Saturday, May 31, 2008

Training the trainers in Jamaica

Thanks to Forest "Woody" Horton for sending his photo of the UNESCO Information Literacy Training The Trainer event that is taking place currently in Montego Bay, Jamaica. You can find out more about the event here and here .

Friday, May 30, 2008

Teaching and Training Tips for Librarians

One day workshop: Teaching and Training Tips for Librarians will be held on 23 July 2008, at the University of Huddersfield.It is organised by CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside Branch and Career Development Group Yorkshire & Humberside. Sessions include: Crosswords, library bingo and quizzes: getting more active learning into our teaching; Creativity in Teaching; Enquiry Based Learning; Lesson Planning.
For a booking form contact Andrew Walsh, University of Huddersfield, Computing & Library Services, CSB, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Kristianstad, Sweden, May 2008.

Google book search bibliography

Charles Bailey's Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography started up over a decade ago (it's now in version 71!). A more recent useful resource from him is The Google Book Search Bibliography, and Version 2 is now available. "This bibliography presents selected English-language articles and other works that are useful in understanding Google Book Search. It primarily focuses on the evolution of Google Book Search and the legal, library, and social issues associated with it." Go to

Thursday, May 29, 2008

CORIL ceases

The Cooperative Online Repository for Information Literacy Editorial Board has announced the end of the CORIL project. CORIL was a Canadian initiative to share materials relating to information literacy teaching, so it contains handouts, presentations and other material. To quote the announcement on the ILIG discussion list on Tuesday: "The planning involved in creating CORIL and the process of implementing and sustaining it over the past five years, represents significant deliberation and commitment by many of our colleagues. While in theory the project has had widespread support among instruction librarians, the CORIL collection only slowly has grown to thirty-eight items and for the past nine months has remained virtually dormant. Material in the repository will remain available for the foreseeable future, however no new content will be added." To see what is there go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Inside the Glimmingehus, Sweden, May 2008.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Safer Children in a Digital World

I have been slow in picking up the publication of the Byron Report, Safer Children in a Digital World: an "independent review looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games" (published at the end of March). It was led by the glamourous Dr Tanya Byron ("an expert in these matters and also a mum" says the evidently rather starstruck Secretary of State, Ed Balls, in the launch video) and published by the UK's Department for Children, Schools and Families. There was a call for evidence, which was responded to particularly by computer gamers and those in the gaming industry.

There is a fairly substantial bibliography to the report. The report looks at risks and benefits of the internet, computer games, and online games. There are recommendations about how to improve e-safety for children - a mixture of education (e.g. for parents), increased safeguards (e.g. in schools), industry self-regulation, and regulation. As well as the full report, there is an executive summary, and a version aimed at young people. There are some additional useful documents commissioned for the report: Byron Review Qualitative Research Report (describes research carried out specially for the report); The Impact of the Media on Children and Young People with a particular focus on computer games and the internet (a scholarly research review); a research Literature Review on Child Development; a literature review on brain development in childhood. All are linked from (it doesn't seem to mention information literacy at all, by the way....) The launch video on Youtube is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Leaves/church in Kristianstad, Sweden, May 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Libraries and e-learning

This one day master class takes place 11th June in Canberra, Australia, led by Robyn Tweedale, Principal Manager, Information Services Library, Division of Academic Information Services, University of Southern Queensland. For more information go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Church, Kristianstad, Sweden, May 2008.

Monday, May 26, 2008

E-skills and information literacy will become central in the development process, says UNESCO official

There is a report on a speech by Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, at the annual conference of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development yesterday in Kuala Lumpur. Apparently he was emphasising that skills in information technology alone are not enough. Encouraging, especially as it looks like there was a very strong emphasis on the network/technology side of things at the event. The story is here.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dandelion clocks, Sheffield, May 2008

Expanding Information Literacy Using In-World Tools

The next discussion in the virtual world Second Life on Infolit iSchool is on Thurs 29th May. You need a Second Life avatar to participate.

