Photo by Sheila Webber: Euphorbia, Feb 2008.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Euphorbia, Feb 2008.
Information Literacy: strategy and research is the title of a free seminar day on Friday 14th March 2008 in Sheffield. The seminars are organised by the Centre for Information Literacy Research, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield. The morning seminar is Strategy for information literacy. The focus of the is session is on strategic issues, with a strong opportunities for participation in all three sessions.
- Professor Sheila Corrall: Strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education
- Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston: Towards an Information Literate University
- Strategic approaches for information literacy with Dr Patricia Senn Breivik.
The Afternoon seminar is Information literacy research. This session opens with a keynote setting the context for research and practice in information literacy. Presentations of research studies follow, highlighting three specialist areas and illuminating important areas of research in the workplace and in higher education. The afternoon concludes with a reflection and debate on the challenges and excitements of researching information literacy.
- Dr Patricia Senn Breivik: A global agenda for information literacy
- Chris Rhodes and James O’Brien: The IL research agenda as seen by legal information professionals: report on a Delphi study.
- Maryam Nazari: Conceptions of geospatial information and the implications for information literacy education
- Dr Alexis Smith Macklin: A Problem-based learning (PBL) approach for teaching complex information and communication technology (ICT) literacy skills.
- Professor Nigel Ford and Sheila Webber: Research approaches to information literacy: dilemmas, delusions and delights.
More information at http://dis.shef.ac.uk/sheila/14March2008.pdf
How to book: You can apply for a place in the morning seminar, the afternoon seminar, or both seminars. There is a limit of 25 people in the morning and 40 in the afternoon. The morning numbers are more limited to encourage active debate in a smaller forum. The seminars are free. Tea and coffee are provided as indicated, but lunch is not. If you wish to attend, please email Maryam Nazari at firstname.lastname@example.org, making it clear which part(s) of the day you wish to attend.
"The Economist Debate Series presents another debate proposition that is highly relevant to educators and students. The debate proposition states: "This house believes that if the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing." What do you think? Does technology make life simpler, or does the connected nature of our modern lives keep us in a constant state of information overload? Are students suffering because of the presence of technology? We probably all remember simpler times before our lives were saturated with text messages, emails and Google alerts, but were those better times? We invite you and Information Literacy Weblog readers to weigh in with your personal experiences and points of view on the topic." How can you resist, eh. The opening statements are posted and voting begins today.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Crocus, Feb 2008
Photo by Sheila Webber: Fallen cherry blossom leaves, May 2004
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackberry leaves in light snow, February 2008.
Photo by Sheila Webber: light snow yesterday, Sheffield, Feb 2008.
The photo show me, Lyn (far left) and Vicki at my house in Second Life discussing the session we are doing together at LILAC in March.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hailsham, Feb 2008
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rocks at Sandycove, February 2008.
There is a project gaining momentum in the USA, in particular to research undergraduate's students' information behaviour when carrying out assignments. The website at http://www.infolitproject.org/ says that "Ohio State University, Sonoma State University, City College of San Francisco, and University of Southern California have expressed interest in participating in the study." One study has already been undertaken at Saint Mary’s College of California. This project explored the following research questions through focus groups, analysis of student assignments and questionnaire:
"1: How do students, majoring in lower division Humanities or Social Sciences courses, conceptualize the course-related task of research and operationalize these concepts into research activities that are assigned by faculty in courses they are teaching? When a professor assigns a project, requiring research, what does this learning task involve, from students’ points of view?
"2: What information resources do students majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences turn to and use to carry out course-related research? Where does the search for research materials start, where does it end, and why? How do lower division students in Humanities and Social Sciences ultimately select research sources for course-related work and how do they determine “quality” resources vs. “non-quality” resources?
"3: What challenges, barriers, and obstacles exist for students conducting research in the Humanities and social sciences fields?" (Report is at http://library.stmarys-ca.edu/features/SMCInfoLit.pdf )
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sign of spring, Hailsham, Feb 2008
Photo by Sheila Webber: Swimmer in February at Forty Foot, Sandycove, brrrr.
URL_SECTION=201.html to download in English or French. Contact Ms Annick Ongouya (email@example.com) for printed copies
Photo by Sheila Webber: looking towards Dun Laoghaire from the James Joyce Martello Tower, February 2008.
Having an existing good relationship with the Staff Development Unit had helped them get their hands on Roberts money. They had got an extra member of staff to work for 18 months as Information Literacy Officer who had an input to undergraduate IL training, meaning that the subject liaison librarians could spend more time with research students. They developed workshops tailored to different needs. Cooperating with other parts of the university meant that they got better market intelligence.
