Thursday, September 27, 2018

Information Literacy of university freshmen and differences in ICT use, internet confidence and motivation #ECIL2018

The second talk in the session I chaired this afternoon was Information Literacy of university freshmen and differences in ICT use, internet confidence and motivation presented by Danica Dolnicar. Dolnicar started by identifying that young students are not necessarily information literate. In Solvenia there is some provision for information/ICT literacy: there are curricula in primary and secondary schools which may consist of informatics or of library and information knowledge. However these curricula are not uniformly applied in schools, and also there are personal factors such motivation which can affect how students engage with ICT and IL.
The researchers were aiming to measure the overall IL level of a group of students and then compare the weaker and stronger students in various ways. They used the Information Literacy Test, the ICT Software Use Survey, the Internet Confidence Survey and the Self-concept/Self-efficacy/Motivation/Use of Learning strategies (i.e. 4 different existing survey instruments).
The sample was 126 freshmen students in the Faculty of Education. This data was gathered between 2014-2017. The questionnaire was administered under supervision.
Those with higher scores were assigned to the higher group, and the other half of the sample to the lower group. For information literacy, the highest difference between the 2 groups was in search, and legal and ethical issues were the weakest areas for both groups. There was a staitistically significant difference between the higher and lower group.
In terms of differences in ICT software use, the differences between the two groups was not significantly different statistically. As regards the differences in confidence on the internet, the biggest differences were in learning new software, presenting opinions and using discussion groups (where the lower group was weaker) and the last 2 were statistically significant. Finally, with the "Differences in self-concept" etc., students with lower IL scores relied more on external motivation: this was the element with statistically significant difference.
Some conclusions are summed up in the slides I show in the photos. Dolnicar concluded that differences might be attributed to inconsistent IL education at school, and also to personal factors e.g. motivation. They are following up by planning an appropriate educational intervention at freshman level.

Information Literacy self-efficacy of Medical Students: a longitudinal study #ECIL2018

I am chairing a session this afternon with two presentations focused on IL in higher education. The first is from Ann de Meuelmeester on Information Literacy self-efficacy of Medical Students: a longitudinal study. The development of the self-efficacy scale was already reported in:
De Meulemeester, A., Buysse, H. and Peleman, R. 2018. Development and validation of an information literacy self-efficacy scale for medical students. Journal of Information Literacy, 12(1), pp.27–47.
This presentation focused on a longitudinal study. They were aiming to integrate information literacy into the curriculum, and so looking at self-efficacy is part of identifying how the students develop through the medical programme. They followed four cohorts for consecutive years (some of them were followed for 4 years). They are looking at results at the cohort, rather than individual, levels. When they got the results, the researchers presented them to the students and the students had a good amount of constructive discussion about the results.
The results show that medical students' IL self-efficacy develops slowly - very slowly - over time. The scores for more general scales such as "evaluating and processing information" are higher than those for the specific scales "Using the library" and "Bibliography" (and e.g. the library one makes sense as the medical students don't have to use books much). It is evident for the results that there is a significant correlation between the points at which specific aspects of IL are taught and an upswing in self-efficacy. De Meleumeester said that the fact that their medical information literacy was broken down into identifiable skills (e.g. searching a particular database) made it easier to assimilate. IL development was also connected with the students' curriculum and activities within that were also connected e.g. a downswing when the students did internship in the hospital and felt lost (following on from this, there may be more support about finding information in the workplace - hospital - context in future).
De Meulemeester then presented a proposed framework for IL education (based on this project and another one, which took a case study approach). It has activation, personal practice, feedback and support on one matrix, and basic skills (in an integrated IL course), advanced skills (integrated into the disciplinary course, taught by the subject expert), and lifelong learning (collaborating with peer colleagues, e.g. discussing cases that they are dealing with on internship) on the other. Curriculum content, process and support needed to be aligned with each other. There were development needs implied by this approach e.g. educating the disciplinary experts.
Further, de Meulemeester looked at horizontal integration, concerning students following different pathways in the medical programme. It was important that the changes and intergration of IL should be incorporated in policy documents. THis is explained further in: Buysse H, Peleman R, De Meulemeester A. (2018). Information literacy in health sciences education: proposal of a new model in a multi-perspectivism setting. JEAHIL [Internet], 14(1).
"The key is practice throughout the curriculum, at appropriate time and level", plus "Communication and collaboration"

The health of a musician: identifying musicians unstated/unrecognised Information needs #ecil2018

Loriene Roy presented research that took place in Austin Texas, where music and musicians are a significant part of the local economy and community, however musicians are generally quite poor, and make less money that the federal poverty level. Loriene asks: Given their low income, what do we know about musicians’ health information literacy, including health insurance literacy, which is a particular issue in the USA. They wanted to partner with an organisation that supports musicians in navigating the health insurance environment, which was HAAM: Health alliance for Austin musicians, for example getting ear plugs at reduced cost. There are 2300 HAAM members who live locally and are low earners. A survey was distributed to HAAM members, 90% responded and they all agreed that HAAM provided good services, but many had not taken advantage of the health services offered. Many musicians have vision and dental problems, and mental health is also an issue.  Students created videos to advertise HAAM services, and there is research planned for the next year including focus groups, observation of performances and content analysis of web pages and Facebook pages.

Researching information in everyday life: the contribution of autoethnography and information grounds #ecil2018

I (Pam) am live-blogging  Sheila’s presentation on ethnography and Information grounds. Information grounds theory has been used to study a huge variety of situations where people gather to share information. Sheila spoke about the use of a combination of ethnography and information grounds in the context of the independence referendum in Scotland in 2014. There was a substantial majority vite for “no”, and the turnout was very high. Bill Johnston undertook an autoethnography of his own information experiences as an engaged citizen, where he is an “insider”. Sheila took a role as an “informed outsider”  as she lived in Scotland for many years. Bill memoed his experiences, and supported this memoing activities with videos and documents found, and an autoethnographic vignette, and discussions between Bill and Sheila. The Glad Cafe in Glasgow was identified as an information ground, and Sheila played a short audio clip of Bill reflecting on what happened on the voting day in the Glad Cafe. The information grounds theory were used to discuss the role of the Glad Cafe, which is a cafe open to the general public, but also as a space for political meetings and the exchange of physical and verbal information. In the autoethnogpraphy the role of the Cafe was examined,  but the information ground theory allowed for more detailed examination of the Cafe as a space.

Sheila then introduced her own autoethnography in the 3D world “second life” where she explored her practice of co-leading a discussion group, the virtual worlds educators round table, and contrasting it with her experiences as an educator in the physical world. Sheila has a huge amount of data including records of her actions and interactions, blog posts, videos and academic material created by and about her. One week the topic for discussion in the educators round table was “information grounds”, and Sheila showed a range of the evidence collected which included chatlogs, and pictures etc. The topic is a jumping off point for stories of past educational experiences, positioning statements etc. Information sharing happened through text chat, private instant message, visual information, notecards and information embedded in the people and the landscape. It’s an open ground, anyone can attend, but closed in that one needs an excellent computer, also there are norms and etiquettes to do with second life itself. People were reflective about their preferences for exchanging in the world. Auto ethnography allows Sheila to focus on her own practice and feelings, and information grounds helps her explore place space and information and insider/outsider status.

