Saturday, June 29, 2013

Renditions of the discourse of persons with disabilities by the non-disabled role-playing in a virtual world #elel2013

Another report from the Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies Conference taking place in Sheffield, UK, #elel2013. In the first parallel session today I heard Natasha Rappa (National Institue of Education, Singapore) talking about Understanding Re-Voicing: Renditions of the discourse of persons with disabilities by the non-disabled role-playing in a virtual world. The places of research were (physically) Singapore and (virtually) the 3D world, Second Life. I chose this session because of my interest in Second Life. In Singapore there has been work to support those with disabilities, but they remain less visible than in e.g. the UK. The speaker's aim was to get students to hear and understand better the experiences and voices of teenagers who have disabilities. Rappa's research question was: How do non-disabled adolescents re-voice the discourse of those with disabilities. She worked with three groups each with 5 people. She facilitated role playing in Second Life. Before this the students analysed news artcles about people with disabilities (looking at choices in wording and grammar) to heighten awareness and knowledge. The students compared stories from mainstream media and a society for those with disabilities, and then looked at specific individuals who had written or told their stories of disability.
Following this, the students role-played scenarios in which they role played a disabled person or people who were bully or defending the disabled person. Data collection was through students' one-paragraph responses to the question whether the disabled should be taught in special schools, a worksheet about the chosen real life narrative of disability and an essay responding to the question "the disabled are weak". The concept of "Fresh talk" (Goffman) as a result of a change in footing was important in approaching the research.
She selected some insights. One was showing how one student had re-voiced some of the arguments of his chosen "real life" disabled person, in his defence of himself role-playing a disabled person in Second Life. To that extent there was not "Fresh talk", but rather echoing another's voice in the role play. In the post role playing reflection, this student distanced himself from the role and put forward the argument of the other students, saying that the disabled person would be better of in a special school.
In her analysis the speaker had described a matrix from "Imitating" (e.g. echoing) to "Recasting" (e.g. "co-opting") with a middle ground of "melding", "juxtaposing" etc., and she noted that the students moved between different footings. The "Fresh talk" occurred more with those students who took the middle ground (perhaps because they were trying more to work out the relationship between their own identity and that of the disabled person?).
In discussion the issue emerged of the students' immersion, or lack of it, in Second Life and how that impacted their reactions, and whether the task was a bit too binary or encouraging extreme responses rather than collaborative debate. The speaker talked about practical influences on the research design, e.g. where this intervention fitted into the students' curriculum.

Exploring literacy, identity and learning lives in educational transitions #elel2013

Another day, another conference and I am now at the Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies Conference #elel2013taking place in Sheffield, UK. Øystein Gilje started the day with a keynote talk on Exploring  literacy, identity and learning lives in educational transitions. It drew on the Local literacies and community spaces project, which is centred on the Grorud valley, Norway. His focus (and the focus of the project) was learner identity: “learning lives”. I haven't been able to locate the website for this project yet, but I'll add that when I do. The Grorud Valley is a new conurbation on the outskirts of Oslo, which people from various parts of the world and from Norway (including Oslo's inner city) have migrated to.
Whilst close to Oslo, it is also close to the countryside. It is a place which is identified as having social and cultural clashes, "another place", with a problematic identity. Gilje identified Oslo itself as a divided city. However, the Grorud valley has become a particular focus for discussion on immigration and disquiet about change. The researchers looked at how the Grorud Valley was presented in local and national media.
A key question was how young people dealt with educational transitions, e.g. moving into schools in teh valley, and moving out of the valley into e.g. university. Gilje described some existing  initiatives that had been set up in the region e.g. to prepare young immigrant learners for school.
The Learning Lives project looked at cohorts 5-6yrs, 15-16 and 18-19, with 20 informants (and their families) in each cohort, between October 2010 and December 2011. This timespan included the 2011 massacre of young people and the Oslo city centre bomb, and the speaker talked a little about the impact of that on him as a researcher.
Researchers followed the participants in the Grorud Valley and through their transitions. So they were looking at how the young people constructed their learner identities across contexts, including looking at the sites of knowldege and the Valley as a social place. This included asking parents to reflect on their child as learner. The team of four researchers were also concerned with the choices the young people had to make as learners. There are limited choices between primary/secondary and upper secondary education, and a lot more between upper secondary and tertiary education. The first cohort (5-6 years) is when the children go from kindergarten to school.
The speaker followed 24 children from 3 kindergarten and (at the upper age level) followed 12 media students and 12 skincare students (to vocational education), 6 apprentices in garage, and a colleague followed 12 students into academic programmes. Data was collected through observation, interviews, questionnaire and artifacts created with the participants (e.g.drawings, maps, scrapbooks) which stimulated reflection. Analysing the data was a complex procedure and the speaker talked a little about how it was coded, with some aspects being routinely coded e.g. place, type of practice.
The speaker showed a couple of video clips, firstly "Martin", who wanted to be a film maker, talking about how and why he had remixed in a video. The context was a media class "which allowed him to perform a learner identity, bringing in identity as a rap artist" and allowed the students to draw on their knowledge from outside the classroom, and also learn about Ibsen (as Hedda Gabler was a key cultural element in the video). The speaker compared this with a clip of a 5-6 year old using a computer programme to learn to spell the word "fox", then following classmates' practice in clapping and hanging up her headphones (which was a signal in class for students to move to the next task). This is a learner identity where learners are being managed tightly, and fulfilling expected roles as learners, in contrast to the example of creating a video in the media class.
The speaker finished by identifying the varying learning contexts, the current and developing identity, and in particular the "timescale" element. On a matrix with matrices of past/present and macro/micro he identified a phylogenetic (wider environmental/cultural) level, sociogenetic (roughly specific socio-cultural context) level, microgenetic (specific literacy event) and ontogenetic (personal level). Within this matrix they are seeking to gain insights into learning identities at different times, in different learning events, to form a picture of a learning life. I'm blogging this quickly, so as usual I cannot guarantee that I captured teh speaker's intentions accurately.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Affect in Undergraduates' Information Behaviour #i3rgu

Another catchup post from the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Heidi Julien presented a paper coauthored with Lisa M. Given: "I just felt angry...": Affect in Undergraduates' Information Behaviour as They Negotiate Research Expectations in the University. This was reporting some findings from a study which included pre and post-test of information literacy and qualitative data gathering from 10 students (through photovoice technique - asking students to take pictures of things that represented/reflected their experience with information, for reflective discussion - and interviews). Although the researchers did not ask directly about feelings, a lot of emotional responses emerged from the interviews. Mostly these were negative emotions e.g. "confusion, annoyance, anxiety, frustration, anger, resentment and feelings of being overwhelmed" - one quote "I don't even know where to start 'cause I've tried it and it's, like, scarey".