12 noon SL time (which is *8pm UK time*), Thurs 29th May Expanding Information Literacy Using In-World Tools [inworld = in Second Life], venue is: Infolit iSchool (45, 202,22), SLURL (web address to jump straight to the venue, only works if you have the Second Life viewer installed)

Robin Mochi (a librarian from the USA) leads this discussion. "Free in-world tools, such as Sloog and the Salamander HUD, can be used to take information literacy to the next level. Librarians often supply links to quality websites, with these tools we can share the best in-world resources. We will discuss other possibilities for expanding information literacy in-world, and a tool will be available for all to add to your inventory."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Varied information literacy

I am just travelling back from the Special Interest Group Phenomenography conference, held in Kristianstad, Sweden on 22-24 May. As you might guess, this is a conference for researchers who use the phenomenographic approach, and there were about 50 delegates from Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. The presentation was Variation theory as a basis for designing a module´on teaching information literacy. This was coauthored with Stuart Boon and Bill Johnston: Stuart (pictured here) was at the conference with me to co-present as well. This is a slightly edited version of the powerpoint - I have inserted a couple of slides explaining a little about phenomenography (obviously not necessary at the actual conference!) and taken out a couple of slides at the end, since these are ideas-in-progress.

We presented some of the conceptions of teaching information literacy discovered in our phenomenographic research project (into UK academics' conceptions of informatio n literacy and teaching information literacy) as a basis for the discussion of my proposed use of variation theory for currculum design of a new module "Education for information literacy" (core to the new MA Information Literacy at Sheffield University, UK, for which I am programme coordinator). The idea behind variation theory (to simplify) is that learning takes place through the learner experiencing variations of a concept or subject or phenomenon, so that he/she can discern critical aspects and thus get a deeper understanding.

In this case, my idea is that students can gain a better understanding of what it means to teach information literacy through discussing, reflecting on (etc) the different ways that people conceive of teaching it. Our research showed that, amongst the academics we studied, there was a lot of variation: from thinking it was someone else's job, to seeing teaching information literacy as being about giving students access to sources, to conceiving of teaching information literacy as being about challenging the student to work creatively with information in their personal and professional lives. We could focus in on distinctive aspects of each approach and look at what makes that approach different.

As a prelude to discussing this in detail with colleagues I have been presenting my ideas in a Departmental seminar, a Second Life discussion and now at this conference. At the conference, Ference Marton (who is generally referred to as the "father" of phenomenography) in fact commented rather on his interest in the disciplinary differences we had discovered (just thought I'd name drop there). Here is the edited ppt at Slideshare.

Search engine tips

At her search engine workshops, Karen Blakeman usefully asks her participants to name their top tips, and even more usefully she posts them online. Here is the latest one: she notes that Google Custom Search Engine was a new entry in the list.

Photo by Sheila Webber, May 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Information Literacy in Ireland

The CONUL Advisory Committee on Information Literacy has an event on 29th May, in Dublin, including a presentation from Bill Johnston about information literacy assessment - unfortunately I couldn't find details online but the CONUL website is at

so you might be able to follow up from there if you are interested. The website also has some interesting reports on it , as does another Irish information literacy site, Library Association of Ireland Working Group on Information Literacy:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Wild roses, Sheffield, May 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Use of information resources

Yesterday our level 1 BSc Information Management students presented posters from the projects they do in the Inquiry in Information Mangement module. All of them were interesting , but a prize was awarded for the best poster and it went to the poster on How do students use information resources to support their research during academic study: a comparison between levels of study. The photo shows Nina Jaswal, Natalie Chung and Lauren Cotton by their poster with Sheila Corrall (our Head of Department).

The sample was too small to generalise (20 students each from 1st, 2nd and 3rd years, mixture of Departments), nevertheless it may be indicative. For example, 20% of 1st years used library resources daily compared to 50% of 2nd years and 40% of3rd years. Similarly 60% of 1st years used search engines to search for academic material, whilst 30% of 3rd years did. I have put up the 6 posters on our Second Life island (Infolit iSchool), so if you have a SL avatar you can teleport up to the sky platform and see them.

