Friday, April 29, 2022

A relational Information Science? #ASIST24HR

The second keynote in the Africa/Europe portion of ASIS&T 24 hour Global Conference (on  Tuesday) was from Isto Huvila (Department of ALM, Uppsala University), talking about A relational Information Science? For networking, sharing and learning.  These are notes I made at the time, and I certainly did not capture all his ideas. His slides are at You will see he cites his own work at various points and his extensive publications list is here:

Huvila explained why he was querying the idea of Information Science (IS) being relational curently: after all, information practice was about relations with other people, and for example bibliometrics is about the relationship between authors and publications. However IS is also "very much about things" so that a product-oriented view may dominate. Also when thinking about relations, we may think of a limited range of relationships, or not think through what the relationships are and what they mean. 

He said that he was making a possible contrast between relationism and substantivism, although not probing that deeply here. He reminded us about Buckland's classic paper "Information as thing": and how we did still need to talk about information things and material things, but it was neccessary to also go beyond that to think about what these things do, and look at the relationship between things. Huvila went on to look at three specific relationalities that he is interested in and has explored. 

These were: (1) Relation(alitie)s to information - he mentioned aspects such as relevance and information literacy being related to information. He posited context as a bounded space, people being somewhere in this contextual landscape. Huvila reflected on the idea of the insider and outsider, and the connections between people through information. He gave the example from his research of archaeologists who are in bounded and often overlapping communities/contexts. He then talked more widely about people's life, the changes in contexts (e.g. with more remote connections, some people with less identification with extended familities, more attachement to work contexts) - with people becoming more of insiders or outsiders in different contexts, the context not just defined physically.

(2) Relationalities through information, for example people making & taking information.  He talked about people appropriating information to apply to their own situation - information from others or information that they already have. Huvila talked about how although information use and information impact is being studied more, it still does not get as much attention as information seeking.  

( 3) Relationalities with (information) infrastructures and technologies. The technologies may not immediately look information-related e.g. a toothbrush - he illustrated it with toothbrushes being used to clean archeological artefacts, helping to reveal information about the artefact. Another example was people using medical records.
Finally he talked a little about how networking, sharing and learning fitted in with his reflections on relationality. He concluded that he was not advocating throwing away Information Science as it has been, but that thinking and researching with more focus on relationalities would be a fruitful way forward.
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry petals, April 2022

Open access: Critical Library Pedagogy in Practice

Thanks to Andrew Walsh for highlighting that this book, published last year, is now available open access:
Brookbank, E and Haigh, J, eds. (2021) Critical Library Pedagogy in Practice. Innovative Libraries Press. ISBN 9781911500216

Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry blossom, Greenwich Park, April 2022

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Creating connections for enhancing collaborative and professional development #ASIST24HR

Yesterday at the ASIS&T 24 hour Global Conference I chaired and participated in a panel on collaboration: this was in my role as Chair of the European Chapter of the Association of Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) and my fellow-panellists were: Professor Imane Hilal: School of Information Sciences, Rabat, Morocco (Chair of ASIS&T Africa Chapter), Dr Grace Msoffe: University of Dodoma, Tanzania (Chair-Elect of ASIS&T Africa Chapter), Dr Sophie Rutter: Information School, University of Sheffield (Chair-Elect of ASIS&T European Chapter). Below are the slides we used, and there were also thoughtful contributions from the session participants. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Inequalities in access to cultural institutions; searching archives; #OERs in Filipino maths teaching #ASIST24HR

This post reports on a session at the ASIS&T 24 hour Global Conference which had 3 short presentations.
Firstly there was Evaluation of Inequalities of Access in UK Online Digital Collections: A Systematic Review by David Brazier and Bruce Ryan, Edinburgh Napier University, UK (with Paul Gooding as a co-author). They talked about how the pandemic accelerated the movement of cultural heritage institutions online, but not all collections are digitised, and being digitised doesn't guarantee access. This raised the question of what research has been carried out about equality of access and evaluation of use of digital resources. They outlined their approach to their systematic review - the full strategy is at
They retrieved 86,000+ items and described how they focused on key interests by excluding and adding terms: this reduced it to 36 items. However they realised that they were missing some seminal items: including a citation search on these items enlarged the number to 60. They read the items posing key research questions.
The majority of items talked about lessons on the digitisation process and technology which e.g. revealed advice about project planning; the importance of metadata; the importance of sharing practice across sectors; use of crowdsourcing and information on use of open source software. In terms of lessons about access, issues included copyright challenges; the need for political will and funding; the need to consider users' motivation, sensemaking, what tech users have access to, and need for users' digital literacy.
Leading on from that, they talked about lessons on impact assessment: these included the need for community engagement, and the need to evaluate impact using different means e.g. webometrics and collaborative analysis. One of the conclusions was the need to engage with under-represented communities, and then "build factors of inclusion, diversity and access into impact evaluation". 

The second presentation was Investigating the use of Open Education Resources (OERs) in Filipino in the Context of Emergency Remote Learning by Khristin Fabian, Perth College UHI, UK; Ray Abacan, Enderun Colleges, Philippines and Peter Esperanza, Barstow Community College, USA. They explained how teachers in the Philippines were, as in many other countries, forced online during the pandemic. The speakers presented some facts about the country, including that 120+ languages are spoken, and the PISA survey shows that 94% of those tested for maths speak a language at home other than the test language. Lessons in maths are often taught in English, which is a barrier to family supporting learning, and requires teachers to teach with 2 langauges.
Esperanza had started a multilingual Youtube channel supporting maths: Number Bender. This enabled some research (using these videos as OERs) into the questions "Does the use of supplemental video resources in Filipino enable higher math achievements" and "How are OERs being used by teachers?" Research involved 208+463 students and 25 teachers, divided into a group of students using materials in English, and ones using materials in Filipino.
The research involved a pre and post test, student survey and teacher interviews. Overall the results of the pre and post tests did not show learning gains: but this is highly likely to be influenced by the pandemic situation, with teachers not able to deliver all the teaching etc. There was, however, a difference between the Filipino and English language scores - the Filipino group did show a slight improvement.
The teachers, on the other hand, found the resources very useful (rating it 4.75 out of 5). They found it useful to have students view the videos before online sessions, and also as a tool for reviewing content. This was done by distributing the videos on flash drive, rather than requiring students to stream them online. Issues included curricular alignment (resources not mapping to the whole curriculum) and the need for more worked examples. The students' responses to the survey also showed that they also felt very positive about the videos. 

The final presentation in this session was Supporting Diverse User Groups of Archives for Open Dialogue in Digital Humanities by Pia Borlund, Nils Pharo, and Ying-Hsang Liu, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. They introduced the Polyvocal Interpretation of Contested Colonial Heritage project. It "explores how archival material created in a colonial mindset can be re-appropriated and re-interpreted to become an effective source for decolonization and the basis for a future inclusive society." Teams in 5 countries are involved, and data is being collected through interviews and questionnaires. The Oslo team (who presented) are addressing questions about how people search archives, their information needs and strategies, and why they succeed or fail in searching. They reported on the questionnaire data collected so far. A pop up questionnaire in French, English and Dutch resulted in 46 responses. Most were from the UK, France or the Netherlands. Findings included that the larger number had at least some knowledge of the collection and gave insights into their search strategy (unfortnately I deleted my saved screenshots by mistake, so I will add some actual detail when I can access the slides!)