One notable thing that emerged was that there was a mismatch between the academics' expectations of the students, and their capability. Julien felt that there was a need to pay more attention to affect (feelings): both researchers and librarians. Librarians have to acknowledge the emotions the students are going through and reassure them that their experience is normal. Positive relationships with individual librarians emerged as important, so this has implications for staffing decisions.
At the end Julien mentioned the Geneva Emotion Wheel which can be used to help research participants talk about emotions they have experienced in specific situations.
A just-published paper which describes the process of testing the information literacy test for this research is:
Smith, J. et al. (2013) Information literacy proficiency: assessing the gap in high school students' readiness for undergraduate academic work. Library and information science research,  35(2), 88-96.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University library, June 2013

Information literacy as discourse between peers #i3rgu

I'm catching up on sessions I didn't blog yesterday at at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Geoff Walton presented on Online conversation: information literacy as discourse between peers. The context was an exercise where new undergraduate students had to draft an essay, then give each other written online feedback, and then the students could redraft the essay for submission. Earlier articles on this intervention include Cleland and Walton (2012).
In this presentation he was concentrating on an analysis of the students' comments on each others' work. He found that they were most often talking about referencing, and so he analysed these comments specifically and identified five levels of discernment, ranging from comments which were talking about the quantity of references (e.g. that there were not enough) through to comments which were talking about the use of the references in context (so engaging in a higher-order way with the meaning of the source and the essay). Afterwards it occurred to me that this might correlate with some of the categorisations of reflective writing, but I didn't think of this in time to ask Geoff about it.
In their reflections on the peer feedback, some students said that they had found the exercise valuable in reflecting on their own work, and in understanding and giving citical feedback (about 10% said they didn't like the peer feedback element, which is relatively low). In the question time after Geoff's talk there was discussion about why students may respond positively or negatively to peer review. Possible elements included: whether or not it was a mark-bearing activity/task; the discipline; the attitude and perceptions of the tutor; the extent to which the peer-assessment was supported with guidance/training; whether the students had helped to develop the assessment criteria.

There is an article from one of the students:
Nixon, G. (2011) Online Peer Assessment: A Student Reflection. Innovative practice in higher education. 1 (1).

An article about the exercise (but not the analysis that was presented here) is:
Cleland, J. and Walton, G. (2012) Online peer assessment: helping to facilitate learning through participation. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (4).[]=124&path[]=100
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University library entrance; they hosted a reception on Wednesday

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Young activists, social relations and the internet; comparing young people in Rwanda and Australia #i3rgu

More of day 3 at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Hilary Yerbury presented a short paper on Young activists, social relations and the internet; comparing young people in Rwanda and Australia. She spent two months in Rwanda in 2011 and was able to talk to young activists, paralleling work she was carrying out in Australia. There seemed to be a key difference between the two countries, namely their civil society engagement online. Australian behaviours included getting opinions from people they didn't know, practising online discussion in class. However in Rwanda the interaction was one to one, commonly through email, rather than advocating through online discussion and blogging.
Yerbury used Chatman's "small worlds" theory (with the idea of information behaviour being governed by the norms of the world they are in, and a strong feeling of insiders/outsiders. I found a key paper about this at, which I hope is legal). Yerbury felt that the Rwandans were members of more than one "small world". One was an official world of "rules and authorisation", the second was "a face to face world of family friends and social obligations" (where people comunicated through their multiple mobile phones), the "world of the student" (with privileged access to technology) and the "world of young activists" (wanting to share and have a voice).
Yerbury identified tensions between these worlds which could have been instrumental in the young people not being viewed as activists, even though they felt they were. She also felt that she might have been having difficulty in getting the students to agree to be formally interviewed because they did not perceive it as "authorised". In her perception there was not the "Freiraum" (again to reference the talk on day 1). There need to be changes to lessen tensions between the worlds, and to lessen the constraints, for example enabling skills to "access a world of potentially unthought ideas"; being enabled to discuss and critically evaluate in class. This is research in progress, and it will be interesting to hear about the next stages in due course.
The photo is of the atrium in the new Aberdeen University library which we visited yesterday

Making sense of the complexity of knowledge work in organizations #i3rgu

The keynote for the 3rd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland is from Jane McKenzie (Henley Business School), talking about Connections and Contradictions – Making sense of the complexity of knowledge work in organizations. She distinguished between information and knowledge, seeing knowledge as being socially constructed, and integrated into the meaning/ understanding you have of the world: this can lead to dissonance when people have different understandings.
This perspective sees the stage of absorbtion/ sense making by the person as being the most important aspect of information. McKenzie presented Choo's model of information seeking behaviour, which has perception of an information gap (anomolous state of knowledge) at its start. She also talked about notable examples of industries or governments not keeping in touch with the market and new developments and suffering "temporary incompetence", not seeking and managing information and knowledge effectively in times of disruption and change. Disruptions can also come from within the organisation as well e.g. because of new business-critical systems, mergers, reorganisation.

McKenzie identified that we have to reflect on our ontology and epistemology (what do we see as knowledge, and what is our view of the world)? She and her colleagues use a complexity lens to look at these problems. Looking at conflicts and differences is seen as valuable: capabilities, purpose, values, behaviours and the wider environment. You can look at these elements at the individual, team and organisational level, to look for differences and also paradoxes "contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time".
One issue is developing leaders (not just at the top of the organisation, since organisations are continuing to flatten) who are able to identify and negotiate this complexity. They needed to be able to identify "what matters" and interact with/inspire staff. In this context "leadership is a knowledge and learning enabling role". McKenzie referred to Choo again here; his perspective on organisational learning. If you are interested in this you can follow the link (above) to Choo's website as he puts a lot of information it (Choo is still a core author for our information mangement students at Sheffield!).
Back to the talk - McKenzie highlighted the "knowing - doing" gap on Choo's model - how do you get your ideas into action. She alluded here to the problem of organisational, as opposed to individual, learning. McKenzie highlighted behaviours etc. that different studies have shown to help in the process of being a leader in a time of paradox and contradiction (which I wasn't quick enough to write down). Engaging actively with the paradoxical, acknowledging ambiguity, paying attention to potential personal bias, looking outside the immediate context of the decision: these were all factors that were seen as needing attention if leaders were to be able to make sense of situations. She mentioned creating space to ponder the problem and its complexity (which I think connected with the research about creativity I blogged about on day 1).
The (apologies!) rather fuzzy slide I present at the top of the post summarised key aspects of her perspective. I will not try to explain it, but certainly a key element that was emphasised was supporting learning and change in individuals and the community. The iteration of the diagram that she presented after the one above included "Co-creating a learning culture", "Transcultural competence" and "embedding a performance challenge culture" (with workers aware of how they are developing).
I have found a document that appears to summarise some of this at
(The rabbits are nothing to do with the talk: I photographed them just now in the university grounds)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lots of questions at #i3rgu !

