Saturday, February 28, 2015

cfp Information literacy and beyond for E-Research Support

There is a call for abstracts for the IATUL (International Association of University Libraries) workshop on information literacy, Information literacy and beyond for E-Research Support, which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic, 23– 24 November 2015. The conference themes are: Competencies and skills for e-research support; Librarians’ skills: Advanced training for research support librarians; Approaches and methods for e-research-support; Support networks; Promoting and evaluating library services for researchers.
Deadline for abstracts is 30 March 2015. Further information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Lokrum island, October 2014

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Putting the Framework for Information Literacy into Action #acrlframework

ACRL has organised a free Webcast on March 4 2015, Putting the Framework for Information Literacy into Action: Next Steps, 1pm – 2 p.m.USA Central time (which is 7pm- 8pm UK time). "Following the ACRL Board Action at Midwinter, the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education is now a dynamic living document that has great potential for transforming information literacy research and practice. This webcast will provide an overview of next steps for the Framework and will highlight examples of how librarians are already incorporating it into their work. Join us to learn more about plans for creating resources and professional development opportunities to support librarians in using the Framework and contributing to its growth. Learning outcomes: Become more familiar with how the threshold concept foundation of the Framework can inform action research and curriculum design; Explore examples of how librarians are experimenting with the Framework in a variety of contexts; Hear about next steps for using the Framework and how you can contribute." the presenters are Karen Williams and Sharon Mader. Register at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik, October 2014

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Research 101 #acrlframework

University Libraries, University of Washington have produced a Libguides website, Research 101, based around the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. For each of the frames they have produced: a few learning goals, a short video explaining the concept, a brief description of a couple of classroom activities or assignments, and a short multiple choice quiz. The "Information has value" section has yet to be completed, and one name reflects previous drafts of the Framework. Note also that in a couple of cases the heading on the tab is slightly different from the wording used on the page (so "Format as a process" is "Format matters" and "Research as inquiry" becomes "Research is a process").
Photo by Sheila Webber: sailing on in Dubrovnik, October 2014

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Librarians as Teachers Conference: 10 June: Birmingham

There's a one-day Librarians as Teachers Conference, 10 June 2015 at the Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham, UK. Confrmed Speakers are: Jane Secker, Adam Lancaster, Michelle Jenkins, Jessica Haigh, Andrew Walsh, Sarah Pavey and Helen Ryba. More information
Photo by Sheila Webber: Dubrovnik coastline, October 2014

cfp e-learning 2015 conference

There is a call for papers for the e-learning 2015 conference being held on 21-24 July 2015 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. The deadline for papers is 6 March 2015 (full papers are required except for workshop and poster proposals). More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sea, Dubrovnik, October 2014: the weather is miserable at the moment so I'm going to use some photos from sunny Dubrovnik for a couple of days.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Is Gibbs' team info literate? The information literacy of #NCIS

Workplace information literacy is all the vogue, and so I offer an information literacy analysis of a team of workers who have to solve impossible information problems on a weekly basis: the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) team headed by Special Agent Jethro Leroy Gibbs. In case you never watch NCIS, it is a hugely successful TV series in which they solve crimes involving a (dead) navy person. I will focus on the ur-team, headed by Gibbs, rather than the flibbertigibbet spinoff series. After iterative conversations with the data (i.e. I’ve watched a lot of NCIS) I am able to offer the following analysis, using the framework of the SCONUL 7 pillars of information literacy.

“Okay, let's get to work!”

Pillar 1: “Identify the information need”? Check! No sooner has a dead marine washed upon the beach/ been discovered by a courting couple/ inexplicably flumped out of the sky, than Gibbs is barking away at people demanding names, and cause and time of death. And the team keeps reviewing and identifying new information needs all the way through the episode until the perp finally breaks down under Gibbs’ merciless interrogation.

Pillar 2: “Scope “ – so that’s “Can assess current knowledge and identify gaps” (Check! the team act as one to share what they know and then scatter to do whatever it is they do best), “understands what types of information are available” (Check! do they ever stand round wondering where on earth to look next? "Heck no!"), and “Demonstrate the ability to use new tools as they become available” (Check! there is NO database or hard disk inaccessible to the combined wizardry of Abby and McGee. Even DiNozzo can manipulate a camera, laptop and wifi when circumstances dictate (vide the case of the man stabbed with a knitting needle in the airborne aircraft lavatory; pictures zoom to Abby and Ducky before you can say “so the air hostess is the hit man!”).