Setting the scene: a set of initial premises for everyday information literacy #ECIL2018

The next presentation I am blogging is Alison Hick's talk Setting the scene: a set of initial premises for everyday information literacy. She was drawing on her doctoral work to draw some more general premises. The term of everday information literacy is still being developed: Hicks referred to a recent literature review and the terminology used in things such as professional definitions (e.g. CILIP's recent definition).
Some studies have looked at information literacy in community settings, and themes which have emerged include social networks, pooling experience, with storytelling playing an important role. Corporeal information and sensory information can be important, particularly in certain contexts (e.g. crises, health). In terms of health information literacy, self monitoring of the body, using social sources for information and emotional support, and personal information management, have emerged as important. Although there is a lot of discourse about citizenship and lifelong learning, there is a dearth of studies about how they connect with IL.
Hicks then turned to her doctoral study of IL practices of students learning a language overseas. She used a practice theory framework and drew on new literacies studies. She interviewed 26 English-speakers and approached the research using constructivist Grounded Theory. She used multiple interviews, including using the photo elicitation method (discussing photos they had taken, in the 2nd interview).
Her 1st premise was that Everyday Information Literacy (EIL) centres on a person's engagement in everyday activities. As an example, an interviewee mentioned how she checked with a friend based in Nice (where she was going) for advice on a place to shop.
Her 2nd premise was that EIL is shaped in relation to everyday information sources (which will differe depending on teh person's context). Hicks gave an example of someone using his own body as a source: that a restaurant was OK (if he wasn't ill within 3 hours, it was ok!)
Hicks 3rd was that EIL centres on a person's use of everyday tools and technologies (she gave an example of someone using her phone to document the hours of churches she can across, for reference later)
The 4th premise is that EIL is shaped by fluid conceptions of teaching and learning (so people can easily see themselves as either and can become instant experts/teachers in particular types of everyday information)
Developing and exploring these premises obviously involves NOT seeing IL as a set of skills, or something just in an academic setting. Also the EIL may be shaped by activities or tools that might be seen as undesirable (e.g. learning by copying). This also has implications for how people teach information literacy.

Advocacy in everyday life: the role of information literacy skills #ECIL2018

My next liveblog is Advocacy in everyday life: the role of information literacy skills, given by Peggy Nzomo. She started by defining advocacy (see photo), and quoted Malala in saying that speaking up is powerful. Nzomo identified that there are several types of advocacy e.g. for health, for causes, for groups and individuals. However self-advocacy may be the most common form of advocacy, (quoting Martin Luther King) there comes a time when you have to speak for yourself.
Nzomo went on to talk about advocacy for libraries, but pointed out that librarians advocate for other things, such as multilingual information access, or underserved populations such as refugees. They reseaechers carried out a systematic review to look at the skills, behaviour and knowledge needed for advocacy work, and to see whether there was a link between skills, behaviour and knowledge identified with information literacy and those identified for advocacy. The review looked at 2008-2018 and some studies might have been excluded by the search terms used, there was also a concentration on English language, and decisions to include were based on the abstracts. Nzomo described some further incusion and exclusion criteria. The main starting points for thinking about IL skills were the ACRL Standards and ACRL Framework.

Moving to analysis and findings: the largest category for relevant advocacy studies related to health advocacy, and health professionals were the most engaged in advocacy (other studies had found that social workers were strong advocates). Other important categories were self-advocacy, legal advocacy, and advocacy in education. The largest number were from the USA. 60% of the selected studies used qualitative research. 12% were opinion pieces, and storytelling was a recurrent theme.
The 2nd photo shows some of the skills etc. that were identified in the studies. Nzomo pointed out how a number of these overlapped with skills etc. that are identified as part of information literacy. They are aiming to do more work in this area.

Information behaviour in online health forums: the importance of trust and empathy #ECIL2018

This morning's keynote at the ECIL conference in Oulu, Finland, is Peter Bath presenting on Information behaviour in online health forums: the importance of trust and empathy in sharing information, experiences and emotions. Peter is Professor of Health Informatics in my department, the University of Sheffield Information School.
He was talking about a project he had been working on for about four years, a Shared space and a space for sharing. This has been a large scale project with £1million funding (from the EMoTICON project), shared between six universities. The project bid emerged from an intense "sandpit" event. The name of the project signals that "the web is a vast shared space: by sharing information, individuals create the real value and significance of the web". Thus it is both a shared space and a space in which things can be shared. Common to all the parts of the project was an interest in how people in extreme circumstances use the web, the intersection between empathy, trust and sharing (and an interest in finding out whether sharing was based on empathy and trust). The Sheffield University workpackage was looking at people with terminal or lifethreatening or long term health conditions. Others looked at, for example, people in humanitarian crisis, those seeking organ donation, those experiencing drug addiction.
Looking more specifically at the work in Sheffield, they focused on two illnesses: breast cancer (life threatening, and a long-term condition, but with increasingly good survival rate) and motor neurone disease (also known as ALS) which is incurable and life shortening. The researchers collaborated (1) with the Breast Cancer Care Forum. This forum is split into boards that reflect different aspects of the breast cancer "journey" (2) the Motor Neurone Disease Association (which has an online forum). These two organisations allowed data download so that the forum posts could be analysed, and also helped the researchers recruit people to interview (people with the disease and forum moderators). Thus they were gaining an insight into how and why people were using the forums and how they felt about it.
Bath stressed the ethical issues: for example although it says in the terms and conditions for the forum that the posts may be used for resrarch, it is quite possible that people haven't taken in that this is the case. The researchers change the wording of quotations, so that they can't be searched and traced back to the individual.
Bath moved on to talk about the process of diagnosis, and how this was different in the two diseases: for example with breast cancer people usually have an idea that something is wrong, with MND the diagnosis can come out of the blue, with little information given at the time. Thus with MND people might go home and start searching for information about the condition. There is fear of the unknown, and also people will have individual experiences of the condition, so you can't know that the way your health progresses will be the same as another person with the disease.
Many questions crowded in - for example how it would impact thir loved ones. Their is a lot of power in sharing information (see photo) both sharing your own information, and gaining information about what the future might be, by hearing about other's experience.
This information can be very sensitive: not just about the person's own health, but how their family is reacting, so discussing others as well as themselves. From that point of view, the role of the forum moderator is very important. Sharing emotions is important, as ill-health has a high emotional impact, people are unburdening feelings (though the etiquette is that you don't do this all the time). Feelings are also validated, realising that "what they're feeling is ok".
People shared their stories of parts of the journey, including stories of survival, giving hope that others could also survive. They also shared everyday information (such as going out) and shared humour which might inclide in-jokes. This feeling of being understood, and having people going through the same experience as you, was important. There are things they may not want to share with friends and family (e.g. discussing your own funeral arrangements when your spouse is not ready for that conversation).
The project discovered that trust and empathy were indeed important for sharing information. There is a sort of (positive) snowballing effect in sharing. The researchers identified three dimensions to trust. There is a structural dimension to sharing: the structural affordances of the forums was important (e.g. separate boards for people starting chemotherapy each month). Different kinds of sharing go on in different boards. Formal procedures were also useful, for example rules that people did not post details that could identify them (e.g. email address). The presence of a proactive moderator was important in creating trust in the board. The fact that the board is there 24/7 is also important (someone may psot in the middle of the night as they can't sleep).
Secondly, the relational dimension was important for trust included: using appropriate tone when posting; being reciprocal; not claiming you had more expertise all the time; and "seeking or demonstrating similarity with other users". Thirdly, the temporal dimension was important, since developing relationships, and understanding how the forum works, takes time. Aditionally, "Trust is processual and fluid" and isn't unchanging - things may happen which make people less likely to share.
Empathy was built on the shared experiences, and on connections ("We all have a real need for this forum as a platform for our fears and anxieties, for advice, for guidance, for solace, and for friendship" - quote from the forum). The shared experience on the forum was different from a feeling of "being set apart" by the illness in their everyday life.
There was of course a down side to the forums. For example insensitive sharing, sorrow because friends on the forum will die, feeling left behind when people recover and leave the forum, feeling that they need to stay in the forum to support others (when they actually feel ready to leave).
Bath finished talked about how the project had worked with a theatre company to produce a play with 5 actresse using quotes from the project. After performances there is audience discussion. They have given about 6 performances, including at a hospice, as part of a local arts festival and Bath showed an extract from it. They have also produced information sheets and had a photographic exhibition which has been shown in various places.
Bath concluded that forums were important places for support and information, and trust and empathy were a vital part of their success.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Thinking "youth popular university" as a participative space #ecil2018

