Thursday, October 30, 2014

California Conference on Library Instruction - Call for Proposals

The California Conference on Library Instruction will be held on April 17 2015 at Sonoma State University Library, California, USA. It's theme is: Teaching and Reaching Your Students in Environments of Rapid Change. There is a call for proposals, with a deadline of November 26 2014. The conference "will explore new and practical ways to craft innovative experiences for learners. Think about the buzz words of today: maker, hack, design, engage, community, framework, scalable, ethical, sustainable, etc. These are some of the ways librarians are working with library instruction." Proposal form at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Day of the Dead installation by Latin American Society in the Students' Union, University of Sheffield, October 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An #ecil2014 roundup

Almost done with posts from the European Conference on Information Literacy held last week, but here are some useful links, including a few presentations.
- The conference website is at

- The official Facebook page is at

- The Twitter stream is

- I liveblogged the conference. You can find my posts at

- Jane Secker did a blog post

- A couple of posts in Dutch from Monique Schoutsen

Here are some links to presentations
- Kornelija Petr Balog and Ljiljana Siber University of Osijek, Croatia. Students of Law and E-Democracy: Are They Information Literate at All?

- Marion Kelt, Senior Librarian, DDIL. SMIRK: the evolution of an IL training package SMIRK itself is at

- Rebecca Kuglitsch, University of Colorado. More than a Citation Manager: Zotero for scalable embedded librarianship and instructional assessment

- Lindsey McLean and Elisa Acosta, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, U.S.A. Taking Active Learning to the Next Level: Increasing Student Engagement by Blending Face-to-Face Instruction and Digital Learning Objects and here is the Radar Game

- Ewa Rozkosz , Documentation and Information Specialist at University of Lower Silesia. Information and Media Literacy of Polish Children According to the Results of “Children of the Net” and “Children of the Net 2.0” Studies

- Drew Whitworth , Senior Lecturer at University of Manchester Toward Radical Information Literacy

My own presentations are on Slideshare:
- Information Literacy as a discipline: a contemporary perspective Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston

- Digital Citizenship: Global Perspectives across age levels poster by Valerie Hill and Sheila Webber

- Relating Research and Practice in Information Literacy Panel by Sheila Webber (University of Sheffield), Ola Pilerot (University of Borås), Louise Limberg (University of Borås), Bill Johnston (Strathclyde University)
Photos by Sheila Webber: 1. cats in Dubrovnik; 2. a map showing where ECIL delegates came from

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One million page views

During the #ecil2014 conference this blog hit one million page views (since it started in 2005): perhaps no big deal if you are Lady Gaga or Stephen Fry, but I'm happy that so many people continue to find it worth visiting! (and here's another photo of Dubrovnik)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Post- #ecil2014 report - visual literacy in Puerto Rico; Serbian children's review website

I found some notes on a couple of presentations I attended at the European Conference on Information Literacy last week which I hadn’t blogged. One was on a book review website for Serbian primary school children, and the other on assessing photographic work.

Sharpening of Little Quill Pen: Research on MIL in primary schools by Slađana Galuška (Primary school „Milorad Mića Marković“, Mala Ivanča, Belgrade, Serbia, Anđelka Tančić-Radosavljević (Primary school „Ratko Mitrović“, Belgrade, Serbia) and Gordana Ljubanović (National Library of Montenegro). The authors described an initiative from the Association of School Librarians of Serbia which aimed to improve pupils Media and Information Literacy (MIL). The aim was to encourage the young children’s creativity and critical thinking by getting them to contribute reviews, posters, descriptive/promotional videos, author interviews, create plays etc. about books they had read, on a specially created website. The presenters showed some creative examples from the website. This initiative had been running for four years, with 500 students from 20 different primary schools involved in the 4th year. The presenters had carried out two evaluation surveys with mostly multiple choice questions, one for students (299 respondents) and one for teachers and school librarians (94 respondents). One finding was that the teachers were not using the web very creatively and had limited conceptions of MIL. The teachers underutilized librarians and librarians felt they did not have influence: the relationship between teachers and librarians was characterised as “co-operation, co-ordination, but not collaboration”.

Development of Visual Skills: Digital Photography as a Tool for Research and Teaching in Architectural Education by Mayra Jiménez-Montano and Laurie Ortiz-Rivera (University of Puerto Rico). This presentation described an initative where they had developed a rubric for assessing a photographic sequence. Architectural students had to take 5 photographs at a place of their choice in the city, that captured that place’s function as an architectural space. The four headings on the rubric used for marking were: General Image, Cinema Conventions in Photography, Visual Narratives, and Design Process.
Photo by Sheila Webber: blue and gold sea, looking out from Lokrum island, Croatia, October 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Closing session of #ecil2014 and - #ecil2015

At the end of the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, Bill Johnston provided a reflection on the whole conference. He started by thanking the organisers for a successful conference. He also commended the speakers for keeping to the subjects forecast by their abstracts!
He noted that major issues had been raised by speakers, including societal issues such as inequality. He gave as an example a paper which talked about information literacy initiatives in South African townships. He felt that there was further scope for more focus on information as an economic resource and activity and as an element in political life. Bill identified information as a "natural human resource".
He noted that there were studies in the conference examining a variety of contexts, and in and out of formal education, and in many different countries. He felt it would also be useful to focus on "big units" such as political processes in action (an example recently was information activities to do with the Scottish Referendum), such as health (which is a big impact area) and such as the "green" agenda (sustainability, climate change).
Finally Bill felt there was a need to balance the power of big institutions to manage things (including information) and importance of human rights: this seemed very much an area that information literacy experts should have something to say about. In terms of the papers presented, Bill thought it would be valuable to triangulate some of the papers (best practice, theory etc.) as part of reflection on what had been revealed at the conference.
At a broader level, he felt it would be useful to have a time frame and target for greater awareness of information literacy, and also plan for the time when information literacy is better recognised.
Following Bill's summing-up there were various anouncements including the venue for next year's conference. ECIL 2015 will be held in Talinn, Estonia, 19-22 October 2015 The deadline for abstracts is next March so you can start planning now!