Libraries make a difference: building a learning culture

The CILIP CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference Libraries make a difference: building a learning culture is in Liverpool, UK, 23-26 June 2008. Details here Some interesting workshop sessions:
Andy Jackson: Information Literacy
Bridget Badger and Will Reid: Designing social learning spaces
Dave Pattern: How students learn: the millennial generation unscrambled
Di and Kevin Broughton: Moodling your learning environment

Photo by Sheila Webber: new nettles, even weeds look pretty in Spring. May 2008

Netskills workshops

These are at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.
- Developing Problem Based e-Learning, 9th July
- Assessment for Learning: Harnessing Technologies, 10th July
For further information about these and all of Netskills workshops, go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, May 2008.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Using SL in an undergraduate class

There is a transcript of the session on Using SL in a first year undergraduate module held on 15 May 2008 on Infolit iSchool in Second Life (the virtual world) online at
In this session Lyn Parker, Vicki Cormie and I talked about the class aims, the nature of the intervention etc. and our thoughts about its impact. There was quite a lot of good discussion, I think, and the picture shows the discussion in progress. The module is "Information Literacy" which is where it gets relevant to this blog ;-)

I also realise that I haven't blogged a presentation I did on an overlapping topic at the CILASS Staff-Student Symposium we had here at Sheffield University on 2nd May. The subject of the presentation was Inquiry in Second Life, and I was describing the use of Second Life in this first year class and also with Masters students. One of the Masters students, Tim Zijlstra, also contributed. This symposium is innovative, in that students and staff present together about experiences of inquiry-based learning, and indeed there were two presentations just from students. There have been a number of posting about it on the IBL blog and the CILASS Student blog. Anyway, this was our presentation on 2nd May:

Monday, May 19, 2008

LILAC conference presentations

More Information Literacy conference presentations! Those from the UK's LILAC conference (which took place in March) are now available at:
This has the outline programme, and when you click e.g. on a "parallel session" heading, it will take you to a page with the list of presentations, linked to their powerpoints. There are a few dozen presentations, with a bias to higher education, but with something on all sectors, so lots to browse through!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

LOEX presentations

The main US conference on information literacy, LOEX, has taken place and there are powerpoints and other material on some of the presentations at
I will just pick a few out - not quite at random - but certainly there was a good deal of interest on the LOEX webpage!

We Go Together: An Integrated Information Literacy/English Composition Learning Community by Val Ontell, Instruction Librarian, San Diego Mesa College. Very detailed account of the integration - including various bits of documentation and the students grades! There is the ppt and a copy of the syllabus.

Nine Thousand Freshmen; One Common Foundation by Leslee B. Shell, Joseph Buenker, and Julie Tharp, Arizona State Univesity Libraries. Includes a presentation and an instructor guide. "In this breakout session, librarians from two ASU campuses will describe how they worked with an instructional designer to create an interactive component on academic integrity that could be taught in both online and face-to-face formats." There is a link in the presentation to a narrated Marcomedia Breeze presentation on academic intergrity at
in which you can hear Buenker and Sjhell in person.

There was a session on usin wikis for information literacy and accompanying wiki at (you need a password, and I guessed it - um, think of the name of the conference ;-)

In Pamplona I was talking about our own Information Commons at Sheffield and there is an interesting collection of material at
relating to the presentation Learning Infused Libraries: Honest Talk About What It REALLY Takes to Create a Learning Commons given by Laura Baker, Library Learning Commons Coordinator, Abilene Christian University Library

I also noticed Lesson Study: Building Better Lesson Plans through Teamwork and Revision by Marija Freeland and Shevon Desai, University of Michigan and Eric Frierson, University of Texas at Arlington. "Lesson Study is a method of developing lesson plans that involves collaboration and creativity. It is an iterative process in which teacher-librarians brainstorm, discuss and implement lesson ideas, try them out, then come back together to revise and rethink the lesson." At the moment I am reading some articles about the lesson study approach, since I am planning to use variation theory (facilitating students' understanding of a subject through experiencing the subject from different perspectives) in our new Education for Information Literacy module, and the two educational literatures seem to be connected.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Arty reflection in a shop window in Buchanan Street, Glasgow, May 2008.