The next session I (Sheila) will blog a talk given by Yolande Maury (coauthored with Asmaa Azizi) Thinking youth popular university as a participative space: focus on a speakers' corner experience, between a participative culture, citizen commitment and political empowerment. She was reporting on an ongoing research project, implementing a "Youth Popular University" (YPU) in a French metropolitan area. The objectives included seeing how young people were engaging (or not) in the Speakers' Corner (SC) experience.
The YPU is a "a space to promote engagement and participation", to enable them to use knowledge, getting them involved in local life and better understand the world.
SC is modelled on the actual Speakers' Corner in London, which was a place where anyone could stand and give a public speech and debate about any topic. Thus it is it is a meeting place, potential place and creative and inclusive space. The project was qualitative research, with an ethnographic texture, with observations and conversations important, and including an interview with the project manager. They have collected data through the implementation process, including the training session and first attempt at a Speaker's Corner.
Lessons had been learned from two previous experiences of SC. "Spontaneous but prepared debate" allowed people to raise and debate issues in a non judgemental way. These earlier experiences showed that young people did have knowledge and opinions and could debate.
The training with young people was organised as "The city as playground". This training was in a closed space (as a protected safe area). There were conversations in circles, drawings created and displayed etc. The second event was "Youth and Environment" (Free your voice) in a plaza in front of a station (so outdoors). There was an instruction to speakers to propose a sentence which they found significant for young people and the environment, and they had to capture this as a frozen moment (the speaker, a megaphone and their message).
Comparing these two experiences : it was more reassuring in the protected space, more theatrical in the outdoors event. In both cases the students could exercise free speech and critical experession. Maury proposed a possible "Speakers' Corner literacy" which centred on creating and promoting ideas, engaging an audience, and preparing for participation.
In terms of limitations, whilst there have been two events, there is not an ongoing speakers' corner yet (the project lasts til 2021). It is difficult to recruit young people, those who volunteer tend already be engaged with some of these issues, and it is difficult to get people engaged more than once. Therefore a challenge is to more from a minimalist to maximalist approach and there was some discussion around these issues after the talk

Digital literacy and social inclusion in public libraries #ecil2018

Helena Francke from the university of Borås reported on a literature review to examine public library activity in relation to digital and information literacy. Both of these concepts are tied in with social inclusion, and libraries are sen to be agencies to support social inclusion. Web of science, Scopus and LISA databases were searched, with the focus on recent empirical studies published about digital and information literacy in peer reviewed journals. 41 articles were included in the review, which included a global range of papers, although the majority were set in the US or Europe. The groups seen to be in need of library support were young people, low income urban residents in vulnerable life situations. Types of activities were training, either formal or 1-2-1 interactions, provision of technology, and experiences, for example story time, minecraft day. The benefits of these interventions to support literacy building include employment, career support, education, health, financial decisions, empowerment, quality of life. IL & DL activities were portrayed as contributing to making people self-reliant, and becoming more productive citizens who are employable, healthy and entrepreneurial. The review identified that there is a need to develop critical perspectives in empirical studies of IL/DL in public libraries, and evaluate the social impact of these initiatives. There was a lack of focus on creativity in public libraries for adults and perhaps this could be enhanced.

Pam McKinney

Data Literacy perception and practices in the information environment #ECIL2018

The final session this morning that I (Sheila) am liveblogging is Data Literacy perception and practices in the information environment (presented by Jela Steinerova and co-authored with Miriam Ondrisova). They were looking at "what is the typology of research data" and "what is the perception of research data practices by Slovak researchers", and were concerned with the implication for library and information education. Steinerova considered definitions of research data and research data literacy (see photo). Research data practices will be dependent of the context of the researcher and the data. They used the concept of information infrastructure, as that was important for researcher practice. Finally they used the concept of an information environment as a framework (of objects, networks, systems etc.) supporting information use.
Steinerova said that they drew on 2 projects on modelling the information environment of digital scince, and one of information behaviour in the electronic environment. One study was a qualititative study of 19 experts from various disciplines. One of the outputs was a diagram revealing a typology of research data.Some aspects were common, but others specific to particular disciplines. Another study was their contribution to a multinational study of research data management, where there were 257 responses from Slovakia. The findings showed that the researchers had positive attitudes to research data, but concerns about misuse and misinterpretation of research data. Steinerova showed a bar chart comparing whether certain types of data were used and whether they were produced by researchers. In particular, there was more use than production of zipped and online data sets. The largest number of researchers shared data only with researchers in their own team. There were differences between disciplines. The social sciences had most concerns about misinterpretation of data (and the sciences least: overall, the science researchers had least concerns about sharing data.) According to the responses, universities in Bratislava mostly don't have data management plans, or consistent guidelines for metadata etc.
From this, Steinerova concluded that people mostly shared data with their own team and collaborators, and have concerns about misuse and misinterpretation. The research data practice was intuitive and contextualised by the research discipline. In terms of implications for library and information science education, this pointed up the need for courses in Research Data Management, the need for doctoral students to have training in research data management, and the need for education in core data processes, data visualisation etc. Steinerova also emphasised the need to see the data infrastructures as ecosystems, taking into account data use, information behaviour and re-use behaviour. She saw data librarianship as a new role for librarians. At the conclusion of the session Steinerova presented a model of the interactive academic library (see photo) - the bubbles are services from the library.
There were some interesting conversations afterwards about the value of sharing data, but also the need, ethically, to protect research participants, in qualitative research, but also in quantitative research where in fact people might be identifiable by triangulating the data.

Character building in children’s online information behaviours #ecil2018

David McMenemy and Steve Buchanan from Robert Gordon University reported on a project that brings together David’s interest in philosophy and Steve’s interest in information behaviour.  They aimed to explore concepts of character development in the IL context, including cyber-bullying, disinformation, hate speech, intellectual property. There is a lot of literature on this from an education perspective, but little from the information perspective. The presentation introduced the concept of “intellectual character”, which is the part of your character that relates to thinking and learning. 9 core intellectual virtues defined by Baehr (2015) were applied to 2 core Il Frameworks, the big 6 and the ACRL framework: curiosity, intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, intellectual tenacity.

The big 6 model was found to be overtly task focused, and had limited in relation to character development. None of the 9 virtues were manifest in the ACRL framework, however there was latent presence of some virtues, e.g. “research as inquiry” included notions of curiosity. Development of character is an incremental and iterative process, so the question was asked, is there space in IL teaching to take this approach. They suggest that there needs to be further refinement of IL education models to explicitly incorporate application of intellectual character virtues.
Pam McKinney

Gender differences in information literacy among Brazilian youngsters #ECIL2018

Next for liveblogging at ECIL, Gilda Olinto talked about Gender differences in information literacy among Brazilian youngsters. They were looking at gender aspects of ICT access and use, stimulated by the fact that there are lower levels of ICT use and of literacy in females in Brazil. The research was looking at whether there were gender differences, and also some more specific issues, for example if the females were willing to use the internet for women's empowerment. Key data sources were the Household survey in Brazil and also the Brazilian part of the Global Kids Online project.
There are various issues around gender and ICT use. e.g. how women and girls can benefit from use of ICT, whether they are alienated because ICT is seen as a male area, different expectations and lifestyles men/women, issues of racial difference, whether ICT can be used for feminist purposes etc. There is a question of whether girls are prepared to benefit from the technology. Olinto mentioned that there have been initiatives e.g. from World Summit on the Information Society, the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy work.
Previous studies on gender difference have identified that once the basic access (to ICT) issue has been addressed, there can be a second level of barriers to womens' ICT use. Whilst there may be no actual difference in capabilities between men and women, studies have shown that women have less confidence in their capabilities. There may be a "negative online auto-image" of women, affecting confidence and use.
The Brazilian Household Survey data showed that 74% of Brazilian young people had internet access; analysis by race showed that white households had more access than of those of people of colour. Looking at gender, in fact there was slightly more access by females than males. However males used computers (as opposed to phones) more than women.
In order to get to "second level" use, they looked at results from the Brazilian contribution to the Kids Online project . There were some things that boys did more than girls e.g. boys played games a lot more than girls, they shopped online and watched more online videos more than girls. Thus boys were having more fun online and pursuing everyday purposes online. Girls were using online more for communication purposes (from memory, there are similar results from UK studies, though I don't think there's so big a gap as regards gaming). Finally, girls had less confidence in their online skills than boys.
Thus boys had a better self image, although girls were appropriating the technology in particular ways to do with communicating, posting photos etc.