Report from #ecil2014 - digital literacy

Drawing to the close of the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Radovan Vrana talked about Digital literacy as a prerequisite for achieving good academic performance. He did a survey of students at the University of Zagreb (apologies, I did not note the number, I think it was about 120 respondents). He asked what elements participants thought were included in digital literacy (see the slide for the responses): I thought it was interesting that a minority thought that writing text was part of digital literacy. When asked what they thought they needed in terms of additional learning, creating web pages, editing digital photographs, creating animating, and video editing came top; using email came last. Self-learning was the biggest means of learning. Participants thought the influence of ICT on their academic performance was strong. He asked about who was responsible for development of digital literacy, they thought that they themselves were most responsible, with formal education (school and university) after that. In the question session, an interesting question arose about application of digital literacy to their lives; that students are likely to have a narrower view of digital citizenship, as while they are students they haven't had to deal with things like buying houses, cars, children's education, and other interactions that come with later adult life.

Report from #ecil2014 - Use of Infographics in Education

Next at the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik was Pınar Nuhoglu Kibar talking about A New Approach to Equip Students with Visual Literacy Skills: Use of Infographics in Education. She started by defining infographic ("visualization of data or ideas that tries to convey complex information to an audience in a manner that can be quickly consumed and easily understood") and visual literacy. The two questions addressed by the speaker in her PhD are (in abbreviated form) Could infographics be used in the learning process? and Could infographics be a way of ensuring qualified learning?
Participants were 64 students in the Computer Education and Instructional Design Department, taking an instructional design module. The tutors used an infographic to describe the instructional design process, as a roadmap for students. It presents the position of an instructional designer in the team, and presents at the kind of instructional design that should be recommended. The students then had each to create an infographic, which was subsequently assessed.
The educator developed a rubric to assess the infographic under the categories: visualisation, fonts, colours, layout, organisation, elements and title, though they want to work more on what to put in the rubric. She found that they needed to give the students more teaching about page design (the students were better at producing the text than they were at creating the visuals), that the students could have benefited by seeing the rubric, and to give more opportunities for peer feedback.
Infographic (nothing to do with the presentation!) by DimitraTzanos under Creative Commons license,

Report from #ecil2014 - Academics' Use of Scholarly E-Journals

I'm in one of the final sessions of the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Alia Arshad presented on her doctoral work, on Academics' Use of Scholarly E-Journals: A Case of University of the Punjab. "Use" included scanning, downloading, accessing types of use. The speaker referred to the wider literature about use of e-resources (although few looked at reasons for non use); there were very few studies undertaken in Pakistan. Research questions included factors influencing use, and barriers to use. The population in this quantitative study includes full-time time staff in specific departments on two campuses of the University of the Punjab. A questionnaire has been used for data collection.
There was a pilot study. 86% used search engines more frequently to identify scholarly articles, 79% used discussion with peers more frequently and 50% used e-journal articles more frequently. The majority accessed e-journal articles through Google Scholar (86%). Respondents used title words (79%) most. Top barrier to using e-journals was having to pay (71%) with 50% identifying lack of training as a barrier. The fact that the subscribed journal databases could only be accessed on campus was also a barrier (as e.g. many did work at night, at home, and they could not access e-journals then.
Photo by Sheila Webber: cat, Dubrovnik

Report from #ecil2014 - Transitions from school to higher education: understanding the needs of undergraduates at London School of Economics

Next from ECIL in Dubrovnik, Maria Bell and Jane Secker talked about Transitions from school to higher education: understanding the needs of undergraduates at London School of Economics. The presentation is already on slideshare here: They started by giving some basic information about the LSE, noting that they have a relatively small undergraduate population. They had done an audit of undergraduate support using A New Curriculum for Information Literacy as an auditing tool in 2012, made recommendations, developed an LSE Digital and Information Literacy Framework and then created the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project.
They recruited 20 undergraduates from the Statistics and the Social Policy departments: they were helped by both the departments and the student union. They tried to keep people engaged by offering Amazon vouchers, online badges and also giving the students credit to put on their HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report). To start with they administered a questionnaire to find out where the students saw their information literacy skills. (Questions were: where do you start? How did you learn to use your favourite research tool? What do you think of the Library search tools? Assessing quality: library resources and internet resources? Identify strengths and weaknesses of your research practices).

There were workshops to develop the students' skills and encourage and enable them to share practice with other students. As an example, students were asked to share ways on which they worked on assignments, managed information, or kept up to date. One of the workshops focused on Managing your digital identity, including an exercise in which pairs of students googled each other (sometimes to their horror at what was doscovered aabout them). There are some resources here including some worksheets and student videos.
LSE also developed 3 workshops for schools (and including access to the library) and this material is archived on JORUM: one of the things that was liked most were talks from the undergraduates on "what I wish I'd known when I was 16/17".
There is more (e.g. on "lessons learnt") on the powerpoint linked above. The website about the SADL project is here
Photo by Sheila Webber: cat, Dubriovnik, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Providing New Learning Strategies for Information Literacy Instruction

Next item I'll blog from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik is From Know That to How From Know That to How From Know That – Providing New Learning Strategies for Information Literacy Instruction, authored by Kathrin Knautz, Anja Wintermeyer, Lisa Orszullok and Simone Soubusta (Heinrich-Heine-University). They are using a computer role play game, Legend of Zyren, as part of a credit bearing course on knowledge representation. This approach is also carried outside the game. She said that the students reacted much more positively to group work when it became "forming a guild to compete against other guilds" - she gave an example of having to explain a technical term through drawing or mime. She also gave an example from the computer game - a murder mystery quest. In order to solve it you have to create a faceted classification (e.g. for the murder weapon). There was an evaluation, with a positive response. At the end of the course no one thought it uninteresting, no one thought it was useless and grades improved. A nice touch was that they had used students from another class who worked on developing the game, for credits!
Photo by Sheila Webber

Report from #ecil2014 - Developing a Strategy for Effective Health Information Literacy Instruction Using a Neurocognitive Model for Dual-Processing