Pillar 3: “Plan: construct strategies for locating information and data” Check! This is most evident when the team plan how to collect physical and personal evidence, whether it’s Ducky contemplating how to get the corpse to tell him how the murder was committed, or Ziva and Gibbs deciding how to get into the suspect’s home and snag his toothbrush for a DNA test. The elegant search strategies used to extract information from the plethora of digital sources are usually taken as read. Although Abby and McGee sometimes can’t resist filling in the systematic detail, Gibbs soon reminds them that it’s only the answers he’s interested in.

Pillar 4: “Gather: locate and access the information and data they need” Check! and double check! Gibbs and his team have access to every conceivable information source known to man. They use satellites and tiny cameras, they use huge great video suites and petite mobile phones, they track all kinds of objects all around the world using amazing networky gizmos, they use news databases, and bank records, and can hack into any database after the most minimal effort, they can call on their own vast and infallible memories, they have extensive personal networks of people just dying to do them favours. If by any chance the person/object/database doesn’t happen to be in Washington DC, only a small amount of jokey posturing will see them on a flight to Iraq, or Paris, or Mexico to scoop up the info in person.
The only element lacking here is “understanding the difference between free and paid for resources”. As far as I can see, the only way Gibbs and co. ever pay for information, is, now and then, with a certain amount of personal angst (e.g. having to say “please” to the FBI).

Pillar 5: “Evaluate”. This is one where I pondered a while. Most of the information they get from official databases (fingerprints! tox screens! phone records! service records!) simply gets accepted as correct, unless there’s a plot device about falsifying something. However, the team do “Critically appraise and evaluate their own findings and those of others”, principally when gathered round the screen next to Gibbs’ desk fighting over who is going to feed him the latest juicy fact. As well as contesting each others’ findings (i.e. making snarky remarks and snatching the digital pointer), they are always subject to Gibbs’ devastating critique (notably “yer think?” and “so that’s all you got?”). After all, Gibbs’ Rule #3 is “Never believe what you are told. Double check.”
The most air time is, again, devoted to evaluating personal sources. The team itself is trustworthy (except when fighting personal vendettas, carrying out orders from Mossad, or protecting a close relative, obviously). People the team knows and trusts are mostly good information sources, although TV cliche dictates that periodically one or other of the team will be Horribly Disallusioned when it turns out their girlfriend/boyfriend/mentor/old commanding officer is liar and a cheat.
Other people can only be identified as good or bad information sources once they’ve been marched to the interview room for ritual humiliation by one of the team, whilst a random selection of  team-mates indulge in light banter behind the 2-way mirror.

Pillar 6: “Manage: Can organise information professionally and ethically”. They must be super-efficient at organising information, as the only things they lose are embarrassing personal items (leading to much humorous byplay) or files stolen by someone Up To No Good. However, this pillar seems to be the one blot on their information literate copybook. Does Gibbs’ team “Demonstrate awareness of issues relating to the rights of others including ethics, data protection, copyright, plagiarism and any other intellectual property issues”? I think not! McGee hacks into everything, the gun-toters of the team hack into people’s houses, and obviously Ducky and Mr Palmer hack into the corpses, though the latter is really just routine forensics. Now and then national security is mentioned, and sometimes someone will wonder whether all this is right. However, generally speaking ethical information behaviour isn’t allowed to stand in the way of wrapping up the case before the credits whump in.

Pillar 7: “Present: Can apply the knowledge gained: presenting the results of their research, synthesising new and old information and data to create new knowledge and disseminating it in a variety of ways”. Check! and triple check! They always solve the case: job done. How the results are disseminated will depend on the plot point. The team may end the episode soulfully watching a complete fabrication being broadcast on the ZNN news channel (e.g. the bullet-riddled demise of Director Shepard, reported as a nasty domestic accident, possibly involving blazing chip fat), or getting the warm fuzzies (e.g. watching the wife and fatally-ill son of a dead hero helicopter pilot being respectively stoic, and cute: and were it not for the investigative powers of Gibbs’ team, that hero would have been branded a coward!)

