Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Theorising Information Literacy: Opportunities and Constraints @asist_org #asist23

An obvious session to blog from the ASIS&T conference is a panel on Theorising Information Literacy: Opportunities and Constraints. This arises from a project which has produced a book Information Literacy Through Theory. Note that in addition to the people mentioned below, Arthur Coelho Bezerra and Marco Schneider (Brazilian Institute of Information in Science, Technology, Brazil) were also mentioned in the original submission, but were not able to attend. This was a dense presentation of ideas, so there is the usual caveat that this is my immediate, liveblogged, impression of the panel.

Alison Hicks (University College London, UK) began by identifying some ways in which theory can be used. The presenters had noted that theoretical work often happens without understanding of foundations, and there was a need to reflect on theory and its relationship with application and practice. Hicks explained that it had been a 2 year project with 13 people from different parts of the world, involving 2 online workshops and an iterative processes of writing. They started by doing some conceptual mapping of the work done in information literacy, undertaking a deep literature review to identify different theoretical approaches. These approaches included critical theory, practice theory, sociotechnical and sociopolitical (and some others), and they extracted 50 papers. These were coded and they identified 5 themes: tensions between agency and enactment; legitimacy of information (what counts as information); moral imperative of information literacy (they noted that there is little challenge of the benefits of being informed); socially situated shape of information literacy; marginalisation (e.g. issues of power and privilege).

Following on from this each presenter talked about a theoretical stance that they espoused/used.
Veronica Johansson (University of Boras, Sweden) talked about the theoretical approach of Critical Design, identifying with critical literacy rather than information literacy. The originators of Critical Design had said that all design can be affirmative (problem solving) or critical (problem finding - designing in a way that highlights biases etc.). This can be applied in for example looking at the way search results are presented, or the way in which books are classified and arranged, or in looking at indigenous ways of mapping rather than conventional western mapping.
Jutta Haider (University of Boras, Sweden) talked about sociomateriality as an approach, which may use metaphors and conceptual devices; exploring the actors, the material aspects of information literacy, to explore the meaning and practices (including information literacy practices) arising from interaction and co-constitution.
Ola Pilerot (University of Boras, Sweden) talked about the theoretical stance of institutional ethnography. This sees information literacy as an institution (a phenomenon that has become an institution: with a common literature, values, practices, actors, sites and contexts). This approach saw the local connected to the "extra local" with "ruling relations" (with the example of the ACRL framework having a local and international impact). Texts and material objects are important in shaping practices (e.g. syllibi, texts). The researcher's job is to identify and elucidate the ruling relations, zooming into local practice and then zooming out.
Noora Hirvonen (University of Oulu, Finland) talked about mediated discourse theory, seeing information literacy in a nexus of practice. Dscourse is viewed as multimodal (manifested in objects, actions etc not just words). Action is seen as mediated by the social and cultural. The attention is focused on a nexus of action - examining a "network of linked practices" where things come together the create action.
Following this, the panel discussed whether there are tensions in how the theories fit with, or challenge, each other (and whether it matters). They noted that there was a wider range in the book, and the panellists who had been able to attend were comparatively closer. However, overall, although there might be some tensions, it was productive and important to use these different approaches. The main issue raised was that of the relationship between critical literacy or information literacy (though that could also be productive).

The 2nd part of the session involved each panelist talking about the opportunities and challenges of each of the theoretical approaches they had talked about.
Hirvonen identified that discourse theory directs attention to "the dialogical relationship between the material world and discursive constructs", with social action at its centre. This "may help acknowledge the multimodaility of information and IL practices" including looking at the relationship between understandings of IL experienced by individuals and seeing it in a social context noticing "how IL can both enable and constrain actions".
Haider identified that an issue was - deciding what to investigate when meaning only emerged through interaction - and this involved "embracing definitional ambiguity". Part of it involved investigating "moments of stability". Also it can be used as a sensitising concept in approaching research. Haider mentioned being responsive to the messiness of the world, also with a having a social justice approach. As part of this she talked about resisting fetishisation of technology, not being intimidated by corporate information infrastructure [I think including search engines etc.], also considering the way in which these structures and infrastructures make it difficult to refuse them - so you could adopt a punk (authority resisting) approach.
Johansson reiterated that she relates critical design to critical literacy. Critical design involves reflecting on something desgned, in our daily lives, stimulating thoughts on underlying power imbalances that are produced and reproduced in designed objects (which can include designed objects such as search engines). Johansson sees this as a postsrutucturalist approach, where materiality is important, and it explores what we mean by reality (and what realities are constructed through the power structures and values that result in the designed objects/systems). Johansson saw the rich repetoire of methods as being one of the key benefits of using this approach. For example, one may critique, speculate and present critical alternatives.
Pilerot identified institutional ethnography as providing a "dual analytical perspective where the local is seen as connected to the extra-local" which shows information literacy in its local context and also how it is connected to things outside the local. This was seen as a "bottom up" approach examining local practice and interelatedness/interaction then tracing the ruling relations. He gave an example of using Web of Science and how you could trace the ruling relations (of how material is selected for inclusion, the underlying publication power structures etc.). Pilerot also noted that it is related to other approaches such as prctice theory and sociocultural theory.
Hicks then pulled some strands together, noting that there are many ways to theorise (different frameworks used; where attention is focused; approaches to theory - pedagogical, situational or ideological), and also that there are new themes emerging (e.g. to do with discourse & power; the decentring of language; revisitingand critiquing  premises)
The presentation part finished by the panelists addressing the questions of why theorisation of information literacy matter and how the theoretical work might translate into action. Some points that arose from this concerned how you dealt with normative aspects, and how some research arose from action, so could not be divided from it. Also there was the question of what kind of phenomenon it was. This was followed by a discussion amongst the audience.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Global AI Initiatives: From Theory to Practice @asist_org #ASIST23

ai generated picture of a womans head

I'm liveblogging Global AI Initiatives: From Theory to Practice a session at the from the ASIS&T conference that I'm currently attending. These are my immediate impressions of the session.
Andrew Cox (University of Sheffield, UK) presented on AI in Libraries, starting by identifying that there are a lot of strategy documents concerning AI, so AI has to be acknowledged as a strategic priority in libraries. There are recurrent themes such as regulation, ethical application and developing human capital. He referenced a paper that identified typical strategic themes, e.g. in some countries focusing on control, in some focusing more on what the market decides, or development by the state. At the moment AI is not mentioned much in library or institutional strategies (Cox referred to a recent study of the UK and China).
However there are many applications of AI in libraries: examples are using AI to create metadata for large collections; in writing documents; and in promoting AI literacy. This raises the question of whether libraries have AI capability? You need material, human and intangible resources (the latter being things like willingness to take risk and ability to change).
National and research libraries tend to have these capabilities/resources, whereas it is more doubtful with other types of libraries. Three ways that libraries can contribute are as follows. National library projects can be beacons of responsible AI (if they undertake required steps such as deciding priorities, respecting the rights of those represented in the collections, sharing the code and training materials they produce etc.) The second way that librarians can contribute is by contributing to institutional capability (using knowledge and skills to do with organising, finding etc. data). The third area of contribution is in developing AI literacy: some frameworks are being developed, but AI literacy can be hard to define and achieve (because it can be hidden, is changing etc.)i (My thought at this is that information literacy frameworks should be a starting point!)

