Monday, May 31, 2010

Information & Health Literacy events in Second Life

When: Thursday June 3rd, Where; Infolit iSchool (& tour to Tseshkovsky); in Second Life, the virtual world (you need a SL avatar and the SL browser installed to participate)
- 7 am Second Life time, presentation Information Literacy for 21st Century Life
- 8 am SL time reports and discussion on recent conferences; plus at
- 9am SLT (en Espanol) and 12 noon SLT (in English): repeat event: Pi Illios (Universidad Puerto Rico) Literacia en Salud en Second Life (en Espanol, 9am) / Health Literacy in Second Life (in English, noon)

* 7am SL time (see for time in other countries): presentation from Sheila Yoshikawa (Sheila Webber in RL, University of Sheffield) on Information Literacy for 21st Century Life (as presented at the Oeiras a Ler conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in May, with some amendment).
In this presentation Sheila will elaborate a definition of information literacy and give examples of what information, and information literacy, mean in a number of contexts (e.g. in computer gaming, in a workplace, for "tweens") and sum up key messages about IL in the 21st Century.

* 8 am SL time (see for times in other countries): Report back from recent conferences (Oeiras a Ler, Informa 2010, and any others participants have been to recently!) Venue:

* 9am SL time (see for times in other countries) Literacia en Salud en Second Life ( en Espanol: Pi Illios, University of Puerto Rico)
La Biblioteca Conrado F. Asenjo en el Recinto de Ciencias Médicas de la Universidad de Puerto Rico lleva a cabo un proyecto de Literacia y alfabetización en salud dirigido a hispnos que residen en Second Life .
La literatura profesional señala que el 31,5% de los pacientes de habla inglesa y el 61,7% de habla española presentan una inadecuada o marginal alfabetización funcional en salud.
La plataforma virtual Second Life tiene una población considerable de hispanosparlantes (alrededor de un 11.8 %) que residen en en este mundo virtual por infinidad de razones. Nuestro objetivo es enseñar y orientar al residente hispano en SL a encontrar información de salud confiable, actualizada y adecuada a sus necesidades; see

* 12 noon SL time (see for times in other countries) "Health Literacy in Second Life" (talk and tour; in English: Pi Illios, University of Puerto Rico)
The Conrado F. Asenjo health library of the University of Puerto Rico has created a prototype for health literacy to help Hispanic residents in Second Life. This is responding to the factthat surveys have shown that people have poor health literacy (31.5% of English speakers and 61.7 Spanish speakers). They have used the platform of Second Life to create a prototype informative build. Pi Illios with introduce their work, and then take people on a tour of the build on Tseshkovsky; see this page/a>

Friday, May 28, 2010

Exciting things at Aarhus Public Library

Today I will catch up with a post about the Oeiras a Ler conference held in Lisbon, Portugal 20 to 21st May in their Municipal library (picture of part of the building on the right). Mette Kirkegaad Jensen talked about “Play Time” at Aarhus Public Library (Denmark). The focus wasn’t information literacy, but her talk definitely made me want to visit, so I am going to share some of it! The library website is at, see also e.g. Flickr. She described a number of initiatives, with some of them focusing on the theme “Team family”. The idea is that since in Denmark mostly both parents are working and the children spend a lot time at school, and people want some “me time”, then they have to work hard to get time together as a family. So they have an initiative “Families at play in the library”.
One of the areas in the library is “the storage room”, an area at the front of the library with drawers and cabinets filled with things that people could play with, wear or examine (including jewellery and old computer games). The parents can become nostalgic for their childhood (e.g. playing those old computer games) and play together with their children. Although the children took to it immediately, apparently the parents can be more reluctant to do something so playful in a library.
They also have a children’s interactive library. This includes:
- a “story surfer, a floor area with big buttons at the side, each of which represents a word (I think things like “adventure”). You can press up to three buttons, and circles of light with pictures of books are projected onto the floor: where the circles intersect are books that might interest you and you can get more details.
- A “bib phone” where you can hear what is on an RFID tag on a book. The idea is that people can leave messages for each other on the book.
- “Interactive table” with a 2D map of Aarhus, and when you place girl or boy dolls on the map you can see a video about that place. The idea is to get children interested in the city’s history.
You can see some of the interactive things I just listed in a video at
Another feature is the Gobelin tapestry. This is a compilation of portrait photographs that takes up a wall. You an take a photo of yourself and add it to the “tapestry”; the arrangement changes as you walk past. Mette also mentioned formalised social networking e.g. a computing club for children and a “Spotmobil” (small library caravan) that travels to music festivals and other events for young people (see
Finally they have a website featuring “Ask Olivia”: Olivia is a “14 year old girl” but actually has librarians providing the answers. However, teenagers seem to like the portrayal of a young girl and ask her a lot of questions. Aarhus library does a good amount of market research and Mette said that “co-creation with users is a must”. She stressed that even in library 2.0 people are more important than data, and “it is more of a mindset, not just about technology.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Librarians as Teachers conference

