Thursday, April 30, 2009

Information obesity

A new book is: Whitworth, A. (2009) Information obesity. Oxford: Chandos.ISBN (pbk) 978-1-84334-449-0. "The book develops an "environmental" model of information and links together this, critical theory, and the historical development of ICT skills education and information literacy. These result in the notion of "information obesity": a failure of filtering strategies, and a consequent inability of individuals and communities to learn and to embed the results of their learning back into the environmental resources on which they must draw in the future." There is a companion web site at and a social network at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Amsterdam dusk, April 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics

Today I came across a February 2009 report from the Center for Social Media at the American University, called Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics. "Public broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, and network newscasts have all played a central role in our democracy, informing citizens and guiding public conversation. But the top-down dissemination technologies that supported them are being supplanted by an open, many-to-many networked media environment. What platforms, standards, and practices will replace or transform legacy public media? This white paper lays out an expanded vision for “public media 2.0” ..." . It has an obvious USA focus (public media has a slightly different shape in the UK, particularly with the BBC), but still some interesting thoughts.

Photo by Sheila Webber: tulips at Keukenhof, Netherlands, April 2009

Focus group - if you are a librarian and in Second Life

This takes place within SL, the virtual world, and you need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed on your computer.Focus Group: SL as a tool for networking, collaboration and CPDWhen: 30 April 2009, 12noon - 1pm SLT (8-9pm UK time)
Where: Sakura House, Infolit iSchool
We are looking for librarians or information specialists to participate in a focus group discussion on Second Life a facility for networking, collaboration or continuing professional development. What works and what doesn't work? We need input from those working in any sector, in any country (the discussion will be in English).

Information Skills for Students and Library Staff

CoFHE North West Circle's spring meeting is Information Skills for Students and Library Staff , Thursday 7 May (afternoon) at the One Central Park campus of The Manchester College. Speakers are Alison Pope and Julie Adams (Staffordshire University), Rachel Beckett (University of Manchester) and Anthony Beal (West Cheshire College) The cost of the afternoon including lunch at 12.30 is £40. There is a link to the flyer from the COFHE NW page

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workers' memorial day

Today is the 9th International Commemoration Day For Dead And Injured Workers, coordinated by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). This day highlights workers' rights to work in a healthy, safe environment, and employers' accountability. An information literate employer would, of course, make it easy for workers to know about and understand their rights, and understand the health and safety implications of being in that workplace.

Photo by Sheila Webber: De Joffers cafe, Amsterdam, April 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

LILAC impressions

The chatlog (transcript) of the discussion Impressions from the LILAC (information literacy) conference, held in Second Life on Infolit iSchool on 23rd April, is available. Three of us each highlighted a session we'd enjoyed. Vicki Cormie talked about Andrew Walsh's session on using mobile phones, Marshall Dozier talked about Peter Godwin's, which also focused on mobiles, and I talked about Sally Patalong's account of two information literacy modules (credit bearing) that she runs. The chatlog is posted at

EAPRIL conference

4th European Conference on Practice-based and Practitioner Research on Learning and Instruction will be held in Trier, Germany 18-20 November, 2009. Theme is Improving social competencies and network learning in education and professional practice. There is a call for papers, deadline for submission is 4 September, 2009. More info at

Saturday, April 25, 2009

IL school examples

The Scottish Information Literacy Project has been working with Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) and some Scottish education services to identify and write up examples. The case descriptions are now available on the LTS Information Literacy Website at
under "sharing practice". There are 7 at the moment, with a couple more to be added. They include: Developing note making skills; Family history project; Researching world religions; Helping senior pupils with research; Information literacy using the ExPLORE model.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Elm in spring, Amsterdam, April 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mobile phones

In yesterday's Second Life event, Marshall Dozier highlighted Peter Godwin's talk at LILAC Apparently one of the items he mentioned was a New Zealand study:

Twiss, T. (2008) Ubiquitous information: An eFellow report on the use of mobile phones in classrooms to foster information literacy.
There is some review of literature and a report into a study of teachers and pupils in New Zealand. Whilst the possibilities for using mobile phones in teaching are highlighted, it is interesting to read the caution about use of mobile phones expressed by students themselves e.g. not wanting to have their personal device become a school item that had to conform to school standards (e.g. appearance) and concerns about increased bullying via texts. The author notes some of the false assumptions about pupils as (information literate) "digital natives" that are made by teachers.