Jesse Dinneen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany) talked about Global AI initiatives: from theory to practice: European practice. He noted that GLAMR [Galleries, Museums, Libraries etc.] Institutions have been quick to leverage AI (digitisation, data analysis etc.) and European universities have also been quick to respond (developing guidelines for use in academia, incorporating into courses etc.). This leads to twin challenges: issues of ethics, and issues of regulation. There has not been so much GLAMR-specific research on AI risks. Wheras there are numerous guidelines etc. emerging, they mostly haven't been tested, so it isn't clear which principles, guidelines etc. are effective or feasible. Bringing together stakeholders/experts is a good start, but still hasn't addressed what works in practice.
Dinneen identified that since AI issues are about tech, information and people, LIS and GLAMR should be well positioned to help. In terms of AI regulation, there are different initiatives in different countries. There is an EU AI Act in process, derived from 7 European Commission-made ethical principles. They, for example, distinguish between different risk levels of applications. He spoke about some problems, in that those in teh industry have problems such as assuming people's literacy (e.g. to engage with user manuals and instructions), throwing AI into many products. In the EU there should be opportunities for research with the documentation that emerges from the EU Act. This could be used as a guide for those outside the EU.

Dania Bilal (University of Tennessee-Knoxville, USA) talked about iSchool leaders' vision of Information Science curricula in the age of AI. She was talking about members of the iSchools Association. She looked at the 54 North American iSchools covering AI and related content, searching for the occurance of mentions of AI (or related topics such as machine learning). 39% did not offer courses (i.e. a module or class) related to AI. 9 iSchools had AI certificates and concentration programmes. As a next step iSchool leaders will be asked about why AI was not integrated larger scale, what vision they had for the topic, and how well they are preparing future professionals.

George Hope Chidziwisano (University of Tennessee-Knoxville, USA) talked about AI initiatives in Africa. He highlighted the biases in AI systems, such as difficulty in understanding bilingual speakers. Human-centred approaches have been proposed, stressing that diverse populations must be involved in AI development. An example of bias was that ChatGPT only included Egypt as a representative of African information. Chidziwisano used an example of asking ChatGPT about Nsanje in Malawi, and pointed out the major inaccuracies in the "information" provided. He pointed out that there were means to collect data using the resources and infrastructures that were actually used in the countries (instead of only using the tools and infrastructures that are used in Western countries). Chidziwisano used an example of using audio data from chickens in Malawi to predict poultry disease in other countries, noting that it was important to collect data from different countries to develop a more generalisable model.

Finally Vandana Singh (University of Tennessee-Knoxville, USA) talked about AI in the technology industry. She started with a Deloitte survey about companies engaging with AI and almost 100% were doing something. 33% of tech, media and communications companies had "active AI solutions". (I think she was referring to this report) Challenges include employees understanding of AI, and AI ethics. Singh then talked about what ethics meant in the AI industry (at a basic level this means - not doing harm to people), with challenges such as opacity of AI systems, bias, manipulation of behaviour, privacy.
These challenges are not easy to fix, for example there are differing definitions of fairness and bias. Singh talked about developments such as the group DAIR and the issues they are concerned with. She noted there are numerous companies engaging with these issues, giving some examples, and that these are evolving very rapidly, and it was important to engage with them in discussion. She also mentioned specific initiatives such as StereoSet and this article. Singh also talked about transparency of AI - and identified a role for iSchool educators in teaching about transparent AI.
Following this there were interesting discussions in groups about various aspects of AI and information science/libraries.
Image by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI. It took me a while to stop it showing me very spooky wired female heads in response the the prompt Artificial Intelligence, Information Science. In . the end I specified "in the style of Gwen John" so it lost a bit of the spookiness.

Information Research into Practice, Policy, and Action @asist_org #ASIST23

One session from the ASIS&T conference being held in London focused on participative research. It was entitled Making a Difference: Translating Information Research into Practice, Policy, and Action. The first presentation Towards a Critical Approach to Community-engaged Information Research and Shared Knowledge (by Jia Tina Du and Clara M. Chu) talked about the Community-Engaged Information Behavior (CEIB) methodological framework (Du & Chu, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2022.101189) and also presented two projects Project APRCH: Agency in the Preservation of Refugee Cultural Heritage and Cultural use of ICT4D to promote Indigenous knowledge continuity of Ngarrindjeri stories and communal practices which utilised the Ngarrindjeri ICT4D Pondi (Murray Cod) visual design framework. 
The second presentation was From Research to Strategic Planning to Collective Action: A Logic Model Using Theory of Change to Further Civic Engagement for Racial Justice in Public Libraries (Bharat Mehra, Kimberly Black, and Baheya S. Jaber): This project is using Theory of Change, in a project funded by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services (2022 - 2025). The proposal for the project is here: https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/project-proposals/LG-252354-OLS-22-Full-Proposal.pdf
The third presentation was Building a Smart City Portal for a Sustainable Future Through a Collective Impact Approach (by Kendra S. Albright, Bill Edgar, Christina Turner; presented by Chu): The overall goal of this project is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Cleveland. After finding barriers were not just gaps in device ownership, internet connection and digital/literacy, but also accessing specialist knowledge, they are developing a portal connecting people to subject matter experts. It should include e.g. a directory, applications (like Zoom) that residents can use. Methods include stakeholder interviews and user experience research.
Following the presentations we broke into groups to discuss issues around collective impact, including engagement and collaboration with stakeholders who might have different foci from each other, and the difficulties of matching desired goals for a project with funding agencies' priorities.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Global Perspectives on Inclusive Curricula @asist_org #ASIST23

My second liveblog from the ASIS&T conference is on the panel Global Perspectives on Inclusive Curricula: Places, Practices, and Pedagogy – hosted by the European and South Asia Chapters of ASIS&T with Syeda Hina Batool Shahid (University of the Punjab, Pakistan), Julia Bullard (University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada), Jennifer Campbell-Meier (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Andrea Jimenez and as chair Sophie Rutter (both from my institution, University of Sheffield, UK). I will make the usual caveat that this is my immediate and imperfect impression of what was said.