There was a lively Twitter stream about the COFHE Librarians as Teachers conference taking place today at Warwick University, UK, today:
The conference website (that has the programme) is here
Photo by Sheila Webber: cemetary, Prague 3

Search engine wars: let battle commence

Karen Blakeman, a UK information expert, talked about the warring search engines and developments in search at the INFORUM conference in Prague, from which I am selectively reporting. In the early days of the web I used to do regular seminars on business information sources and search engines, with detailed handouts. Karen's concentrated burst of updated information reminded me that I've got lazy, since I've stopped noticing all the changes on search engine screens, and thus probably haven't been using all the features.

Karen concentrated first on the "big 3" of Yahoo, Bing and Google. She started with focus on Yahoo, highlighting to the way it gave options for refining your search on he left hand side. It now uses Bing as its underlying search engine (a change). She liked the fact that it gave you a simply-presented search results page. However some people feel that it may not be developed much in future.
Bing, Microsoft's engine, by contrast, has had a lot of development. However, a lot of special features are only available on the US version. Special features include "recent tweets" "top shared links" and "related searches". Results tend to be more consumer-oriented. For Karen, who does business-related searches it was "information hell", since apart from the consumer-orientation, the search commands worked unpredictably.
Google adjusts results according to what you searched for in the past and searches also vary depending on the country you are searching from (I certainly noticed that searching here in Prague!). Features include "latest news" and if you are logged in to your "social circle" (social media) then results for that will be filtered in too. Various search options are shown down the left hand side after you have searched. Karen also talked about the wonder wheel function. (this is something about which I noticed very lively debate on the ili (US information literacy) list recently: people were suggesting using it to get people to think about search strategy). Karen identified issues with the refinements to do with the timeline feature, in that Google essentially grabs a date that looks prominent. These features were talked about in more detail by the next speaker at the conference, Vilem Sklenak.
Summing up: results are getting messier, in the engines' efforts to deliver more refinements. Social media results are increasingly being included, but are not comprehensive.
Therefore Karen talked about some alternatives: iseek - clusters into categories, and there is an "education" option; Biznar real time federated search of selected business sources, and it also organises into categories. It is a bit slower, but it is looking in the deeper web, so that is understandable. More specialised still were - oil and gas exploration; Chemspider; Healthmash (Karen was concerned that it filtered results too much and was doubtful about its top hits); "a better way of searching government statistics sites!".

Karen recommended Phil Bradley's powerpoint on searching social media sites at does indeed look excellent and was presented a couple of weeks ago. She did pick out, and

Karen's slideshare is at, her blog is at and her website with its information sources guide at
Photo by Sheila Webber (photoshopped): coffe and cake in Prague