Today is the final day of the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik and I'll start by blogging a presentation from Ivonne Ramirez who talked on Developing a Strategy for Effective Health Information Literacy Instruction Using a Neurocognitive Model for Dual-Processing. The speaker definied health information literacy instruction as Access and retrieval of high quality health information for decision making. She identified the many groups who had a role in teaching health information literacy (see slide): an interesting list with for example parents having to help their children, and children (for example) helping relatives who had inadequate language skills. In the question sessionsomeone noted an increase in people coming along to doctors etc. with a supporting person.
The speaker proposed a neurocognitive strategy to meet the complexity of the situation. The dual processing systems are the declarative (conscious recall, facts and events) memeory system and the procedural (learning by doing, withoiut necessarily learning consciously) memory system. You can plan for (declarative) aural and visual input (which can be tested by asking for oral or text based recall) and (procedural) mimicing, following a process (which can be tested by problem solving tasks). Therefore the speaker was advocating planning for both kinds of input and output, including for information literacy assessment. She felt that using this terminology could also be useful when trying to persuade others to give time for both kinds of teaching. The speaker also felt that combining screenshare, powerpoint etc. was valuable. In terms of assessment, the speaker talked about authentic assessment (e.g. multimedia projects or research papers) or problem based learning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Ross Todd

Ross Todd, one of the invited speakers, is talking next at the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, on Collaborative Inquiry In Digital Information Environments: Expanding Perspectives on Information. He is Director of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) He said he was troubled in "in-house territorial battleground for intellectual possession" and the multiplicity of models, which he felt was a "model media". Additionally he felt that information literacy needed better theoretical foundations and that there needed to be "deeper exploration of what constitutes meaningful pedagogy for information literacy intervention".
Todd referred to John Hattie's meta analysis of educational studies, and called for a similar meta analysis for the information literacy field, to identify a better theoretical base for information literacy. Todd put forward Carol Kuhlthau as a model of a researcher researching and working in the information literacy field (her work on the information search process and on guided inquiry will be familiar to many and there is a good deal of information about them on her website).
Todd made further points, based on his research with CISSL. This included moving from a "find" framework to "doing something with the found". Currently CISSL is looking at questions such as: team-based inquiry, collaborative learning, and (for example) investigating groups of school children engaged in tasks using a guided inquiry approach. Todd quickly presented some findings from the latter study to do with the dynamics of group works, one element of which was "social justice" (e.g. expecting equity of contribution), which "social justice" element was one he was particularly interested in pursuing ("information literacy through a social justice lens").
Photo by Sheila Webber: washing in the old town, Dubrovnik, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - The representation of information and media literacy in Icelandic educational legislation, policy documents and in the curricula of Icelandic upper secondary schools

Catching up on a talk just now in the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, Thordis T Thorarinsdottir and Augusta Palsdottir had authored Upstairs - Downstairs. The representation of information and media literacy in Icelandic educational legislation, policy documents and in the curricula of Icelandic upper secondary schools
The speaker started by outlining some information about Iceland and its educational systems, noting the impact of the economic crisis in the late 2000s. In terms of the aims of the talk, I will be lazy and copy from the programme "The main aim of this paper to study the representation of media and information literacy (MIL) in the legislation and education policy papers for upper secondary schools in Iceland, in the National Curriculum Guidelines, in the curriculum of the different secondary schools and further to consider whether MIL is included in the description of the learning outcomes in the various subject curricula. The main research question is whether there is a link between the presentation of MIL in the policy documents and in its manifestation in school curriculum."
They referred Klingenberg's IL framework which the speaker said had had an impact on teaching - search, evaluate, know, present are the main elements (I have copied the reference that they gave for this, below, I wasn't familiar with it)
The authors had undertaken a content and discourse analysis of key documents (legislation etc,) and an electronic survey was sent to intstitutions preparing students for university studies. Looking at legislation, searching and database use was mentioned (only). Examining the National Curriculum Guidelines, information literacy is mentioned twice, highlighting use of technology to work with information, and media literacy (so that students can analyse and evaluate media). By contrast, Information Technology is mentioned 3 times.
From the survey 82% of the schools surveyed have a library, and 85% of these are run by librarians. Looking at "who teaches", 41% respondents said that school librarians and teachers are responsible for IL teaching and 24% said there is no systematic IL teaching (I'm not reporting on all statistics, so these won't add up to 100%!). 74% said it is taught as part of a subject, for 17% information literacy is "stand alone". 50% follow National Curriculum Guidelines, most of the others use their school's curriculum. 39% said IL was sometimes included in learning outcomes, 50% said it seldom was, 4% said it was never included. When asked if their school put enough emphasis on IL, 48% said not at all, 33% said not quite.
The speaker identified that "MIL is not strongly represented in the legislation and Government policy documents for the secondary school". As noted above, coverage of IL was judged as inadequate by respondents to the survey. The National Curriculum Guidelines "does not seem a powerful tool for schools to set criteria for MIL". In concluding, the speaker noted that, considering the Icelandic population's high level of access to the internet, there was potential to develop MIL. They considered that developing a MIL framework (as suggested by Klingenberg) would be valuable.

Klingenberg, Andreas. (2012). Common Information Literacy Framework. A Model Draft. In C.R. Karisiddappa (Ed.), Information Control and Management in Digital Environment. A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. K.C. Panda, (pp. 447-454). New Delhi: Atlantic. This is his website (articles mainly in German)
Photo by Sheila Webber: cat, harbour, Dubrovnik October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Social Networking Literacy

I'm still liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Next for me was a paper by John Gathegi Social Networking Literacy: Re-balancing Sharing, Privacy, and Legal Observance. His focus was social media sharing amongst young people. He started by defining Social Media Networking. A distinguishing feature is the "public display of connections" which the speaker said is in a quest to build social capital. Motivations include entertainment, information sharing (including private information about themselves), showing off etc. and people are able to manage the profile or persona that they present to the world: this may include mis-reprentation. There are also the issues about oversharing of private information about themselves and others, and respect for others. This information may, and is, being used by empoyers to screen candidates for employment.
Gathegi presented a definition of social media literacy. He identified thaty is being dealt with inconsistently in court and the the question of what is a "reasonable expectation of privacy" (he gave the example of a nurse who posted criticisms of her work with limited access, but her supervisor persuaded one of the nurse's friends to show her the posting and teh nurse was fired: the court found in favour of the nurse and her reasonable expectation of privacy. However, this might not be the decision of all courts. Other legal and privacy issues were also raised. Thus as the end the speaker was advocating for social media/networking literacy as an essential area of learning for young people.