Bullard started by introducing the Canadian context, and began by acknowledging the traditional holders of the land at her home university. She talked about issues that make inclusive pedagogy critical and challenging, including: the image that Canada projects vs. the reality; the minoritized students' relationships to libraries and archives (they may have felt that the library was a place that made them safe and seen, so being made aware of the problems e.g. with classification schemes can be challenging); the third was relationship between tech courses and diversity & inclusion (realising that tech is not neutral etc.). UBC has had initiatives including: survey of inclusive strategies; creation of internal resources; workshops to support people in changing the curriculum.
Batool talked about the Pakistan context. Firstly she talked about how multicultural the South Asian environment is (e.g. more than 1000 languages). Batool mentioned the work of internationa agencies like the World Bank, USAID and UNESCO though "they were there til the findings were there" i.e. there was a lack of long term impact. She highlighted the ENGAGE project which worked with children in schools. Batool identified that in Pakistan there were well-written policy documents - but these were not translated into actual actions. She also felt that at the basic level there was a lack of sensitivity, for example if you examine textbooks. In rural areas, as another example, there is lack of attention to education for girls (there is no minimum school leaving age). A major problem is lack of infrastructure and inclusive services. From that point of view, there is a need to attend these bigger issues before focusing on an inclusive curriculum.
Campbell-Meier talked about the Aotearoa New Zealand context. She talked about how she needed to place herself within the context, with a Maori introduction of herself, and she started with that for this talk. She talked the policy context in New Zealand and how at the institutional context their whole approach to learning and teaching (and the university atructure) was affected by Maori philosophies and values. In particular this affected ethics, with much more thoughtful consideration of how people will feel protected, safe and with agency in the research process. In terms of assessment, students can hand in oral assessments, and the teachers have to consider how some students will have a focus on orality rather than textual knowledge. Campbell-Meier talked about how all the educators were on a journey, and things can change all the time, so the journey continues.
Fourie talked about the South African context. She identified that different institutions have different approaches, and she focused on the University of Pretoria. The history of Apartheid cannot be ignored. South Africa also has 11 official languages, and many students from other African countries do not speak South African venacuar languages, and may also not want to engage in English. There are also many South Asian students. Thus there are many cultural, language and traditional differences, as well as different religions, backgrounds and physical disabilities as well as learning problems. Additionally many terms are used around this issue. At the University of Pretoria they have a Curriculum Transformation Committee, and have events and inititiatives, but there are still a lot of problems. She gave the example of entering a room where people were speaking in Afrikaans - you might feel excluded if they continued speaking in that language, but also if they switched to English for your benefit. She said they had a module on Indigenous Knowledge, and also that there were attempts to create discussion spaces (third spaces) for students and academics. She mentioned this publication https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-02327-9.
Jimenez talked about the UK context, mentioning one strand around inclusivity of people with disabilities, and the second strand around decolonisation of the curriculum and the role of universities. Although some commentators saw the latter as involving more than inclusion, these issues are often included in Diversity Equality & Inclusion initiatives in UK universities. Jimenez referred to the policies and practice as regards Inclusion at the University of Sheffield. Sheffield positions itself as celebrating inclusion, but if the you look at the statistics for the UK as a whole, it does not look good e.g. in terms of the percentage of black female professors. One further problem is that some of the action plans for different aspects of inclusion can be in conflict when you put them together. Jimenez talked about a project in the Information School, which started with an annotated bibliography, then there were interviews with staff and students, then they held a coproduction workshop with staff and students. Jimenez also highlighted that students are a diverse group, so they are aiming not to stereotype. They are still working on outcomes from the project.
Questions at the end of the session included - what are the desired outcomes of inclusivity? how can you tell when you are successfully inclusive? There were more comments about language and the difficulty when not everyone speaks the national official language, or when students from outside the home country feel exluded if a local language is spoken. A question of whether the issue was dominated by Western agendas was also raised. Altogether there were a lot of rich and important issues raised.

Multispecies Information Science @asist_org #ASIST23

When I can find somewhere to plug in my laptop, I will be doing a little liveblogging from the ASIS&T Annual meeting. Today I'm attending a panel on Multispecies Information Science with Niloofar Solhjoo (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Steve Fuller (University of Warwick, UK), Jenna Hartel (University of Toronto, Canada), Christopher Lueg (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA), Dirk van der Linden (Northumbria University, UK). This is just my immediate impression of what these scholars said.
Firstly Niloofar Solhjoo identified how people and animals are living in a "more than human world" (so should be focused more holistically, rather thanon humans' needs). She urged "Let's stop viewing the information worlds as one that sees humans as separate from (or better than) other life forms". She identified Marcia Bates as innovative in starting to include animals and non-sentient objects in her categorisation of information. She also talked about scholars who have talked about an evolutionary approach, embodiment and post-humanism, faculitating an animal turn in information research.
Solhjoo talked about how her own passion and enthusiasm for her companion animals had led to her research focus. In any situation, there is the human and the animal, and also the environment in which they live and move, and there are many aspects to investigate.
How can you you do multispecies information research? This can be through objective approaches (e.g. sensors, tracking devices) and subjective approaches (visual methods, sensory methods, art-based methods). Solhjoo mapped her own research path, which included observation of the animals and humans (through walking and day-in-the-life interviews), digital photo-diary, interviews with photo elicitation, photo exhibition and phenomenological writing. Solhjoo talked of the "red thread of information" which connected the experience of the animals and their humans. She identified Love, Living in co-existence and Learning as the key themes. Here research is published e.g. here, here and here. She say this as part of a wider movement to be kinder and more inclusive in our focus on different communities and species.

Following this Christopher Lueg talked about embodiment. He referenced is paper which is here. He noted "what a specific view of the world we humans have" - both individually and as a species. He asserted that "we can learn a lot about human perception from nonhuman animals", helping us to consider aspects of the world that we normally ignore or do not perceive. Lueg talked about the movement to de-centre human-centred design, and build in experience of selected animal views in our design process.
Then Dirk van der Linden talked about his journey from a software engineer, whose first experience of design for non human species was in designing a drone for dog walking. At that point he realised the difficulty of designing for animals (the dog kept trying to jump and catch the drone, they hedn't thought about dog behaviour). He realised that a tech solution to animal-human relations was not really the best thing since it focused on "solutions" that didn't actually solve underlying problems (but rather producing "cute tech"). Also he realised there was a need to think more carefully about what animal welfare meant (resulting in questioning things like domestication of animals).
Steve Fuller raised some further issues such as - what comprises "consent" in animals. He stressed too the need to think about domesticated animals (which may only exist because of humans) and undomesticated animals. It's important to consider - where does the data from animals come from - are you representing the animal properly? For information scientists this should include issues of documentation - how can you document an animal's consent to research, including experimentation. Unless you know how the species thinks, you don't know if they consent. Thus, Fuller thought that if we want to engage more with animals and research their information world, we have to consider these issues much more deeply, otherwise we are likely to be misrepresenting them.
Finally Jenna Hartel talked about her information videos and how they embrace a multispecies approach, including animal and insect guides within her videos, featuring the animals used as metaphors by scholars, and as a key way of telling stories e.g. in her plagiarism video (Hartel's videos are here).
There were also following question session there were questions about how this related to inclusion of the different human communities' voices, issues of what information & information use mean, and prejudice against specific animal species.
Photo by Sheila Webber, Tassie (my virtual Siamese Kittycat) observes me from under the tea trolley in Second Life.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Call for proposals WILU#2024

There is a call for proposals for the 2024 Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU), to be held in Richmond (Metro Vancouver), BC, Canada, 15-17 May 2024. Proposal deadline is 4 December 2023. The Conference Theme is Embracing Change
"We invite proposals that consider what it means to embrace change in an evolving and ever-shifting landscape. How can we actively build the future, enrich the present, and embrace change to build upon the tried and true or experiment with new approaches within library instruction? We welcome proposals from a wide range of topics, which may include: Artificial Intelligence; academic integrity; indigenous knowledge; indigenous academic integrity; universal design in instruction (UDI); equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility; teaching outside the box; collaborations; library ambassadors; compassionate community, and any other areas that may be of interest to you and your peers!"
You can propose presentations, workshops and panel discussions.
More information at https://wordpress.kpu.ca/wilu2024/proposals/

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Scholarly Communication Toolkit

Image by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI with prompt scholarly communication, academics, journals, in the style of David Hockney, colourful, --ar 16:9 It is colourful

I recently rediscovered the Scholarly Communication Toolkit produced by ACRL.
"The toolkit is an educational resource primarily directed to librarians to assist them with: integrating a scholarly communication perspective into library operations and programs and preparing presentations on scholarly communication issues for administrators, faculty, staff, students, or other librarians."
The last big update was in 2016, but they continue to update this resource.
It's at https://acrl.libguides.com/scholcomm/toolkit/home
Image by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI, with prompt scholarly communication, academics, journals, in the style of David Hockney, colourful, --ar 16:9
It is colourful