Digital competence for digital citizenship #ecil2018

Konstatina Martzoukou from Robert Gordon University and Crystal Fulton from University College Dublin started the presentation by reflecting on the popular perception that young people have good digital capabilities but there is still a digital divide particularly in relation to poverty. The JISC digital  capabilities framework was use in the study, which features a combination of functional and high level skills. The European digital competence framework was also used, and a lot of discussion took place about the questions to ask. The objectives include examining the policy landscape around digital competency initiatives, looking at digital competencies in transitioning to university.  Currently a survey is being distributed to students to assess their digital competence as they join university, and then they will interview students and librarians to follow up the survey. The survey themes were drawn from the 2 digital competency frameworks, and 5 levels of digital competence were defined. Students were asked to self assess their level of competence using these 5 levels. For example students were asked to asses their digital creation skills e.g. capturing, editing and producing digital media(video & audio). Extensive testing took place to make sure the wording of the questions was appropriate and understandable. Konstantina and Crystal are keen to invite collaborators to distribute the survey to new populations :
Pam McKinney

Migration of clusters from pre session to post session: an analysis of elderly students' perceived digital literacy #ecil2018

I arrived a bit late for the talk by Makiko Miwa on Migration of clusters from pre session to post session: an analysis of elderly students' perceived digital literacy, so apologies for a partial liveblog. When I arrived she was reviewing the literature on the topic. Then she described the digital literacy training set up by them "Peronal computers for beginners" (a 12 hour intensive session, spread over 2 days). It is offered at least once a year in 50 study centres in different parts of Japan. In fact the classes did not just consist of over 65s (people take classes to retrain as well as taking classes to learn in retirement). There are 10-15 people in each class. It was originally taught by faculty, but they have trained locally based people to deliver the course.

The course includes basic use of a PC, use of Word, ppt, email, key resources online (e.g. online radio). The purpose is to improve online skills and enable people to have the skills to take other online courses. There are 20 learning goals, which is also used as a checklist for learners (see photo) to self-report their skills. Participants are asked to fill in the checklist before and after the training session. In the data analysis they did cluster analysis (Hartigan-Wong) and compared pre- and post-session clusters. Data was collected from 1417 students (who had completed both questionnaires) between 2014 and 2017.
In brief, the cluster analysis shows that the perceived capabilities of the students improve after the training course. The lowest confidence was to do with things like data security to start with, the least improvement was to do with library use and to do with engaging with the online course application. Miwa also showed how the clusters had migrated, looking at the pre and post questionnaires (see 2nd photo).
They looked at age, and there was a significant relationship between higher level confidence and (lower) age. Analysis of free text words showed that the lower-level group use words like difficulty, and in the higher confidence group it was words like thinking, presenting. One of the conclusions was that "Some of the older novice students did not learn enough to be able to manipulate the PC by themselves".

#ecil2018 Unique or ubiquitous: IL instruction outside Higher Education

Miriam Matteson and Beate Gersch from Kent State University teach an  Information Literacy module to students at the information school which includes learning theories and principles of IL. Iinitially they assumed that students would be teaching IL in an academic library but it became clear that many of the students were already working in a public library context. So the course had to address IL teaching in this context. There is a lack of standards and frameworks for IL teaching in this context, where the educational purpose is implied rather than being overt as it would be in the academic library context. In addition the academic year is very structured and opportunities for teaching fit within this, which is not the case in public libraries. The vast majority of literature on IL is situated in the academic library context. The researchers did an environmental scan of the extent of IL instruction present in web guides and teaching offered as presented on library web sites. They browsed the websites and ranked the material for the level of IL present. 59 programs were coded as providing some IL, 3 as entirely IL, and 70 as no IL. Most programs provided guidance on accessing and communicating information.

Phase 2 of the research was a diary study of 5 working days of 21 librarians, most of whom were professionallly qualified. Participants completed an initial questionnaire, and then completed the diary recording the nature of any IL teaching they did. central themes emerged: IL is core to Librarianship, it is focused on learning, but there was a lack of formal  policies around IL- it was implicit. The most common area of IL instruction was in defining information needs, and the time spent teaching was most commonly 6-10 minutes. Technology demos were popular, with some reference queries. The lines between reference and instruction are blurred in public libraries, raising questions about how librarians see their roles, and whether they see themselves as teachers or not. Computer literacy seems to be a big part of information literacy in this context, so do we need to re-define what IL is for this context.
Pam McKinney

Karen Fisher: Information Literacy in Refugee camps: cultural effects of gender, place and time #ecil2018

I (Sheila) arrived in Oulu last night so I'll be sharing liveblogging duties with Pam for the rest of the ECIL conference. I'm starting with today's keynote speaker, Karen Fisher (University of Washington) who is talking on Information Literacy in Refugee camps: cultural effects of gender, place and time. Fisher presented the overall statistics of the Syrian conflict: 7 years of war in Syria with 13 million people displaced, and most of them staying in countries bordering Syria.
She is a field consultant with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), working in the Za'atari Syrian refugee Camp in Jordan. Security is high in Za'atari, since it is close to the "cradle of the rebellion" in Syria. This camp is now "the 4th largest city in Jordan", with a population of about 83,000, with a hundred babies born each week. 80% are under 25, which is problematic, as elders are not there to pass on knowledge, help with care etc. Also, significantly in this gender-based culture, there are more women than men. There is also a business life, with over 3500 businesses in the camp. The camp is divided into 12 sectors, and Fisher emphasised how the camp is in the desert, where there are no resources and everything is rationed. Fisher's goal, as funded by the UN, is to "build capacity per UN SDGs through information science methods" - she has visited over 20 times in four years.
Fisher posed the question "What is information literacy in a refugee camp?" although she pointed out that each camp is different. She presented some quotes from one of the refugees who was keeping a diary for Fisher's research, illustrating how people's lives had been turned upside down, and made worse when internet access was cut off. Fisher characterised the camp as "Rocked by extreme information needs". The restricted internet access affects both communication and education. Every book that comes into the camp has to be approved: there are some libraries but no bookshops. Fisher stressed how you witness resilience every day in the camp.
Fisher described her research methods, saying you had to work with everyone who you could and who wanted to work with you. Responding to a question at the end of her talk, she talked about the nitty-gritty of working with data in these circumstances, taking photos of data collected that day, at night, spread out in the bed.
Everything had to be social, as people might have low literacy, different trauma levels, different languages. "All people set up for success, able to participate, enables researcher to extract data in multiple ways from broad swathes of people". People will "create, share, present" items, photos, memories etc. In terms of collecting data and elciting it, they use a wide variety of methods - workshops, diaries, home visits (including co-cooking), narrative drawings, time sheets, "magic genius devices" (asking people - "if you had a magic device..."). She showed pictures of the diaries, sometimes with multiple people writing in the same diary. She photographs the new pages that people have written, each time she visits.
Fisher presented her research question of "What are the information worlds" of those in the camp. I think this is based on Burnett and Jaeger's information worlds theory, looking at information needs, but also the socio/cultural/political context. One of the things to be explored is - what is information in this context. As well as text, it is verbal, sensory (smells etc.), memories, doctrine, feelings, visual. Also information has qualities: dangerous, hidden, social, fuzzy/changing, private, scarce and abundant, threatening, valuable and a commodity. Fisher talked about the gendered nature of the society, tribal affiliations.
She felt that time was different in this culture/ this camp, because of the pattern of daily prayers, the holy days and so forth. Unsurprisingly, since she developed Information Grounds Theory, Fisher talked about the significance of place/s and how there were information grounds e.g. at places where water was collected, people where children played.
Fisher presented two of the sheets on which people had described (in words and sketches) their information world. One was of a man who had an occupation which involved travelling round the camp, another of a woman whose life is within her home in the camp (an example of information poverty). Fisher talked about how phones acted as photo albums, which means at least in part dealth albums of friends and relatives who died in the conflict. Fisher then talked about the community memory project, where they gave phones to girls, but which did not succeed because of the internet connectivity problems. She also showed extracts from story booklets, including a picture of "peace robots" drawn by a young girl.
Fisher talked about literacies and resilience. She picked out how boys would go to the perimeter and try and hack into to the internet. Most of them can't afford to stay in school, or it isn't safe to go to school. Instead they try and hack in and do information work at the camp fence, getting information for their families, finding things out (it is boys that do this, not girls). She also showed some of the "magic genius devices" drawn and described by young people e.g. "magic caravan heaters" (phot above).
She talked about one group "TIGER girls" (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading" (girls who want to learn, be teachers and doctors etc.). Fisher also showed pictures of libraries: they are aiming at a camp-wide sytem, and have things like storytime.
She came back at the end to the question "What is information literacy in a refugee camp"? As she had shown it a complex issue, tied up with the meaning of information and the context in which it is experienced in the refugees' world.
Fisher, K.E. (2018). Information worlds of refugees. In C.M. Maitland (Ed). Digital lifeline? ICTs for refugees and displaced persons (pp79-112). Cambridge: MIT Press. (also I blogged a webinar she did a little while ago on this topic and the recording is here

