Wednesday, February 03, 2021

5000th blog post on the Information Literacy Weblog

Today I'm celebrating 5000 blog posts on this Information Literacy Weblog. The first blog post, on 5th September 2005, started "This is a temporary blog"(note 1) - my predictive powers were obviously pretty poor that day. In the blog's early days Stuart Boon also blogged here and latterly the blog has gained from conference blogposts from my colleague Dr Pam McKinney, but otherwise the posts are by me. At time of writing this post, the Blogger counter records 2,695,807 page views (note 2).

I have dithered about how to mark this milestone (that's why I haven't blogged for a few days!) but I've decided to have a series of reflective posts, thinking about was going on, and what I was posting, then and now. I have started by identifying a few then-and-now facts, below. There are advances in information literacy in 2021 (for example more journal articles, more accessible webinars, conferences and specialist groups, and in more countries - not so focused on the West). However, there are other changes: for example, much less IL activity in Australia (which led in IL research and practice at the start of the millennium, I think) and the disappearance or stagnation of some specialist groups (such as ENIL and the SCONUL group). 

Bill Johnston and I reflected on the development of information literacy in Webber & Johnston (2017) so I won't go over that ground again, but in future posts I'll do a bit more analysis of themes and events, then and now. Of course, what is on this blog reflects my own preferences, conceptions, biases etc. as well as pragmatic decisions I make on how much time to spend on the blog!

In 2005 there were not: (1) Any journals dedicated to information literacy (Journal of Information Literacy and Communications in Information Literacy both started in 2007 and NORIL in 2009);
(2) Online conferences and webinars about information literacy;
(3) The IFLA Information Literacy Section (the first Standing Committee meeting was in 2009).
(4) As many journal articles about information literacy (see e.g. Pinto, Escalona-Fernandez & Pulgarin, 2013)

In 2005 there were: (1) Lots of information literacy conferences: The LILAC conference (the first one was in 2005), WILU, LOEX plus various other conferences in Australia, Sweden, Canada, the UK and so on - there were also calls for papers for the 2006 Lifelong Learning conference in Australia, the 2006 Creating Knowledge conference in Denmark and Les Rencontres FORMIST in France.
(2) Proclamations from UNESCO on Information Literacy - the initiative really kickstarted with the Prague Declaration in 2003, and in November 2005 the Alexandria Proclamation was produced.
(3) Specialist groups and networks, including the European Network on Information Literacy (ENIL) (which launched its 2nd international survey that year and had in 2003 published Information Literacy in Europe: a first insight into the state of the art of Information Literacy in the European Union) and the SCONUL Working Group on Information Literacy

References: Pinto, M., Escalona-Fernandez, M.I. & Pulgarin, A. (2013). Information Literacy in social sciences and health sciences: a bibliometric study (1974-2011). Scientometrics, 95, 1071-1094. 

Webber, S., & Johnston, B. (2017). Information literacy: conceptions, context and the formation of a discipline. Journal of Information Literacy, 11(1), 156-183.

Note 1. This blog was a continuation of one of the same name, started in 2003 and hosted on a unix machine at Sheffield University, which closed for technical reasons (i.e. the person who did unix left), and the earliest post on this blog is a repost from there (on the pedagogy of Harry Potter)

Note 2. To be honest, this 2,695,807 is likely to include a chunk of denial-of-service spam views. However, I think a reasonable percentage are hits from actual human beings.


Esther Grassian said...

Congratulations on the 5000th (!!) blog post on your excellent Information Literacy Weblog, Sheila! Just one addition to the summary re IL journals, and that is the point that *Research Strategies,* the first IL journal, peer reviewed, existed from 1983 to 2005. A number of important articles were published in *Research Strategies,* and those in what was called "Bibliographic Instruction" at the time were so proud of having thatjournal available, edited for the most part, as I recall, by Barbara Wittkopf and an editorial board. Just a reminder of that important piece of the history of the development of what is now called Information Literacy.

Sheila Webber said...

Thanks, Esther, an important reminder (and I had an article in that journal, so I should have remembered it!)