Photo by Sheila Webber: To the horizon, Netherlands, April 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

World Book Day

Today is the 14th World Book and Copyright Day, started by UNESCO in 1995 to promote greater awareness of the importance of books in the world. The website is at
Note that, for reasons unknown but probably commercial, World Book Day is celebrated on 9th March in the UK and Ireland (but they still call it world book day .... hmmm
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tulips at Keukenhof, Netherlands, April 2009

Information Literacy/ Second Life event today

This takes place within SL, the virtual world, and you need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed on your computer.
Impressions of the LILAC conference.
Thurs 23 April, 12noon - 1pm SLT (8-9pm UK time)
Infolit iSchool,
Some LILAC participants will highlight sessions they liked. Share your impressions too!

Communications in Information Literacy

Communications in Information Literacy has published a new issue
Janelle M Zauha: The Importance of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement to the Teacher/Librarian
Elizabeth Spackman Hopkins & Suzanne Julian: An Evaluation of an Upper-Division, General Education Information Literacy Program
Therese Skagen et al.: Pedagogical Considerations in Developing an Online Tutorial in Information Literacy.
Carissa Holler: Incorporating Vendor-Created Training into Information Literacy Instruction: A Case Study
Photo by Sheila Webber: Elm in flower, Amsterdam canal, April 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Health information for children and young people

Feeling Good: Health information for children and young people is being held in Chester, UK, 23-24 June 2009. Sessions include: Health Information Literacy: How can we effectively eliver health information to young adults in a familiar medium?; A Framework for Evaluating Web Portals Designed for Teen Health Information Seekers; Young university students as health information seekers on the Internet: A comparison between Finland and Japan (and numerous others). For more info go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Volendam (Netherlands), heron, April 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

A couple of recent articles

Hoofnagle, C. (2009) "How policy makers, journalists and consumers should talk differently about Google and privacy." First Monday, 14 (4).

Nice quote from conclusion: "We must get beyond notions of good and evil when thinking about Google."

The Journal of virtual worlds research, 2 (1) focuses on Pedagogy, Education and Innovation in Virtual Worlds.
Particularly relevant to the information world is:
Mon, L. (2009) "Questions and Answers in a Virtual World : Educators and Librarians as Information Providers in Second Life." Journal of virtual worlds research, 2 (1).
"This peer reviewed research study explores the varying roles that educators and librarians fulfill in Second Life, examining techniques they have evolved for teaching, providing information, and answering questions within a virtual world. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 educators and librarians ..."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Duck family, Amsterdam, April 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Instituut for Media and Informationliteracy (IVMI)

Apologies to Peter den Hollander for not blogging the information he sent me earlier. He told me about his institute in the Netherlands, Instituut for Media and Informationliteracy (IVMI). He wrote "My Instituut has developed online courses about information literacy for teachers. Teachers learn in my courses how they can make a 'information literacy task' for students. The theory is based on the Information Search Process developed by mrs Carol Kuhlthau. In 6 steps the teacher learn about how they can learn students to find there information on the internet efficiently and effectually. The Instituut gives online courses, but also workshops and training. Furthermore the Instituut has developed a online tool for (young) students with which they can find information on the internet following the 6 steps of information literacy." Not surprisingly, most of the information is in Dutch.
The Institute website is at
The online tool is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Duck, boat, blossom, canal; Amsterdam April 2009

Mobile learning

Thanks to Gerry McKiernan for pointing out a free e-book
Ally, M. (Ed) (2009) Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training. Athabasca Press. 978-1-897425-44-2 (e-book) (There is also a paperback, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-897425-43-5) It includes some overview chapters and also chapters focusing on specific studies and applications.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Bicycles at Leiden station, Netherlands, April 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SOLSTICE conference

The SOLSTICE Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at Edge Hill University is holding its 4th conference on 4th June 2009. Keynotes are Rhona Sharpe (Oxford Brookes University) and Tara Brabazon (Brighton University. The conference will "explore the 'blend' between innovation, research and development of supported and blended online learning". There are some interesting-sounding breakout sessions on various aspects of learning, particularly blended and e-learning.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Vase of lilac in the Keukenhof glass house, Netherlands, April 2009.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Information literacy in first year

Bill Johnston, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement at the University of Strathclyde , Scotland (and my co-researcher/writer) was in Australia a couple of months ago for various invited presentations/keynotes. One of Bill's key areas of research/expertise is the First Year Experience (FYE), and he often highlights the role of information literacy in the FYE. His visit to the University of Southern Queensland is documented at
It includes a section in which "Bill speaks on embedding information literacy skills into first year courses and using assessment to engage students"