Information Behavior as Research Lens for Life #ASIST24HR

I'm attending, and later presenting at, the ASIS&T 24 hour Global Conference. The last section of the conference is for African and European time zones. I'm afraid I did not get up in time for the absolute beginning of this part (which started at 6am my time) but I joined in time for a keynote Information Behavior as Research Lens for Life: Our Challenges, Joys, and Opportunities from Ina Fourie, University of Pretoria, South Africa. This was a rich and complex talk, and I may be misinterpreting, and also did not capture all the ideas. However, hopefully this gives a flavour of Fourie's ideas. 

Fourie started by talking about the scope and importance of information behaviour (IB). She identified IB as exploring all facets of life, and with increased attention to issues such as temporality. Fourie reflected on how it was difficult to read all one should (that could be related to IB) and to bring different aspects together. She urged information behaviour researchers to get together to explore the meaning of information behaviour and its relationship with information literacy, information practice etc. Fourie advocated for deeper collaboration on IB research, and stressed its importance in making a difference to people's lives.
She defined a research lens as being about what you can do and want to see, paying attention to what previous researchers have discovered, using the available tools and methods, and reflecting carefully on what perspective you will take, and which research questions you will explore. Fourie urged us to think about all the different emotions that each person goes through every day, the different challenges and opportunities.
She used the example of her own previous day with its interwoven mixture of personal things to organise, work responsibilities and practical issues of managing her health and presence. Fourie emphasised the affective elements in the experience. She noted that "Contemporary society [is] more intense, more driven, more complex and intermingled" - with the pandemic having at this stage increased pressures (e.g. to be more driven, more efficient) and at the same times "increasing overbearing pressure" with more anxieties about health, employment etc.
She felt it was this complexity that researchers needed to explore. Information Behaviour research can contribute in making a difference in a lot of ways - e.g. through influencing systems and product design, through action research, in the areas of information and digital literacy. She argued for deeper immersion in the specific research context we are researching, with new contexts (such as streaming social media) emerging.
She also urged researchers to explore and reflect more about who is involved in the research and how research can create safe spaces. Fourie identified the timing of data collection as being a delicate issue, as exploring people's IB in the midst of intense experience can be intrusive, but may also provide insights which would be useful to others. Social networking and IT had brought new values and challenges. Fourie saw one goal as helping others to see IB as a lens on their lives, to make a difference to their quality of life.
Fourie suggested that one way of exploring this new landscape was to include the researcher themselves more prominently, for example, using analytic and collaborative autoethnography and that can be a starting point to connect with others. Each IB researcher needs to reflect on their own personality, beliefs, experience etc. and what that means for their identity as a researcher. Fourie's ideas for developing as an IB researcher included: "reading beyond the borders", exploring multiple methods, researching yourself, and working collaboratively, and creating a third space for research (which included being collaborative, sharing, participate, exploring creatively).

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Virtual Poster Session on now!

The ACRL Distance and Online Learning Section Instruction Committee has organised its 4th annual asynchronous Virtual Poster Session 25-29 April 2022 (i.e. this week). 28 posters about online teaching and learning practices are available to view and comment on, and presenters respond to questions posed this week. The six tracks are: Accessibility and Inclusivity; Assessment; Creative Approaches; Instructional Collaborations; Project Planning & Management; Student Engagement. The presenters use a variety of tools to create the "posters" (e.g. Canva infographic; Youtube video; MS Sway; Padlet) and it is also interesting to see these different tools in use!
Go to and follow up the posters of your choice.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pink cherry blossom, April 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

Breaking the news

The Breaking the News exhibition is now open at the British Library (physical location next to St Pancras Station in London) until 21 August 2022. It is a priced exhibition (unless you are a BL member, which costs £80 a year - that's different from being a Reader who can use the Library) They say "This exhibition prompts big questions about the news we consume: How do your opinions and beliefs influence the news you choose? When does news become propaganda? Why do we devour crime stories and sensationalism? Who decides which stories to suppress and which to spotlight?" There's examples and a fuller description (plus links to the accompanying events programme and ticket page) at Below is the promotional video. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Online conference: Critical success factors and their typological classification for the evaluation of the Open Educational Resources 3-4 May 2022

On May 3 and 4, 2022, organised by the Erasmus+ Project Digital Education for Crisis Situations: Times when there is no alternative (DECriS) there is a hybrid mode conference, Critical success factors and their typological classification for the evaluation of the Open Educational Resources (OER) , with the physical location the University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference runs from 12.30 EEST (Eastern European Summer Time; which is, e.g., 10.30 UK time) on 3 May to 12.30 EEST on 4 May. To participate online you need to register by 30 April 2022, here

"DECriS is an Erasmus+ Project (2020-1-HR01-KA226-HE-094685) coordinated by Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Osijek (Croatia), with partners from Stiftung Universität Hildesheim (Germany), University of Barcelona (Spain), University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (Bulgaria) and Computer Center of University of Zagreb (SRCE), (Croatia) and four associated partners... the seminar will present outputs of the DECriS project in the period May 2021 – May 2022. The focus is on the critical factors for evaluation of existing OERs from the point of view of their use during the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, national and international experts and guests will present their work and experiences related to the topic, with the aim of facilitating and making possible a discussion." 

On day 1 (12.30 EEST-17.30 EEST) speakers are: Boris Bosančić, Tatjana Aparac-Jelušić (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek – Project Coordinator); Jane Secker and Chris Morrison (UK Copyright Literacy group); Milijana Mičunović (University of Osijek); Cristóbal Urbano and Juanjo Boté (University of Barcelona); Marina Encheva (ULSIT, Member of EBLIDA Board). On day 2 (9.30-12.30 EEST) speakers are: Jenna Hartel (University of Toronto) and members of the project team. Bizarrely, this post was flagged by Blogger as contravening community rules initially! I removed the graphic - an abstract design that is on the project website - and it seems to be ok now ...

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Happy World Book Day #WorldBookDay

 Today is World Book and Copyright day It is celebrated on 23 April as this marks "the deaths of the writers William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Webinar: Make Life Grand Again: An Introduction to the Grandpad

Lifelong Information Literacy (LILi) have another LILi Show & Tell presentation on 4 May 2022 at 10am US Pacific time (which is, e.g., 6pm UK time): Make Life Grand Again: An Introduction to the Grandpad. "We all have someone who is a little bit older and needs help with technology. We also know a person who hates and might fear technology as well but still wants a way to connect with their loved ones. This is where the Grandpad comes in. The Grandpad is a great way for older adults to connect with their loved ones and who enjoy reading or listening to music or playing games GrandPad is designed with seniors in mind—the innovative device comes with features for connecting with loved ones, without the complicated features of other tablets. The large buttons and intuitive interface make the GrandPad a simple tablet for seniors who are ready to start video chatting and sharing memories with family and friends around the world. Start learning today."
The Grandpad website is here and is available in the USDA, UK and Ireland:
Register at:

Photo from the age-positive image library of the Centre for Ageing Better

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Proceedings from #ECIL2021 (European Conference on Information Literacy 2021) available free for one month

Do take advantage to download the 700 page ECIL proceedings (published by Springer) which has lots and lots of interesting articles about information literacy. You can do this by following the Proceedings link in the menu at the top of the ECIL 2021 website or going straight to the Springer page This will be available for a limited time only (1 month).