Mark Hepworth led a plenary discussion session on this, the 2nd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. In it he posed some questions that had emerged from the sessions so far. The picture on the right is not from the plenary: it is a notice on a Church of Scotland building opposite my hotel.

As a caveat: these are quick notes from the discussion - and if I have left out or misrepresented contributions it is not deliberate. The first question was have models and frameworks like the SCONUL 7 Pillars model and the ACRL framework had had their day? Various opinions emerged (all of which could form the basis of an interesting discussion!) e.g.
- that they were past their sell-by date as they didn't capture the reality of using Web 2.0 tools;
- that they need to be reviewed in light of research evidence, also given that they were not based on empirical research;
- they they were useful as tools for introducing learners to the concept of IL;
- that they might be a good sounding board as long as they weren't used too long or too exclusively;
- that they were only useful as historical artefacts;
- that they were a manifestation of the anglo-american love of pseudo-scientific models;
- that they were a pragmatic response to a complex concept.

A second question was: is information literacy a practitioner's interpretation of information behaviour? and - associated with that - how do we deal with the complexity of information behaviour?. Some questions and comments that arose from that were:
- which part of that complexity do we attend to (e.g. investigate through research)? we probably need to make choices about that.
- we need to differentiate between complexity and difficulty - e.g. that search may seem simple but is complex
- there was the issue of whether it was really simple and librarians were making i big deal of it or (my view) that if anything librarians are too modest about the expertise they bring to bear on information problems
- there is a lot of complexity around exactly how search engines work and how you get the best out of them.

The third question was: how can we represent and communicate the benefits of information literacy? This had come up in several presentations (e.g. getting attention for IL in workplaces of different kinds). Some points were:
- that it was important to present the threats/problems of not being information literate - this could be done in terms of lost time, wasted time etc.;
- in relating it to a new rhetoric around labour and what it means; so this means re-examining the terminology;
- that you should translate the concept and frame the concept according to the context (e.g. particular kind of organisation);
- understanding better how information is managed  within an organisation, and ensuring that library and information professionals are looking at the whole information picture;
- usefulness of compiling examples of how and why it makes a difference for specific purposes;
- should we use the term "information literacy" or not? there was a lot of animated discussion about that ;-))

And finally -  do we need a forum to discuss information behaviour methods and theory?
- there were already conferences and journals, though those are not venues for ongoing debate;
- there have been other projects to develop virtual spaces for research/discussion, but none has quite succeeded;
- should there be more distinct "methods" strands in research conferences.
This also developed into more of a discussion about being moressertive about the value of the research that we've done, in particular not being apologetic about qualitative research. Also, simultaneously I lost connection with the conference broadband, so I will finish this up hastily with the power of my mobile data stick. As you can see, this was a plenary with more questions than answers, but they were interesting questions.

A Typology of e-book interactions and ‘e-book literacy’ skills #i3rgu

More from the 2nd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Laura Muir talked about A Typology of e-book interactions and the ‘e-book literacy’ skills and tools required for achieving students' study goals. She drew on her own existing research that showed that students found e-books awkward to use and read etc. (e.g. Muir et al., 2010)
They have done case studies of students using e-books for coursework, with a focus on functionality and components of e-book literacy. This responded to the gap in research about how students use e-books (as opposed to how they say they use them, or how often they use them). Students carried out a coursework-related task, their interaction was captured, and there was a reflective interview afterwards. There is a recent article on this research: Muir and Hawes, 2013. They combined the findings from this study with results from other studies of e-book use, to identify a set of types of interaction with e-books. The two outputs from this typology were (i) a set of e-book functions and tools that they could feed back to publishers and content creators (ii) a framework of e-book literacy.
The eight types of interaction that emerged from the research were: define; access; evaluate; manage; integrate; create; communicate; review.
Defining: meant defining the academic task and identify their information need. This included awareness of e-books in answering that need. The speaker noted that a couple of students did not get beyond this stage: they were unable to define the task.
Access: included scanning, searching and navigating to find information and then reading the content. Reading includes sequential reading and reading to answer a reference question, as well as dealing with sudden loss of access to teh book whilst you were using it.
Evaluate: including relating it back to the original task. It included notetaking, downloading or printing, sorting and synthesising.
Manage: included saving results, referencing correctly.
Integrate involved reviewing results across sources and integrating them
Create: meant producing output (e.g. essay)
Communicate: meant delivering the output
Review: meant reflecting on how successful the learner had been in completing the task.

So, this framework could be used to educate students to use e-books better. Muir noted that the e-books were often still difficult to use effectively, with unreliability and poor functionality.

Muir, L. and Hawes, G., (2013) The case for e-book literacy: undergraduate students' experience with e-books for course work. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 39 (3), 260-274.
Muir, L.J., Veale, T. and Nichol, A., (2010). Like an open book? Accessibility of e-book content for academic study in a diverse student population. Library and Information Research, 33(105), 90-109

Student nurses’ perceptions of information literacy and its impact in the “real world” of the Nurse #i3rgu