CILIPS conference

The CILIP Scotland Centenary conference in Peebles, Scotland, 3-5 June 2008, includes in its Group and Branch day (June 5) a session with Dave Pattern, University of Huddersfield on Web 2.0 and Hela Oiasaar, National Library of Estonia on Teaching Information Literacy to the Net Generation Go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: Weston Park, May 2008.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Role of evidence based research in medical libraries

There is an IFLA satellite conference in Quebec City, Canada: Role of evidence based research in medical libraries. This one day session will have two sub-themes:
1. Library efforts in support of evidence-based research.
2. Research conducted by health science libraries and librarians.
Full info and registration at:
Photo by Sheila Webber: White cherry blossom, early May 2008, Sheffield

Friday, May 16, 2008

Skills for supporting learners

There is a one-day course Skills for supporting learners, on 26th June 2008 held at Glasgow Metropolitan College, Scotland. The course is being led by Derek Goldman and will cover topics such as: how individuals learn; Motivating learners and understanding their needs; Exploring methods for supporting learners; Planning and organizing a learning episode; How to provide feedback. Cost is £65 to CILIP Scotland members; £100 to non-members. More info on the events section on
Photo by Sheila Webber: Glasgow University, May 2008

Student plagiarism in an online world

Gerry McKiernan has highlighted a new book about plagiarism, which sounds very interesting (though expensive). It has contributors particularly from the UK and the Australia/ New Zealand, and also the USA and other parts of Europe.
Roberts, T. S. (2008) Student plagiarism in an online world: problems and solutions. Hershey, PA : Information Science Reference. More info at

Photo by Sheila Webber: a friendly fish in the pool in famous Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Hillhead, Glasgow - it knew it wasn't going to get eaten.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pamplona: Information Commons; and Information Literacy in different disciplines

Continuing the report from Las VI Jornadas CRAI (held at teh University of Navarra in Pamplona), also yesterday I gave my own talk: What does Information Literacy mean? Some examples from different disciplines. It is embedded below from Slideshare. Before giving it, I inserted an advertisement for the Information Commons at the University of Sheffield, since people had talked about some other innovative British libraries the previous day. I said I’d put the links on my blog, so here they are: The Information commons web page at ; the CILASS learning spaces webpages at ; the video about CILASS learning spaces at
: the Youtube student video at : and I also mentioned Facebook groups, such as 101 things to do in the I.C. before you graduate.

To go back to my talk: I was including elements from previous talks (how obvious this becomes when you upload them to Slideshare ;-) However, I think that some lines of argument might emerge more clearly and I will elaborate below.

At the start I was talking about how the question of “what is information literacy” can be answered in different ways. One can use definitions (I included the definition Bill Johnston and I developed). Our definition does take account of the “socio-political” element, and Bill and I have argued that information literacy is a discpline. One can look at Information Literacy in a pragmatic sort of way, using models and frameworks developed, mainly by librarians, with the aim of outlining areas of skill and knowledge that students ought to develop. I used the SCONUL 7 Pillars model as an example. You can also position information literacy as one amongst many desired attributes for a graduate (I quoted the relevant section from my own university’s learning, teaching and assessment strategy).

Another perspective is that of the individual within their own area of expertise: how they experience and conceive of informatio n literacy. This led me into a summary of some of the discoveries from our research into UK academics’ conceptions of, and pedagogy for, information literacy. I talked about the different meanings of “information” in different disciplines, outlined the conceptions of information literacy discovered in the four disciplinary areas, and talked about the implications for motivating and working with academics.
Something which I realised I had not emphasised enough in the slides was the impact of an academic's approach to teaching. From the outcomes of the research that was investigating academics’ approach to teaching information literacy, and from my own experience/observation, I would say that if you want to change the way an academic teaches information literacy than what you most want to change is their approach to teaching (rather than – their skills in information literacy). That is, this would have the most impact, if you want to have impact on student learning.
An academic might learn to search a database better, but this might not translate to any improvement in his/her students’ information literacy if the way the lecturer is teaching is still through lectures and exams. However, if the lecturer, through persuasive discussion with a librarian, is enthused to introduce a more constructivist approach to teaching, the students’ information literacy has more chance of developing. Our hope is that our research helps to reveal some ways in which people may be thinking about information literacy in their discipline, opening up more lines of communication and stimulating ideas.