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Others blogging from #LILAC22#LILAC2022

Other people (than Pam and I) have been blogging about the LILAC 2022 conference that took place last week ;-)   so far I've picked up:
- Laura Woods, who blogs here: ,
- Ruth Jenkins: who blogged here:
- Jane Secker, who has blogged here:
- Nicola Semple, who blogged Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.
- Eva Garcia Grau at
- Also Edinburgh University's Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, asked delegates what their favourite Wikipedia pages were: the answers are at

Just as a reminder - you can find all the liveblog posts on THIS blog here |(from me and Pam on day 1, from Pam on days 2 and 3)
Pictured: the MILA freebies on the stand next to ours!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Call for proposals:

There is an extended call for proposals for the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC)/ IFLA Conference, which will be in Dublin, Ireland, 26-29 July 2022: News Literacy: Fighting Fake Information at Your Library. It is organised by the IFLA Social Sciences Libraries Section and News Media Section. Deadline for proposaals is 29 April 2022. The presentations will be short talks (20 slides of 20 seconds each - 6 minutes 40 seconds - or a time limit of 5 minutes). They are "looking for proposals that focus on library events about misinformation, disinformation, and fake news."
Topics include: "How has your library joined the fight against fake information? How have you and your colleagues helped your patrons learn to identify what is true and what is false on the Internet? How have you collaborated with people and groups outside of your library to teach the much-needed skill of evaluating for credibility before spreading untruths? How has your library dealt with external or internal pressure, political, religious or any other form of activism, to impose “alternative truths”? What is the role of News Literacy in the age of fake news or infomedics? How does News Literacy encounter the infodemic COVID19? How do you and your colleagues approach research processes that require the investigation of social media as it becomes part of historical records?"
You should submit an abstract/proposal of no more than 500 words, plus contact information for the first author, all authors & institutional affiliations, confirmation of understanding that the presenter is responsible for conference registration and all expenses associated with attendance and that they can meet all future deadlines. Sub,issions should be emailed to or here (n.b. the form still has the original deadline of 18 April, but that has been extended to 29 April). If selected, you have to provide full text of the paper by 15 June 2022 and slides by 10 July 2022.

Photo by Sheila Webber: daffodils, April 2022

Monday, April 18, 2022

Webinar: Engaging with the ACRL Framework Sandbox

The 2nd webinar this week on the ACRL Information Literacy Framework Sandbox is on 20 April 2022 at 13.00 US Central time (which is, e.g., 19.00 UK time): Engaging with the ACRL Framework Sandbox. "In this session you will become familiar with the process for uploading and sharing instructional resources through the ACRL Framework Sandbox; Consider how to use the Sandbox as a tool to promote your own instructional impact." The presenters are Jane Hammons (Teaching and Learning Engagement Librarian, The Ohio State University, USA); Elizabeth Kamper (Information Literacy Librarian. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA) and Renee Kiner (Public Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, USA). Register at Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry blossom, April 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Recording: Game-based Learning for Information Literacy Teaching

There is a free recording (2 hours 50 minutes) of an online event on 21 February 2022, organised by the UK's CILIP Information Literacy Group: Game-based Learning for Information Literacy Teaching. There were three speakers: Sarah Pavey (Using games and gamification to explain information literacy concepts for research projects), Rosie Jones (A Playful Journey) and Andrew Walsh (Practical Library Play). Recording is at:
Photo by Sheila Webber taken in the 3D virtual world, Second Life, April 2022

Friday, April 15, 2022

Webinar: Introduction to the ACRL Framework Sandbox

On 18 April at 13.00 US Central time (which is, e.g., 19.00 UK time) there is a free webinar from the ACRL Instruction Section: Introduction to the ACRL Framework Sandbox. "In this forum you will become familiar with the ACRL Framework Sandbox as a tool for locating and sharing instructional resources." Presenters are: Jane Hammons (Teaching and Learning Engagement Librarian, The Ohio State University, USA), Elizabeth Kamper (Information Literacy Librarian, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA) and Renee Kiner (Public Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, USA)
Register at
Photo by Sheila Webber: daffodils, April 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Factors that Impact the Relevance of Information Literacy to College Students: The Kaleidoscope Effect #LILAC22

I’m catching up with my final LILAC conference session post - my laptop battery gave out at the start of the session (my one LILAC grouse - not enough power points (as opposed to powerpoints) in the lecture rooms!) Therefore I had to resort to taking manual notes and photos of slides. Karen Kaufmann was presenting on Factors that Impact the Relevance of Information Literacy to College Students: The Kaleidoscope Effect. Kaufmann summarised findings from her doctoral work:
Kaufmann, Karen F. (2018) Sociocognitive relevance of information literacy: The impact on student academic work. (PhD thesis). Queensland University of Technology.
She also gave examples of how it influenced her own practice and gave us the opportunity to reflect on how her work might influence how we engaged with learners.
The aim of her research was to explore how learners perceived the relevance of information literacy to their academic work, using both quantiative and qualitative methods. First, she tested and administered a questionnaire, in which she was asking learners about the usefulness of information literacy (how valuable IL was in completing assignments) and about the meaningfulness of IL (when IL competencies are useful in completing assignments).
The respondents (there were 134) were asked to relate their answers to 10 competencies: these competencies were ones identified in the old ACRL Standards and/or the new ACRL Framework (which was just being launched at the point when the research was done). A key thing to emerge from this part of the research was that the obvious demographic factors - like gender and discipline - were not statistically significant, and so didn’t account for why learners’ perceptions varied.

This “why” question was addressed in student focus groups. After analysing the data, Kaufmann identified one "uber" overarching factor affecting the students' relationship with information literacy, which was their existing knowledge base. Then there were 9 key factors, and 11 dimensional factors which interacted to affect the learners' perception of the value and relevance of IL.
The nine Key factors identified were (see first screenshot): "(a) Digital Literacy, (b) Academic Discipline, (c) ILC [information literacy competencies] Awareness, (d) Acquiring New Knowledge, (e) Real World Application, (f) Research Process, (g) Critical Thinking, (h) Scholarly Conversation, and (i) Curiosity/Passion/Motivation."
The 11 dimensional factors were: "(a) User-Friendliness in Digital Environments, (b) User Experience in Digital Environments, (c) Current Information, (d) Authoritative Sources, (e) ILC Articulated, (f) ILC Integration, (g) ILC Instruction, (h) Personal Relevance, (i) Professional Relevance, (j) Organizing Information, and (k) Comprehension."
Kaufmann's research identified that these factors interact and are intertwined - thus she described her model as a kaleidoscope. Kaufmann gave some examples from her own teaching: for example having a session where (1) She asks the learners to think about the meaning of literacy and information (2) She gives them information literacy definitions (3) She asks them to think about examples from their everyday life e.g. apps on their phones (4) Discussing IL and its relevance in the academic context. She talked about "asset-based" pedagogy - working from what the students already have.
Kaufmann also talked about the importance of metacognition and how she interprets and explains threshold concepts (the 2nd screenshot). At this point Kaufmann showed us a few minutes of a kaleidoscope video - not this one but here’s an example there you could watch for a few minutes like we did. She likened this to the way in which people experience learning and how the elements interact:

After watching this in Kaufmann's session it struck me that it was also like learning in that it can be engaging and enchanting, but also sometimes unexpected and make you look at things in different ways - which can be challenging.
Following on from this Kaufmann asked us to discuss how these ideas related to our own teaching of IL and there was very active discussion in small groups. In fact I got so caught up that I didn't take notes on this part! I do remember a lot of interest in the ideas that had been presented, and discussion about how it was difficult to approach the complexity of IL in short and limited sessions.
Kaufmann's model does illustrate how important it is to help students discover "where they are" in relation to IL, so you can help them move forward. As Pam already reported, Kaufmann also identifies IL as a discipline, which students have to understand.