I'm at the 2nd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dr. Antony Osborne talked about Squaring the circle: Student nurses’ perceptions of information literacy and its impact in the “real world” of the Nurse, which was based on his doctoral work. I have blogged about his work here and here, but this presentation was highlighting in particular the connection with the nurses' world of work. This related to the one of three research objectives, namely: "To examine the value and relevance of information literacy in searchoing for evidence-based materials within [the nurses'] placements as an indicator of its place in the "real world" of the nurse". He used the phenomenographic approach in his research, using focus groups and interviews for data collection. Through his analysis, he identified nine qualititatively different ways of conceiving of information literacy, and picked out three of these as being particularly relevant to the work-related research objective (nb. these are just brief partial notes, see his thesis for the full thing!).
- Category 5: Information literacy and the role of the nurse. There was value placed on nursing experience, and knowledge gained from that, and questioning of the prominent place of evidence based/research in nursing education
- Category 6: Conception of evidence-based practice in the “real world” of the nurse. They perceived a culture clash between academic and clinical worlds, and an ambivalent attitude to "information skills" from qualified staff. It was perceived that the amount of use varied depending on the area of work (e.g. community nursing).
- Category 7: Information literacy: Professional development conception. Here information literacy was perceived as useful for the "academic side" of things. It was seen as being more useful if you wanted to be a manager, and not necessarily integral to being a nurse.
Some points from Osborne's summary are: the amount of informal learning, the influence of the attitude of peers and work superiors, the need for integration into work practices, and the importance for librarians not to make assumptions about how to teach nurses. He felt that this led to fundamental questions about nursing: e.g. should there be training or education? is there adequate attention to the caring side of nursing education? is the extent of informal learning acknowledged?
Discussion questions afterwards included comparisons with other professions which had moved from being non-graduate to graduate professions; whether nurses explicitly discuss how they learn; how IL might be integrated into the clinical side (as opposed to the academic)  of nurse education.

DNA, genomes, data and hip-hop #i3rgu

The 2nd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland and Adam Rutherford has given the 2nd keynote, on DNA, genomes, data and hip-hop. I was sitting at the back of the room, so I could get out quickly to chair a session immediately afterwards: you can see the speaker dimly standing at the front of the room and I thought I should photograph his website in the foreground, to give you a better idea of what Adam Rutherford looks like. He forecast his talk as "tales from biology" and, these revolved around genetics and DNA. I will just pluck a few things from those tales.
He talked about human beings as being excellent information stores, and the ways in which DNA stored, encoded and replicated information. Random things I learned include:
- We have fewer genes than rice, flatworms and bananas.
- You can accurately predict the type of earwax your child will have (but not his/her eye colour).
- There is a genetically modified goat which lactates spider thread.
- More seriously, text has been encoded in DNA (I found a story about it here: ) At the moment this is a clumsy storage medium (it is complex storing and retrieving the data): however, DNA is a format that will continue to be stable and readable, so it can't be dismissed as a stunt.
He also talked about the large amount of misinformation that is associated with reporting on genetics: the stories that say that a "gene has been discovered which predicts ...". This misinformation is not confined to the less respected news stories e.g. ("scientists discover height gene" - they didn't).
Rutherford mentioned Synthetic biology, "the application of engineering principles in the re/design of natural biological systems for useful purposes" where scientists engage more obviously in information storage, manipulation and processing.
By the way, the link with "hip hop" is sampling, the family trees of music, how samples can enter mainstream culture, and the legal ramifications of this kind of genetic recombination.

Artfully engaging with information in creative ecologies of learning #i3rgu

2nd day at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson (University of Technology Sydney) presented a paper by her and Mukti Bawa: Artfully engaging with information in creative ecologies of learning
This is work as part of a learning and teaching project in Australia, nurturing and sustaining creativity and innovation (a cross-disciplinary project). They are looking at ways to promote and sustain creativity in the (blended learning) classroom. This is a complex environment, and they were trying to stimulate agile and artful engagement with information to be able to be anticipatory and creative.
They identified three iterative stages of ethnographic action research
1) cross faculty investigation of metaprinciples for creativity and innovation
2) creative ecologies of learning
3) supporting diversity in group work
The students they were working with were pursuing degrees with a vocational focus, so part of the goal is to prepare students for workplace ecologies, to be artful and skillful. So, for example, they should be able to apply digital technologies to practice creatively and effectively in the workplace. A question is: what is the relationship between creative literacies and information literacies?
Theresa referenced Howkins' (2009) book, and his definition that "A creative ecology is a niche where diverse individuals express themselves in a systemic and adaptive way, using ideas to produce new ideas; and where others support this endeavour even if they don’t understand it". The nature of creativity will vary (e.g. something different for accountants than for artists) and similarly literacies will vary. For Theresa this also connected with Tuominen, Savolainen and Talja's (2005) perspective on information literacy.
The research that Theresa particulatly focused on four teachers and 15 students (from different disciplines), using interviews and fabulations: the latter means asking participants to suspend reality and rationality and imagine themselves in a possible future. The goal was to envision a classroom supporting creativity. It emerged that important indicators for the environment included resilience and responsiveness, adaption, diversity, learning, change and flexibility.
A way of using this is developing a framework of assessing a learning environment in relation to these indicators for supporting creativity. They have developed a peer assessment tool with ten indicators of a creative classroom and corresponding prompting questions, so that a teacher can work through this, reflecting on his/her own practice and evidence for that. So, for example, the questions on "learning" include whether the malleability of the subject objectives could respond to the interest of a given set of students. It was flagged up that a problem with this particular question could lie with fixed procedures in the university rather than the approach of the teacher, which required action further up the chain e.g. at the programme level.

An earlier relevant work is: Anderson, T.D. (2011). Beyond eureka moments: supporting the invisible work of creativity and innovation. Information Research, 16(1) paper 471.

- Howkins, J. (2009) The Creative Ecologies: Where Thinking is a Proper Job. Penguin.
- Tuominen, K., Savolainen, R. & Talja, S. (2005) Information Literacy as a Socio-Technical Practice. Library Quarterly, 75(3), 329-345.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Information behaviour of people working in local government organisations #i3rgu