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

New articles: AI; Copyright literacy; Ubuntu; book club and information seeking

Photo by Sheila Webber - Maria church in Krakow October 2023
The latest issue of the IFLA Journal (vol 49, issue 3, 2023) includes the following
- A study on the knowledge and perception of artificial intelligence by A Subaveerapandiyan, C Sunanthini and Mohammad Amees
- Copyright literacy of library and information science professionals in Pakistan by Ghalib Khan and Muhammad Basir
- South African academic libraries as contributors to social justice and ubuntu through community engagement by Siviwe Bangani and Luyanda Dube
- The University of the Free State Neville Alexander Library book club and information-seeking behaviour by Dina Mokgadi Mashiyane, Tebogo Agnes Makhurpetsi and Thuto Kgosiemang
- Framework for communicating library training at a South African university by Mahlaga J Molepo and Sihle Blose (this includes information literacy training)
The whole issue (pdf) is available open access at https://repository.ifla.org/handle/123456789/2979
Photo by Sheila Webber: Maria church in Krakow, October 2023

Friday, October 20, 2023

Articles: AI and information literacy

These are some of the papers presented at the 2023 IFLA conference (open access full text)
- Gardijan, Nikica. (2023) Let’s think together: Finding the best way to incorporate ChatGPT in the information literacy courses curricula. Paper presented at 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam.
"Due to the fact that ChatGPT tool had an immediate impact on all spheres of life, there is a need to discuss its advantages and disadvantages for information literacy (IL) education point of view. This study aims to examine viewpoints of Croatian academic librarians, research assistants and university professors on ChatGPT and its possible utilization in teaching IL. In order to achieve stated aim, authors have conducted a qualitative study using an In-Depth interview method. Respondents were selected form a purposive sample of academic librarians, teaching assistants and university professors form the University of Zadar, University of Zagreb and University of Osijek and responses were analyzed by conducting qualitative content analysis. Results have shown that the majority of the respondents is, for time being, inclined to incorporate ChatGPT into IL courses curricula. Findings of this study can be practically applied by librarians when creating new, enhanced IL courses curricula. Also, these findings should be presented to the university administrations and interpreted as an indicator of the necessary change that is needed regarding the position of librarians in the teaching process and acknowledgment of their work. " https://repository.ifla.org/handle/123456789/2789

- Wang, Chao and Tong, Xinyu. (2023). Study on the Scenario-based Application of ChatGPT and Its Risk Avoidance Strategies from the Perspective of Information Literacy. Paper presented at 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam.
"With the continuous development and popularization of artificial intelligence technology, ChatGPT has become a highly regarded large language model since its launch. In the ChatGPT boom, information literacy is crucial to how to correctly understand and use ChatGPT. This article first introduces the language generation logic and defects of ChatGPT, and designs a scenario application example of ChatGPT in combination with the three scenarios of information literacy: life, study, and work. Through screening and analyzing the responses of ChatGPT output, it discusses the potential risks in its application process, and finally puts forward the main strategies to avoid and resolve the risks of ChatGPT from the perspective of information literacy, in order to help users better cope with the opportunities and challenges under the impact of AI technology. "
https://repository.ifla.org/handle/123456789/2802 (paper and presentation) 

- Scott-Branch, Jamillah, Laws, Robert and Terzi, Paschalia(2023) The Intersection of AI, Information and Digital Literacy: Harnessing ChatGPT and Other Generative Tools to Enhance Teaching and Learning. Paper presented at 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam.
"This paper highlights the importance of AI literacy in higher education and the role of librarians in fostering research skills development with AI literacy as part of information literacy. Faculty and students must understand the benefits and drawbacks of AI tools to use them responsibly and effectively. Librarians, as digital and information literacy experts, can significantly contribute to this evolving field. The authors provide recommendations for integrating AI literacy into existing curriculums, emphasizing the need to create lesson plans that encourage the critical and ethical use of AI tools, enabling students to produce new knowledge while developing their digital skills. "

Photo by Sheila Webber: pre ChatGPT knowledge exchange, Krakow, October 2023 (Otto Nikodym & Stefan Banach Memorial Bench)

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Call for papers: Play and playfulness in Library Instruction

image created with Midjourney AI of a surreal library with figures sky and trees

There is a call for proposals for the California Conference on Library Instruction, taking place on 31 May 2023 in San Francisco, USA. Deadline for proposals is 20 November 2023. The theme is Play & Playfulness in Library Instruction.
"In the environment of academic libraries, where there is pressure to be more standardized and efficient, we look for ways to engage and center students while being inclusive and equitable. How can we prepare students to think critically with information literacy instruction? Embracing play and playfulness in instruction is one strategy for building capacity in order to grapple with weighty topics. The act of play can make it possible to gain distance from reality in order to think past the constraints of life, and instead adapt to a task with curiosity and fresh perspective. Incorporating play simply for the sake of engagement is also worthwhile. CCLI seeks proposals about how librarians have utilized play in their instruction to solve information literacy challenges. Examples of the incorporation of play and playfulness into instruction could include games or gamification, creative prompts or scenarios, improv or theater, art or rapid drawing, storyboarding, zines, storytelling, and other multimodal approaches to motivate and create learning with students."
More information at https://www.cclibinstruction.org/proposals-2024/
Image by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI, prompt: library instruction, playfulness, adults, libraries, light colours

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Online workshops: Critical Literacy

Photo by Sheila Webber of possibly not critically literate soft toys Krakow October 2023
- Teaching Critical Literacy: 8 November 2023; 15.30-16.30 UK time, Cost £15. Run by Sarah McNicol
"Adopting a critical literacy approach to information skills can be challenging. Whilst many information literacy frameworks emphasise the need for students to evaluate the quality, relevance, accuracy, currency, credibility etc. of information sources, critical literacy is about much more than this. This introductory session will explain the basics of critical literacy and suggest some ways that librarians (and other staff) in schools, colleges and universities might go about teaching critical literacy skills to students." 

 - Critical Literacy & Academic Texts: 15 November 2023; 15.30-16.30 UK time, Cost £15
"This session will focus on ways to use critical literacy approaches specifically to interrogate academic resources, such as peer reviewed articles. It will suggest ways that librarians (and other staff) in colleges, universities and 6th forms might go about teaching critical literacy skills to students. The session will include discussion of issues such as the relationship between critical literacy and various research paradigms; publishing practices; author positionality; author motivations; and funder considerations. (Note: This session will assume participants already have a basic understanding of critical literacy)."
Book at https://library-training-events.square.site/s/shop
Photo by Sheila Webber: possibly not critically literate soft toys, Krakow, October 2023

Saturday, October 14, 2023

New article: saying 'no'

Image created by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI prompt is a librarian saying no 1940s style librarian holding a lead pipe

White, A. (2023, October 11). Let 'no' be 'no': when librarians say 'no' to instruction opportunities. In the Library with the Lead Pipe. https://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2023/let-no-be-no/
Abstract: "There has been more literature about academic librarians saying ‘no’ in the last decade than in previous time periods. However, much of the existing work discusses how academic librarians might say ‘no’ to optional activities, such as serving on an extra committee or taking on an additional research project. As budgets and staffing levels decrease but expectations and responsibilities increase, academic librarians may find themselves in the position of needing to say ‘no’ even to regular duties: this paper presents a review of the literature on when, why, and how librarians say ‘no’, drawing from work on vocational awe, service orientation and deference behavior, and criticism of the one-shot model. Additionally, the article will present findings from a survey describing the experiences of approximately 285 American and Canadian academic librarians with instruction responsibilities who have had to, imagine needing to, or never plan to say ‘no’ to instruction opportunities. The results examine whether personal and professional demographics, burnout, pedagogical concerns, and other factors impact if an instruction librarian is likely to ‘just say no.’"
Image created by Sheila Webber using Midjourney AI: prompt is: a librarian saying "no", 1940s style, librarian holding a lead pipe