Photo by Sheila Webber: Spring willow reflected on water, Amsterdam, April 2009

Focus on your teaching: revisiting current practice and sharing new ideas

Focus on your teaching: revisiting current practice and sharing new ideas, an event for librarians teaching in HE Institutions, is on Tuesday 28th April at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. The deadline for bookings is 20th April (sorry I didn't get this on the blog sooner!) Please contact Amanda Hodgson for a booking form:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Survey of American College Students

For 68 Euros you could purchase the March 2009 54-page publication The Survey of American College Students: Student Evaluation of Information Literacy Instruction produced by the Primary Research Group. "This report presents approximately 125 tables of data exploring how full time college students in the United States view and use and evaluate their college library’s information literacy training. The data in the report is based on a representative sample of more than 400 full time college students in the United States." They have a few highlights listed at
This includes "20.3% of students majoring in the social sciences thought of themselves as highly competent but only 4.17% of students majoring in education thought of themselves this way, a particularly frightening statistic, given that many of these students will become the next generation of primary school teachers." However, it could just be that the education students have a more realistic idea of their competence ... From the list of tables, one sees that tables include % of students who had information literacy training, broken out by things like family income level and "level of religiosity" as well as subject, level of study etc.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Keukenhof, Netherlands, April 2009.

Georgia Conference on Information Literacy

The Georgia Conference on Information Literacy 2009 takes place September 25-6 in Savannah, Georgia, USA. The home page is at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Keukenhof, Netherlands, April 2009.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

LILAC reports: other people's blogs

I'm still away on holiday for a few days. I think I have pretty much finished up on my LILAC conference reports: you can find them all with
. Additionally, here are some links to other people's LILAC blog postings. If I haven't picked yours up, do leave a comment (I moderate comments, so they may take a day to appear).
Firstly, a number of postings at, written by Information Advisers from Learning and Academic Services, Sheffield Hallam University.

Then there are a number of other individuals:
Sarah Faye Cohen
Sarah Whittaker
Vicki Owen
Katie Fraser
John Wright
Jane Secker who also does a blog round up
Moira Bent here and here
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry blossom on boat, Amsterdam, April 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

LILAC report: Information Literacy and Second Life

At LILAC I gave a symposium about information literacy in virtual worlds, together with Vicki Cormie (St Andrews University), Denny Colledge, Marshall Dozier (both Edinburgh University), and Lyn Parker (Sheffield University). Lyn and Denny participated in Second Life and so we did a lot of technology fiddling beforehand: on the day we used Marshall's laptop (connected to Edinburgh University VPN) as the most reliable connection for the main screen, and Vicki and I also logged in so that we could switch round if there were any problems with Marshall's computer.
The two themes were: what does it mean to be information literate in Second Life, and how can virtual worlds be used to develop real life information literacy. I talked first of all about some forms of information in Second Life, and drew some implications from a study carried out by my students. Next, Lyn contributed her thoughts on information literacy in SL, typing into text chat (which was legible on teh big screen). Finally on this theme, Vicki showed people round the St Andrews University management school area on their Second Life island.
For the second theme, all those in SL teleported over to Infolit iSchool and I showed my model of the SCONUL 7 Pillars of information literacy in Second Life and talked a little about using it to develop information literacy. Then Lyn again contributed from within SL and finally Marshall talked about intellectual property issues, and how discussion about copyright can be stimulated by looking at copyright issues within SL.
We didn't show powerpoint, but we used some slides for a handout and that is linked below. We also created a delicious set of bookmarks, which we will add to. That is at
The link to the powerpoint is:

LILAC conference: Sheffield University

There was a good participation from Sheffield University at the LILAC conference, and I might as well trumpet that here. I gave a symposium about Information Literacy in Second Life (together with Vicki Cormie, Lyn Parker, Marshall Dozier and Denny Colledge). I intend to blog that separately.
Three of the five free student places were taken by students on our MA Librarianship programme: Samantha Abrahams, Susan Clayton and Katie Fraser. Another one of my students, George Davies, also came down for the day to collect data for a mini-project that he and another of my "Information Literacy Research" module students are doing: asking delegates "What book, article or web resource do you think has been the most inspirational for your teaching and learning philosophy?" This parallels a study done at the US "LOEX of the West" conference, so they will be comparing results.
Students from outside our Department participated at LILAC, as the CILASS student film team had produced a film about students and information literacy: the session from Alison Bestwick, Claire Taylor, Adam O’Leary and Tanya Murphy was called The reality of information literacy: does Joe Student actually understand what’s going on?. This will be on Youtube and I will post the address when it goes on.
My colleague Sheila Corrall and CILASS’ Pam McKinney ran a session on Exploring Information Literacy through inquiry. Finally, we had two posters: Pam McKinney compiled one on our information literacy week, and Claire Scott (Library) and Bob McKay (School of English) provided one on An information Literacy intervention in the School of English at the University of Sheffield using IBL workshops.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tulips in a Radford vase, March 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