What is perhaps most awesome is the way they combine their individually awesome talents to become a mega-awesome whole. Remember, Gibbs' Rule #15 is “Always work as a team”. He is an archetypal manager in his information behaviour: he sets clear goals, provides incentives (e.g. buckets of carbonated beverage; though not being shouted at is usually enough for DiNozzo), he demands summarised intelligence and regular updates (“what yer got?”), he prefers personal communication (“speak to me Abs”), disdains unnecessary detail (“speak English!”), and combines his personal knowledge base, his gut feeling and the vast streams of information from his team to arrive at a decision (“Gibbs is always right!”).
The rest provide complimentary sets of skills, knowledge and personal contacts. Abby and Ducky are the most expert experts in the world in space and don’t have to do trivial things like read the literature to keep up to date. However, they do go to conferences (mostly for people to cluster round them and ask for autographs, I imagine) and if their gigantic brains fail to identify an appropriate solution, they always know some other expert who will come up with the goods. If an information source is trying to run away, Ziva can exercise her skills in hitting people. DiNozzo is good at putting evidence in bags and noticing quirky things that turn out to be really, really important.

So, I think that pretty well demonstrates that the NCIS team are A1 information literate (apart from that pesky ethical thing, which I’m sure Gibbs would discount with a quick whack to the back of the head). In fact they could be rechristened the Navy’s Completely Information-Literate Service.

Does anyone know Gibbs’ phone number, so I can ring up to propose it? I’m sure he’d love that. He’s always so open to unsolicited suggestions for change.

Pictures by Sheila Webber, taken in Second Life. Those with eagle eyes will have spotted that there are 2 rule 3s. This is Gibbs. He makes up the rules.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Recording of “Anyone can cook” webinar online

There is a recording, and the chatlog, from the webinar held on 17 February 2015 “Anyone can cook”: an online seminar on the implications of Radical Information Literacy at

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Large numbers of teachers participating in #MOOCs

A study of 11 MOOCs offered by MIT in spring 2014 "found that one in four (28.0 percent) respondents [i.e. learners] identified as past or present teachers." "Although they represent only 4.5 percent of the nearly 250,000 enrollees, responding teachers generated 22.4 percent of all discussion forum comments." Over 70% of teachers responding to exit surveys agreed they might use the matyerial in their teaching. The authors identify the value of teachers taking MOOCs (since they appear to be very participative) and see at as a positive thing "We believe teacher participants in MOOCS are a resource to respect and value, with the potential of further enriching the MOOC experience for participants". There are also obvious implications to do with teachers' self development, and their wish to re-use material encountered in the MOOCs.

Seaton, D., Coleman, C., Daries, J. and Chuang, I. (2015, February 9) Enrollment in MITx MOOCs: Are We Educating Educators? EDUCAUSE Review.
Photo by Sheila Webber: bunting yet again, February 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

21st February is #OpenDataDay

21st February is International Open Data Day, a "gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments." The Open data Handbook defines open data as follows "Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike." On 21st there are events such as hackathons, in various locations, such as Open Data Day London 2015. Some organisations are releasing data e.g. the UK's Natural History Museum "as part of International Open Data Day ... is opening up its digital collections and research data through its new Data Portal."
The Open Data Day website is here
Logo created using the app at

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some recent blog posts on information literacy by other people (McGlynn, Fister, Bhimani, Whitworth)

McGlynn, L. (2015, February 10). Instruction Instruction Part 1: Why Library Teaching Training Matters. Hack Library School and McGlynn, L. (2015, February 19). Instruction Instruction Part 2: Become a Better Instructor (hls is a blog by and for library and information school students)

Fister, B. (2015, February 15) Information Literacy In the Wild. Inside Higher Ed.
(Barbara highlights some non-library stories that have information literacy angles)

A couple of entries on the blog of the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals: Why teach information literacy in an academic library? by Nazlin Bhimani and Why "Radical Information Literacy"? by Andrew Whitworth
Photo by Sheila Webber: more bunting, Sheffield, February 2015

Librarian co-authors correlated with higher quality reported search strategies in general internal medicine systematic reviews

The title of this paper, just published online, says it all, really:
Rethlefsen, M., Farrell, A., Osterhaus Trzasko, L. and Brigham, T. (2015) Librarian co-authors correlated with higher quality reported search strategies in general internal medicine systematic reviews. Journal of clinical epidemiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.11.025
The aim of the study was "To determine whether librarian and information specialist authorship was associated with better reported systematic review search quality. .... Systematic reviews from high impact general internal medicine journals were reviewed for search quality characteristics and reporting quality by independent reviewers using three instruments, including a checklist of Institute of Medicine Recommended Standards for the Search Process and a scored modification of the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies instrument. .... Systematic reviews with librarian or information specialist co-authors are correlated with significantly higher quality reported search strategies. To minimize bias in systematic reviews, authors and editors could encourage librarian engagement in systematic reviews including authorship as a potential way to help improve documentation of the search strategy."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nurses’ and midwives’ information behaviour: a review of literature from 1998 to 2014