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Towards digital literacy: the case of adult learners at Lithuanian public libraries

Jurgita Rudzionene from Vilnius university presented a first stage analysis of research into the digital literacy of public library users in Lithuania. There are 2549 public libraries in Lithuania. The research aimed to analyse digital literacy, discover the extent and nature of ICT use, and to make recommendations to librarians to better support digital literacy. Data was collected through a survey distributed in hard copy to users of public libraries.  24 questions were asked about information seeking, digital literacy and demographics. There were 323 respondents, 36% from central city libraries, and 64% from branch libraries. 79% of respondents were female, 58% were in employment and the largest age group was 46-55 (26%). 65% of respondents used electronic banking, and online shopping, exhealth services and e-social services were also widely used. A third of respondents used electronic services at the public library. A third indicated that lack of English language skills was a barrier to using ICT. Desktop computers and smartphones were widely used, but tablets, e-readers and digital pens were not widely used. Respondents used email, social media (mostly Facebook) and Skype. Most people felt well informed about potential threats from using the internet, and believed they could behave safely. Public library staff and family members were the most favoured sources for help in developing digital skills.

Building bridges: using information literacy to support high school to university transition

Zoe Jarocki from San Diego State university, which has a very diverse student body, works in the university library and has faculty status. She reported on an initiative to partner with a high school district to facilitate access to university and increase college readiness. The librarians run library visits for 10th grade students which allows them to be introduced to resources and services, and develop understanding of some of the principles of academic information e.g. understand that research is a process. The children spend a morning at the library, and encouraged to picture themselves in the library, as part of the learning community. Evaluation of the visits showed that students had a better idea of academic quality resources, and felt happy about their visit. It’s better to have smaller groups of students, and use active learning.

Developing best practices for international student information literacy instruction #ecil2018

Sean Stone from Indiana University school of dentistry library, which has around 110 students a year on 4 year program, and runs an international dentist program for around 14 students in each cohort. These students are qualified dentists already and come from a variety of country contexts. They have strong dental skills but lack knowledge of some other areas of the traditional dentistry course. They struggle with IL, and lack awareness of academic integrity as practices can be quite different in their home countries, and lack experience of using the information resources e.g. databases. The international students start their course in January, and have a much longer library orientation than home students, but then join in with the home students to study a module in evidence-based practice. It features individual and group work, and students are expected to search for quality information as part of this course. The library orientation became part of the module that was compulsory. Sara Lowe from the main campus library helped devise the curriculum that could be built on from the start of studies. The new session focused on active learning, and made a clearer distinction between IL and  evidence-based practice. Performance was better, but international students still struggled.  So they worked with another transition module to integrate IL into the learning. Collaboration between librarians and other professional groups really helped embed IL, and improve the support provided to students.

Health information literacy practices of young bloggers #ecil2018

Anna-Maija Huhta from the University of Oulu reflected on the nature of health literacy research which tend to focus on measuring functional competencies, usually with quantitative methods. This phd study aims to investigate the health information literacy practices of young bloggers with a focus on construction and assessment of cognitive authorities. The theoretical background includes practice theory, and various theories of literacy including health, information, new literacies and cognitive authority (Wilson 1983), which relates to social epistemology. The methodology will be Nexus analysis, which is a form of ethnography which focuses on discourse analysis of social actions in real time. The study will collect data from 8-10 young people who actively produce health related content on social media.

Developing health information literacy in disadvantaged and dependent circumstances: family nurses

Steve Buchanan from the University of Strathclyde focused on health information literacy in disengaged groups, and the challenges of developing HIL from the perspective of non-Information professionals occupying support roles. Previous research with unemployed and disengaged adolescents found that there was low IL, and low levels of reading and computer literacy. There were lots of unmet information needs, and a reliance on support workers when seeking information. Issues of dependency were compounded by an impoverished and insular existence. Young at-risk mothers had similar information problems, low IL and high dependence on support workers. So support workers have an important role as information intermediaries, particularly in situations of multiple needs, insular existence, and poor comprehension. Interactions might happen multiple times in order to help communicate health information.

This qualitative case study featured in depth examination of the practice of 6 family nurses who supported 89 young at risk mothers. Data collection methods included observation, semi structured interviews and a focus group. Nurses would discuss individual every day needs with the young mothers, along side the health needs. Nurses provided a range of physical and digital resources for the young mothers. Digital interactions were few, partly due to technology issues,  it there was also a preference among the mothers for face to face support and physical resources. Nurses were not familiar with the concept of IL, but they felt they understood the concept and felt they could support their clients with their IL. in particular they saw their role to support defining information needs, and modelling information search. The young mothers were very shy, and it was challenging to elicit Information needs. Building IL was seen to be important, but the primary responsibility was the healthcare education. Role modelling and meaningful tasks were seem to be ways to effective learning.

It could be a argued that these nurses shouldn’t have responsibility to teach IL, but if not them then who would or could take on this role. Further research is needed into appropriate pedagogical approaches for everyday information literacy teaching in the home and non standard locations.

Understanding health literacy through the lens of Phronesis #ecil2018

Venkata Ratnadeep Suri from the Indraprastha institute of Information technology in Delhi. He reported on a study to understand health literacy in respect of coronary artery disease which is a major disease in Singapore, the context of the study. The goal of health information is to make informed choices about health and increase their quality of life, which begs the question how do we define health literacy to achieve this goal. Often health information literacy uses self-reported measures to gauge health literacy, but does this mean that the individual can make the right changes to their lives? People can have information that they understand poorly, and lack the competency to apply correctly, which is more common in chronic disease patients. The training that health professionals receive is different from the expertise that patients develop in their particular condition. Chronic disease patients are often very effective mentors for other patients due to the knowledge and expertise they have developed. From a research point of view it suggests that current conceptions of health literacy are limited and need further interrogation.