Report from #ecil2014 - Exploring Threshold Concepts in Scholarly Communications as Portals to Doctoral Student Success

Next from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, Sharon Mader talked about Exploring Threshold Concepts in Scholarly Communications as Portals to Doctoral Student Success. Mader was presenting emerging findings from a pilot study at the University of New Orleans, which aims to identify difficulties doctoral students have in understanding scholarly communication concepts. She is using a a threshold concept approach.

Mader started by explaining threshold concepts and talked about research studies which identify threshold concepts in "doctorateness" (stumbling or "stuck" points for doctoral students) and the recent work on threshold concepts in information literacy. She is using semi-structured interviews with both academics and students. She is asking about stumbling blocks and challenges that graduate students experience, strategies that are used to address the challenges, and asking what fundamental and transformative concepts, behaviours and attitudes the doctoral students need to master.

Mader is using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (pictured) as a basis in the interviews, so that the academics can reflect on which of the elements in this researcher framework the students found most challenging and which the academics' thought was most important. From the initial part of the pilot study (interviews with an academic, so far), cogntive abilities and self-management emerged as the most important and the most challenging concepts for students.

Mader identified that conversations between faculty, librarians and students is crucial. From these conversations with students and faculty, the threshold concepts should emerge, and then the curriculum needs redesign (the future plan) to address the issues and improve the quality of student learning. She referred to Cousin's article on using threshold concepts (see below)
Cousin, G. (2006) An introduction to threshold concepts. Planet. (17), 4-5.

Report from #ecil2014 - Transferability of information and data literacy beyond higher education

A shaky start to my liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik this morning. I was delivering a talk (with Bill Johnston, I will post about that later) at 9am, and I'm afraid I took a little break after that to boost myself with coffee. Therefore I missed the first part of the panel from Stephane Goldstein, Ralph Catts, Jane Secker and Geoff Walton on Transferability of information and data literacy beyond higher education and can't do it justice.
However, to report on the part I attended: one thing was that a new membership organisation was being launched InformALL, which has grown out of the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition.
Questions were flagged up for discussion. The first one was looking at the concept of Information and Data Literacy in the workplace, and how it might be explained to stakeholders. Responses included highlighting the value of case studies, creating evidence which show how IDL affected profits, adopting different strategies with Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and big businesses, talking to trade unions, skills agencies, and looking at existing portals (one in healthcare was mentioned).
In terms of looking specifically at "the juncture between higher education and employment", as well as the stakeholders mentioned above, careers services, course placements, placement agencies and associations that were concerned with professional development were mentioned. I also thought of parents (thinking about the successful programmes that I found out about last year, run by the Singapore National Library Board) who unfortunately nowadays may find their graduated students returning to them and might be motivated to helping their children to become employable.
They finished by asking whether initiatives such as the one they propose, InformALL, could be a vehicle for further action.
Doing a quick google, I found a poster here which is on the same topic by these authors
Photo by Sheila Webber: restaurant street, Dubrovnik, October 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Degree of School Librarians' Involvement in Providing Information Literacy skills

Today's final session (for me) at the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Ruth Ash-Argyle (University of Haifa) and Snunith Shoham (Bar Ilan University) talked about Evaluating the Degree of School Librarians' Involvement in Providing Information Literacy skills to Students using The Big6 Model as an Assessment Tool. The purpose was to study how involved the school librarian was in teaching students information literacy and also to investigate the librarians' self-efficacy. They used the Big 6 model, because it takes account of stages in the information research process and it is a widely used model.
The researchers hypothesised that schools librarians would be more involved in the Big 6 stages associated with searching and sources, and that higher involvement would correlate with higher professional self-efficacy. They administered a questionnaire to school librarians. The participants were asked to rate their involvement in each of the Big 6 stages. The results were that stages 2 (Information Seeking Strategies) and 3 (Location and access) did have the highest involvement from librarians. Barriers to more involvement included lack of time, lack of cooperation from teachers etc.
The researchers identified (from previous research) four domains of professional self-efficacy: teaching, technical skills, interpersonal communication and self-teaching skills. The school librarian participants rated themselves as having high communication skills, with self-teaching as the lowest point. The domain that correlated significantly with high involvement in the curriculum was that of self-teaching and professional updating.
The participants were also asked to self-identify their role e.g. information expert, promoter of reading skills (there were 6 roles listed). The results were that "Promoter of reading skills" rated highest and "Educational consultant" lowest. Relating these results to the degree of involvement in the curriculum, the higher role of leader correlated with higher involvement in the curriculum.
Recommendations included developing school lbrarians to embrace the roles of leader, teacher etc. and encouraging continuing development and professional updating.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Flower pot, Dubrovnik old town, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Towards adult information literacy assessment in Latvia