A substantial literature review (from one of the PhD students here at the iSchool):
Ebenezer, C. (2015). Nurses’ and midwives’ information behaviour: a review of literature from 1998 to 2014. New Library World, 116 (3/4), .
The findings part of the abstract says "Practitioners within nursing professions have a marked preference for interactive and human sources of information. They habitually associate information seeking with professional development rather than with clinical practice. Lack of time is the most frequently reported problem; also, they frequently lack confidence in searching and appraising the professional literature and in applying research in practice. Cultural factors may inhibit information seeking in the workplace, and access to appropriate information technology may be limited."
A priced publication, the abstract is here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: taken in Second Life, January 2015.

Second Life Infolit Journal Club 18 February 1pm SL time: Interdisciplinarity and IL

Join us in the virtual world Second Life for a one-hour discussion of an open-access article. Sheila Webber (i.e. me, Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) leads a discussion on:
Brunetti, K., Hofer, A. R. and Townsend, L. (2014). Interdisciplinarity and information literacy Instruction: A threshold concepts approach. In C. O’Mahoney, A. Buchanan, M. O’Rourke, & B. Higgs (Eds.), Threshold concepts: From personal practice to communities of practice, Proceedings of the National Academy's Sixth Annual Conference and the Fourth Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference (pp. 89-93), Cork, Ireland: NAIRTL. Available from (go to page 99 in the pdf)

When: February 18 2015 at 1pm SL time (which is 9pm UK time, see for times elsewhere)

Where: Infolit iSchool, in the virtual world Second Life. You need a SL avatar and the Second Life browser installed on your computer. Go to

Everyone is welcome to join the one-hour discussion.

A Sheffield iSchool Centre for Information Literacy Research event.
Photo by Sheila Webber, taken in Second Life

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Integrating Information into the Engineering Design Process: book can now be downloaded

Integrating Information into the Engineering Design Process has now been made available as a free download (either as one file or chapter by chapter): the hard copy is still available to buy.

Fosmire, M. and Radcliffe, D. (Eds). (2014). Integrating Information into the Engineering Design Process. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. ISBN 9781557536495
Picture: created from the book's web page using Tagxedo (that's meant to be a steam train shape)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Latest articles in Portal: libraries and the academy

Articles in the latest issue of Portal: libraries and the academy (Volume 15, Number 1, January 2015) include
- Faculty Research and Publication Practices by Kate Zoellner, Samantha Hines, Teressa Keenan, Sue Samson
- Google vs. the Library (Part III): Assessing the Quality of Sources Found by Undergraduates by Helen Georgas
- Building a Peer-Learning Service for Students in an Academic Library by Mary O’Kelly, Julie Garrison, Brian Merry, Jennifer Torreano
- Pausing at the Threshold by Patrick K. Morgan [looking at threshold concepts]
Photo by Sheila Webber: bunting, Sheffield, February 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Latest articles Journal of academic librarianship

The latest issue of the Journal of academic librarianship (volume 41 no. 1)includes
- The Student Confidence/Overconfidence in the Research Process by Valeria E. Molteni, Emily K. Chan
- Promoting Academic Library Research Through the “Faculty-Member-In-Residence” Program by Brian Detlor, Vivian Lewis
- Library Instruction and Themed Composition Courses: An Investigation of Factors that Impact Student - Learning by Erin E. Rinto, Elisa I. Cogbill-Seiders
- Relationship of Library Assessment to Student Retention by Elizabeth M. Mezick
- Finding the Right Notes: An Observational Study of Score and Recording Seeking Behaviors of Music Students by Kirstin Dougan
- The Shift of Information Literacy Towards Research 2.0 by Tibor Koltay, Sonja Špiranec, László Z. Karvalics
- Interactive Training Materials Developed by Spanish University Libraries by Marta Somoza-Fernández
For the abstracts, go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Durham, January 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New articles:school librarians; Ibero-American authors; students in India

Three new or new-ish papers from different sources:
- Khan, J. (2015). Use of information sources and need of information literacy among students in Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh. IJLIS, 7(1), 10 - 13. An open-access article on IL in India.
- Pinto, M., Escalona, M.I., Pulgarín, A. and Uribe-Tirado, A. (2015). The scientific production of Ibero-American authors on information literacy (1985–2013). Scientometrics, 102 (2), 1555-1576.
- Tan, S., Kiran, K. and Diljit, S. (2014). Examining School librarians’ readiness for information literacy implementation. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Libraries, Information and Society (ICoLIS 2014), 4-5 November 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Can be downloaded from . This is a study of Malaysian school librarians.
Photo by Sheila Webber: mist, February 2015