Today - MERLOT webinar: Jumpstart to Successful Instruction

Later today there is a free webinar organised by Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative MERLOT (14 April 2022 at 2pm US Eastern time, which is e.g. 7pm UK time): Jumpstart to Successful Instruction. "Revising and remixing OER has been one of the challenges and we’d like to share how Western Dakota Technical College has taken on that challenge and succeeded.  ... Western Dakota Technical College has taken OER created by SkillsCommons which is focused on preparing industry experts learning to become excellent instructors. Donna Hanks, the WDTC Instructional Technology and Design Specialist, will explain how and why she revised and remixed the openly licensed “Jumpstart to Successful Instruction” open courseware by adding assessments and learning activities to improve the learning impact. "  Register at

Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom in snow, March 2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

#LILAC22 Perceptions of the “find it out yourself” method: developing self-efficacy and students as tourists in academic communities of practice

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the lilac conference. This session is led by Heather Lincoln and Tiffany Chiu from the Imperial College London, and reports on research that took place as part of an Masters in Education. Heather mainly supports business students, and the university has an information literacy community of practice. Heather was keen to understand students’ experiences of IL learning, as there is limited literature on how business students develop IL and integrate it in their course more widely from the context of a one-shot IL teaching session. This was a qualitative research project, using 6 focus groups with masters students in the business school. Heather undertook thematic analysis of the data, grouped the codes into key themes. Three of these themes were presented today. The first was IL learning and self-efficacy. Students spoke about the diversity of their prior educational experiences, and the fact that they don’t know what they don’t know. They have a focus on assessment, and around passing their course. In the second theme, the find it out yourself method Students recalled their induction sessions, but not their subsequent IL teaching. There is a deficit model of education where the environment is “supposed” to be challenging, and students don’t feel like they can ask for help. Students thought that the stand-alone sessions were sufficient, and they tended to deprioritise learning outside the core curriculum due to time pressures. Also, low attendance at the sessions signalled that the sessions weren’t important.

 Engagement in Communities of practice starts with legitimate peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger). Tourists in CoPs are identified as having low levels of participation, and only engage in a superficial way. Students were appreciative of the vast range of resources available, but actually this didn’t translate into wide use of those resources, linked to the notion that information resources are significant artefacts in the  CoP. Students weren’t willing to commit the time needed to learn how to use resources.  The library has Bloomberg terminals, which is a resource that is widely used in the business context, and this is a “boundary object”, but still few students gained proficiency in searching it. Some students were very anxious about plagiarism, but others weren’t bothered at all. Avoiding plagiarism is part of the academic community of practice. 

#LILAC22 final keynote with Emily Drabinski

 Pam McKinney live blogging from the Lilac conference, at the final keynote with Rosie Jones hosting a discussion with Emily Drabinski. Emily spoke about how library structures affect the way we can engage with collections, and her experiences as a union activist, expressing solidarity with union members at the conference. Emily spoke widely about the impact of power structures on libraries and librarians. It’s important to open up conversations with learners about the nature of their searching, and encouraging them to reflect on the interfaces they use and what their behaviours are. It much easier for al of us to under and the content and structure of information in library databases, but impossible to understand what google is searching, and how results are retrieved, and what information is excluded - capitalism prevents us from having this understanding. There’s a tension between educating students to do what they need to do to engage with university structures (like the library) while still giving them agency to express themselves in the ways they want to. This is why it’s important to have conversations about power so that students are aware of the environment they are engaging with. Critical information literacy is hard when students just want to know the “right” answers, but learning is more compelling when the teacher can open up discussions with students. It can be easy to illustrate power structures to students using searches on contested topics e.g. native peoples and discussing the subject headings associated with these. Giving people a sense that structures can be changed, e.g. by building alternative information structures - and by lobbying library of Congress to change their subject headings. We need to share positive stories with each other about how to move forward positively.

 Post COVID we have a space problem, and we need to reflect on what our physical and digital spaces are and how they should be used. There’s such a spread of opinions about the correct behaviours for public spaces, e.g. around mask wearing, that it’s a real struggle to accommodate everyone. 

Lecturers are really happy to engage with conversations about power structures in the library, and are interested in how information is classified and organised. Often these issues dovetail with their own research areas. Academics “know” the information in their discipline, what librarians bring to the table is understanding of how that information is organised, and the power structures that are behind that organisation. 

It was a really thought provoking conversation which I enjoyed immensely 

#LILAC22 What if …. No one had information literacy skills?

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the final day of the Lilac conference in Manchester. After a lively conference dinner and disco last night I’m at the first workshop session of the day led by Sarah Pavey @Sarahinthelib. Sarah took us through an activity that she does with her clients, with the premise that’s it’s easier to define the value of something if we think about what life is like without it. The activity could be repurposed for different audiences and Sarah encouraged us to do just that. People have many conceptions of IL, but they encompass a range of really important skills and qualities that are vital across the life course. What would happen in education contexts, health contexts, everyday life, the workplace, and as a citizen if you didn’t have information literacy? We then worked in groups on flip chart paper to define what life would be like if you didn’t have IL in a specific context. Following this we looked at the UN sustainable development goals and how lack of IL would affect the achievement of these goals. It was a really interesting session, and helped surface and articulate how pervasive and important IL is for global society and underlines the relevance of the UNESCO definitions of IL as vital for citizenship. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

#LILAC22 Information literacy: elements of a maturing discipline

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the Lilac conference. Dr Karen Kaufmann and Dr Clarence Maybee presented a session about the discipline of information literacy. IL is a soft applied discipline (c. Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston!) “emerging” in 1999 and “maturing” in 2017. Sheila and Bill outline the historical progress of IL, and a case for IL as a discipline, and the factors that negatively affect this (see here). Il is a sociocultural practice through the life course. The elements of a discipline are outlined by Becher and Trowler (2001), as having knowledge practices and knowledge community. Karen mentioned the paper very recently published by myself, Alison Hicks, Geoff Walton, Annemaree Lloyd and Charles Inskip where we examine the way that IL has been leveraged in other disciplines, where we say that IL is often conceptualised as a skill, but this impoverishes our view of IL. 

Karen spoke about the need to theorise IL, and understand how this relates to practice. We need a shared vocabulary, to strengthen our IL narrative. In the university context, If IL is understood by other disciplinary faculty, it’s easier to integrate into the curriculum, and it’s possible to develop credit-bearing courses, which in turn allows for more dialogue about IL as a transdisciplinary concept. 

