynote at the 2007 National Staff Development conference

I have no information as to how she generated this: some of the statements seem questionable (e.g. repeating the traditional ideas of technology-competence being linked primarily to age). However, these things can always be starting points for discussion.
Photo by Sheila Webber, April 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

WILU registration open

Registration for the Canadian information literacy conference, WILU 37, at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, Canada on 14-16 May is now open. Keynote speakers include Judith Peacock (Queensland University of Technology) and John Willinsky (Professor of Education at Stanford University and the University of British Columbia). Many interesting sessions in different formats, from workshops to "10 minute micro-presentations" which "feature an idea or component of an instructional practice in a brief and dynamic format". More info at

Photo by Sheila Webber, daffodils in Ramshorn churchyard April 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Health Communication Research

A US blog on issues to do with communication and patient understanding of health issues is Health Communication Research at http://blog.healthcommunication
The author is an academic in the field.

Photo by Sheila Webber: In the Ramshorn churchyard, Glasgow, April 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice has just published its latest issue at
One of the main articles is: DeLuca et al's "Developing a Comprehensive Search Strategy for Evidence Based Systematic Reviews" and the evidence summaries include "Computer-Assisted Library Instruction and Face-to-Face Library Instruction Prove Equally Effective for Teaching Basic Library Skills in Academic Libraries" and "Too Few Articles in the Journal Literature on Instruction in Academic Libraries are Research-Based". The latter 2 items are providing critical summaries of research articles - these critical summaries are a very useful feature of the journal.

As an aside (looking at one of the titles), I would add the comment that the effectiveness of the face-to-face and computer-assisted teaching will depend on a whole set of variables such as the educational approach of the teacher, the nature of the learners, the ability of the teacher to use the medium (f2f or online) effectively and appropriately, and the context of the learning task. I find it a bit baffling that people are still trying to "prove" that one or other approach is "best" overall, although obviously it can be helpful to evaluate varying approaches in a specific context.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Web 2.0 and information literacy

I'm up in Glasgow at Strathclyde University doing some external examiner work (their Business School's Management Development Programme) and working with students on the Information and Library Studies course. (Photo is of the Ramshorn church, used by the university as a theatre). I am leading a session on Web 2.0 and information literacy and here are some starting points I put on the handout (many of which have already appeared on the blog, but not all)
Weblogs: I gave a presentation about blog use in libraries in December 2006: the pdf of the presentation is here:
Podcasts: An example of a set of information literacy podcasts (produced by Cardiff University Library in liaison with the student radio) is at (3rd mention for this! ;-)
Wikis: This article talks about use of a wiki:
Franklin, G. (2007) “Wiki anyone? Reflections on an information literacy class wiki” Journal of information literacy, 1 (3)
Another example is: BBC. (2007) "Students assessed with Wikipedia." BBC News, 6 March.
Social networking sites: Elyssa Kroski has done a series of Top ten Facebook applications for librarians: at , and
There is a useful report as background reading & general advice to librarians, although, again, not specifically for information literacy:
Secker, J. (2008) Case Study 5:Libraries and Facebook. London: London School of Economics and Political Science.

Readings and browsings
Farkas, M. et al (2007) Five weeks to a social library. (material from a virtual course on Web 2.0 for libraries)
Godwin, P. and Parker, J. (eds) (2008) Information Literacy meets Library 2.0. London: Facet.
Godwin, P. et al (2008) Information Literacy meets Library 2.0. Blog which takes over from Peter’s former blog at (latter still worth a look, I will be blogging at the former now and then)
McKiernan, G. (2008) Friends:Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services.
Tangient Llc. (2008) Informationfluency. (“Web 2.0 meets information fluency”)

Educational approaches to information culture

There is a call for papers for the International colloquium L’Education à la culture informationnelle /Educational approaches to information culture which takes place October 16-18 2008 at the University of Lille 3, Maison de la Recherche, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France. The four conference themes are:
- Institutional, political, and educational aspects of information culture and comparative international approaches to these aspects.
- Uses, representations and social contexts of informational and documentation practices: ‘ordinary’ vs formal informational practices.
- Formatted” knowledge: implicit or hidden information aptitudes, their sources and modes of acquisition.
- Pedagogic approaches to information literacy education, and to information literacy-based educational practice.
Papers can be either in French or in English. Deadline for submissions is April 20, 2008. See the conference website for more details at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Ramshorn churchyard, Glasgow, Daffodils and dew, April 2008

CIL in print

The first volume of the open access journal Communications in Information Literacy (2007) is being made available on a print-on-demand basis. It is a hardbound casewrap edition and sells for $39.95 on All proceeds go toward the continuation of the online journal.