Next from a session on "assessment" at the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Liga Krumina (University of Latvia) talked on Towards adult information literacy assessment in Latvia: UNESCO media and information literacy competency matrix in practice.
They had a product to develop diagnostic instruments for assessment of adults' (25-62 years) knowledge and skills. The participants were a purposive sample of the economically active population in a region of Latvia. The researchers were using the concept of "livelihood" involving resources such as knowledge, land, tools that can be shared. They were adopting a UNESCO definition of media and information literacy (MIL) as given in the UNESCO MIL assessment document. This document idetifies three levels of MIL, plus a "zero" level. Data was collected through focus groups, questionnaires and practical information tasks.
In the focus groups researchers asked about the importance of information in the participants everyday lives, problems encountered, and knowledge and skills with information. The knowledge questionnaire contained 23 questions based on everyday life situations (with questions concerning access, evaluation and creation). The practical tasks involved asking participants to undertake search tasks and using think-aloud protocolls to collect data.
In the focus group, a key problem that emerged was language skill (i.e. if there was no information in Latvian), and also skills in interacting with computers, software and search engines. In the questionnaire, the average level of respondents was level 2, in evaluation it was level 3, and in creation in was levels zero/one. The speaker noted that although participants self-rated their skills as good, "the results of practical tasks showed many shortcomings".
The speaker concluded that the four levels of competence were useful as they helped to identify where areas for improvement were. The think-aloud method was time-consuming but the results were "credible and accurate" and thus that aspect was valuable.
In the questions afterwards, the speaker said the biggest problem was with the questionnaire where there could be several valid answers to some practical questions (e.g. if you found a recipe for soup on the internet, how can you best save it while you make the soup). They are developing this further.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik city walls from the sea, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Relating research and practice in Information Literacy

I just finished chairing a 90 minute panel on Relating research and practice in Information Literacy, which started with presentations by me, Bill Johnston, Louise Limberg, and Ola Pilerot and then had some time for discussion and questions. The presentations (in one document) are embedded below. Afterwards there were interesting points raised by the audience, mentioning barriers such as language (i.e. research being in different languages) and suggesting further studies such as investigating teh experience of people who were successfully conducting research in a practitioner context. There were also ideas about how the discussion could be continued at ECIL next year.

We don't say anything about ourselves in the slides, so it is worth saying that all four of us (Bill, Louise, Ola and me) started out as library practitioners and then made a move into academia (three of us into library and information science, Bill into educational development/research).

Report from #ecil2014 - the role of an information literacy model in transforming the curricula at the Durban University of Technology

Next from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, Shirlene Neerputh talked on Graduate preparedness: the role of an information literacy model in transforming the curricula at the Durban University of Technology. She started by talking about the "new realities" in higher education e.g. changes in teaching approaches, the increased emphasis on lifelong learning and independent learning, and "the role of the library in enhancing teaching, learning and research in higher education in a knowledge society".
Looking at Durban University of Technology's vision and mission, it raised issues such as - how do educate for citizenship. The library's vision includes a focus on supporting independent student learners.
To promote lifelong learning the library aims to enrich the curriculum with information literacy learning and assessment. After working within other subjects, they are also now looking at a e-learning information literacy modules specifically taking a blended and independent learning approach. They have identified 6 themes to "cascade the entire undergraduate programme from first to final year". A student on a 3 year programme has to take 3 modules, and a student on a 4 year course, 4 modules. Modules have to be chosen from outside the home faculty, to help develop and stretch the students.
Firstly there is a General Education module, aiming to develop critical and humanistic skills and attitudes (e.g. to understand and appreciate diversity), and this is compulsory. The focus is very much on self-awareness and developing into a reflective student. Information Literacy is part of this module as a core competency. The concept of life journeys is a key way of developing student learning, and this theme is linked to physical journey in the landscape. The speaker talked about the problem of how you assess critical thinking. She identified questions that you would be asking e.g. is the student critical and self-aware when considering his/her life journey.
This sounds a very interesting programme and I hope to find out more about it.
Photo by Sheila Webber: sparkling sea with Lokrum island, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - An Information Literacy Course for Doctoral Students

Another liveblog from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Ann-Louise Paasio and Kristiina Hintikka (Turku University library) talked about An Information Literacy Course for Doctoral Students: Information Resources and Tools for Research. They were talking about a course they have run since 2012. It gives training to doctoral students in all faculties at Turku University (Finland). It is voluntary and run both in Finnish and in English.
It consists of 4 assignments, 15 hours of lectures and computer class sessions, and students get credit (1 ECTS). The basic course content is the same, but the students are grouped broadly by discipline, so they are working with students in their own fields - also it means subject specialists can be involved. The course includes searching, using bibliographic management and keeping up to date. Academics also are included as invited lecturers. The course web page (in English) is here
The university's graduate school coordinator was an important collaborator in planning and publicising the course. The students' feedback has been mainly positive, with students finding the practical skill sessions useful, for example. They also liked sharing experience with other students and getting personal guidance from the lecturers. There is now an online version of the course being launched. The speakers noted the challenges of having groups with a mix of disciplines, and also the time taken for marking.
Photo by Sheila Webber: harbour cat, Dubrovnik, October 2014

Report fron #ecil2014 - Towards a radical information literacy

Talk three today, liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, was Andrew Whitworth on Towards a radical information literacy. He said that he wanted to close the "research practice" gap. He identified three approaches. He started by identifying phenomenography as a research methodology and also as a pedagogy (I think he was referring to variation theory here). The second approach was sociocultural practice, using Lloyd's work as an example, seeing information literacy as a source of practice, different contexts having different practices. Whitworth identified some elements of the context or landscape being "more open to transformation than others".
Whitworth went on to talk about mapping experience within a course, with use of different approiaches. Finally he talked about discourse analysis, which he felt should be included because "The reality of organisational life is not that all contexts are equal, not all experiences of variation can be expressed" because he felt that "practice architectures and the ways of thinking they represent, are pushed by dominant interests. He proposed that the work of Bakhtin on prosaic communication was valuable for understanding the discourses. Whitworth's idea of radical information literacy involved redistributing authority whilst including the concept of stewardship (a role for librarians) and he emphasised that it involved working with those in other fields and communities.