LILAC report: designing modules

One session I enjoyed at the LILAC conference, but have unfortunately lost my notes for, is Sally Patalong’s account of introducing modules as part of Coventry University’s programme of employability-led modules called “Add+Vantage”. Sally led the design and (with subject librarians) delivery of a level two undergraduate module “Information: Fact or Fiction?” and a level 3 module “Information in the workplace”. If I get a copy of the slides from Sally I may add to this post, but she provided very valuable reflection on what had been successful and what had needed revising.
One message is not to believe generalised myths like “students like guest lecturers” as she got poor attendance from students. This chimes in with my own experience, where Masters students generally do appreciate these, but in undergraduate courses the relevance has to be crystal clear to the students. We do have some extremely popular guest lecturers for our undergraduates, but they are guests who are clearly vocational role models and who also discuss the students own work with them in a useful and unpatronising way.
Another point that emerged from Sally’s talk was the problem of being associated with a programme or development that is generally unpopular with students. In this case, there was a lot of positive feedback on the information literacy modules, but they were suffering a bit by being part of a less popular development (having to take employability modules that they didn’t perceive as being “relevant”)
Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom and fountain by Sheffield Town Hall, March 2009

LILAC report: Patricia Iannuzzi

I said that I would provide some notes from Patricia Iannuzzi’s keynote at the LILAC conference, but I will make them very brief! She was mainly emphasising the need to keep in touch with wider developments in Higher Education (rather than just library developments). She then summarised some important developments of this kind in the USA. Iannuzzi highlighted how she identified statements that were about information literacy in high level documents and influential books (even when that wasn’t the term used). One title she referred to here was Derek Bok’s Our underachieving colleges (Princeton University Press, 2005). She also referred to a couple of studies from the AAC&U, including one which was surveying employers’ views on what skills and knowledge graduates should have/more of. Items she mentioned included the LEAP initiative ( and the publication: AAC&U (2007) College learning for the new global century.

Monday, April 06, 2009

LILAC report: Research informed teaching

I was one of the judges for the CILASS “best Inquiry Based Learning” paper at the LILAC (information literacy) conference last week (photo taken as everyone was leaving...) The highly commended paper was Research informed teaching, information literacy and the inquiry-based learning nexus, from Geoff Walton and Alison Pope at Staffordshire University. It made the connection between information literacy and inquiry based learning clear, and we also liked the way that it addressed the strategic issues as well as giving examples from practice.
The presenters cited both Healey’s matrix of the research-teaching nexus and the one developed by my colleagues in CILASS, Phil Levy and Bob Petrulis (CILASS, 2008, link below). These highlight the different roles and approaches that a student may have, from being more passive recipients of research content in their subject, to being active researchers and thus discovering new areas of the knowledge base for themselves.
At Staffordshire they had managed to hook information literacy learning outcomes into a major learning outcome that had been identified university-wide, namely “enquiry”. The presenters noted that getting information literacy explicitly mentioned was less contentious than they thought it might be. It was obviously useful having information literacy identified at this top level, since Departments have to identify that they are addressing these top level learning outcomes.
They gave several examples of work with information literacy in specific courses: Sport and Exercise; Art and Design; Law and Sociology and Psychology. Different approaches emerged in different courses, from integrated exercises and use of discussion boards, to use of assessments which explicitly address ability to use library resources effectively. Another notable thing was the value of having library staff seconded as teaching fellows. As well as freeing up time to develop initiatives, it also signalled that library staff are educators too.

Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. (2008) Inquiry-based Learning: a conceptual framework. Sheffield: CILASS.
Walton, G. et al (2007) “Using online collaborative learning to enhance information literacy delivery in a Level 1 module: an evaluation.” Journal of information literacy, 1 (1), 13-30.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Workplace information literacy

I was looking at the Information Literacy website and I noticed this link, which I don't think I've put up before.
Kirton, J. and Barham, L (2005) "Information literacy in the workplace." Australian Library Journal, 54 (4)
(it's a literature review)
Also, I use the tag workplace on the blog (though not as consistently as I should), so you can use this link to find at least a good number of the items I've posted about workplace information literacy. (of course it will find this post too ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils, heffield, March 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Creating Knowledge 2010

The 2010 Creating Knowledge conference will take place 8-10 September 2010 in Bergen, Norway. The headline is Information Literacy and diversity in Higher Education: mapping the learning environment. A call for papers will come out later in the year.

Photo by Sheila Webber: outdoor dinner venue at the last CK conference

Thursday, April 02, 2009

LILAC conference: using research trails

I'm back from the LILAC conference and will finish up reports from it over the next few weeks. In this post I will summarise some points from a presentation by Rebecca Mogg, Senior Subject Librarian at Cardiff University: The pathway to success? Using research trails for summative assessment. She was describing work she had done with the School of Journalism in a core year 1 module of 129 students. Students were assessed by an essay, a portfolio, seminar contributions and - for 15% of the class marks - a research trail. It was this latter part that Rebecca taught and assessed (and she noted how much time marking takes up - too true!)
She had 3 x 50 minute workshops and a one hour lecture (in which she explained what would happen in the workshops). For the research trail, the students had to provide a full reference for each item in the essay's bibliography, say how they found it and say why they selected it. Thus it was tied in with the other parts of the assessment, but Rebecca emphasised that you "need to make the relevance of the approach clear to students".
There was discussion afterwards about consistency in marking: to make this assessment viable with large classes the marking load needs to be spread, and this can introduce inconsistency, even when there are clear criteria for assigning marks. People agreed that training those who were marking, and those who were teaching, was important, when it moved beyond being one person's job.
One improvement for next time was going to be marrying up the research trail and the essay of the same student. Certainly I find this useful: indeed be able to cross reference the two is one function of asking for a reflective search report, since it can help in (hopefully) detering or (at worst) identifying plagiarism (we use a reflective information literacy report in a few of our modules).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cardiff gardens, April 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Awards at LILAC

There were a couple of awards announced at the LILAC conference.
Firstly, the CSG IL Group information Literacy Award for the most inventive initiative in the sphere of information literacy was won by Ronan O'Beirne and his team at Bradford Libraries for the learning module on information literacy developed initially for public library staff, which is now available to all as Pop-i . It has been adapted for the Higher Education sector.
The second was the award for papers with an Inquiry Based Learning focus at the LILAC conference, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social sciences. The winners were:
Janet Cottrell, Sarah Faye Cohen & Cinse Bonino (pictured here) for their workshop Embedding Information Literacy: An Exercise in Inquiry
Highly commended were:
Geoff Walton & Alison Pope for their paper on Research informed teaching, information literacy and the inquiry-based learning nexus

LILAC conference: needs of PhD students

Jane Secker and Rowena Micrae-Gibson were talking on Tuesday about Reflecting on the needs of PhD students: developing information skills at the London School of Economics. They started by referring to the RIN report and the CIBER report. At LSE there had been provision of various kinds for PhD students, but they felt they could improve. They had revamped a Moodle course, and a focus group gave some useful feedback on this, but was also a catalyst to do even more. They already had an information skills class in place, but it was in need of thorough revision to make it a coherent class. It is called MI512 Information Literacy: Tools for Research :

The revised class is a six week programme of 2 hour workshops, supported by Moodle. It has an introduction to literature searching, and sessions on using different kinds of literature, citing and referencing, managing references using EndNote, and keeping up to date. The course has proved popular, and they are doing it in each one of their three terms. It has proved useful to have feedback from people in their teaching and learning centre (teaching observation), and the speakers were also reflecting on their practice for the teaching certificate that they were taking. Changes they have made include having less powerpoint, a clearer structure to each session, more detailed workbooks which include exercises for more advanced students, and other strategies to help students who have diverse backgrounds, skills and needs. They have had some excellent feedback from students and noted that librarians shouldn't be shy about publicising the good feedback they get.

They summing up what they've learned about what researchers need. One thing was that this was not a Google generation: students were struggling with concepts like RSS and the presenters had overestimated people's familiarity with library services. However, the students were very motivated to learn and valued the librarians expertise. Thus it became evident that this type of course can make a difference and change researchers' behaviour.

Photo by Sheila Webber: weeeping cherry, Cardiff, March 2009