Pamplona report: 2

This is the second report the Las VI Jornadas CRAI in Pamplona, Spain. Yesterday at the Pamplona conference there were two sessions: mine and one from Carla Basili (Ceris-CNR, Rome). Carla’s talk was titled Information literacy policies in European universities. It was given in Italian, so again I am relying on my minimal skills in that language, with my understanding mostly derived from her powerpoint.
She started by explaining the background of ENIL (
), the group she started with the aim of providing a focus for some European activities. In particular she mentioned the ENIL observatory (
and a diagnostic questionnaire ( translated into 12 languages.
She spent some time on reflecting on the different discourses about information literacy. She put forward two different Italian phrases, one of which puts more emphasis on the “process” of becoming an information literately aware person “Alfabetizzazione all’informazione processo di emananzione politica…” (may be spelt incorrectly), the other of which conveys more the state of being information literate.

I’ll observe that this issue of how you describe the concept – which words you use – is a very interesting one. In the English language the is the information skills vs. i-skills (etc.) vs information literacy debate. In some countries, France and Spain I believe, there have been debates about which words to use to translate information literacy: some using “literacy” words and some “competencies” words. In Spain the “literacy” phrase (i.e. alfabetización informacional) seems to be dominant now. I think that the phrase you choose does have implications for how you will conceive of the subject and go about teaching it.
Carla Basili identified three perspectives: a disciplinary approach (seeing the discipline as being “La cultura dell’informazione”; a socio-political approach (focused, as already indicated, on becoming information literate) and a cognitive approach (focused on individual competencies). If I understood correctly, towards the end of her talk she was advocating an approach to information literacy that took account of these three approaches: education about the value of information, as well as some theoretical understanding (e.g. of information retrieval) and practical skills. She proposed three levels of education.
One thing she wants to develop as a base level is a European Driving License for Information. This is a place where I disagree, as outlined in the talk I did at the IFLA conference a few years ago (see An International Information Literacy Certificate: opportunity or dead-end? at However, I do agree about seeing information literacy as a disciplinary area, and it is interesting to debate where it fits and what it means for educating European citizens. Carla raised some important issues. Obviously I won’t have done her speech justice so (as with the talks in Spanish) I welcome any contributions from other people at the conference who will have understood better than me.
Photos by Sheila Webber: Yamaguchi Park, Pamplona, May 2008.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I am in Pamplona, Spain, shortly to give a talk at the Las VI Jornadas CRAI . I was invited by Rocio Serrano (pictured) who graduated from our MA Librarianship programme and is one of the organisers. She is now one of the deputies in the Science library at the University of Navarra.
Unfortunately my Spanish is very poor: I can follow some written words (e.g. on powerpoints) but not conversation, therefore I am not getting the most from the conference. A big theme of the conference is the Bologna Process (of harmonisation of Higher education in Europe so that mobility etc. is easier). Some countries have been making big changes to their university curricula and strategy because of this, though in the UK Bologna has been rather ignored (partly because it was closer the the model to start with and partly because hmmmm we're British ;-(
These curriculum changes have provided opportunities to raise the profile of information literacy and the role of the library. I did attend one session where I think I grasped a reasonable amount. Fransesc Xavier Grau Vidal talked about the strategy at his university, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. He emphasised the increased competencies focus, with undergraduates being expected to acquire basic professional competencies, and Masters students more specialised professional competencies. His university is drawing up lists of transferable skills (with reference to various framworks etc including the Prague declaration on information literacy!) - examples are (if I understand correctly) "learning to learn" "Applying critical thinking, logic and creativity, demonstrating innovative thinking" "Ability to work independently, responsibly and using initiative".
These are similar to goals we have for our own "Sheffield graduates". Grau Vidal explained they also have core competencies, including ones relating to information and information technology, and (again if I've understood) there is cross tabulation between the two sets - so, for example, the skills and knowledge related to critical thinking and information work can be specified. The idea is that programmes should then apply these competencies to their own curricula and specifiy objectives specific to their subject, relating back to the university list. All programmes would either to have a dedicated module on information skills, or to combine them explicitly in core modules.
The work part of the day finished with an interesting tour of the Science Library (I will blog a little more about that). The second pictures shows part of the nice green campus.