The need to understand what the research students’ information literacy needs were was emphasised again. Newton notes at the end of her 2006 article (see below) “Where the information literacy of research students is concerned, one size does not fit all, and finding ways of responding to that challenge through flexible self-directed learning is critical.”
Professor Dermot Diamond, Director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, talked about “Knowledge management in a Dynamic Research Environment; past, present, future”. He emphasised the role of key performance indicators: publications, citation counts, research income. He urged Irish libraries to bid for currently available funding and also encouraged librarians to be ambitious.
“Libraries need to be in the thick of the battle to manage and exponentially increasing knowledge base” Librarians should have “Involvement in the development of tools to enable researchers to easily find and download relevant information” “Involvement in the development of tools to enable the impact of research to be accurately assessed”
Note that he thought that librarians should be developing tools, not just helping people to use tools, although he still saw that as a role too. He also highlighted how bibliometrics will become increasingly a hot topic in the UK as the next national research assessment will put much weight on citation counts.
Newton, A. (2006) “Reaching out to research students: Transferable skills training in context“ Paper presented at the Creating Knowledge Conference, Copenhagen. http://www.ck-iv.dk/papers/Newton%20Reaching%20out%20to%20research%20students.pdf
Photo by Sheila Webber: Forty Foot looking towards Dalkey, Ireland, Februuary 2008
The key points that Andrew makes in his paper are:
“It is inappropriate to attempt to meet information literacy needs of researchers using instruction methods based on undergraduate student behaviours;
“Researchers do not follow the neat stepwise progression from a state of unknowing (“information need”) to one of knowing that underpins most information literacy instruction.
“Information management, rather than information retrieval, should be the focus of information literacy instruction for researchers.
“Where information retrieval is covered it should focus on techniques such as “area scanning”, footnote chasing and known author searching rather than keyword searching of abstracts and indexes.
“Information literacy training should be “socialised” through formal collaboration with supervisors and integration with existing research programmes or research groups.
“Training should focus on achievement of practically based outcomes such as the production of a log book or a portfolio.
“Training should optimally be tailored to the individual and delivered at the time of need.”
Brown, S. and Swan, A. (2007) “Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and their Services.” Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries. http://www.rin.ac.uk/files/libraries-report-2007.pdf
They referred to the seven stages of a researcher’s life, in particular identifying early, mid and late career phases, each of which had certain characteristics and activities. Similarly, information literacy and information needs could vary depending the stage the researcher was at. For example, mature researchers might want information for different purposes (keynote papers, reviews), and would already have a good picture of the information landscape. One of the key themes of the conference was that you couldn't treat all researchers the same, and this talk helped to draw out some of the differences.
Webb, J., Gannon-Leary, P. and Bent, M. (2007) “Providing Effective Library Services for Research”. London: Facet. ISBN: 978-1-85604-589-6
My own slides Information literacy: a researcher’s perspective are on slideshare, embedded below (I hope). I started by referring back to the "7 ages" model identified by Bent and Webb, and also highlighted differences in information behaviour, using some quotations from my own research. Some of the differences I mentioned were:
- Nature of information – such as spatial or molecular data, where manipulating it is part of being IL;
- Different disciplines e.g. current searches less important in English than Chemistry;
- Different kinds of personal information behaviour e.g. browser, information encounterer, searcher;
- Different research approaches (most obviously qualitative vs. quantitative);
- Different conceptions of research (e.g. focused on output vs. making a personal research journey)
I also talked a little about my role as research supervisor, research project leader and individual researcher.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Snowdrop in my garden
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pearse Station, Dublin, Feb 2008 (filmgrain effect)
PEOPLE: Karen Foster,Head of Learning Centres at Yeovil College.
PLACE: Kate Gardner, the Head of Library and Study Centres at Worcester College of Technology.
PEDAGOGY: Virginia Havergal, E-Learning Advisor - Learning Resources JISC RSC South West.
To book, go to http://www.cilip.org.uk/specialinterestgroups/
atoz/index.shtml#i ). The webpage for the whole series (which looks at major news stories and decisions made by the media on them) is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/newspapers.shtml .
During the programme they mentioned the Science Media Centre (http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/ ) "an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the national news media when science is in the headlines". They obviously target their main service at the UK press, but there are some useful sections on the site e.g. "peer review in a nutshell", "Communicating uncertainty in a soundbite" (which "offers some effective ways for scientists to talk about uncertainty in a brief news interview"). The press briefings are unfortunately not up to date: they say they are revising the site.
Photo by Sheila Webber: January snow in my garden Sheffield.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pearse station, Dublin, February 2008.
Photo by Sheila webber: Martello Tower housing James Joyce museum, Sandycove, Ireland, February 2008.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Yellow flowers, photoshop drygrain effect.