This is his book, that Whitworth was referring to in his talk:
Photo by Sheila Webber: view frommy window, Dubroknik, October 2014

Report from #ecil2014 - Information Literacy as an object of research

Continuing liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik: Louise Limberg talked on Information Literacy as an object of research – in tension between various fields. The issue she wanted to discuss was where did IL research belong? - was it in a different field (e.g. education)? was it a part of another library/information science field (e.g. it has been placed with information seeking and use)? is it its own field? how does it relate to other research fields? Limberg reflected that she herself had been reluctant to adopt the label of information literacy researcher and she asked herself why.
Thus she aimed to identify different positions and discuss the implications. To do this she started by looking at texts with "explicit statements about positioning IL research" from the last decade. The first position she identified was "IL as an independent research field". She felt it emerged from the library profession, associated with statements and standards about information literacy, and also linked with advocacy of IL as being valuable for citizens in society.
The second view was "IL as learning - information experience" (for example Christine Bruce) seeing IL as "experience of using information to learn". Limberg's main question in relation to this conception was - you had to ask what was being learnt, and reflect on whether the objects of learning were connected with information literacy.
Limberg then outlined the four ways in which she saw IL as related to information seeking and use (her own perspective): "IL as seeking information for learning purposes"; IL as learning information seeking and use; IL as teaching information seeking and use; and IL as learning from information. Limberg unpacked some of the elements in IL as information seeking and use (see the slide above), and identified a wide range of IL research focused on different interests. She made the point that whilst some of the topics were ones that could be investigated by scholars in other fields, but the questions and approaches will be different when investigated by researchers with an IL/information seeking and use approach.
Limberg identified information as being a core concept, when you think of the issue of naming the field. She identified the complexity and history of researching this phenomenon. However, she felt that there could be different reasons for "naming", and one might adopt different names for different purposes and for strategic purposes one might adopt a different name.
In terms of research field, she saw information literacy as a boundary object between the fields of information seeking and use, and learning: so this meant it had high potential for collaboration with people in either field. So that, rather than developing new hierarchies of IL "the challenge is develop new knowledge and expertise".

Report from #ecil2014 Being fluent and keeping looking

Day 2 of liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. It started with David Bawden on Being fluent and keeping looking. He was reflecting on the variety of literacies models (e.g. metaliteracy, transliteracy) that have been developed. He felt that all of them had value and were useful in different situations, and wasn’t looking for “one literacy to rule them all”. Therefore he wondered whether it might be helpful to have an overarching framework. He proposed that the purpose of this framework (its more abstract foundation) was long lasting and not technology related, with a more specific technology-related vision and rapidly-changing specific objectives.

As an example of objectives he gave pillars or competencies (e.g. in the SCONUL 7 Pillars). As an example of "Vision" he gave some of the frameworks which focus on particular media such as Paul Gilster's vision of Digital Literacy, or Metaliteracy. For the "top level" he considered "Information Fluency" (starting with the definition from the influential 1999 report), to propose the adaption "a conceptual understanding of, and ability to adapt to, changing information environments". Interestingly, this covers very similar territory to the model of the "Information Literate person in the changing information culture" which we proposed in 2000 and have developed since.
He went on to talk about the contextual nature of information literacy, and discussed the issue of seeing information literacy as socially constructed and the individual differences in information behaviour. He was raising the question of whether there was a contradiction there, I think.
He summed up by saying that he saw a multi level model of IL, emphasising understanding, and respecting domain differences, "melding information into advice/education" and not worrying who "did" it.
Photo by Sheila Webber: cat, Dubrovnik harbour, October 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Report from #ecil2014

Next from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik was Maria Carme Torras: Libraries Furthering Development: Media and Information Literacy in the Post-2015 Development Framework. Torras introduced the UN post-2015 development framework and pointed out that there were multiple processes feeding into it, with the new framework to be implemented on 1 January 2016. IFLA's goal for new framework is that it should recognise the role of access to information as a fundamental element supporting development, and the role of libraries and information underpinning development. Therefore IFLA has been working with allies in the civil society and development communities and UN states, and has participated in relevant meetings. It also has developed and advocacy toolkit for the post 2015 framework (launced a few weeks ago). This toolkit can be found here: (quoting the website: "IFLA has launched this toolkit to support library institutions and associations and other civil society organisations to advocate for this position. The toolkit provides background on the issues and practical advice on how to set up meetings with government representatives. Template letters, talking points and examples of how libraries help meet development goals are included.") Torras also mentioned the Lyon Declaration.
Torras proceeded to talk about the concept of Media and Information Literacy (as developed and sponsored by UNESCO), and quoted Frau-Meigs as identifying "Illectronism" (not being able to engage effectively with technology as part of information life) as something that could be addressed by Media and Information Literacy.
The IFLA Trend report posed questions which are relevant both to information literacy and to the proposed UN post-2015 development framework. I have blogged about this report and the website is here
Torras identified that building capacity and raising awareness are important. Frau-Meigs (who is a prominent figure in Media Literacy research) has identified a need to "review and retool" media and information literacy education (e.g. integrating into non-formal learning contexts). Torras also mentioned the role in empowering the less privileged and helping them encountering new challenges. As examples drawn from current news stories, Torras mentioned the "right to be forgotten" on search engines, and the issue of providing instructions for your digital footprint when you die (the headline there was "30 million facebook users are dead"! Torras also identified ethical concerns with new developments like Google glasses (talking about her children plotting to use them to secretly record their classmates - of course they got a lesson in media and information literacy!). She finished by raising even more profound issues of neorological, biological and technical technologies combining to transform humans, and the role of librarians and media and information literacy in identifying and tackling the ethical and socio-cultural issues associated with this.

Report from #ecil2014 Saracevic on contemporary US infolit

I continue liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. Tefko Saracevic (Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University) was an invited speaker, talking on Information Literacy in the United States: Contemporary Transformations and Controversies.
He started by saying that information literacy was always connected with effective use of information, but now in the digital world it is even more connected, linking with Mike Eisenberg's talk. His aim was to give an overview of IL developments in the USA and a critique of the current ACRL revision of their IL framework. His definition of IL was the ability to use libraries and other informqtion resources to locate evaluate and use needed information effectively: associated with this were six steps which included respecting legal and ethical issues. Saracevic felt that the basic concept was IL even when some other terms were being used, and he saw IL as an umbrella concept.
He traced the origins of IL in the 19th century and it development to a global concept, including the work of IFLA and UNESCO. Milestones such as the Presidential Committee Final Report were mentioned. The current ACRL standards consist of 5 standards and 22 performance indicators (as many of you will know) with a focus on assessing outcomes of progress towards IL, in higher education. Again as many of you will know, ACRL is now revising its framework for IL, and they have produced drafts and engaged in consultation (I have blogged about this, for example here). He highlighted the argument that is presented for making the changes and troubled some of the notions and concepts that are used in the argument and explanation. He also presented his critique of Threshold Concepts (which are used as a basis for the new ACRL framework), and he felt it was "not an appropriate and fruitful approach for achieving a pragmatic framework for information literacy". I feel I must add that he was partly dismissing it because it was not a testable theory, which I do not think is quite the point.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik old town, October 2014