Sofia 2008

The Sofia 2008: Globalization and the Management of Information Resources conference takes place 12-14 November 2008, in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference themes this year include: Information industry and knowledge management; Information literacy and lifelong learning; Education and training in a Web 2.0 environment; Ethics and the right to access to information.
Submission of contact information, title and abstract of no more than 500 words is to be sent by 9 June to Participation is also available for students in a special concurrent poster session. Interested students should submit contact information, poster title and a brief summary (150 words) to Ms. Perri Parise at by 3 June. More info at

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Information literacy in an Indian city

UNESCO has published Information Literacy Competency and Readership Study of Five Specific Localities in Urban, Industrial and Semi-Urban Areas of Kolkata Metropolitan City. This reports on a study carried out by the Department of Library and Information Science, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, in association with UNESCO. "The study sought to identify and critically examine the information literary competency and reading habits of mixed habitants, having contrasting professions or vocations. ... The report concludes that the number of men who do not read regularly far exceeds the number of women in the same category, and that women are more prone to use libraries for satisfaction of their reading needs. Among the non-print media, television attracted most respondents. The study also demonstrated that, despite the electronic media boom, reading still survives." For the report go to

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Congratulations to Professor Christine Bruce (pictured here) and Dr Helen Partridge, two people prominent in the information literacy area, who have both won Carrick Fellowships. The Australian Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education has just awarded 8 associate fellowships. Christine Bruce will investigate developing a pedagogy of supervision for technology disciplines while Dr Helen Partridge will develop the guiding principles and model of best practice for library and information science education. Both are at Queensland University of Technology. The media release is here

Friday, May 09, 2008

Survey on Scottish framework

A final Crawford/Irving related posting. The piloting period for the Draft National Information Literacy Framework (Scotland) has finished and they need people to carry out an evaluation. If you have read the framework they would like you to fill out the online survey at
There are 10 questions. No personal details are requested, just the sector respondent belongs to and whether they are a project partner. The survey is open until the 31 May 2008.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Princes' Square, Glasgow, May 2008.

Librarians and learning developers

There is a free event for librarians and learning developers at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, on June 5 2008. It includes "Librarians and Learning Developers working together, a case study of collaborative services". For more info and to book contact Naeem Pathan ( by 23rd May

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Information skills in a school

When I was in Glasgow on Tuesday I met up with John Crawford and Christine Irving (see my previous post about their open meeting). One interesting thing I came away with was an unpublished report produced in February by staff at Caldervale High School, Airdrie:
Brownlie, S., Curran, M., Falconer, L., McAllister, J. and Smith, C. (2008) Supporting our pupils in developing their information skills: How do we do it? Caldervale High School.
I will provide a summary of some key elements and some reflections on it. There were several stimuli for the work, including the teachers’ involvement in the research project (looking at schoolteachers’ conceptions of information literacy) led by Dorothy Williams, and the fact that two people were talking the Chartered Teacher programme. The project also developed from a Professional Development Group that the teachers had formed, and the action research they did provided a focus.
They started with the practice -based question “How do we help our pupils to improve their information skills?” They focused this further to the question of what intervention could they design to support their pupils in finding information relevant to a learning activity, collating that information in line with the activity, and presenting the information in the form required by the activity, whilst avoiding plagiarism.
Staff involved in the project (including the Learning Resources Centre manager) developing their own view of what skills were needed in their subjects, ending up with 6 clusters of skills:

- Reading with purpose and monitoring understanding relative to that purpose;
- Listening with purpose and monitoring understanding relative to that purpose;
- Writing with purpose and monitoring understanding relative to that purpose;
- Decoding visual representations;
- Using information honestly and responsibly;
- Synthesise different media with purpose and monitoring understanding relative to that purpose.