Friday, October 13, 2023

#ECIL2023 Building knowledge across the curriculum

Photo by Sheila Webber cafe window in Krakow

Pam McKinney live blogging from the ECIL conference. This is a panel session led by Emily Zeken Brown and Susan Souza-Mort, with the directive energy of Laura Hogan who could not be here today. They started off by asking the audience about the flavour of their information literacy training, and how it is delivered e.g. as a one shot session, or a multi-session format, or as a credit bearing course. There is a lack of time for librarians to deliver comprehensive information literacy education for community college students. The presenters work at Bristol Community College in Massachusetts in the US. Students are often 1st generation, non-traditional and working full time, and 68% graduate without debt. A recent law has made it possible for any 1 year resident without a degree can go to community college for free, which has massively improved access to education in the state. Many learners need a lot of support with digital and information literacy, the college is open for everyone, including students who really struggle with formal learning. This affects the library IL offer, as it has to be tailored for a large range of abilities. 

There is a first year seminar course in study skills a college success seminar, and this seemed like an ideal place to develop information literacy. The class can be attached to any research heavy course, and the library team offered to tailor it to different subject contexts. The focus was on scaffolding the research process, and also promoting  academic writing support. Research help, writing help and academic support is provided in the library. Many students think these services have to be paid for, but in fact they are free. The ACRL framework was used as a guiding principle for the course. There was a lengthy administrative process to go through to create this as a credit bearing course in the college, which involved getting feedback from a variety of teachers and administrators in the institution. The way that courses are designed at community colleges in the US seems quite different from the way that courses are designed at British universities!

There was a remuneration issue in that if librarians are going to lead a credit bearing course they should be paid as adjunct teaching staff, and these librarians requested this increase in pay for this course. In order to be a librarian in the US, you are required to have a masters qualification in library and information science. This course was positioned as not needing students to buy text books, so all the resources were open educational resources. The course will hopefully  run for the first time in spring 2024, but there seem to be some issues with the placing of the course, and proposed changes to how it is positioned in the context of other courses at the college. The abstract of the panel is here.

Photo by Sheila Webber: cafe window in Krakow

#ECIL2023 Data Literacy for Master Level in University of Helsinki

Pam McKinney blogging from day 3 of the ECIL conference. Tuija Korhonen spoke about data literacy in higher education, which is very important as students do independent research, so need to understand data management and citation practices. These are also skills for the workplace. Helsinki university is large, with 11 faculties across 4 campuses. There is a research data support network featuring specialists from the library, IT, research affairs and legal affairs.
Various tools and services are offered, e.g. a data management planning tool and workshops. The library data management team teach research data management for doctoral students and researchers, but following the implementation of GDPR in 2018 they needed to provide this training for students at all levels. This presented an issue of scalability, who was going to teach data management to all these students?
The solutions were to provide self study material, and a personal data test, a teaching pilot with faculty. Self study material was created using lib guides in 3 languages - Finnish, Swedish and English and covered topics such as where data should be stored. The teaching pilot with faculty took place in the context of a masters course, and focused on open science principles and practices. There has been very positive feedback from students and staff regarding the teaching pilot. And other universities have asked to adopt the personal data test quiz.
The abstract for this talk is on this page (scroll down)

Social Media and Information Literacy: Reaching Students Where They are #ECIL2023

photo of food in a supermarket

Pam McKinney live blogging from the first afternoon session of the 3rd day of the ECIL conference in Krakow, Poland. Jennifer Jacobs from Texas Tech university is an information literacy teaching librarian, and one of her courses looks at social media and information literacy.
People make split second decisions about information they find on social media and decide whether and how they are going to use it. Social media has fundamentally changed how we interact with information, and it’s important to reflect on how we share information we find on social media, as much Mis and dis information is found on social media.
The mid-term assignment for students is to go on their social media and find a video that has information in it. They have to decide if that information is truthful, and what value it has for them. The focus is to capture how students interact with social media, before trying to teach them about evaluation skills.
Some students showed good evaluation skills and had videos that were truthful. Some posters had expertise in the subjects they were sharing videos about, and students recognised this. Several students chose very emotional videos e.g. about the use of animal testing in cosmetics, because this video was shared by PETA, an animal rights pressure group, it was probably biased.
Students usually accepted information on social media without checking the source. Truth can be blurred by high emotion videos. Without fore-knowledge, students struggled to articulate how they judged the truthfulness of information. Students had to present their videos to the class and talk about the,, which students liked as an activity. The activity could be adapted to many contexts, and can inform the development of learning materials about information evaluation.
The abstract for this talk is on this page
Photo by Pam McKinney

#ECIL2023 New clicks: developing user led digital literacies in older adults in Scottish public libraries

Pam McKinney blogging from the second presentation in the doctoral forum at ECIL. Andrew Feeney from Edinburgh Napier university presented a summary of the beginning stages of his PhD research. He intends to use participatory methods with a peer supported approach to understand his topic.
There is a huge range of literature on participatory methods, older adults and public libraries. Older adults are disproportionately and tangibly affected by gaps in digital literacy development. Digital by default negatively affects older adults e.g. public policy often focuses on developments for younger people in schools or the workplace. There are no equivalent policies for older adults. Public Libraries are ideally placed as sites for development as trusted locations.
Participatory methods are useful for meeting older learners on their own terms, and peer supported approaches are under explored in this context. There is a need to address intersectional approaches to information literacy development, and sustainable change needs direct engagement, and the public library is a good place for this to happen. Andrew’s research questions focus on how older adults determine their own digital literacy needs, and how they might address these without formal intervention. How could participatory and peer supported methods address these needs? Andrew is hoping to work with a group of around 40 adults that he already engages with in his professional practice.
He hopes to examine the CILIP definition of information literacy through the research, which prioritises empowerment and engagement. One of the impact areas outlines by CILIP is information literacy in everyday life, and this is key to the research. Participatory research involves the research hers giving up power, and become a participant themselves. Recent studies have shown that targeted engagement work best with older adults. These methods can reach out to older adults that may not have engaged with traditional learning.
Ageing is a non uniform process, and this means that methods should have a range of outputs. The ladder of participation presents a range of ways that participatory research can be conceived, and Andrew is aiming for the top of the ladder which gives more power to participants. An initial establish cohort of participants will help Andrew design the research, and a pilot series of workshops with this cohort will trial and develop new approaches.
Some early conclusions are that current policies do not address the varied and compound digital literacy development needs of older adults. User-led methods proposed can address this, and can develop scalable solutions. Public libraries are already active in this space, but lack a holistic vision that is supported by government policy.
The abstract for this talk is on this page

#ECIL2023. Approaches to exploring the information worlds of women engineering students