Report from ECIL: Opening; and Eisenberg's lessons #ecil2014

For the next few days I will be liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik. The picture shows people arriving at the conference venue. The conference opened with a welcome from the conference chairs, Serap Kurbanoglu (Hacettepe University) and Sonja Špiranec (University of Zagreb). They announced that this year's conference had the same diversity as last year's, which had delegates from 59 countries. There will be a book of the full paper proceedings available as a priced publication from Springer, as last year (there is a hefty book of abstracts for the delegates here at the conference). Maria-Carme Torras also welcomed delegates on behalf of the IFLA president Sinikka Sipila, identifying the role of information literacy in the Lyon Declaration launched at the last IFLA conference

The first keynote was a passionate and engaging talk from Michael Eisenberg, University of Washington, on Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Work in Information Literacy. He said that he was retiring in a couple of months, and therefore he was taking time to reflect back on his career, and look at milestones, the lessons learned, challenges and opportunities for information literacy. He started by looking back to his encounter with his doctoral advisor, Tefko Saracevic, and remembered how helpful he had been: two lessons emerged from this - the value of nurtusing young researchers and the continued importance of relevance (Eisenberg's thesis topic) in the networked environment. In fact relevance and credibility could be said to be more important today, when the issue is information abundance rather than information scarcity.
Stepping further back in time, Eisenberg identified the importance of having someone with an enquiry-based approach mentoring him when he was starting as an educator. He valued this involvement in innovative pedgagogy and use of technology as a basis for his career as an educator. Asking meaningful questions, finding quality sources are part ofthis, and "inquiry in itself is an important goal in education" - and vital for (and in combination with) information literacy.
The next focus was studying librarianship, in a career shift from teaching "Library Science - I get tingley even now" ;-) He talked about his teachers, and in particular the issue of service vs. instruction (education) as a role for librarians. He felt that librarians needed to focus on people and their needs, which can be true both for good service and for good education. He felt that there should be a shift from conceptualisation to action, because information literacy was still not reaching everyone, whereas "every human being has the opportunity to become information literate".
Next milestone (or milestones) were to do with technology - thinking back to the various stages of increasingly powerful devices, particular the wonders of Apple technology and then the stages of the internet (through gophers, Mosaic etc. - a nostalgia trip for me too). Looking forward "I'll be the first one to sign up for the brain implant" - he saw that technology will develop and learners need to be supported in meeting life's information challenges. However, whilst technology is important, it does not "change everything": for example he saw the elements in the information seeking process being the same (e.g. selecting, identifying the context and need).
The final moment in time was his first venture at developing an information skills curriculum for schoolchildren. He admitted that he felt discouraged at teh time when the meetings seemed to be focused on getting "laundry lists" of resources, rather than the search process (which is how he saw information literacy, and which he advocates).

His frustration with this process contributed to his eventual development with Bob Berkowitz of the Big6 model of information literacy. Eisenberg provided an interesting insight into how they moved towards framing the Big 6 in terms of process, skills etc. because that behavioural approach is what helped teachers, parents to "get it" (rather than their initial, more conceptual approach). He felt that some of the broader approaches (conceptually and pedagogically) risked losing a focus on information, and were also more difficult to implement in a classroom. So that his conviction from his experience ("kindergarten to doctoral students") was that the process/skills approach was the best way to ensure everyone developed information literacy.

Eisenberg was "insanely optimistic" about the future of information literacy, because he felt that it was so essential to 21st century living. He menioned Obama's declaration of an information literacy month in the USA and the changes he felt had to come about in US education. Eisenberg also praised the ECIL conference as "the richest environment for information literacy".
As a faculty member in an information school, I was heartened to hear Eisenberg say that "Information Schools are built on an information literate foundation". As regards having information literacy in all parts of the educational curriculum and for all people, there is a way to go and this is a challenge that must be taken up. However, optimism is justified because "This is our time".

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The seven pillars of chocolate literacy: a new curriculum

To celebrate chocolate week I am posting this slightly whimsical play on the famous Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. I present the 7 Pillars of Chocolate Literacy: only chocaholics need read on.
I admit, I am a chocoloate addict. I don’t need vast quantities, but I feel edgy if I don’t know where my next chocolate is coming from. To avoid a chocolate meltdown it important to develop chocolate lifeskills and become an independent chocolate learner.

Identify. First you need to recognise the nature of your chocolate need. For example, what is the context in which you will be consuming the chocolate? is the need for an urgent chocolate fix, or are you planning for a long term chocolate future?

Scope. You need to identify the gap between the chocolate you have and the chocolate you need. For example, you might have a half eaten Toblerone and a handful of milk-chocolate covered peanuts, when you sudenly feel the urgent need for a nice chunk of 70% cocoa dark chocolate. What options for filling the gap are available to you? Are there any shops open? Do you have any chocoholic friends that might be prepared to help? Think out of the chocolate box, too: if you’d wanted milk chocolate, there would be the possibility of scraping the chocolate off the peanuts.

Plan. Having looked at the options for getting the chocolate, work out a strategy, tailoring it to the chocolate channel you are going to use. For example, with the chocoholic friend you either need to be really persuasive or to lure her away from her chocolate stash and then grab a couple of chunks. A chocolate-literate person is likely to have websites of all the online chocolate vendors bookmarked neatly in a folder, and be able to recognise the word “chocolate” in every major world language. Have a backup plan if your initial strategy fails: for example the first shop you go to may just have cheap and tasteless chocolate.

Gather. Go get the chocolate.