The group then targeted a geography class for observation in relation to these skills, as the pilot stage in an action research cycle (identifying more closely what needed to be changed). The outcomes from this observation are described in the report.
The intervention itself was focused on production of a leaflet about pet care, and this was undertaken by a class of 11-12 year olds and 12-13 year olds, over about 8 lessons. The authors describe their planning for different aspects, including how they supported pupils in understanding and developing social skills (respect etc.): the work was undertaken in groups of 4 with specific roles assigned. The strategy also included getting students to reflect on their performance, with time given in class for to complete diary entries.

The two teachers who implemented the intervention each give an account of what happened. The nature and impact of the group working is given quite a lot of attention. This includes how pupils were quick to identify suspected plagiarism in each others’ work (although with the planned nature of the intervention, there were few instances of copying). To see whether the intervention could be implemented more widely, it was used in two computing classes, with pupils using desktop publishing software to produce the leaflet (rather than powerpoint, as used by the first classes) and looking at computing topics rather than pet care.
Drawing a few more things from this report:
- the need to keep bringing pupils attention back to the main aims (formally at the start of sessions, and by intervening with individual groups as needed);
- the need to pay attention to social and teamworking skills;
- the inclusion of reflective acttivity;
- restricting choice of information to specific websites and print material (to try and avoid mindless surfing and scrolling);
- development of a concept of information skills for a specific population and specific subjects, rather than importing an existing skill list or framework. It is notable that the list is different from most “conventional” lists of information literacy skills;
- making the end of the intervention an "event" (pinning up the leaflets, and pupils commenting on each others’ leaflets).

Photos by Sheila Webber: Hillhead, Glasgow, May 2008 (when I lived in Glasgow my lodgings were in Athole Gardens).

Scottish Information Literacy Project - Open Meeting

Full details now available of the Scottish Information Literacy Project - Open Meeting: Recent developments and the piloting of the draft National Information Literacy Framework Scotland. Glasgow Caledonian University. 2 May 2008. Programme includes: Keynote introduction - Professor Jim Gallacher, Co-director, Scottish Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning; Project overview and update - John Crawford; Piloting the Framework - Christine Irving; Presentations from partners at Craigholme School, Scottish Government, Information Management Unit, Ardrossan Academy; Hilda McNae, University of Abertay "Breaking Barriers: Information Literacy skills to aid the transition between secondary and higher education"
Contact: Dr. John Crawford or Christine Irving, or Project website
Photo by Sheila Webber: Lane in Hillhead, Glasgow, May 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Discussions at the Centre for Information Literacy Research in SL

These will be held on the Infolit iSchool island in Second Life, devoted to information literacy, information management and inquiry-based learning. You need a SL avatar to participate.

Use of variation theory to design a curriculum 12 noon SL time (8pm UK time), Thurs 8th May, coordinates: Infolit iSchool (45, 202,22). Presentation by Sheila Yoshikawa (me), with discussion.

I will be previewing a talk I am giving at the Phenomenography Special Interest Group conference in Sweden at the end of May. I will be outlining how I aim to apply the findings of a previous phenomenographic enquiry into UK academics' pedagogy for information literacy, in designing an "Education for Information Literacy" module in a new MA Information Literacy programme. Variation theory is the term used to describe the educational approach of facilitating students' learning through helping them to experience variation in conceptions ofa phenomenon. I'm also giving this in real life at 10 am on 9th May in our Department in Sheffield (Regent Court building)

A first year undergraduate class in Second Life 08.30 SL time (16.30 UK time), Thurs 15h May, Infolit iSchool (45, 202,22). Sheila Yoshikawa (me), Ishbel Hartmann (Vicki Cormie) and Maggie Kohime (Lyn Parker) will outline their activities with 1st year undergraduate students taking the BSc Information Management course.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Finding Dulcinea

New to me was the site Finding Dulcinea. "Dulcinea Media, Inc. is a Silicon Alley-based team of savvy Internet users. Our mission is to untangle the Web, clearing it of clutter and spotlighting only the sites that matter. We aim to provide a richer experience for every Internet user." They provide web guides in various areas, including a Web search guide in both English and Spanish (Fairly standard sort of guide to searching and key search engines). I must admit I originally found this because they also had a web guide to the Kentucky Derby.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dandelions, Sheffield, May 2008.