Karen then introduced some characteristics of a discipline, developed by a global interdisciplinary group, and how these relate to IL as a discipline. First is that there is a community of scholars, with groups, organisations and communities, that meet and discuss, present research findings and methods. Next communication networks e.g. academic and scholarly avenues for publication, online platforms and special interest groups. The third element is about having ethical concerns, addressing equity in the use of information such as privacy. Next is the tradition and history of inquiry, so we can identify a timeline of maturation and history of the literature, and that we have standards and frameworks adopted by professional bodies. The next characteristic is having specific modes of inquiry, using specific methodologies e.g. phenomenography, acknowledging epistemological approaches, or ways of knowing. The last element is knowledge and curricula, the body of knowledge, skills and values that comprise IL.

Karen posed the question, say we said that IL was a discipline (like Psychology), what would be the sub disciplines? E.g. media literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy etc. We then had a small group discussion to explore the idea of IL as a discipline. There were some really interesting ideas shared in a lively discussion, but I really feel that this was a useful and timely discussion to have at LILAC.
Photo: Karen with Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston, 2022

Using theory of change to evaluate information literacy initiatives: workshop at #LILAC22

Yesterday Pam McKinney and I gave a workshop at the LILAC conference in Manchester, UK: Using theory of change to evaluate information literacy initiatives. We had 32 participants and it was wonderful seeing people's engagement in working on their own ideas during the major part of the session. We started with a very brief introduction to ToC and the slides are embedded below.

This is our abstract: "Theory of Change (ToC) is a participative approach to evaluating the impact of projects, programmes and initiatives. Librarians and information professionals engaged in change processes, development projects and research studies can use ToC to generate evaluation data and articulate the impact of their activities, working closely with stakeholders such as students, academic staff, teachers and other professionals. The ToC process generates new understandings of how and why project successes have been achieved, and can form the basis of justifications for current and future funding. ToC has been widely used to evaluate the success and impact of projects in a variety of sectors (often community and public sector initiatives), and in educational development (Hart, Dierks-O’Brien & Powell, 2009) including Information Literacy initiatives (McKinney, 2014; McKinney, Jones & Turkington, 2011). causal narrative between project activities and outcomes. A plan and evaluation framework is then developed from these indicators, and stakeholders design data collection instruments. Connell & Kubisch (1998) have identified that a good ToC should be plausible, doable and testable. In the version of the ToC process used in CILASS projects, stakeholders are asked to identify the drivers for change in the current situation; the longer term impact they envisage the project will have; the intermediate outcomes that the project is expected to achieve; activities that would need to be undertaken to achieve outcomes and enabling factors and resources required to support the project (Hart, Dierks-O’Brien & Powell, 2009). Stakeholders collaboratively design a Theory of Change poster that defines key project indicators and develops a causal narrative between project activities and outcomes. A plan and evaluation framework is then developed from these indicators, and stakeholders design data collection instruments. Connell & Kubisch (1998) have identified that a good ToC should be plausible, doable and testable."


#LILAC22 self service or checkout confusion: Exploring independent information literacy learning methods and their effectiveness

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the lilac conference. This presentation from Cathryn Peppard. at the royal college of nursing focused on the challenges of supporting a nationwide body of users with IL teaching. They used Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development” to conceptualise the needs of users, so reflecting on what learners already know, and the tasks they can do unaided and using this to identify what their learning needs are. They used a UX approach to develop resources, each participant was given a topic to search on the CINAHL database, and told them to look for helping the library website with this search. The participants then engaged with the online help, and then repeated their search. The team then interviewed the participants about their experiences. They used a online poll to ask the lilac audience what format they would choose for a self help resource, choosing from video, pdf guide or interactive resource. The results were a fairly evenly split. The participants for the UX research were from a range of professional contexts: students, nurses, academics and retired members. Students were the most comfortable with the searching activity, as they were probably doing this kind of activity anyway. One participant had never used CINAHL before, and it was good to have a range of abilities. There was no real difference again the kind of help they would like, but generally they wanted help resources that would be quick to access (for them!). Participants liked to have help with the process of searching e.g. in identifying synonyms. The research showed that participants didn’t immediately go to the “support” section of the website because they thought it was about IT support rather than support for literature search. One key reflection was that these self-help resources worked as an adjunct to library workshops, not as a replacement. Speed of access was important, so the team are planning on developing a suite of very short videos that are no more than a couple of minutes long. Also, the pdf guides were more popular than originally thought.

#LILAC22 the power of collating to unlock research topics

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the lilac conference. This session is a workshop led by James Soderman from Queen Mary university. This is a replication of a workshop offered to PhD students. James worked with a learning development team to create this session “visualise it” which is one part of a 4 strand workshop design. We were all given a big sheet of paper and asked to write a research topic in the middle. We had some magazines, and were encouraged to cut images out of the magazines to help visualise our topics, and cover up the words we had used to define our topic. This was a fun way to engage with a topic and think about the breadth of it. We then had to explain our topic to a partner, and were encouraged to think about which part of the topic we were most interested in. The next stage was a reflection stage, but we skipped this due to time! Then James spoke about his experiences of running this workshop. Feedback from students was really positive, they liked the visual aspect, and found it useful to think about their research in a different way. During COVID James found the workshop more tricky to deliver online, he encouraged students to collect images from Pixabay rather than using magazines. Comments from the audience were that this could be tricky to run with taught students at university because it is difficult to “get” time from lecturers for IL workshops, however this is good for an audience of PGR students who self select development opportunities.
Photo by Pam McKinney: her collage

#LILAC22 2nd keynote Marilyn Clarke

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the second day of the lilac conference in Manchester. This morning the first session is a keynote from Marilyn Clarke, director of library services at Goldsmiths university in London. The format of the keynote is for delegates to watch a pre-recorded presentation, then for the keynote to feature questions posed by the audience. Marilyn spoke about the need to have difficult conversations about challenging issues of race and gender, and the need to confront feelings of guilt, uncertainty and being uncomfortable. One theme discussed was around decolonising the library, and dismantling the colonial structure. Marilyn has been addressing racism in her work at Goldsmiths,with a working group called “liberate our library” in response to student activism to create a fairer and more inclusive university. They created a new collection called “liberate the collection” featuring resources recommended by students of underrepresented authors and communities. They have created a zines collection, which represent hidden voices, and work with authors to develop meaningful subject headings to aid discoverability. There’s a need to diversify collections, but alongside this to address why the situation is as it is, and why we have biases. For example, why did it take until 2019 to form a group to address the lack of black authors, thinkers etc in the UK school curriculum. 

Marilyn spoke about the need to address diversity at all levels in university, from resources, to teaching, to the environment. Libraries have a role in increasing diversity in publishing, and seeking out resources that represent a wider range of authors with diverse backgrounds - we have some agency here, due to the huge amounts of money that we all spend on materials.

Librarians have a role in speaking to academics about the resources they recommend, and to increase the diversity of materials that are offered. Most people are open to these conversations, although it isn’t always easy work. Look for allies, and use these relationships to impact on a wider circle. We need to use our power where we can to address equality and social justice, and to empower ourselves.