I’m at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland (day 1). Mark Hepworth presented a paper on A study of the information behaviour of people working in local government organisations: building corporate information capabilities. This study took place over about 3 years.
There are various drivers and challenges to local government in England, with implications for how they use and share information (e.g. "joining up" services). This is at the same time as they are having to make financial cuts and as the fall-out from any information disasters can be punitive. Despite the importance of information management, workers are experiencing information overload and stress, in different information cultures and with different systems. There has been an emphasis on technical solutions (which are sometimes expensive non-solutions), and information management (IM) tends not to be at the forefront of people's minds: the practice is in focus, not the information associated with it.
The purpose of the research was to work towards a change in organisational culture with more awareness of IM; to contribute to a corporate IM strategy; to understand workers' information experiences and to develop a set of tools to help.
There were 4 teams (30 participants) in different areas of local government, investigated using various data collection techniques e.g. observation, e-survey, interview, workshops. Through this data collection the researchers gained insight into people's current IM views, values, capabilities and practice. They spent time with the teams which gained the participants trust and interest in the researchers and the actual research topic. For the workshops, the researchers developed some IM stereotypes (e.g. hoarder, sharer) which enabled people to discuss, and reflect on, these behaviours in their teams.
The researchers found that there were issues with things like: storage, retention, disposal, sharing, quality, security, search and retrieval. Mark highlighted some of the particular problems around these areas e.g. people using data sticks for storing information, uncertainty about which information to keep or throw away. Different parts of local government will be focusing on e.g. troubled families, so they can intervene before things get out of hand (e.g. if a vulnerable teenagers is planning to leave home). This brings in a requirement to share information across departments, to understand what other information people might have etc. There was misunderstanding about the data protection act (e.g. resulting in less sharing of information than is allowed, with adverse impact on ability to act for the benefit of vulnerable families and individuals)
Researchers found that there was a lot of variation between individual workers (factors included recent vs. long term employees) and inconsistency of practice. This was the first time that people had the opportunity to discuss their IM practice, even though they were dealing with citizens' highly sensitive personal information. The positive side was that they were now taking IM seriously, realising that IM capabilities needed to be addressed, with implications for training.
However this is a very complex problem area, with many factors affecting workers' information behaviour. Examples are the hierarchical nature of work in local government, the different information cultures. There is also both an individual level and a team/shared level of IM and information behaviour: training etc. needs to address both individual and team capabilities. The researchers have gone on to develop e-learning packages about information security and information sharing. They are putting a lot of emphasis on why it is important (for example, why it is important to share information and what the consequences are of not sharing). Mark also mentioned that the there is an information sharing hub (MASH: Multi Agency Information Sharing Hub) in Leicestershire and also a national initiative IISaM (Improving Information Sharing and Management).

A previous presentation on this same project is at

New knowledge creation within manufacturing #i3rgu

I’m at the i3 conference in Aberdeen, Scotland (day 1). Jan Auernhammer (pictured right) talked about New knowledge creation within manufacturing: a pattern analysis of behaviours and interactions that underpin knowledge creation and innovation in a large German automotive manufacturer (a paper coauthored with Hazel Hall, Napier University, abstract here). Caveat: as I'm liveblogging, I may not have captured the authors' ideas correctly. He was investigating what organisastional context enables employees to work creatively. He looked at the organisational context, the larger processes (e.g. production processes) and how they affected the local context of people interacting. He collected data in 2007/8. He used autopoiesis as a research approach. Both quantitiative data (measuring organisational variables and administering questionnaires) and qualitative data (e.g. interviews and reflectuons on quantitative data) were collected.
From the questionnaire, leadership emerged as an important factor (e.g. how do leaders enable us to express ideas), as did motivation, the issue of shared values and the question of how much openness there was in communication.
A research outcome was pattern maps, with key factors and links between them. So for example, the vision for the organisation should both challenge and empower, so that people accepted the challenge to be creative. At an orientation phase there is the need for "Freiraum" (a free space to think and create - which means giving time and space). If the Freiraum exists then there is the possibility to generate and exchange creative ideas. Annother map captured individual innovation willingness. Elements within it included social reward, appreciation by leaders and a social "Freiraum" which allowed the expression of new and speculative ideas.
So the three elements to foster innovation in organisations that emerged as key were: structured routine working of experts (clear processes and understanding of what is being done), "Freiraum" for exploration, creation and prototyping of ideas (opening up the possibility of creative work) and (collective) innovation willingness (so new ideas are encouraged, not stamped on, and the idea can be brought into the "efficient" structured working of the organisation). Notably, there may need to be different management processes/style and information behaviour for the efficient "structured" working and the "Freiraum". The trickiness of producing and maintaining the requisite "Freiraum" was one of the things discussed after the presentation.
(added a little later) Thanks to Hazel Hall for the link to the presentation

The interactions, impact and practice of information literacy (IL) and what it means for the workplace

I’m at the #i3rgu i3 conference in Aberdeen, Scotland, and am aiming to liveblog. Unfortunately I had problems connecting to blogger (hopefully sorted now!). The conference started this afternoon. After the welcome from Professor Dorothy Williams (Robert Gordon University), the conference chair, there was a keynote talk from Annemaree Lloyd (Charles Sturt University): Lost in translation? The interactions, impact and practice of information literacy (IL) and what it means for the workplace. I have mentioned work by Annemaree before e.g. Lloyd (2009).
She began by identifying that there has been some increasing recognition of IL in the “academy” but comparatively little recognition in the wider workplace. She saw IL as a practice that builds capacity and resilience. Annemaree mentioned IL as a natural extension of literacy and a prerequisite for lifelong learning, e.g. as reflected in statements such as the Prague Declaration, and in the frameworks developed by librarians. However, there was a lot to probe in IL’s wider relevance, and to learn about the place of IL in knowledge construction and how to support students in transition into the workplace.
Therefore IL was not making as much impact as it should in the social agenda of governments. She posed the questions: Is IL relevant to the workplace? How does IL make difference? Annemaree started by identifying that one issue was that there had been a tendency to conflate IL with information seeking, whilst others saw it as an umbrella term for information seeking and use, and others still that viewed it as a “practice composed of activities and skills”. There was also a problem where IL was rebadged and renamed with different terms, causing some identity confusion and ambiguity. She thought we should stop this renaming for a while and concentrate on the core IL concept: the confusion of people within the “IL field” can make the translation into the workplace even harder.
Her own questions about the nature of IL include: what social conditions enable IL? how is IL enabled or constrained? how does the fundamental concept of IL support the “segments” (more specific literacies)? Annemaree definitely did not see IL as a concept that was outdated, since there was still much to discover about the nature of IL; more to research and more to digest from existing research.
Questions about the theoretical perspective on IL included: how can IL research contribute to the information research field; how can it contribute to theory; what is its position epistemologically? She questioned how people outside the field interpret IL, and how we create discourses about IL accessible to other researchers.
Annemaree talked about her own journey: her research into firefighters leading her to the contextual perspective on IL. In the workplace IL was present as enacted and embodied practice, or performance. This has led to reflections on the nature of appropriate methods for IL and evidence for IL; for her, they have to be grounded in the reality of activity in the workplace. She now spends more time observing people in their day to day practice.
Annemaree gave three vignettes from her own research. The first was from her study of ambulance workers, illustrating how a worker uses all her senses and her experience when she is approaching a new patient in situ. The second was about firefighters creating narratives about fire fighting situations. The third was about a renal nurse, with her own body’s senses and the patient’s body as important diagnostic tools.
The lessons she has learnt include that IL is holistic, with social and corporeal aspects, that need to be acknowledged in education for IL in these places. Workplaces represent information landscapes; IL can act as a catalyst for engaging with these landscapes. Annemaree identified a “people in practice” approach to IL, and “practice is composed of activities and skills that enable knowing about the landscape.” Within this framework, it is important that people learn how they are able to advance in their work, or “go on”.
She now is convinced that context creates difference. Annemaree also learnt that that information needs are not always identified or evaluated by the worker (I will throw in here the observation that research into business information has been coming up with this since the 1980s or even 1970s). Finally she felt that knowledge is a collective possession in the workplace, or in some other everyday life situations, to develop a collective knowledge base.
Some surveys of employers had shown that they valued critical information literacies more than digital literacies. Annemaree felt that the notion of labour needed to be readjusted to make skills concerning IL practice, critical thinking etc. more prominent.