LTEA conference

Registration is open for the Learning Through Inquiry Alliance (LTEA) Conference 2008: Inquiry in a Networked World, taking place at the University of Sheffield, 25-27th June 2008. The conference focuses on Inquiry-based learning, practice and theory, and on the role of the inquiry approach to learning and teaching in HE in the UK and beyond. Conference highlights include 45 parallel sessions, ; Playback Theatre York, facilitating an exciting event designed to stimulate creativity and reflection around key conference themes; Inquiry networking activities including; Social events including optional Peak District discovery tour. There will also be a track in Second Life: details to be announced shortly. For more info go to:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield University campus, May 2008.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Holiday items

Monday is a holiday here in the UK, so 2 information-related lighter items. Firstly, Australian librarian Andrew Finegan: "His show, Librarian Idol, was a surprise hit at the Adelaide Fringe, and was inspired by the deflating realisation that being a librarian ain't all it was cracked up to be at uni, and an equally deflating audition for Australian Idol" reports newspaper The Age, in an article previewing his show that ran in Melbourne this weekend (featuring songs such as "Librarian girl.") Scott-Norman, F. (2008) "Cool librarian, where do you look?" The Age, May 2nd. Being a cool Web 2.0 kind of guy, he has a Myspace page at and I see his next performance is in Darwin on 9th May.

Secondly, a student here at Sheffield has done his "take on the song I see girls by studio B, about girls at the Information Commons at University of Sheffield." Our Information Commons (IC - I see) features prominently as the venue of the song.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Not the Information Commons, May 2008.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Las competencias en información en las nuevas enseñanzas universitarias

Next week I will be talking at annual university library conference Las VI Jornadas CRAI and this year the theme is Las competencias en información en las nuevas enseñanzas universitarias (Information Literacy in the new world of university teaching). It takes place on the 12-13 May in Pamplona at the University of Navarra. The first day has presentations in Spanish, focusing on issues such as Spanish Universities' response to the Bologna process (of aligning higher education Europe) and information literacy as transferable skill. I and Carla Basili are presenting in English on the second day. Further information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield, May 2008

IL practitioner of the year

I am sorry that I omitted to report on the Information Literacy practitioner of the year award, presented to its first recipient at the LILAC conference dinner on the 18th March. The winner was Nigel Morgan, Biosciences Subject Librarian in Information Services. This UK-wide competition recognizes outstanding achievements in innovation within the area of Information Literacy. He was picked from a short list of 16 nominees from all kinds of libraries around the country, and was presented the award by Professor Sheila Corrall on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). In particular his development of the "Cephalonoan method" at induction was cited. His university has a short article about him winning the award at
An article about the method is: Morgan, N. and Davies, L. (2004) "Innovative library induction – introducing the ‘Cephalonian Method’" SCONUL Focus, (32), 4-8.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

ILIG discussion list

There is now a discussion list for The Canadian Library Association's Information Literacy Interest Group. To join the ILIG listserv or see the archives (it's only just started so these are obviously very small at present) go to

Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom closer up, from the tree in the photo on the previous blog post.

Information Literacy meets Library 2.0

This workshop supplements the recent book and new blog Information Literacy meets Library 2.0 / It is a hands-on workshop for librarians organised by the SCONUL Working Group for Information Literacy in conjunction with CILIP CSG Information Literacy group and LSE Centre for Learning Technology. It takes place on 3 July 2008, at the London School of Economics, UK. There will be an overview covering recent practice using blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts and social networking, and a number of workshop sessions exploring RSS, blogs, wikipedia, bookmarking applications and visual Web 2.0 tools. To book a place contact Peter Godwin ( for the booking form. Cost is £30 including lunch and refreshments.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Eltham Palace gardens, April 2008