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I have been speaking at the INFORUM 2010 conference in Prague, Czech Republic 25-27 May. or in Czech and there is a Facebook page at and twitter stream at though it mostly consisted of informative tweets from Karen Blakeman (a speaker) when I just looked.
Just in general: INFORUM is a well-established annual event, which has hundreds of delegates and a good atmosphere (for older people, it reminded me of earlier days of the UK's Online conference). It started with an amusing "panel session" with spokespeople from Heaven, Hell and Purgatory talking about their ideas of information hell, purgatory and heaven (see Karen's tweets for pictures). However then it got down to the more serious business of electronic journal publishing. This is an electronic information conference rather than an information literacy conference, so I will just blog a few things. This is my first pick.
Eileen Lawrence, of Alexander Street Press, talked about How Students and Faculty are Using Streaming Media in the Classroom: How Does a “Playlist” Become an Online Publication or Course?
She was talking about creating playlists for use in teaching. Alexander Street Press have, in particular, a good amount of classical recordings, and some educational videos, but also a wide range of other material. They make it fairly easy to search the existing content to put together playlists of different kinds of material. In some cases they have got transcripts of audio/video and division into scenes so you can select particular parts of a video rather than the whole thing. I think the usefulness is in having an interface for putting it together easily (rather than using Netvibes etc.) and that all the copyright clearance has been taken care of, and you know it is ok to use in class.
She used the example of the Czech Composer Leos Janacek, and putting together a list with a biography, score, audio recording of a piano sonata, and a video of the Cunning little vixen. As well as linking to their material, you can bring in other web links too. She gave examples of people using playlists for library promotion and for supporting study. People reuse playlists, but you have to be an Alexander Street subscriber to have access to them.
The speaker mentioned a webcast Video in the Library: Trends and Best Practices at Incidentally, it's worth bookmarking the page for Library Journal webcasts since they are free events that they hold fairly regularly and you can look at archived webcasts if you register.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tomas Bouda, who interviewed me after my talk: on the laptop is his Second Life avatar Zdenek, who I had already me in Information Literacy Week in SL last year.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Information Literacy for 21st Century Life

On Thursday I spoke at the Oeiras a ler conference in Oeiras, Portugal, on Information Literacy for 21st Century Life. There will be information on their blog, and there was a twitter stream at (mostly in Portuguese as that was the language of the conference). I will say something about other presentations in a future blog post, but in the meantime this is my presentation. I identify some of the different ways in which various groups of people experience information and information literacy (IL) in the 21st Century, with reference to 21st Century research studies. I go on to discuss some of the key aspects of IL that need more attention. I see these elements as evolutionary development of IL as a 21st Century concept, not as something completely new and different.

Friday, May 21, 2010

UNESCO review published

UNESCO's work on implementing WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) goals is reviewed in a new publication Towards inclusive knowledge societies: a review of UNESCO's action in implementing the WSIS outcomes. It includes some reference to its information literacy and media literacy work.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Dappled, April 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oeiras a ler

Today I am speaking at the Oeiras a ler conference in Oeiras, Portugal, on Information Literacy for 21st Century Life. This is a two day conference, mostly held in Portuguese, which has a number of very interesting speakers and sessions, including reports on inititaives in Oeiras which are stimulating literacy & reading, and specifically information literacy. Since unfortunately I do not speak Portuguese I may not be able to report fully on all the sessions I attend today, although thoughtfully they do have simultaneous translators. See
The picture shows them bringing the lunch to Oeiras public library, which is where the conference is held.

Tackling information obesity

On 29 June 2010 in London, UK (at the British Dental Association) there is a joint UKeiG and BDA event: Tipping the scales: tackling information obesity to ensure productive and sustainable information resources. Sessions will include: Identifying information obesity: structural, individual and community-level explanations; How information literacy helps: and how it is limited; Cognitive biases, and why they matter; How organisations affect the way we think; The holistic approach to IL: subjective, objective and inter-subjective value; Problem-based learning; student- and community-led research projects. Course Presenter is Dr Andrew Whitworth, the Programme Director for the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education at the University of Manchester. To book or with questions, email or visit the UKeiG website at
Photo by Sheila Webber: bee landing on apple blossom, May 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

May 17th was World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. I seem to be making a habit of noticing "Days" the day after they take place, but at least it means that there is a good deal of material about the day on the website now. This is an annual event, so one could be planning for next year (it has taken place since 1969). The day "is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide." From that, and the website, you can see that the emphasis is on ICT rather than information.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bluebell wood, Hellingly, April 2010, refreshingly free of ICTs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Perspective on Information Literacy

Dianne Mckenzie blogs about how Information literacy is the basis for all learning , mentioning the handbook Digital literacies across the curriculum published by the UK's futurelab in March (as part of their Digital Participation initiative) , and presenting her own IL diagram (as a response to digital literacy diagram in the report). Blog post is at

Thanks to the ALIA pathways discussion list, which referred to Steve Abrams' blog, which referred to Dianne's posting.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry Blossom, Hailsham, April 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Visitors from University of Cape Town