Evaluate. The usual criteria apply here. Currency: is the chocolate within its sell by-date and/or edible? This is most likely to be an issue with old, forgotten bits of chocolate you find at the bottom of your handbag or lingering at the back of a drawer. Coverage: does the chocolate meet all of your chocolate needs or will you need two contrasting types of chocolate? Authority: is the chocolate brand one you recognise and respect? Reliability: is all the chocolate of the brand likely to be good, or is it a bit hit and miss? Price: is the chocolate value-for-money, or is it simply Cheap? The chocolate-literate person will be able to recognise when two-for-one deals are worth grabbing and reject discounts on chocolate that is so dull you ought to be paid to eat it.

Manage. A very important part of chocolate literacy. You need to store your chocolate so that it is easily retrievable, and kept in optimal conditions. The chocolate literate person will scan the environment regularly to ensure that he or she is aware of the latest chocolate trends, and map paths to the nearest chocolate wherever he or she is. Ethical use of chocolate is obviously also vital e.g. responding to others’ emotional crises with offers of chocolate, knowing whether your chocolate was ethically sourced, and understanding when sharing your chocolate is socially unavoidable.
Use of chocolate comes under this pillar too: basically the use of chocolate is to eat it, so this is an aspect that most people find quite straightforward.

Communicate. Knowledge sharing is a key aspect of 21st century society. However, if you have some chocolate and you want to eat it all, telling other people about it is a really bad idea. So the chocolate-literate person will find the delicate balance between sharing (e.g. providing expert advice on the difference between Lindt Extra Creamy milk chocolate and the normal Lindt milk chocolate) and keeping quiet (e.g. about the fact that he/she has examples of both in his/her briefcase).

The next step is developing A New Curriculum for Chocolate Literacy, including indicators for chocolate literacy, and then embedding ANCFCL into as many courses of study as possible. A constructivist pedagogy for chocolate literacy will be appropriate, with a big emphasis on experiential learning. Learners will construct their own context-specific understanding of chocolate literacy, and then deconstruct it by eating the chocolate. I see loads of scope for public-private sector partnerships (i.e. companies give us their chocolate, we trouble the concept of chocolate literacy, and then write obscure research articles whilst eating the chocolate).
If any of you feel this has a future do comment below.
Photos by Sheila Webber: chocolate-related items from Dubrovnik: 1) Milka with biscuit; 2) 100% chocolate desert at the 360 degree restaurant (it was really chocolatey); 3) upmarket Croatian chocolate with praline filling

Friday, October 17, 2014

UNESCO consultation on Internet Related Issues

UNESCO has a consultation in progress on "Internet related issues". The questionnaire phase closes on 30 Nivember 2014. They are asking for responses, including evidence, relating to four areas, namely: access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society. "The questions also explore the intersections between these areas and options for future UNESCO action in these fields."

You will be pleased to know that Media and Information Literacy is mentioned in the "concept paper" (
"Accessibility: UNESCO’s approach is that access to information alone is not a sufficient requirement for the creation of Knowledge Societies. Access to knowledge entails learning in formal and informal education settings. It also entails fostering the competencies of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) so as to empower users to make full use of access to the Internet."

The questions which UNESCO is posing in relation to the area of Access are "What can be done to reinforce the right to seek and receive information in the online environment? What mechanisms can develop policies and common standards for open-licensed educational resources and scientific repositories, and for the long-term preservation of digital heritage? How can greater progress be made as regards inclusive strategies for women and girls as well as marginalized and disabled people? How can accessibility be facilitated through increases in locally produced and relevant content in different languages? What can be done to institutionalize MIL effectively in national educational systems?"

Obviously the other areas are very relevant to information literacy too. More information, and link to the questionnaire, here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik, October 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Issues in 3D worlds research #socmethods

Here is the presentation that Marshall Dozier and I used in our session on Wednesday. It was entitled Social, ethical, digital: issues in 3D worlds research, part of a University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences seminar series on Methodological Challenges.
The livestream was recorded (video and audio) and is available here: (that is the whole seminar, all of which is interesting of course, but our part starts about 1 hour into the recording). This is the powerpoint.

Call for papers: i3 conference

There is a call for proposals for the 2015 i3 conference which will take place 23-25 June 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. It "brings together academic and practitioner researchers interested in exploring the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information and how this interaction can bring about change." The deadline for abstracts is 19 January 2015. Topics include:
- How much do we know about the impact of information behaviours and capabilities on the quality and effectiveness of learning, knowledge building and sharing, decision-making and problem solving, creativity, democracy?
- How do information behaviours and literacies contribute to the economic or social value of information assets or the intellectual capital of an organisation?
- How do/can organisations and communities harness their information assets to meet challenges, solve problems, survive and thrive?
- Is there a connection between information and inspiration?
- How well do our models and pedagogies for information literacy relate to real-world information contexts in workplace, community, education or home environments?
- Are new information environments changing the way people seek and use information?
- What are the methodological challenges of addressing such issues?
Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: cut red devil apple, October 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Overview of Information Literacy Resources Worldwide 2nd edition available

Immense effort has gone into compiling
Horton, F. W. (2014) Overview of Information Literacy Resources Worldwide. 2nd ed. UNESCO.
This lists some key resources in a huge number of world languages.
Photo by Sheila Webber: fluffy cat, September 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Streaming on 15 October: Methodological challenges: The relationship between social and digital worlds

Tomorrow I and Marshall Dozier, University of Edinburgh, will be presenting a talk which will be livestreamed. It is entitled Social, ethical, digital: issues in 3D worlds research and we will actually be delivering the talk within Second Life, delivered via a skype screenshare (and then livestreamed). Our talk is scheduled to start at 2.05pm UK time (see for times elsewhere in the world). This is part of a University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences seminar series on Methodological Challenges. This session focuses on The relationship between social and digital worlds and teh whole event starts at 1pm UK time.
The other speakers are: Jenny Ostini, University of Southern Queensland: How do we “get at” people’s everyday practices of digital technology? and my colleague Jo Bates, The University of Sheffield on The Importance of understanding the socio-cultural shaping of big data infrastructures. The event livestream will be here and the website is here