Pam McKinney here live blogging the 3rd day of the ECIL conference [posted later due to wifi issues], this session is the doctoral forum, and Laura Woods, who is studying for a PhD with Sheila Webber and me, is presenting the beginning stages of her PhD research into the information words of women engineering students.
Laura began by stating that she is early in her PhD journey and will present today by exploring the theoretical approaches underpinning her research. The aim of Laura’s PhD is to explore the information experiences within the lifeworlds of female engineering students, taking a phenomenological approach in an interview based study. Women’s ways of knowing (WWK) is a model developed by educational psychologists to understand women’s experiences of learning in higher education. It is an extension of an earlier scheme of intellectual development of college students in the 1950s, that was probably developed from participants of quite a narrow sociological background. The women’s perspective in this research may have been quite limited. The WWK study recruited participants from a broad range of backgrounds, and outlined 5 ways of knowing.
The first way is “silence”, and these women did not see themselves as capable of creating knowledge. The second way, “received” where knowledge is a passive process, received from experts in the discipline. They see knowledge in a binary right or wrong way. The 3rd way is “subjective knowledge “ where education is seen as an artificial process, it is personal, private and intuitive. The 4th way is “procedural” where women learn new strategies for knowing. The 5th stage is “constructed” where knowledge is seen as constructed and contextual, where many different strategies are adopted. This model is not intended to be seen as a linear model, and people can more fluidly between stages.
Critiques of the model have focused on the perceived hierarchy of the model, and reflects the masculine bias in epistemological models. The next criticism focuses on gender essentialism, and assumes a common experience to all women. However other research has shown that these are not exclusive to women. The final criticism is that it ignores considerations of race, and centres whiteness. This is fairly common for feminist research at the time.
WWK has been used in LIS research, and has potential considering the role of women. Laura has found around 20 pieces of research, but often it is only mentioned in passing. 4 articles have adopted the model in a more significant way: for example, Anna Fields compared the WWK with the ACRL competency standards for information literacy. In 2003 Annemaree Lloyd described information literacy as a “way of knowing”. In 2007 Hope Olsen uses connected knowing to propose a connected knowledge organisation scheme.
Intersectional feminism is another model that Laura is drawing on. This model proposes that people experience marginalisation across a range of protected characteristics, and recognises the varying life experiences of women. This model has also been used in LIS, but is under-used as an approach. Research into women’s information behaviour has focused on the differences between men and women, there is a limited literature that takes an intersectional approach.Laura hopes to use these approaches in her research.
Laura hopes to use WWK as a sensitising concept in the analysis phase, to investigate the role of affect e.g. the role of uncertainty in information the search process. The role of authority and expertise, e.g. how a subjective knower understands authority. Laura intends to combine WWK with a intersectional approach and not take a binary view of gender, and to take a purposive sampling approach to recruit participants with a variety of characteristics.
There was a lively discussion of Laura’s plans for her PhD research, and lots of interest in the approaches outlined bin the presentation. Sheila and I are excited to see the research unfold. The abstract for this talk is on this page.

Media Literacy Interactively and for All #ECIL2023

photo of danish pastries

Pam McKinney blogging from day 3 of the ECIL conference. [Due to wifi issues at the conference we will post some liveblogs retrospectively!] Kristy Paulova from Czech university of Life Sciences Led this presentation.Some people still believe that the moon landings are fake, and that there are aliens living on the dark side of the moon. But the people in the audience did not believe these conspiracy theories.
We live in a world of fake news, and we will all know people who believe it. 10% of the Czech population regularly consume conspiracy web sites, and 10% support the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chain emails are used to spread misinformation. Czech libraries have a range of media literacy training opportunities, and the university of life sciences is ready to help develop them further.
The main target groups are seniors and high school students. The courses should be completely free, easy to use and partially in English. MOOCs were created, as well as resources for teachers and librarians. 6 video-based courses for seniors were created, focusing on the history of mass media, critical thinking, manipulation in the media, and fake news. People would watch the video and then answer questions on it. It was hard to create the videos, it isn’t everyone’s preferred activity.
The course for high school students focused on traditional and new media, and critical media on the future books system that held the videos and interactive exercises. They also created an escape game, on the theme of “AI tries to take over the world”. They used an AI to generate fake images and videos and students were asked to spot the fakes. They have had some positive feedback already from students. The abstract for this talk is on this page (scroll down)
Photo by Pam McKinney

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Design Thinking; Citation styles #ECIL2023

photo of pigeons

As my final session at ECIL I attended and liveblog Information Literacy in the Design Thinking process – A Preliminary Research was presented by Dorota Rak (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland). She identified that design thinking can be seen as a mindset, a methodology or a problem solving philosophy. Rak say that it was “a manifestation of collective intelligence” where students are designers and also use innovative designs. There are three aspects – the institutional area, the operational area (e.g. with tools supporting the design thinking process) and the didactic area. Rak said that librarians had recognised the value of integrating DT, that DT can be a driver of information behaviour, and also that DT can be used to develop practice and learning. Rak identified that IL was “a vauable competency for nuturing social capital”. 
The research problems that Rak addressed were – what information competencies do students need for DT; what tools do they need; what skills do they need. Data was collected through a questionnaire administered to university students and also examination of the literature. The majority of the respondents had a good understanding of both “Information Literacy” and “Design Thinking”. The majority also were able to define their information needs across the DT process. However, some stages were seen as more difficult and in more need of support.
The students were asked how useful they found obtained information across the stages of the Design Thinking process. There were differencies across the stages and also between students on the 2 different programmes surveyed. There were also differences in terms of organising information, and use of different tools. Conclusions included designing a curriculum that effectively integrated information management principles with the dynamic iterative nature of DT. 

The second presentation was “Who Cares?” Defining Citation Style in Scholarly Journals from Pavla Vizváry (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) and Vincas Grigas (Vilnius University, Lithuania). Grigas started by identifying that there are more citation styles (10 thousand) than species of birds! The identified problem is that there are all these styles, you have to follow a style strictly in published journals, people are not expert in all styles, so so authors make mistakes. This is a problem as it’s a burden to authors, but inconsistency makes it more difficult to find articles etc. Their aim was to identify citation styles required by journals in SCOPUS. They had questions such as how cleraly the journals express their requirement. They analysed 270 journals, looking also for types of mistake in citation. They were aiming to understand how different stakeholders (e.g. authors, publishers) are affected. Also they used cognitive load theory – worries about formatting can divert energy from the main task of writing.
Vizváry took over to return to the question of “Who cares”? The answer included publishers, editors, librarians, authors and teachers. Introducing SCOPUS, they looked at Lithuanian and Czech journals and also sampled journals published in other countries, comparing their statistics (such as H index). From this statistical point of view the Czech and Lithuanian journals were similar to each other, but had a slightly different profile to the international sample. Vizváry also noted that there were more English-only journals published in Lithuania and Czech Republic than national language ones, and there were differences in the patterns of open publishing. Moving on to differences in form of intext references (numbers or author names) there were significant differences by subject, and this was more important than differences from country to country.
The most common journal reference style is, sadly, “unnamed” i.e. they just give examples, next was APA. They noted that the ISO format was strong in the Czech Republic, but not elsewhere. In social sciences APA was named a lot, but “unnamed” was the most common in some subjects. 84.4% of journals give example references (others tend to link to the style’s website). They also noted that not all journals include DOIs in their reference styles. There was a question afterwards about whether the “unnamed” styles were actually specific styles, and the authors said that they’d tried some unnamed styles in ChatGPT and it had said in each case that it was like style X, but with these differences. They were thinking of doing more of this ChatGPT-aided diagnosis.