Reference: Lloyd, A. (2009) “Informing practice: information experiences of ambulance officers in training and on-road practice.” Journal of Documentation, 65 (3), 396-419.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue

Earlier in the year there was a free publication from the UNITWIN Cooperation Programme on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID):
- Carlsson, U. and Culver, S. (eds) (2013) Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue. Nordicom. ISBN 978-91-86523-64-0

It is a 400 page publication with a large number of chapters from various parts of the world. A selection of examples:
- Michael Dezuanni and Hilary Hughes: Media and Information Literacy at Queensland University of Technology and in Australia
- Abdelhamid Nfissi: The State of the Art of Media and Information Literacy in Morocco
- Sirkku Kotilainen and Annikka Suoninen: Cultures of Media and Information Literacies among the Young
- K.V. Nagaraj and Vedabhyas Kundu: The Role of Media and Information Literacy in Promoting Mutual Respect and Sustainable Development in Culturally Diverse India
- Gerrit Beger, Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda and Akshay Sinha: From ‘What’s Your ASLR’ to ‘Do You Wanna Go Private?’ - A Study on Digital Behaviour among South African Youth and the Social Network ‘Mxit’
- Jordi Torrent: Media and Information Literacy - Fostering Intercultural Dialogue and Sustainable Development
- José Manuel Pérez Tornero and Mireia Pi: Media Literacy Policy in European Union
A New Horizon
- Ibrahim Saleh: School Literacy in South Africa - Emerging Literacy and Hidden Curricula
- Jun Sakamoto and Kyoko Murakami: The “Culture Quest” Project - Media and Information Literacy and Cross Cultural Understanding
Photo by Sheila Webber: arriving in Aberdeen yesterday, somewhat rainy

Saturday, June 22, 2013

UK Survey of Academics 2012

Last month results of survey of British academics were published. The questionnaire had 3,498 responses. Responses are often presented by broad disciplinary groupings (Humanities./ Social sciences/ Science/ Medicine and veterinary), as they did find disciplinary differences. There were some questions about research (e.g. motivations for choosing research subjects, use of digital tools for quantitative research (though not qualitative, oddly), whether they collaborated in research) and also some questions about the use of technologies in teaching (though I think the options in these questions were a bit limited). There were questions about how the academics started a subject or known item search, preferences between print and digital forms, how they kept up with new developments in the field, use of digital tools etc.

One of the questions asked the respondents to identify which roles they saw as important for the university library. The lowest score was for research support: “The library provides active support that helps to increase the productivity of my research” (about 30%) The highest (about 80%) was for “The library pays for resources I need, from academic journals to books to electronic databases”. About 60% of respondents (they could select all answers they thought applied, in this question) selected each of "The library supports and facilitates my teaching activities” and "The library helps undergraduates develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills"

Housewright, R., Schonfeld, R. anfd Wulfson, K. (2013) Ithaka S+R | Jisc | RLUK UK Survey of Academics 2012. JISC.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daisies, Sheffield, June 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Information economy strategy

The UK Government (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) has just published an Information economy strategy: Strategy from government and industry for the future of the information economy. It is not really about the information economy, but more about using "data, analytics and modelling", creating high speed and high powered infrastructure, trying to attract more young people to study computing science (including developing MOOCs to improve digital (i.e. computing/technology) skills), encouraging "information economy" small businesses, improving broadband, addressing cyber security. It all sounds rather familiar from similar 20th century government reports, except they seem to have forgotten e.g. that a previous government spent money putting internet into all UK public libraries (no mention of libraries here, that I could see, let alone information literacy). However, obviously important reading for those of us in the UK.
Photo by Sheila Webber: yet more daisies at Sheffield Station

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tips and Trends: animations

The ACRL Instruction Section publishes a short Tips and trends pdf a few times a year. The Spring 2013 issue is on using Animations (a quick overview of why use, and some of the options for how to do it). The one before that was on web conferencing software. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: by the Sheffield Station tram stop, June 2013

Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) Summer TeachMeet

The Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) Summer TeachMeet will take place on 11 July 2013 2.00pm - 4.45pm. Rosie Jones will present a workshop on Transform your training: interactive information literacy sessions, followed by a selection of TeachMeet sessions (short presentations (5-10 minutes) delivered in small groups). It will be in the Glamorgan Building (Cardiff University, UK). Email Helen Bader ( by 5pm on 4 July if you would like to attend. This event is sponsored by the CILIP Information Literacy Group.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Daisy, Sheffield station, June 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New issue of Codex: assessment focus

Volume 2 number 3 of Codex: the Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL has been published. It is open access, but you need to register. Articles include:
- "Assessment of Information Literacy: A Critical Bibliography": Robin Brown, Phyllis Niles (pp.100-149). An interesting annotated bibliography: as you can tell from the following extract from the abstract, the comments are personal to the authors "The authors focused on actual research studies, eliminating purely theoretical discussions, as valuable as they may be. The undergraduate population was the primary focus, in keeping with the authors’ context of a community college. Assessment of student learning was also a primary parameter as well ... This is a critical bibliography. The authors have highlighted the articles that they felt are most important, or most interesting. The commentary is not really systematic, so the lack of any particular point of view in a summary should not be taken as a criticism. The authors hope that readers will get an overview of the field of assessment of information literacy, and perhaps have their curiosity sparked or rekindled."
- "Assessing Undergraduate Information Literacy Skills Using Project SAILS": J.B. Hill, Carol Macheak, John Siegel (pp.23-37)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dessert and tea at Betty's tea rooms, June 2013.

Second Life Journal Club: 18 June: Faculty and Librarian Collaboration

Professor Diane Nahl (Adra Letov in Second Life) will lead a discussion on: Hines, S.S. and Hines, E. (2012). "Faculty and Librarian Collaboration on Problem-based Learning." Journal of Library Innovation, 3(2)

When: Tuesday 18 June noon SL time (which is 8pm UK time and the same as US pacific time: see for times elsewhere)

Where: Infolit iSchool Journal Club in the virtual world Second Life, Everyone is welcome to join the one-hour discussion. You need a SL avatar and the Second Life browser installed on your computer.