New issue of Liber Quarterly: one-shots, data literacies

The latest issue (volume 24 no. 3) of Liber Quarterly (the Open Access journal of the Association of European Research Libraries) has 2 articles:
- Just in case, just in time, or just don't bother? Assessment of one-shot library instruction with follow-up workshops by Hilde Terese Daland
- Developing data literacy competencies to enhance faculty collaborations by Don MacMillan
Photo by Sheila Webber: fog in Sheffield, photoshopped, February 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

cfp joint EAHIL+ICAHIS+ICLC Workshop #eahil2015

There is a call for papers from clinical & outreach librarians, on the broad theme of ‘Supporting Research' as part of the Workshop taking place 10-12 June 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland; a collaboration between the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL), the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (ICAHIS) and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC). Details are at joint EAHIL+ICAHIS+ICLC Workshop . The format will mostly be participative workshop sessions (Bill Johnston and I are running one on phenomenographic research, and I will also be running one on journal clubs with Marshall Dozier). You have to submit a 200 word abstract on your proposal by 27 February 2015. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: winter in in the virtual world Second Life

Monday, February 09, 2015

SMIRK can be downloaded

SMIRK (the mobile version of the information skills training package SMILE) can now be downloaded from the repository Jorum. The author, Marion Kelt, says "SMIRK can be edited on a standard web editing package, we used Dreamweaver" and is happy to answer questions.
Photo by Sheila Webber: snow, Sheffield, January 2015

2015 Information Literacy Summit in Illinois

Registration is open for the 2015 Information Literacy Summit: Revising, Refreshing, Reframing our Practice: Information Literacy, Threshold Concepts, and the New ACRL Framework, to be held at Moraine Valley Community College campus (Palos Hills, IL, USA) on April 10 2015. The keynote is: What’s the big idea?! Incorporating Threshold Concepts into Your Teaching Practice, from Amy R. Hofer, Silvia Lu, and Lori Townsend. Cost is $40 for attendees or $20 for presenters. Go to

Friday, February 06, 2015

New ACRL framework "filed" but Standards not to be sundowned yet #acrlrevisions

There is a brief report on the outcome from the ACRL board meeting that was making a decision on the final version of the new ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Information literacy Framework. They have "filed" (which seems to mean, endorsed) this framework, but for the moment are keeping the ACRL IL Standards as well (rather than saying tha the new Framework replaces the old Standards). Given the representations towards the end of the consultation process, this does not seem surprising. Sharon Mader has been made "ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy" and will lead an initiative to develop resources around the new Framework: this is a positive move, I think. The statement is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snow last week, Sheffield, January 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015

CAPAL15: Academic Librarianship and Critical Practice #CAPAL15

On May 31-June 2 2015 the CAPAL15: Academic Librarianship and Critical Practice conference will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It includes sessions on critical pedagogy and critical information literacy. Registration is open and the programme is now available. Earlybird rates before March 31st. You can visit the website at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Firth Court and trees, Sheffield, January 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

cfp critical pedagogy in library instruction #critlib

There's a call for chapters/ essays for a book (to be published by ACRL) on critical pedagogy in teaching information literacy. The editors write "We are seeking short chapters on using critical pedagogy in lesson design and other components of teaching to compile in a practical, accessible handbook for library instructors.... A criticism of critical theory and critical pedagogy is that the discourse is designed around those with the privilege to contemplate ideas at length, but not really helpful for the practitioner who might have fewer resources (e.g., financial resources, time) to adapt theory into practice. As a response, this book will provide practical tools and activities to integrate critical pedagogy into library instruction. Short chapters introducing key ideas will alternate with lesson plans and workbook activities where readers will reflect on their own practice or walk through the steps to alter an existing teaching activity." Proposals have to be submitted by 31 March 2015. See for more details
Photo by Sheila Webber: flower posy in the snow, January 2015.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Blog post information literacy journal club:18 February #ilread

The next blog post information literacy journal club is on 18 February 2015 at 8pm UK time, discussing the article:
MacMillan, M. 2014. Fostering the integration of information literacy and journalism practice: a long-term study of journalism students. Journal of Information Literacy, 8(2), 3-22.

To participate you simple need to go to the following blog post and engage in discussion by posting comments on the blog entry on the journal club website (linked below). There is an introduction to this article by the author there:
Photo by Sheila Webber: snow in the park last week, January 2015