Photo by Sheila Webber: sleepy pigeons in Krakow

#ECIL2023 Library instruction for mis/disinformation: French and US perspectives

Pam McKinney live blogging (with an unusually stable internet connection!) from the final day of the ECIL conference. Jouma Boustany has had to step in at the last minute to give this presentation, but it was very accomplished nonetheless! There is a rise in mis/disinformation globally, and it isn’t only limited to social media or political arenas. There is a lack of research h on how mis/disinformation is addressed in the classroom. Misinformation is inaccurate information by accident, and disinformation is inaccurate information shared on purpose. News literacy refers to critical skills to analysing, and judging the reliability of news and information, differentiating between facts, opinions and assertions. The media landscape is often controlled by rich men, and it can be tricky to understand the biases that might be inherent in any one media outlet. The research questions focused on understanding librarians perceptions of misinformation. A survey was distributed, to find out how misinformation is taught by librarians, and sent out to librarian list serves. 189 US librarians responded, and 125 French librarians responded. The vast majority of respondents had higher level qualifications, and worked in the university sector, although there was a big range of the type of institutions represented in the sample. 

French and US librarians had quite similar views, all of them are concerned about mis and disinformation in news media, and the threat of this to democracy. Most think that human fact checkers are important to combat mis and disinformation. 75% considered that it was part of their role to teach about this, and there were some differences between librarian roles between the two countries that could be the reason for some of the discrepancy between answers.

Librarians in both countries are concerned about the spread of mis and disinformation on social media, and they think this should be regulated. There was a lot of agreement that it is the librarian role to teach news literacy to combat mis and disinformation. There was a lot of scepticism about the role that AI could play in improving algorithms to combat mis and disinformation. 68% of French librarians already teach about mis and disinformation, and 79% of US librarians. Some librarians are constrained by a lack of faculty support and a lack of time.

#ECIL2023 Social Project of Media And Information Literacy Knowledge Improvement among Academic and School Librarians in Kazakhstan

Pam McKinney here live blogging from the final day of the ECIL conference. This presentation from Yelizaveta Kamilobva and Zhuldyz Orazymbetova from Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan  is a country in Central Asia, and it is the 9th largest by area in the world. Astana is the capital city and is home to 19 million people.

There is a lack of state level standards for information literacy, and a deficit of materials in the Kazakh language. Materials that do exist, but they are often irrelevant to local user needs. These problems led to the creation of this social project “educated generation” to educate school children who will be the university students of the future. There was a small budget, but they tried to use it all wisely to support participating librarians. The aim of the project was to develop Media and information literacy skills in school librarians in Kazakhstan. A project  team of 7 librarians, 2 experts and 3 partners was formed in October 2021, and the project began, it was completed in November 2022. The pandemic made it apparent that many children lacked digital literacy, and this was an important problem to solve for the project. 417 librarians registered for the programme, and in the end 365 librarians and 2500 children were trained, some librarians had issues connecting online for the workshops. 24 online and face-to-face workshops took place (majority online). The training materials and media and information literacy manual (180 pages) were provided online in Kazakh and Russian, to make them accessible to everyone. 

In order to create the training materials they did a preliminary survey of librarians to understand their knowledge needs. They asked how confident librarians were with various aspects of media and information literacy, for example could they create graphics, how confident they feel in information search. The respondents said they are confident, but their responses revealed that their confidence was maybe misplaced. Based on these results a MIL training programme was created. Module 1 featured an introduction to MIL, module 2 featured specific competencies e.g. searching for information, evaluating information and the ethical use of information. Module 3 focused on the development and usage of media and information content, including creating interactive quizzes and tools, creating presentation and online graphics, and using Microsoft office and Google services. As part of the “homework” participants had to create their own MIL training event.

The MIL manual was based on the training programme, and it contained really practical guidance on how to create MIL training for children. School librarians then ran training sessions in collaboration with the project team, and were supported to develop engaging training materials. A post training evaluation survey was used to identify the 10 best librarians, who were then invited to the university for enhanced training, and their travel and stay was paid for out of the project funds. Another function of the project was to tray to break some of the typical stereotypes of librarians by encouraging them to create modern dynamic video content. 

Academic librarians are not treated as faculty members, but they are trying to change this perception and be recognised as expert teachers. The project team won a university teaching award this year for their work on this project. 

The Experience of Information and the Formation of Information Culture #ECIL2023

Photo by Sheila Webber of portraits in one of the rooms on the first day

The final keynote at the ECIL conference in Krakow is Interdisciplinary and Methodological Aspects of Diagnosing the Experience of Information and the Formation of Information Culture from Monika Krakowska and Sabina Cisek (at the host institution: Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland). This was a rich presentation and I had lots of thoughts about it, but I will will just note here the main points of their presentations.
They had done a search (not a systematic review) to start to scope the area of information experience (on Web of Science, LISTA and Google Scholar, also chaining from relevant items). In introducing theoretical aspects of information experience Monika used the famous Leonardo drawing of a man, which is idealised, whereas one’s behaviour and experience is not idealised. She started with John Dewey’s theory of experience who said that “experience is the basis of everything in life”, and she connected it with Wilson’s concept of information behaviour as he “treats information behaviour itself as the real life of human beings, who cannot survive without information” – including consciousness and knowledge building.
Monika included also personal construct theory (quoting Smith & McMenemy), phenomenology, social constructivism, Chatman’s theories, Threshold concepts. She also quoted (I think) from the book Information Experience by Christine Bruce and colleagues, referring to people’s life-worlds, people’s interrelationship with the world and phenomena around them (arising from the phenomenographic non-dualist approach).
Of course examining the theoretical approach also encompasses reflecting on what information is. Monika highlighted:
- The social constructivist approach = experiencing through learning and observing
- “A process through social and environmental interactions, where the exchange of knowledge, information, experiences must take place in a mutually created social context”
- “A holistic (multidimentional approach)” including embodiment, observation of the environment, sensory information experience, cognitive and emotional experience, sense-making (“making sense of reality” using all ones senses and observations of the world around them)
Monika identified an anthropocentric approach to information experience, characterised by:
- person in context
- personally meaningful activities (including experience of flow)
- auto hermeneutics (or I would say, auto ethnography)
- first person perspective
- phenomenological approaches (referencing Budd asserting that the “world has no meaning beyond consciousness”)  [I wouls also add phenomenographic approaches here]
Then Monika reflected about whether information experience is a subdiscipline or an umbrella concept.
Sabina then took over to talk about methodological aspects, and identified how she defined some terms. For her a strategy was whether it is qualitative, quantitative, mixed. Methods/research approaches were what I’d call approach such as phenomenography, case study. Units of analysis were individuals, features, groups etc. There were techniques for data collection. Overall, she defined the methodology of a particular field as meaning the way in which a discipline etc studies “its” part of the world.
Sabina identified qualitative strategies as dominant in studying information experiences, with no quantitative and some mixed strategies, with use of bricolage to assemble an appropriate strategy for investigating a specific problem. Sabina listed various approaches used, from action research through to phenomenography.
In terms of units of analysis (“What do we study?”), Sabina identified:
Behavioural units (such as types of information behaviour);
“People” units;
Objects (including one piece of information, an information source);
Time units (e.g. when does an experience start).
In terms of data collection, Sabina mentioned – card sorting; documents, materials or texts (which can be e.g. tweets, fan fiction); interviews of all kinds; observation; workshops including participatory. She said she hadn’t seen visual techniques so far (but I know that they have been used).
In terms of data analysis she mentioned constructivist grounded theory, thematic analysis; phenomenological analysis (I’d add phenomenographic analysis). She felt that there were not any novel methodologies being used, from her observation and she thought that information behaviour research was not being used as much as it could be.
As I said at the start I found this a really rich, interesting talk to debate with, but I’ll just add one question that arose for further discussion – chairs and their arrangement in a room may give you information, but is examination of that information part of our field? (what do you think!)
Photo by Sheila Webber: portraits in one of the rooms on the first day