A Centre for Information Literacy Research event. (The picture shows our last meeting)

Monday, June 17, 2013

New issue of JIL: ethical practice, healthcare, transition, international support and more

The open-access Journal of information literacy volume 7 issue 1 has been published. The articles are:
- Information literacy and embedded librarianship in an online graduate programme by Swapna Kumar, Mary E Edwards
- Information literacy as a facilitator of ethical practice in the professions by Marc Forster
- Developing an evidence-based practice healthcare lens for the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model by Michelle Dalton
- Information literacy in the programmatic university accreditation standards of select professions in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia by Cara Bradley
- Reinventing classroom space to re-energise information literacy instruction by Suzanne Julian
- Welsh Information Literacy Project: Phase III update by Síona Murray
- A multilingual information literacy resources tool by Forest Woody Horton
- RIDLs: a collaborative approach to information literacy by Stéphane Goldstein
- Delivering information literacy support internationally: a report of a visit to the University of Nottingham's overseas campuses by Jenny Coombs
- Information literacy skills in Year 14 school leaving pupils - are they ready for third level study? by Christine Marie McKeever
(Plus there are conference reports and book reviews)
Photo by Sheila Webber: meadowflowers, Lund Botanic Gardens, May 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New issue of Information Research

Volume 18 number 2 of the open access journal Information research has been published. It includes:
- Uta Papen: Conceptualising information literacy as social practice: a study of pregnant women's information practices.
- Misook Heo: Assessing user needs of Web portals: a measurement model
- Wee-Kheng Tan and Yu-Chung Chang: Improving users' credibility perception of travel expert blogs: useful lessons from television travel shows
Photo by Sheila Webber: Osmunda regalis safsa, in Lund Botanic Gardens, May 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Citation project

The (North American) Citation project "is a multi-institution research project responding to educators’ concerns about plagiarism and the teaching of writing.... Our team systematically studies student papers that were produced in college writing courses and that draw on sources. Our purpose is to describe how student writers use their sources." They analyse student papers to see how students have used sources: "quotation, summary, paraphrase, or patchwriting". They give a detailed account of their methods. In analysing the student papers they went to the original sources to see how they had been used. The first phase concentrated on first year undergraduate writing classes, but the second phase will include a wider range of papers. The results of the initial pilot study are reported in:
Howard, R., Rodrigue, T. and Serviss, T.(2010) “Writing from sources, writing from sentences.” Writing and pedagogy, 2(2), 177-192.
and show e.g. that patchwriting (taking some text and changing bits here and there) and paraphrasing were very common, but summarising (which would require more effort and understanding) was not. The website is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Interior of a house in the Kulturen Open Air Museum, Lund, Sweden, May 2013

Health Literacy: the solid facts

Interesting new free publication: Kickbusch, I. (ed) et al. (2013) Health literacy: the solid facts. World Health Organization (WHO). ISBN 978 92 890 0015 4.
The aim is to influence policy-makers, and the main sections are called:
- Making the case for investing in strengthening health literacy;
- Taking action to create and strengthen health literacy–friendly settings; and
- Developing policies for health literacy at the local, national and European Region levels.
The publication is about 70 pages long and summarises a good deal of evidence and examples. There are also links to follow e.g. I noticed a short consultation document from the Institute of Medicine proposing Attributes of a Health Literate Organization (
Photo by Sheila Webber: Planted chair in the Kulturen open air museum, Lund, Sweden, May 2013

#namle13 media literacy conference

The (USA) National Association for Media Literacy Education has its annual conference July 12-13, 2013 in Los Angeles, USA. The conference theme is Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media. Keynotes are Tiffany Shlain, Filmmaker and Founder of Webby Awards, and Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Georgia Conference on Information Literacy: 2013 and presentations from 2012

The presentations from the 2012 Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy (held September 21-22, 2012) are at
This year's Georgia Conference on Information Literacy takes place August 23-24 2013 in Savannah, Georgia, USA. The keynote speaker is Alison Head on Information Literacy through the Lens of the Student Experience.
Photo by Sheila Webber: The young peregrines have just left the nest but are still keeping to the church tower. In this rather poor picture you can't see the 2 on the ledge, but you can see a parent bird perched on the webcam.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

RILADS: evaluating postgraduate/research infolit training

There are a couple of just-published outcomes from the Research Information Literacy and Digital Scholarship (RILADS) project. One is a report from one strand of the project "looking at the identification and promotion of good practice in information training in UK HE [Higher Education]" (with a focus on researcher training). They developed some questions for evaluating training courses etc. and trialed the instrument in some UK universities. This also enabled them to gain insight into the type of training provided. The report is at
As part of this, RILADS identified 15 examples of good practice in information literacy resources (for training postgraduates). These are linked from:
Apologies for a few days away from blogging, one excuse is that the graphics card on my work computer went phut.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Duck showing interest in research conversations, Lund, May 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

To measure or not to measure at #colrictt13

I will do a couple of blog posts from the COLRIC (Council for Learning Resources in Colleges) information literacy event in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which focuses on the Further Education sector. Grazyna Kuczera's session was called: To measure or not to measure. She is from Northampton College, which won the 2011 Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for the Effective Integration of Libraries/Learning Resources Centres in Curriculum Delivery (More info about this here She is far left in the poor-quality picture above.

Grazyna stressed that you had to develop impact measures that really told you something about how the students' learning experience has changed. She introduced a picture of a tree, with the library at the base of the trunk, i.e. vital in order to get the tree to grow leaves and fruit. However you had to convince and influence others that students would not flourish in the same way if the library was not there. She mentioned the Huddersfield University project which got meaning out of visitor statistics by correlating them with class of degree. Here is a quick link to the archived version of an article about this:
Homing in on her picture of the tree, she identified some root activities (roots nourishing the tree) e.g. support for A levels or for Higher Education in Further Education, catch up sessions and information for study skills. One tip was to watch for things which were not working and move in to show how the library could make an improvement.