We were visited this week by Karin de Jager (left) and Mary Nassimbeni (Centre for Information Literacy/Department of Information Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa). We discussed library and information curricula and our own work in information literacy. They talked about their own work in Information Literacy and libraries, including work with public libraries, school libraries and academic libraries; meeting with staff and students in the Department. Their published work includes:
- de Jager, K. (2007) “Information Literacy in Practice: engaging public library workers in rural South Africa.” IFLA journal, 33 (4), 313-322.
- de Jager, K. & Nassimbeni, M. (2005). Information literacy and quality assurance in South African higher education institutions. Libri, 55(1), 31-38.
- de Jager, K. & Nassimbeni, M. (2002). “Institutionalizing information literacy in tertiary education: lessons learned from South African programs.” Library trends, 51(2), 167-184.
- de Jager, K and Nassimbeni, M. (1998) "Roadmaps for the Highway: The Evaluation of an Information Literacy Training Programme for South African Students." Education for information 16 (2), 131-43.
- Nassimbeni, M. and Underwood, P. (2007) “Two societies: Duality, contradictions…and integration: a progress report on South Africa.” International information & library review, 39 (2), 166-173

Friday, May 14, 2010

LILAC presentations online

Presentations from the LILAC (UK Information Literacy) conference are available.

Totally at random, there is a pdf of a PowerPoint from Nigel Morgan and Nicola Jones (Cardiff University) about producing a short video on citing and referencing, and the actual video is towards the bottom of this page:
Photo by Sheila Webber: yet more apple blossom in my garden, May 2010.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

7 Things You Should Know About Mobile Apps for Learning

New content at EDUCAUSE includes a "7 Things" briefing about mobile learning at
(if you are an ELI member you can also look at the new publication Mobile Learning: Context and Prospects)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Australia & mandatory internet filtering

Continuing the information access theme .. the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Safer Internet Group are responding to a government proposal to have mandatory ISP URL filtering. The mandatory filtering would bring up big issues of censorship and (as with all mass filtering) could easily filter out important content, and it raises issues of individual choice and free speech. There is a web page presenting the ALIA view at and more comments and links on the ALIA Blog
Photo by Sheila Webber: my apple blossom in sunlight, May 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

World Press Freedom Day

Unfortunately I missed this on 3rd May, but you can find information about World Press Freedom day at There was a conference at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, launched by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. In her opening speech, she mentioned the importance of information literacy, for example "An active demand for public information calls for a critical mass of individuals fully aware of the importance of their right to know. It calls for an active and engaged civil society, in which citizens' groups mobilise on social issues. It calls for an adequate level of information literacy within societies: one that ensures that users of public information can distinguish between different types and levels of information – from up-to-date, official, validated data to unverified, outdated or biased reports."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Apple blossom, May 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

BIG6 Academy 2010

The Big6 Academy takes place 1-2 August in Rochester, USA. It is led by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. For more information, go to:

Photo by Sheila Webber: Daffodils, Sheffield, April 2010.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Training Large Groups

Training Large Groups is a training course on 2 July 2010 to be held at the University of Huddersfield, UK, and organised by them and by NoWAL. "The aim of this one day workshop is to help participants to develop and deliver training sessions for large groups of people. The course will focus on ways to use interactive methods with large groups and explore how to manage the group dynamics". Cost is £75 to NoWAL members and £110 to non-members. To book a place go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Firth Court, April 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Adventures in library instruction

This is a podcast series (episode 13 is the latest) "the brainchild of Jason Puckett. Along with Jason, Rachel Borchardt and Anna Van Scoyoc co-produce monthly shows focused on all things library instruction related. Topics may include: information literacy programs, instructional technologies, teaching methods, gaming in the classroom, and assessment techniques." The Adventures in library instruction website is at
There is also a Facebook group:!/adlibinstruction
Makes me wonder whether I ought to revive an idea I had of doing podcasts...
Photo by Sheila Webber: bluebells in the wood, Hailsham, May 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Progress on an Information Literacy Framework for Wales

The Welsh Information Literacy Project has gained funding and Karl Drinkwater blogs about the project steering group meeting at

Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry blossom in Weston Park, Sheffield, April 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Academic libraries and administrators

A new article (free):
Fister, B. (2010) Academic libraries, a view from the administration building. Library Journal, 1 May.
Phot by Sheila Webber: Apple blossom, Hailsham, May 2010