#ECIL2023 Students’ Perceptions of Using Artificial Intelligence in Written Assignments – Is Information Literacy Still Needed

Tram ticket machine photo

Pam McKinney live blogging from the ECIL conference in Krakow. Krista Lepik from Tartu university in Estonia. Krista’s opening slide featured a picture of her created by an AI programme! AI chat bots are becoming increasingly popular and available, and students use them to help create their written assignments. There are mixed feelings about the use of AI chatbots in education activities by university administrators and faculty members, and as a results Tartu university has created some guidelines on the use of AI chatbots in teaching. Students have to write a short literature review in the course “information behaviour theories and practices” that uses a minimum of 3 scholarly sources. They had to use an AI chatbot to help write the assignment, and also to write a reflection on how they had used the chatbot and whether they thought it was a useful tool. Reflections from 26 students were analysed thematically.
Students did trust the results from the chatbot, but did go through a process of verification. Initially students were optimistic about the use of the chatbot, and the process seemed smooth and the interface was easy to use. But later they became more cautious. They encountered fake references, and there was an illusion of high quality text.
The material created by the AI was often off topic, and the quality of translation into Estonian was poor. Students advised caution particularly if they were not very familiar with the topic. Relevance is subjective, and students questioned whether they would summarise the same points from the text. It takes an unexpectedly long time to verify the information generated by the AI. However they valued the opportunity to use their own language, and felt that they could discover new ideas, perspectives, and inspiration.
It is better to use a chatbot to explore topic where you have some previous knowledge. Banning AI generated content does not help, also it is difficult to identify AI generated content. It is better to work in partnership with students to explore the affordances and limitations of chatbots. These programmes are here to stay so it is important to be aware of how they work and what they do.
Photo by Pam McKinney - tram ticket machine

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Developing online research skills; Young people creating texts and literacy #ECIL2023

title page of If I go missing

Continuing liveblogging from ECIL (from Sheila) Tuulikki Alamettälä (University of Oulu, Finland) talked about Developing Online Research Skills in a Lower Secondary School: The Viewpoint of Students. She identified that onlne research skills have been described in different ways (information literacy, digital literacy) but she used “online research skills” as she was specifically focusing on searching done online. These skills can be challenging for young people to learn, and also teachers are not always confident in teaching them.
Alamettälä then outlined Kuhlthau’s model of Guided Inquiry as a process to develop information literacy, inquiry learning and social skills. The stages of Guided Inquiry are: open, immerse, explore, identify, gather, create, share and evaluate. The process has students as discoverers and co-creators of knowledge, and sharing is an important part. For this intervention, Alamettälä collaborated with language and history teachers, and they incorporated the Guided Inquiry (GI) process into the curriculum. The teachers introduced inquiry logs and emphasised the first part of the GI process. There were 3 classes, 58 students, aged 13-15. There were 3 interventions at different stages of the students' pathway through school.
Alamettälä used a quasi-experimental design (with pre and post tests), including a control group of students. Teachers were able to integrate some of the elements of Guided Inquiry and it was in accord with a learner-focused approach in Finnish education.
While the GI group did better in a post-test shortly after finishing it, a follow up a while later did not show a difference between GI group and control group. Alamettälä also reported further results not included in reporting her doctoral research previously, involving questionnaires after the 3 interventions. Some points were that there were differences in reactions to the three interventions, which could be attributed to a variety of factors such as novelty, the way the activity was introduced by the teacher, the exact nature and requirements of each intervention. The most challenging part was seen as sharing in presentations.
Looking at statistical correlations, one finding was that if the student engaged with instructions (about what to do in class) then there was a more positive feeling about learning experience. Conclusions included that the teachers were able to use GI as a source of inspiration and incorporate some of it into teaching. The model also seemed to work for the students as they were able to engage with the interventions and didn’t experience major challenges.
The last paper in a session about “New Generation education” was Fearing for Their Lives: Implications of Children and Youth as Generators of Informational Texts and Literacy from Barbara McNeil (University of Regina, Canada). The focus was If I go missing by Brianna, a 14 year old indigenous girl (Jonnie et al., 2019). McNeil referred to Lupton’s phenomenographic research which discovered three conceptions of information literacy: as backing up an argument; developing an argument; in the process of learning as a social responsibility. This is an example of the last conception.
McNeil then talked about facts and campaigns to do with missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, particularly in Canada (e.g. that they are statistically more likely to be abused and murdered). These are not new concerns, but not much has been done about the situation. The graphic novel by Brianna Jonnie and colleagues is a response to this situation, and McNeil showed us pages from the novel and highlighted particular parts of the book, for example how the images and words aim to disrupt ideas about indigenous women, and indict the police and their lack of action and insight.
McNeil showed how the novel was educating us about what the situation was, what was being done wrong by the public, police, media etc. and what should be done by the media and police. McNeil identified how the book was humanising indigenous women and girls, urging people to humanise the women and girls if they went missing (not treating them as a stereotyped statistic).
In terms of implications – this young woman had evidenced her information literacy in her production of a multimodal publication and evidenced her power. McNeil urged us to enable young people to exercise power by using information literacy and developing information literacy to take action and protest – “honestly and openly confronting” bias, injustices and misrepresentation. Thus they can be empowered in civic engagement, and also learn collaboration and other skills such as the use of storytelling and advocacy. The book by Jonnie can be used as as example and evidence of the ability to apply information literacy in this active way.

Maddie Is Online in an elementary school #ECIL2023

Maddie is online brochure

The next presentation I (Sheila Webber) am blogging at ECIL is Maddie Is Online: Embedding Creative Audio-Visual Resources to The Teaching of Information Literacy in an Elementary School in Greece from Konstantina Martzoukou (Robert Gordon University , Scotland) and Evi Tramantza (Anatolia College, Thessaloniki, Greece).
I have blogged about the excellent videos series Maddie is online before and the channel is here https://www.youtube.com/@maddieisonline2579. After introducing the Maddie is Online series, the presenters explained how they used Maddie is Online series 2 and decided to integrate it into primary school lessons at Anatolia College Elementary School in Greece (it is an American school and therefore the students can cope with English language). This was done in collaboration with teachers, and sessions were in the library (with teachers also attending).
Tramantza examined material to select and contextualise it for the students. Lesson plans and assignments were developed. They surveyed both students and teachers after the last lesson. Benefits included
- interactive and video material appealed to student
- the quantity and quality made it easier to select and introduce material
- storytelling aided the effectiveness of the learning, including describing feelings
- Maddie herself was a good role model
Interaction included students reciting key messages together – they enjoyed this. They also enjoyed competing in groups to produce fake news posters. Another activity was students taking on a character in the series and exploring that character in more depth.
From the post-class survey, student and teacher feedback was positive overall, and they think the activity should be repeated. Tramantza herself also reflected that she enjoyed using different ways to teach information literacy. Some challenges were also identified. Recommendations included sharing lesson plans; the need to discuss Miss Mason’s deceitfulness (she's a teacher in the series), how even usually trusted people may be untrustworthy and the need to be careful; that Maddie can be used by both teachers and librarians; that the videos are engaging.
Photo by Sheila Webber: brochure in the presentation room