At Goldsmiths they run IL workshops on citing underrepresented authors, and use open access resources to do this. This is one way to increase inclusivity in the university and bring in alternative voices to the academic discourse. It’s important to acknowledge where resources have outdated terminology, and be explicit that librarians are working towards addressing these issues with collection management, rather than simply removing these resources. We need to document the journey towards inclusivity. 

Representation of BAME people in libraries needs to be increased, this is important for the sector. We are now seeing more professional BAME networks and this is vital. We need a plan of action, inclusivity isn’t just going to happen by itself. (Side note: the work we have been doing @ the information school as part of our Athena Swan bronze award is part of our departmental journey towards equality and inclusion, and I’ve found this to be a good start, but it’s not the end!).

Marilyn encouraged us to read books about decolonising the university, as a way to develop ourselves and inform ourselves about this issue.

Photo by Pam McKinney: the keynote interview.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Sharing Information Literacy Concepts through Sound : Sounding the Radical Catalog #LILAC22

My (Sheila's) final liveblog post from the LILAC conference is Sharing Information Literacy Concepts through Sound: Sounding the Radical Catalog, presented by Amanda Belantara and Emily Drabinski. The usual caveat of this being my impression of the session applies.

They started by talking about the Catalogers at work project, which aims to "capture the complexities and decision making processes of cataloguing; amplify the invisible labour of cataloguing; make the power of knowledge organisation audible & understand how decisions are made as cataloguers attempt to organise the world's knowledge" This is framed as part of exploring & developing critical cataloguing.
The project asked cataloguers to think-aloud as they catalogued. They said that this sound recording surfaced counternarratives, and the compromises that cataloguers had to make. It also revealed how cataloguers pushed back against constraints of the system (e.g. quotas, local guidelines) and made time for cataloguing. 

The recordings of the cataloguers was used to make a composition Sounding the radical catalog: catalogers at work. The presenters then played this work - so you can pause and do that now! There is a transcript at: and the audio is at 

After this we were asked to think about questions: What did you learn about how information is organised in libraries? how might this change your perspective of information literacy in libraries? what questions surfaced? what do you think students would learn from listening?
Some of the comments made by the audience at this session included: the issues of the "decisions" made by algorithms; the humanisation of cataloguing in this soundscape; the engagement of the cataloguers; the loss of expert humans doing cataloguing; the usefulness of creating similar resources/narratives/soundscapes localised to different places and disciplines; the beauty of the soundscape; being informed about the biases present when you are searching the catalogue; using a dialogue about zines when engaging with students. (Also, it is something that I think we'll be using on our Information Organisation module.)

The presenters continued by emphasising that it was valuable to teach students that information is organised and described by people (this ties in with the ACRL frame Information creation is a process). The presenters highlighted issues concerned with knowledge organisation & epistemic justice: that there are constraints in the system; building understanding in the learners and build capacity for people to change the system (as well as break the system). They are currently working on an oral history project - in particular they are interviewing people who have created alternative classification systems. Paired with that is advocacy for this work, and advocacy for change in the ingrained systems.

#LILAC22: teaching how to structure literature reviews via 1990s movies

 Kirsty Thomson from Herriot Watt university presented a really interesting workshop based on her teaching practices. She mostly does one-shot sessions where she only meets students once. She realised that while students are fairly confident in finding literature, but the next stage of actually reviewing it and writing a lit review was more tricky. She wanted a practical exercise as it’s widely accepted that students learn more by doing. She didn’t want to set a pre-task, as asking students to commit an hour of their time is unrealistic. Students read at different speeds, so getting them to read in class is problematic. She also wanted to design an activity that was fun and informal, so they looked back favourably on the class. She developed an exercise that was based on sessions she had taken part in at a previous lilac conference, where students would work in groups to summarise films and identify their themes, as a step towards creating a literature review, pointing out that creating summaries while reading is a productive activity. Kirsty has run these workshops face to face and also online using blackboard collaborate and shared some of the tips I recognise from my own use of collaborate! She uses Titanic, Jurassic park and Romeo and Juliet as example 1990s films, because they have been on tv a lot and most people should be familiar with them. We then took part in the same activity that Kirsty’s students would do. We were asked to work in groups to write a summary of each film, and tags we would give it, then Kirsty created a class summary based on our answers. She then tried to identify themes that were common across 2 or more films e.g risk/failure, romance etc. This is away to identify themes for a literature review. Kirsty advises picking films that have overlapping themes, older films tend to work better as students feel more confident to critique these. These 3 films work well as they are so familiar, and the stories are well known even if someone hasn’t actually seen the film. It was a really fun session, perfect for the end of a long day :)

Turning a challenge into an opportunity: health literacy training for NHS knowledge and library staff #LILAC22

This is another liveblog post from Sheila, from the LILAC conference - Turning a challenge into an opportunity: health literacy training for NHS knowledge and library staff presented by Joanne Naughton and Sue Robertson (Health Education England). To make change you need to be embedded in strategy, and for HEE this is identifiied in the strategic report Knowledge for Healthcare - about "using the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place" with the ultimate outcomes of excellent healthcare and health improvement. A key part of this is addressing inequality - including helping everyone to get access to high quality health information. This was always a goal, but the pandemic brings it into particular focus. 

The speakers outlined the strategy for developing knowledge and library specialists - skills development and access to resources, resulting in the impacts of shared decision making, skills for engagement with the public and tools for tackling inequalities. This is carried out in partnership with other professional colleagues in the health service. They talked about some of the approaches and tools they used: and delivery ranging from the starter 15 minute Health Literacy Awareness session through to a 3 hour Train the trainer session. In the "train the trainer" session there is a big emphasis on ideas for delivery and giving the trainers practice. 

Before the pandemic, these sessions had a strong face to face element, but obviously they had to switch for the pandemic. They were in any case launching a new set of training sessions, which included virtual options, and the pandemic meant they had to go over to online entirely. They played to their own particular strengths (e.g. to start with the librarian with most technical experience led on that side, whilst others developed their technical expertise). They had to be adaptable, as the learners had different circumstances and equipment: they discovered that there wasn't a one-size-fits all solution, you have to adapt to the specific learners. 

Issues included: technology barriers (e.g. people who could only join by phone, which limited participation); Human issues (e.g. coping with people arriving at breakout sessions late; building trust); How (whether) people value virtual training (e.g. people who cancel more easily); Maintaining (and improving) the quality of training. As regards trust issues, they have ground rules (e.g. about confidentiality); they encourage camera-on; they role play/give examples for more complex activities to give learners confidence. They have had strong demand for the online training. They also mentioned their community of practice and that they have joined a National Health and Digital Literacy partnership, this includes a partnership to upskill the public in different parts of the country. 

At the end they identified a tool Health literacy in England - where you can focus in on results for a particular part of England (the screenshot is from that resource).