The study aimed to explore patients perspective on health literacy, and identify skills that patients perceive as important for managing their health, with a focus on experiential knowledge. Phronesis is defined as “practical wisdom” derived from experience of making health decisions. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants from Singapore Heart Centre. 36 participants took part in focus groups and a grounded theory approach was used. The results revealed the importance of being proactive vs reactive, and understanding the body to interpret health. Participants identified that they needed to understand their own limits, and to know when to seek help from a medical practitioner. They understood that health information could be biased, particularly diet information which is very cultural. Understanding complex interdependencies between different pieces of information is critical for managing health. The experiential knowledge gained through understanding a patients journey of managing their health provide insights into health information literacy.

Which approaches and methods are most appropriate for exploring health information behaviour #ecil2018

Marianne Paimre from Tallinn University stated that, according to her literature review, improving public health relies on a better understanding of patterns of online health information searching behaviour. This presentation focused on a study of the methods previously used to study online health information behaviour, which has been studied in many fields. 70 journal papers formed the corpus for the study. Research in this field has been multidimensional and complex. Quantitative studies made up 39%, and relied on big data sets collected at national level, online survey was the most popular data collection method. Qualitative studies focused on assessing people’s logic, beliefs and deep motives for searching for health information, and their values, skills and difficulties in searching. Interviews were the most popular data collection method. The drawback often noted was the inability to make generalisations to a wider population based on the small sample, even though they generated deep insight. Mixed methods designs enabled researchers to explore the object in a multidimensional settting and explore complexity. Meta analysis studies systematically reviewed the existing research. Quantitative research was useful for establishing main trends and look at the influence of socioeconomic factors, whereas qualitative studies provide deeper insight into information practices.

Collaborative knowledge building to enhance IL in health education. #ecil2018

Tuula Nygard and Laura Palmgren-Neuvonen from the university of Oulu began their presentation by outlining the concept of cognitive authority. Health education is an independent mandatory subject in Finnish schools, and is also a feature in other subjects. Health information literacy is seen to be one of a number of “multiliteracies” taught in schools. Teachers overestimate learners abilities to learn Information practice, and students struggle to evaluate sources. The research aimed to discover collaborative knowledge creation in the classroom. A mixed method case study useing an ethnographic approach was conducted in classrooms. There was a task orientation, it was cumulative and largely uncritical. It was  guided by implicit norms around information acquisition. Members rarely criticised sources, even if they were conflicting. Students favoured official sources and blogs and sources that featured personal stories. Cognitive authority was given to one’s own or a close friend’s personal health experiences. Teachers are recommended not to provide pre-selected material, but instead to encourage students to search for information themselves, and to use framing that encourages deeper exploration of the material.

Differences in health information literacy among older adults, elderly and younger citizens #ecil2018

Heidi Enwald from university of Oulu presented an international collaboration between universities in Sweden and Finland. There is a need to understand the IL competencies in the health arena among older people, and the differences between them and other age groups.  The research aimed to discover perceptions of health information literacy competencies, and differences between different age groups.  A survey was distributed through the Swedish health record system, and health IL was measured through 11 statements on self perceived competence previously used by Niemela et al. (2012). 2587 responses were received, 67% were female, and the mean age was 50.65. Respondents were grouped into 3 ages, elderly born 1945 or earlier. Respondents agreed that it was important to be informed about health issues. Older adults were more likely to value being informed about health issues, but had more difficulty understanding the terminology used. They were less likely than younger adults to compare information from multiple sources, and had more difficulty understanding medicine packaging and labels.

Workplace information literacy of Croatian fitness and conditioning personal trainers #ecil2018

Kristina Feldvari first introduced the context of Croatia which has a growing problem of obesity and lack of participation in exercise. Not all personal trainers have the same education background, some have degrees but many don’t. The study aimed to discover the information needs of trainers from different educational backgrounds. An online survey was distributed and 100 responses were received. 52% had a degree, and 48% did not. Of those, 26% were still studying. 36% of respondents who had a degree said they had not studied how to find information on their course. The most popular reasons to search for information were to understand the client’s diet, and the physiology of the human body. 61% searched for information every day; and 66.7% used search engines, and 64.6% used other trainers in their workplace as a source of information. Use of scholarly sources was low e.g. Medline 12%. There is a high demand for workplace information literacy training in this field.

Promoting young children’s multiliteracies in early childhood education #ecil2018

Kristiina Kumpulainen from the University of Helsinki presented the second keynote at the ECIL conference. Fewer and fewer Finnish children are reading traditional books, but on the other hand notions of literacy and reading are changing, and what and how people read is also changing. There are new types of texts, symbols and meanings that we have to engage with in the world, and multiliteracies that children need to learn. Public education receives a lot of investment in Finland, and children can attend education from 12 months of age, and there is a core curriculum from this age, but compulsory education starts at age 6. There are a lot of initiatives to encourage children to read books, but it is also important that children are able to navigate the digital world. Finnish children display high abilities in reading, but surveys have shown that they report not enjoying reading. People are worried about this cultural change to move away from printed books, but actually these same concerns were expressed when stories began to be printed and here was a move away from oral storytelling. In an increasingly multicultural Finland, there are concerns about how to promote literacies in young people’s lives.

Research has shown that there is a need to enhance joy and interest in reading, and it is important to develop versatile literacy skills (multiliteracies) with culturally responsive pedagogues. Multiliteracies are embedded in the curriculum. Parents need to be aware of the importance of literacy skills in the early years, and have a positive attitude about this.  Basic reading and writing skills are not enough, people need to understand meaning through oral, visual, audio, digital, gestural, tactile and spatial texts. Critical skills, to be able to understand and unpack, and to understand whether it is true or not are important. Multiliteracy features in the national curriculum, and this is separate from ICT skills. The curriculum emphasises holistic topic based learning.

Teachers are encouraged to be creative and imaginative, they think of themselves as designers of learning, they have freedom to interpret the curriculum and respond to the local setting. Only 10% of the applicants are accepted into the teacher training courses, in Finland teachers are highly valued. Muliliteracy is defined as a holistic and versatile approach to texts, and is about seeking, interpreting, useing, producing, representing, and evaluating texts in their multiple forms, in various contexts and situations and with various tools. Multiliteracy is hard to measure, it can be observed through longitudinal qualitative research, but it can defined, and opportunities devised for children to experience and build multiliteracy. Pre and post tests cannot be used!

There is a research and development programme to look at children’s development of multiliteracy, and the professional development of the workforce involved in early education, and involves close collaboration across professional groups.  The principle is to co-design activities and materials that facilitate a child sensitive playful pedagogy, that appreciates both child and teacher agency. This all sounds so different from the current focus on testing and learning facts that characterises early education in the UK, where the creativity of teachers is stifled by national education policy. In Finland teachers are encouraged to take children’s interests as starting points for holistic learning, that develops disciplinary learning and multiliteracy.

Research which stared in 2017, works with 16 communities in Helsinki to understand a multicultural perspective. Multiple data collection methods (observation, video, children’s work, interviews & surveys) are being used to understand multiliteracy development. One output has been the “whisper of the spirit” programme, which has been used and adapted all over the country.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Students on a social media detox #ecil2018

Maria Murumaa-Mengel and Krista Lepik from the university of Tartu presented on some research project that aimed to explore how disruption of habitual social media use reshapes the information needs and practices of young adults. They focused on perceptions of the pace of time and its pace without social media, and whether restricting social media use affected self-reflexivity on its use. There is an acceleration of social time, we are always in a hurry, and social media facilitates the rapid production and consumption of information. Relationships rely on our “connected presence”.