Also Grazyna talked about tracking performance of students who had information and study skills education, not just while they were at the college, but also after they went on to university via direct entry (they found that their students were doing better than the students who had started at the university at level 1). This information was powerful to feed backto the teachers. She talked about some other initiatives where you could get evidence about impact including the "Six book challenge". Evidence included the testimony of students themselves e.g. a student saying "It made me realise I shouldn't use Wikipdia so much."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

NFIL asking for USA librarians' collaborations

The USA's National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL) is "conducting an informal survey to see how many of America's 3000+ 2-4 yr college and university libraries are involved in the following:
1) actively engaged in IL programmatic collaborations with on-campus and/or off campus pre-college, remediation, and/or undergraduate retention programs and
2) have on-going collaborations with community-based organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, Year-Up, etc. Also please identify the type of engagement i.e., weekly involvement, orientation sessions, integrated in First Year Experience curriculum, etc."
NFIL president Dr. Lana W. Jackman asks that if you are in the USA and have anything to share, then to send your response to They will "summarize the results and post insightful comments anonymously on our website by the end of the summer."
Photo by Sheila Webber: young beech leaves, Lund, May 2013

2nd UK Information Literacy and Summon Day

The 2nd UK Information Literacy and Summon Day will be held on 25 July 2013 at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK. It is self-evidently for people who use the Summon discovery system at their library. "Whether you’re about to implement Summon, have just done so, or are an old hand at this sort of thing, you’ll have thought about how using web-scale discovery impacts on your information literacy teaching. Have you hardly changed your approach or have you had a radical rethink?" and the blog from last year's event is here

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Special issue of Library Trends

There is a special issue of Library Trends (Volume 61, Number 3, Winter 2013: a priced publication) on the theme of Research Into Practice, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Information School (iSchool) at the University of Sheffield. This is my department, so I'm mentioning it even though it isn't focusing on information literacy.
- Putting Research into Practice: An Exploration of Sheffield iSchool Approaches to Connecting Research with Practice by Angharad Roberts, Andrew D. Madden, Sheila Corrall
- Community Resilience and the Role of the Public Library by Dan Grace, Barbara Sen
- No More Controversial than a Gardening Display?: Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in U.K. Public Libraries by Elizabeth L. Chapman
- Mind the Gap: Do Librarians Understand Service User Perspectives on Bibliotherapy? by Liz Brewster, Barbara Sen, Andrew Cox
- Collection Growth in Postwar America: A Critique of Policy and Practice by David E. Jones
- Provision of Distance Learner Support Services at U.K. Universities: Identification of Best Practice and Institutional Case Study by Charlotte Brooke, Pamela McKinney, Angie Donoghue
- Bibliometrics and Research Data Management Services: Emerging Trends in Library Support for Research by Sheila Corrall, Mary Anne Kennan, Waseem Afzal
- On Your Own but Not Alone: One-Person Librarians in Ireland and Their Perceptions of Continuing Professional Development by Eva Hornung
- Knowledge Management through the Lens of Library and Information Science: A Study of Job Advertisements by Ray Harper
- Getting Research into Policy and Practice: A Review of the Work of Bob Usherwood by Sheila Corrall
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry blossom fringes the path, May 2013, Lund

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Indiana University Libraries Information Literacy Colloquium

Registration for the 2nd Annual (on August 9 2013) Indiana University Libraries Information Literacy Colloquium is now open. It takes place in New Albany, Indiana, USA. This year’s conference theme is Shaping Student Success: The Role of Academic Libraries in High Impact Educational Practices. The full program and additional information about the event is available at and online registration is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: crowd of peregrine watchers (see last post) after an interesting talk about the birds, held in the building they are nesting on. Sheffield, June 2013.

Intellectual freedom; Sharing information; peregrines

A couple of new open-access articles:
- Meyer N, and Bradley, d. (2013) "Collaboratively Teaching Intellectual Freedom to Education Students" Education Libraries, 36 (1) (includes links to material they used with the students)
- Sar, R. and Al–Saggaf, Y. (2013) "Propagation of unintentionally shared information and online tracking" First Monday, 18 (6).
A useful piece of research if you are stressing the ease with which we "leak" information about ourselves. "Various pieces of information are being shared online while users browse the Internet. Previous studies have demonstrated that as social networking sites (SNS) became popular, the information being leaked or shared is becoming more personal (including names and e-mail addresses). Users’ information is being shared or leaked from visited sites (both SNS and non-SNS) to third party sites (such as advertisers) in a number of ways including via the HTTP header. The intent of this study is identify the privacy implications of browsing the Internet within a single browsing session of a group of commonly visited sites (both SNS and non-SNS) doing activities common among most online users. We analysed the HTTP headers resulting from the first author’s browsing and reported on the types of information being shared or leaked, and to whom. We observed that within just a single browsing session of some sites, both the user’s identifiable and non-identifiable information are being leaked to various third party sites and also propagated to more than just one level of third party site. We also found that some SNS are also able to track user’s browsing activities not only within the SNS but also beyond it -particularly among web sites that use SNS widgets."
- Also I can't remember whether I said that ALISS Quarterly (a journal with short articles, aimed at librarians in the social sciences) makes its issues open access after a year, so the January 2012 issue on New Developments Library Orientation/ Information Literacy is now open:
Photo from the University of Sheffield webcam that is following the progress of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons, on the building (a converted church) next to my department. They had 3 chicks, which are growing at an enormous rate - they were tiny balls of white fluff a couple of weeks ago. The live webcam is at and they are likely to fly the nest in about 10 days. Two of the chicks are tucked at the side of the nest box in this picture. The "disturbing images" mentioned on the webcam page are when they get fed bits of (mostly) pigeon.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Presentations from #WILU2013 (Canadian Information Literacy conference) available

As usual, it looks like there were interesting sessions at the WILU conference that took place last month in Fredericton, Canada. The presentations are up online already. Just a few that caught my eye:
- “You must come see my daughter’s pet deer”: Cultural immersion for effective offshore distance learner support by Marc Bragdon (Distance Education Librarian, University of New Brunswick) (Talks about how Marc changed his approach to that of an embedded librarian in a distance learning course offered to students in Trinidad and Tobago, after actually visiting the country and interviewing students)
- Literacies — Information and beyond: The Learning Commons and the embedding of academic literacy instruction in disciplinary courses by Sophie Bury (Business Librarian and Head, Peter. F. Bronfman Business Library, York University), Ron Sheese (University Professor, York University), Rebecca Katz (Graduate Student, Boston University)
- Lesson Study: Creating a Synchronized Approach to Information Literacy Instruction by Eric Jennings (Assistant Professor, Instruction and Outreach Librarian, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire) (talks about an approach to teaching IL in a nursing curriculum)
Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: apple blossom in Lund Botanic Gardens, May 2013