#LILAC22 Changing signature pedagogies for information literacy

 Andrew Walsh, @PlayBrarian, spoke about the concept of signature pedagogies - the way we approach IL teaching: there are 3 levels the surface structure I.e. the acts of teaching e.g. using particular softwares. The deep structure is about our beliefs about teaching and how people learn and the 3rd level is the implicit structure, our assumptions and understandings. Going from having a library qualification to being a “teacher” is quite a journey, but often this isn’t explicitly talked about or developed. The CILIP PKSB used in accredited courses controls what is taught in LIS departments in the uk. But this is quite functional and skills based, but many librarians have a much more critical and broad understanding of IL. Signature pedagogy for librarians 10 years ago would have focused on a very functional competency building skills-based approach, but now an information literacy signature pedagogy is more nuanced, critical and contextual to the learner, it’s more about enabling and supportive. In Huddersfield university the library subject team have been trying to develop a team-based approach to developing IL teaching, that is compassionate, inclusive, empowering, transformative, reflexive and reflective. Initially this was at the surface level, but increasingly ,y they have been trying to look at the deep structure of their signature pedagogy. Is it possible to move towards a new national signature pedagogy for IL. 

#LILAC22 Moving forward as one university: integrating IL with refreshed graduate aatributes

 Pam McKinney live blogging from the LILAC conference. Vicky Grant and team from the university of Sheffield presented about information and digital literacy (IDL) at the university and the research approach (action research) used to strategically plan, analyse and evaluate their activity. There is a 5 year strategic planning cycle at the university, and IDL was well represented in the 2015 strategic plan.  The library used action research and appreciative inquiry to develop an information and digital literacy framework that drew on the ACRL framework. Participatory action research with students and academics was used to develop subject-specific aspects of the framework. They presented some reflections from this process: students don’t always understand the range of resources available, the support from the library is excellent, there needs to be better integration with feedback mechanisms on turnitin, graduates are at an advantage if they have strong IDL skills, support needs to be integrated into the curriculum. There is a greater need for consistency across programmes, and for IDL to be embedded. The offer from the library was a little fragmented from the other attribute development at the university. The terminology was not familiar to students, but they are willing to engage with it, so they put a lot of thought into that language used to present the IDL offer. Reading list provision, fully integrated into the VLE has the potential to support students effectively with their learning. 

Action research is a methodology for achieving change, and it’s widely used in professional contexts. It encourages reflective practice. Participatory action research encourages librarians to work WITH students and other stakeholders.  Currently the library is focusing on the “portfolio” aspect of the strategic plan,  and using this to develop approaches to creating more effective reading lists. They identified a need for more consistency, and for more digital resource promotion. Previously there were delays in getting reading lists online for students, and the process wasn’t working. Initially more staff were used to create reading lists,  but the team then reflected on the needs for academics to have more autonomy in the creation of their own reading lists, and produced a lot of guidance for academic staff on how to use the online system. They were also able to give academics more information about how students were using their reading lists. They are working towards 100% adoption of legs to reading lists across the university.

Another strategic priority for the university is around employability, and there is a clear role for IDL in this space. The student skills and Employability group was established which defined the strategic plan and the library was a key member of this. Terminology used was different, often academics and students referred to “research skills” , “critical thinking” and “digital capability”. While the term IDL isn’t used in the graduate attributes, all the 6 aspects of the library’s IDL framework are present. They used the new university visual identity for skills development in the library provision. There was a noticeable increase in the number of students signing up to the library workshops, so the team are convinced that the change in language helped students engage with the library offer. 

Alongside this, the university launched a new reflective platform for students to record their development called “my skills”. Changing the language used to talk about IDL enabled the library to more immediately link in with this agenda, and provide better support for students.

Now the team is working on refreshing the library’s research skills and critical thinking offer,  through using more student-centred language. There is increased support for students as creators of information, and further integration of critical literacy.

The next steps for digital capability is for the library collaborate with many other departments to refresh the concept of the digital commons, and create a multidisciplinary space for digital skill building. The library is aiming to be reflective and responsive. Tapping into the student voice has been vital. While COVID was really disruptive, it’s been a catalyst for the embedding of the library offer into teaching as a whole, and working as part of a “one university” approach.

Language is important, in a professional context they would still use the term information literacy.

Librarians' wellbeing: Student panel #LILAC22

The first keynote session of LILAC (Sheila here) was a panel from four students at the iSchool at Manchester Metropolitan University: Susan Connor, Ray Smith, Imogen Webb, Rachel Wilding. We had been asked to view their 15 minute panel video beforehand, and the focus live was on responding to questions posed to them beforehand. 

Questions included: whether people should take responsibility for themselves in creating boundaries; how the information literacy community could support/prevent burnout; where people could take action against the causes of burnout; how easy is it to work out what personal information about clients is OK| to share (even if you know about GDPR (regulations about data sharing) this can be difficult to judge); whether there is still a stereotype of librarianship as a quiet job; whether there should be more support for librarians having to deal with clients who are distressed; whether CILIP etc. should provide guidance about librarians running social media accounts, in particular to protect them against abuse and give them rights not to use social media; is it the librarians' role to teach people to use social media; the extent to which you might update people about terminology used to describe groups, if you feel that they are using inappropriate terms. 

Points raised by the panel included the following. There are implications for employers and professional associations like CILIP;
- that taking responsibility for your own wellbeing/boundaries was not incompatible with also requiring support for wellbeing;
- that there was a problem of maintaining boundaries work/life: e.g. because of pressure to answer work emails outside work time, the pressures of underfunded work environments. It was difficult keeping boundaries when e.g. you might be on a temporary contract, want to get on in your job etc. (so there is pressure to DO the extra work in your own time, to keep your job or develop your career)
- The need to be able to talk about how personal information about others is upsetting YOU (i.e. that this is something possible and supported in a work context)
- The need for good training & knowledge about what the law and guidelines are about data access, confidentiality and sharing
- How there is a lingering stereotype about librarians (including being challenged as to why you'd need a Masters qualification). The lack of recognition about the challenge and diverse nature of a library career can cause stress and anxiety
- There is definitely a need for more training and support in dealing with clients who are upset. This is also connected with making the role and purpose of the library and librarians clearer. Wellbeing/caring may be connected with the library, but most librarians are not experts in wellbeing support and mental health, and signposting rather than providing direct support should normally be the answer. (Trying to cope with these issues without support or expertise can end up with the librarian sacrificing their own wellbeing). If the library is putting on e.g. "wellbeing" sessions this can raise false expectations. It was important to think about why you were organising wellbeing events and what you would actually do if someone wrote or talked about something very personal and upsetting.
- There was agreement that there needed to be more guidance/regulations to protect librarians using social media as part of their job. The problem of it still being treated as if it were something librarians were doing "on the side" was pointed out (or e.g. being given as a task for interns). Social media was used used differently in different organisations, and guidelines which covered these different uses would be valuable.
- Broadly, there was a "yes" answer to the issue of librarians training clients in the use of social media. Social media has become part of the information world, and in particular there is the problem of mis/dis information on social media, where librarians have an information literacy education role. There was sennsitivity about imposing your ideas of what was "correct", more obvious was the role in developing information literacy skills.
- If faced with people using outdated terminology there might be different responses: if it was a question of helping with something like search terms, it was clearly a good idea to help people understand the current preferred terminology to help with information retrieval (in addition to the educational aspect. Otherwise it could be up to the individual librarian, their own preference and comfort, but also considering the wellbeing of the client they are engaging with.
- Questions which the panel might ask of employers about wellbeing, in a job interview, included: what occupational health support was there; what were policies and guidelines concerning employee wellbeing; what accredited schemes had they participated in.