Participants were asked to stop using social media for 5 consecutive days, this was a “homework” task for BA students, and data was collected in 2017 and 2018. 42 students participated, and they were aged 19-23, 27 female and 15 male. Students kept a diary of their experiences. Data was analysed thematically. The beginning of the “detox” it was clear that students planned the 5 days when they were expecting a slower pace of life e.g. visiting family, or a period of intense work. Some participants felt they “gained time” and this meant they could increase their productivity, or had “too much time” and filled the time with another media, e.g. news scrolling, or met their affective needs by bingeing on Netflix, and supported their social needs by replacing social media interaction with phone calls and meet ups. Others expected an abundance of time, and ended up over planning their days. Others felt they “wasted” time, and life was unpurposeful, slow and aimless because activities were not accompanied by social media. Some found a virtue in a slower pace, and transferred this slow tempo to other activities. There was a perception that it freed one up to think about oneself and their own situation. Participants made significant preparations with their social network to tell people what they were doing and why, and took pride in their choice. The detox increased the amount of time spent on face-to-face communication, and friends had to change their communication practices. Many participants celebrated the end of the detox, and had a social media binge. In the long term they undertook decluttering activities to unfollow groups and simplify their social media use.

An invitation to globalise the information literacy agenda #ecil2018

Zach Newall from Illinois University presented on the expanding information literacy community of practice, and asked how we apply IL models and definitions to a global context for people that are not in education, or who don’t occupy a particular social or professional space. How can we as IL professionals embed IL development in everyday life contexts? There are misleading perception that access to the internet is not a problem, and that “everything” is on the internet. We need to recognise that “fake news” is not a new problem. Disproportionately large numbers of people in developing countries do not have internet access, which is compounded by the rural / urban divide. Mobile communication devices provide access to information, but only facilitate simple information searching activity. We need to re-engage with grass roots efforts to understand how Information is created, proliferated and used in multiple contexts.

Biometric tools for holiday planning #ecil2018

Justyna Jasiewicz presented on a research project informed by Jan van Dijk’s “access to new media” model. Biometric tools are used Information science research to investigate reading patterns, information retrieval, evaluation of online services, neuro-physiological processing. This research used a Behavioral experiment using biometric methods (eye tracking and face tracking), combined with observation and individual interviews to investigate holiday planing. The research aimed to discover if participants paid attention to opinions and ratings, and which opinions attracted their attention, and whether they evaluated the authenticity or reliability of reviewers. Participants were invited to plan a trip to a particular location, and invite their friends on social media. The results showed that older participants paid more attention to reviews and read longer reviews than younger participants, and all participants paid little attention to the profile of reviewers.

Genealogy and learning: acquiring information and digital literacy through a hobby #ecil2018

Crystal Fulton from University college Dublin has a background in research on people’s hobbies, and identified that genealogy is a very Information intensive activity. Irish genealogy is very interesting because there is a large Irish diaspora, living in many countries. Crystal was interested in the idea of “serious leisure”, that a hobby can be like a job, and consumes a lot of time and effort. The study has taken place over several years, and included 24 telephone interviews and 49 face-to-face interviews with people in 3 countries. Critical incident technique was used to discover the types of information sought, sources used and activities undertaken. Participants were encouraged to do a mapping activity for their favourite or best sources.  Participants did not view themselves as “experts”, but displayed a huge amount of knowledge in their field. They identified their learning needs around sources, tools and technologies. Learning was a “personal mission” and were obsessed about finding the next piece of information. Sometimes they attended courses, but were largely self-taught. They transferred skills from the workplace to the hobby, and peer learning was a feature of the genealogy community, through local history groups. There was a pride in learning, but sharing was often on a quid pro quo basis.

Measuring the psychophysiology of Information Literacy #ecil2018

Geoff Walton from Manchester Metropolitan University reported on a CILIP Information Literacy Group funded project to discover if theories of challenge and threat and how people react to stress in a pressured environment affect information discernment, and whether there is a psychophysical aspect to Information Literacy. Participants were asked about their consumption of news information, and were connected to a finometer that measured blood flow and heart rate. People with high information discernment were more curious about the world and tended to use multiple sources to verify information, and were more likely to be sceptical about information found on search engines, in particular wouldn’t regard the first page of search resu,to as the most trustworthy, and were aware of authority. Information discernment can affect physiological reaction to stressful research tasks, and react in a more physiologically healthy. The eye tracking software revealed that people with high information discernment looked at more of the screen, and read more of the information, and had higher levels of concentration. There is evidence that improving a persons information literacy has a positive effect on learning capabilities, as well as their physical health, because they do not react in a stressful way to misinformation.

Scientific literacy education outside the classroom #ecil2018

Radovan  Vrana from the university of Zagreb presented on the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning, and the focus was on public libraries in Croatia. An online questionnaire was distributed to public library managers, and there was a 35% response rate. 89% were familiar with the term “scientific literacy”, and 47% had one librarian providing science related activities. Lectures and workshops were the most popular activities, followed by debates. The biggest group of “users” of these services were elementary school children, but the second biggest group was adults seeking additional education. Librarians identified that increased funding and increased employees were critical factors for improving science education, and also additional science trading for librarians. There was recognition that learning is a lifelong activity, and that formal education is not enough.

The everyday information experiences of breastfeeding mothers #ecil2018

Hayley Lockerbie and Konstantina Martzoukou from Robert Gordon University presented a literature review on the everyday life experiences of breastfeeding mothers. The World Health Organisations recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months, however worldwide breastfeeding rates are quite low, and social attitudes are a major barrier. The review aimed to discover how mothers learn about breastfeeding, the formal and informal sources they use, when information is sought ( pre or post nata), what the barriers they experience, and how they can be better supported. Martzoukou assets that the boundaries between environments where we develop IL are fluid, and that people transfer competencies from one domain to another, it is an ongoing activity of knowledge construction, deconstruction and knowledge extension within converging contexts. This is the information literacy “mindset” it is individual and collective.

The review searched information science databases and healthcare databases, and extracted 30 relevant articles in 2017. Key themes are information overload, and a variety of informal and formal sources are beneficial. Embodied experiences are important in this context. There is a lot of conflicting and outdated advice, even from health professionals and this leads to a loss of trust. Online environments and social media are important sources. There is a lack of realism in the information available to mothers, and the media has a problematic portrayal of breastfeeding.

Developing food and nutrition literacy with a Facebook group in Croatia #ecil2018

Noora Hirvonen from the university of Zadar in Croatia presented on research of parents’ food choices for their children in the context of digital participatory networks for sharing ideas, asking questions and discussing. Some people are active participants, others are passive in the sense they don’t create content, but lurk and read and can gain benefits from this activity. The research aimed to discover the possible benefits for the group members  in taking part in the Facebook group, which has 108,000 members and is called “homemade food for babies”.  A content analysis was done, members shared occasions where they were given contradictory advice from doctors, the administrators of the group were seen to provide the most expert and correct advice, and were far more trusted than other members or indeed other health professionals. Food allergies and how to deal with them were a major topic of discussion. There was a focus from the administrators on verified sources, such as the WHO. The quantitative study revealed that participants felt they were providing healthier food for their children. The analysis showed that reading the group documents is crucial for nutrition literacy, and using the recipes is important for healthy cooking behaviours. There was only a small difference in perceived food literacy between visibly active and lurking group members.

Opening keynote at #ecil2018 Frans Mayra

They keynote is entitled “Reading pervasive games in a Ludic society” given by Professor Frans Mayra form Tampere University in Finland. The talk focused on the pervasive nature of interactive technologies and computer-based gaming in our society. ICT enables digital worlds that are increasingly complex, that allow participants to have agency in them, and interact with each other. Frans has focused on role playing fantasy games that facilitate interaction and collaborative problem solving. The “ludic society” is one that emphasises the prominence of gaming as a form of art and entertainment, where there are increasing opportunities for play as a practice in work, leisure and social situations. Play can be part of work, rather than being the opposite of work. Frans spoke about the ideas of Eric Zimmerman who argues for a manifesto of the ludic century in which media culture is increasingly systemic, modular, customisable and participatory. People need to be playful, and learn to think and act in new ways, and include gaming as an aspect of media literacy.

He introduced the concept of “gamification” which is the application of game-like elements in non-entertainment contexts, whereas “ludification”is the rise of play and playfulness as modes of engagement and mindsets in culture and society. Games can be pervasive, and include augmented reality linked to the ubiquitous smart phone and location based technologies. The fantasy world is no longer completely separate, but is brought into the real world, for example the popular Pokemon go game. Ludic literacy is related to multidimensionality of games, and to complex game cultural agency, including the ability to play games, being able to read a game as a cultural text, and to engage in changing and creating games. The problems with Pokemon go at the height of its popularity with inappropriate behaviour of gamers e.g. hunting for Pokemon in graveyards, are problems that can be solved with greater Ludic literacy. Frans showed a video clip which imagined what it would be like to live in an augmented reality Ludic world driven by commercialisation, and reflected on the fact the people would have very different experiences, and effectively live in different realities, which would have massive implications for how we interact and relate to each other.

There needs to be support for a playful mindset, and playing together will promote togetherness and a sense of community, there is a need for critical information and Ludic literacy education.

Exploring the information world of non-resident informal carers #ECIL2018

Just to follow up on Pam's post - our presentation on Exploring the information world of non-resident informal carers (that she is presenting tomorrow at ECIL 2018) is embedded below for your convenience. I will be joining Pam in Oulu, Finland, on Wednesday (I am teaching in Sheffield today and tomorrow), and you will get some blog posts from both of us for the last 2 days of the conference. We will be running a workshop on research methods on Wednesday, and I will also be giving another presentation (co-authored with Bill Johnston) on Thursday. Additionally, Evi Tramantza (a PhD student in the iSchool) is presenting a poster based on her research and Professor Peter Bath is presenting one of the keynotes.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

European Conference on Information Literacy #ecil2018

Hi, I’m in Oulu in Finland for the annual European Conference on Information Literacy which starts tomorrow, Monday 24th September and lasts for 4 packed days. I’ll be live-blogging for the IL Weblog, trying to cover as much of the conference as I can. Sheila and I have a paper tomorrow morning “The information world of non-resident informal carers” where I’ll be presenting some data from a recent research project that aimed to discover the particular information problems encountered by family carers who don’t live with the person they care for. The slides are available here. The full conference programme is available here. I will also be presenting on Thursday about a further research project that I am undertaking with Andrew Cox and Laura Sbaffi from the information School, looking at the information literacy of diet and fitness tracking behaviours of members of the park run organisation, and slides for this presentation are also available here.  I hope you enjoy the postings!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Register your event with Global Media and Information Literacy Week #GlobalMILweek

If you are celebrating Global Media and Information Literacy Week (24-31 October 2018) in any way, go to this page to register your event, so others can find out what it going on!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Exploring people’s conceptions and experience of information literacy #REDMIL2018

This is my keynote presentation from the REDMIL doctoral summer school that I participated in last week at the Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, last week. My abstract was "Webber will start by outlining her research philosophy and contextualise this within her journey as a researcher. She will then summarise key aspects of phenomenographic and case study approaches: for example, appropriate types of research question for that approach, typical research design. Webber will finish by giving examples of information literacy research carried out using phenomenography or case study, focusing on studies undertaken in the Information School, University of Sheffield. These will include research studies focusing on populations in the UK, Syria, Thailand, Greece and Pakistan."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New articles: Plagiarism; Privilege; Credit-bearing courses; Student success; Workplace IL; Librarians' research

Firstly, in the new issue of the open access journal College and Research Libraries (volume 79 issue 6, 2018)
- Faculty Perceptions of Plagiarism: Insight for Librarians' Information Literacy Programs by Russell Michalak, Monica Rysavy, Kevin Hunt, Bernice Smith, Joel Worden
- Credit-Bearing Information Literacy Courses in Academic Libraries: Comparing Peers by Spencer Jardine, Sandra Shropshire, Regina Koury
- Academic Librarian Research: An Update to a Survey of Attitudes, Involvement, and Perceived Capabilities by Marie R. Kennedy, Kristine R. Brancolini
- Information Privilege Outreach for Undergraduate Students by Sarah Hare, Cara Evanson
- The Academic Library’s Contribution to Student Success: Library Instruction and GPA by Ula Gaha, Suzanne Hinnefeld, Catherine Pellegrino
Go to

Secondly, a couple of items from the latest issue of Libri
- Wu, Dan / Liang, Shaobo / Dong, Jing / Qiu, Jin. (2018). Impact of Task Types on Collaborative Information Seeking Behavior. Libri, 68(3), 231–245.
- Naveed, Muhammad Asif / Rafique, Fariha. (2018). Information Literacy in the Workplace: A Case of Scientists from Pakistan. Libri, 68(3), 247–257.
Go to:
Photo by Sheila Webber: carrots at the Farmers Market, September 2018

Teachmeet in Glasgow

Academic and Research Libraries Group Scotland (ARLGS) have organised a TeachMeet-style half-day event on the afternoon of 20 November 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. The theme is teaching, training or information skills within libraries. "We are seeking applications from volunteers willing to give short, informal presentations during the event, which will be taking place at the University of Glasgow Main Library (G12 8QE). Typically, presentations can be between 5 and 15 minutes, and would be followed by questions from the audience or a discussion. This would allow speakers time to demonstrate good practice they have recently delivered, discuss an innovative idea that improved practice in their library or share personal insights in teaching. We welcome PowerPoint presentations, lightning presentations but also interactive demonstrations of your library innovation. Your idea could be presented in whatever format you choose (depending on equipment or room layout required)."
Applications (topic, format, material needed if applicable) should be sent by 22nd October 2018 to - at the moment they are only looking for people willing to present
Photo by Sheila Webber: a back staircase, Louvain la Neuve, September 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Webinar: Can new librarians have a voice?

There's a free webinar on 24 September at 1pm UK time (Chicago 7AM, Paris 2PM, Melbourne 10PM), organised by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and ALA (American Library association): Can new librarians have a voice? Training & professional development vs. workplace reality
- We must give young professionals effective opportunities to learn, develop and lead by Christine Mackenzie (IFLA President-Elect)
- Organisational culture, empowerment and coaching – give opportunities to develop and learn by Catharina Isberg (Library Director Helsingborg Public Libraries, Secretary IFLA CPDWL section)
- Trust Those Fresh Eyes! by Dr Elham Sayyad-Abdi (Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence, University of the Pacific, USA / IFLA LIS Education in Developing countries)
- Skills for challenges: New librarians’ expectations from France to Malaysia by Dr Antoine Torrens (IFLA NPSIG Co-convenor, Bibliothèques de la ville de Compiègne, France)
More at
Join at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cakes, Blackheath Farmers' market, September 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Webinar: Engaging Learners through Active Instruction and Assessment

There is a priced 90 minute webinar on November 14 2018, starting at 2.30 US Eastern time (which is, e.g., 7.30pm UK time) Engaging Learners through Active Instruction and Assessment. It is organised by the American Library Association. "Whether you have one 60-minute session or a whole semester, successful instruction requires engaging with students early. Information literacy instructors can prepare students for learning and maximize participation during class time by employing key strategies both before class begins and in the critical first 15 minutes of class time. By the end of this session, participants will be ready to: quickly create welcoming environments where students feel comfortable speaking, sharing mis-steps, and detailing accomplishments; use principles of inclusive pedagogy to create customized and effective active learning exercises; and empower students to take leadership roles in their learning experiences." It is US $54 for ALA members aand US $60 for non-members. More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Charlton Park, September 2018