Overall a main conclusion was the need for the profession to talk about and pay greater attention to these wellbeing issues.

Librarian consultations – supporting student researchers in the hybrid world - #LILAC22

This is Sheila liveblogging from the LILAC conference: I ALSO liveblogged a session that Pam already covered (we are coordinated better now!) - so you might as well have my angle as well! This was Librarian consultations – supporting student researchers in the hybrid world, authored by Ruth Jenkins, Christine Love-Rodgers (presenters), Marshall Dozier and Chung Yau Yiu (University of Edinburgh). 

Jenkins identified how students may struggle with their research, specifically the information literacy aspects. She talked about the characteristics of the university and the composition of the academic library team: they have 13 academic support librarians and 3 college focused teams. They do a variety of generic, targeted sessions and individual sessions, mostly postgraduates (with 14% undergraduates and 5% staff). The Librarian consultation Service is offered by the ASLs, and students are given individual support with searches, including systematic review. The length of the consultation varies between discipline (e.g. longer if it involves a systematic review). Since 2020 they’ve had an online service (though there is a little transition back to face to face now), and in 2021 they had a relaunch of their services to arts and humanities students. 

The librarians wanted to learn more about what students thought of the service and how it could be improved: inspired by a study from Dalton (2019). They had 77 respondents to their questionnaire. There was a spread of disciplines, though more from some disciplines (e.g. 19% were from education, only 1% from engineering). Some glimpses of findings: most frequent way of finding out about the service was via lecturers, and about 70% were very satisfied with the service. There was a free text section, and some points were respondents did become more aware of databases on their subjects and felt the librarians had given them guidance. 

Respondents were asked what they would do differently. This included using more tools and resources (including other sources such as interloans), realising you could ask for help, doing more complex searches and thinking about them more strategically. Conclusions included: identifying the importance of connecting with supervisors (to influence students). They will continue to get feedback on the service to continue to improve it and to make it sustainable.

Introducing Information Literacy in the House of Commons #LILAC22

Sheila here, liveblogging from the LILAC conference. Anne-Lise Harding talked about Introducing Information Literacy in the House of Commons. She started by explaining what Select Committees were: groups of Members of Parliament from different parties who investigate key issues e.g. connected with Bills being put before parliament. A variety of people - mostly experts in the topic and stakeholder groups - provide testimony and evidence to teh committee so that the Select Committee can provide informed conclusions. Harding is Senior Liaison Librarian, so based with the select committees and working with senior researchers. Her background in Information Literacy was one of the reasons why she was selected for the role. The researchers she works with tend not to use formally published reports, but more with news reports, grey literature and also direct consultation with experts to collect original evidence. The researchers only work for a limited time in one area, as they get shuffled round periodically. The focus is on enrichment rather than (as with students, say) developing skills, so the support needs to be refined. 

Harding conducted (online) some information needs and information behaviour research: including the research process within different types of committee. She shadowed inquiries, she looked at scoping documents and carried out interviews. She found that early career generalists spend more time researching and analysing. Early-career Specialists spend more time managing the knowledge. For mid career specialists they have developed their specialist skills, but have not developed their general IL skils so much. The generalist, by contrats have had to develop IL skills to deal with the range of topics they investigate, but lack the more specialist subject skills. Harding identified two Liaison Committee reports which focused the initiative on a goal about inclusion and social justice: the reports were The effectiveness and influence of the Select Committee system and Witness gender diversity

Harding contrasted the way in which her role in education was teaching students to be performative (so students could do well in their studies) whereas in her current role she sees a broader goal to do with democracy and giving people a voice. 

Following on from Harding's research they created some development modules which could be delivered by MS teams (delivered live and recorded, so accessible afterwards). The modules were: Introduction to library services;  research biases; searching diverse sources; evaluating diverse sources; diverse current awareness; communicating in a diverse manner. The material was peer reviewed by several people (including diversity champions). They have solicited feedback, but it is on-the-spot, and they want some evidence about longer-term impact

#LILAC22 Increasing inclusivity: developing an HEA accredited teaching course for librarians

 Pam McKinney, live blogging from the lilac conference. This presentation from Kirstie Preest and Claire Sewell from university of Cambridge spoke about the teaching practice of librarians and how this is different from other academic teachers, and the need to develop specialist teaching skills. The course to develop IL teaching skills initially took place over 3 full days, but this was tricky for participants. In 2017 the university developed a new IL framework which was then used to develop a 9 month blended learning programme, in 2020 there was an emergency pivot to online only due to COVID. Now the course takes place over 6 months online, and covers developing a teaching philosophy, learning theories, inclusivity and feedback and evaluation. Learners complete activities in their own time, and have drop-in sessions. They use a range of online tools such as padlet, MS teams, jamboard etc, and this is deliberate. The course is mapped to the HEA framework and is expected to be accredited as a formal teaching qualification for AFHEA status in the next cycle. Assessment is through a portfolio where they have to develop a personal teaching philosophy, and through a Nano-teaching session on any topic - assessing how someone teaches, not what they teach. Learner feedback was positive. Learners said they had increased their pedagogical knowledge, and their confidence to teach. They felt they had significantly changed their practice, and made their teaching more inclusive. Learners picked up lots of good ideas from each other, and there was a lot of peer support, including mini-mutual-support networks. They are hoping to extend the course to learners from outside the university of Cambridge in the future.

#LILAC22 Librarian consultations- supporting student researchers in the hybrid world

 Pam McKinney here live blogging from the LILAC conference in the first in-person conference for more than 2 years! This presentation is from Ruth Jenkins and Christine Love-Rodgers talking about the evaluation of a programme of consultations offered to student researchers at the university of Edinburgh. Students reported that their search skills were improved and felt guided in their approach to literature searching. They felt better able to manage the data they found, and were able to use more new resources e.g. grey literature. In the period after the consultations students reported long lasting changes in practice. Consultations would take around 30 minutes for Arts and humanities subjects, but around an hour for science and medicine subjects due to the focus on systematic reviews. The majority of the students taking up this service offer were postgraduate. Many students were referred to the service by their lecturer, so working to promote the service with academic staff is key.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Call for proposals: Inspiring Users to Engage with News Content in Education and Research

The IFLA News Media Section call for proposals for papers to be presented in person at their Open Session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2022 in Dublin, Ireland (July 26-29) (so you need to be registered for the conference): Inspiring Users to Engage with News Content in Education and Research. The deadline is 18 April 2022. "This session aims to provide insights into different projects dealing with news media and to encourage exchange on how individuals or institutions can use news content in the context of education and research. ... Proposals should address the main theme and related topics, including but not limited to: Researchers’ use of news content in all formats, including analog, digitized, and born digital; How community users and the public can engage with newspapers and other news media; Researchers’ needs in developing library services related to news research; Case studies of digital humanities projects using news media, including digitized historical newspapers, sound, audiovisual, and social media; Case studies that provide example lesson plans for incorporating news research into instruction at all levels; Cooperation with educational organisations in producing news content for education; Impact of news content in education and research. Proposal abstracts should be submitted at More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: snow on blossom, March 2022