Friday, August 30, 2013

US teens and privacy: study

Two research reports this month from the Pew Internet American Life project, on teens and digital privacy.
Lenhart, A. et al. (2013) Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice.
"Many teens ages 12-17 report that they usually figure out how to manage content sharing and privacy settings on their own. Focus group interviews with teens suggest that for their day-to-day privacy management, teens are guided through their choices in the app or platform when they sign up, or find answers through their own searching and use of their preferred platform. At the same time, though, a nationally representative survey of teen internet users shows that, at some point, 70% of them have sought advice from someone else about how to manage their privacy online. When they do seek outside help, teens most often turn to friends, parents or other close family members."

Madden, M. et al. (2013) Teens and Mobile Apps Privacy
"As teens gain access to mobile devices, they have embraced app downloading. But many teen apps users have taken steps to uninstall or avoid apps over concern about their privacy. Location information is considered especially sensitive to teen girls, as a majority of them have disabled location tracking features on cell phones and in apps because they are worried about others’ access to that information. Here are some of the key findings in a new survey of U.S. teens ages 12-17:
58% of all teens have downloaded apps to their cell phone or tablet computer.
51% of teen apps users have avoided certain apps due to privacy concerns.
26% of teen apps users have uninstalled an app because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share.
46% of teen apps users have turned off location tracking features on their cell phone or in an app because they were worried about the privacy of their information."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cat in Sheffield Botanic gardens seeks its privacy

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Expert Internet Searching: 4th edition

The newest edition of Phil Bradley's search guide is available:
Bradley, P. (2013) Expert Internet Searching. 4th edition. London: Facet. Price: £49.95 (£39.96 to CILIP members). ISBN: 978-1-85604-605-3
"This new edition, rewritten from scratch, gives readers the information and guidance they need to choose the right search tools and strategies for each information need. From searching social media effectively to tracking down an expert or a news story, and from searching by image to searching multimedia, Bradley introduces the best search engines and tools and explains how to get the most out of them."
More info at which includes a link to a sample chapter: An introduction to the internet
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sentosa island, Singapore, IFLA conference cultural event, August 2013

Report from the IFLA conference: given in Second Life: 29 August

What: Report on information literacy presentations etc. from the World Library and Information Conference (IFLA conference), from Sheila Webber , Sheffield University Information School (i.e., me, Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life)
When: Thursday August 29th, 12.30 SL time (which is the same as US Pacific time, 8.30pm UK time, 3.30pm US Eastern Time, see for times elsewhere)
Where: On Infolit iSchool, in the virtual 3D world, Second Life,
*NB* You need the Second Life browser (different from a normal web browser) installed on your computer, and need a Second Life avatar, to participate. Contact me if you have any questions about this.
What: The IFLA (World Library and Information) Conference is the premier international library conference, held every August. This year it was in Singapore. Sheila Yoshikawa (Sheila Webber, Sheffield University iSchool outside SL) will give a report on the IFLA conference and on the information
literacy satellite pre-conference (at which she was a keynote speaker).
All welcome! The event will have a voice introduction and discussion in text chat, and last for one hour
A Sheffield iSchool Centre for Information Literacy Research event
Photo by Sheila Webber: Butterfly garden, Singapore airport

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Webinar: Getting Published in Journals: Sept 4th

There is a free one-hour webinar on September 4th (at 11.30 US Eastern time) Getting Published in Reputable International Journals and Other Publications. It is organised by the international special interest group of ASIST: Association for Information Science and Technology.
"In this webinar, three distinguished speakers, who are all current and/or past editors and/or members of editorial boards of a number of major international journals as well as other major publications, will address the broad questions and topics to provide webinar participants with an understanding of the process for evaluation and review of manuscripts" e.g. "What problems and pitfalls should authors avoid in getting their manuscripts ready for submission to scholarly journals and publications? That is, what makes a manuscript likely to be rejected by editors in the first or subsequent rounds of review and evaluation?" More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackberries, Maryon Park, August 2013

SURE campaign of National Library Board, Singapore

The pictures here show some of the items that the National Library Board, Singapore have created around their S.U.R.E. campaign. SURE stands for Source, Understand, Research, Evaluate. You can see that it includes bags, ruler, water bottle, pens, notebook (with the SURE mantra on each page) and there is also a silver SURE umbrella.

I already mentioned the professionally produced SURE video that has a Holmes-esque story about an antiques conman, aimed at the general public, and the information literacy site here.
However, even more impressive than these are some of the initiatives that have been mounted to promote information literacy. 
For example, at the IFLA satellite conference there were displays from 3 sets of schoolboys, who were the finalists in the SURE Club Library Advocacy Book Display Competition. One display was explaining information literacy using the SURE formula, and in the other 2 displays the boys displayed their information literacy through the way they had researched information about the books they chose, and the issues around the books (one of these exhibits is shown here). The exhibits were also judged on their creativity and power to communicate.
I think I also understood that schoolchildren in Singapore had to do a certain amount of volunteer work, and volunteering at the library was quite popular, so that was another way of engaging young people with information literacy and libraries. On the first day of the conference a very enthusiastic and hardworking group of young women helped with the day’s organisation and then produced an enjoyable video about their experience which was shown at the conference dinner in the evening.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Parent Information Literacy Programme #wlic2013

This is an initiative of the National Library Board, Singapore (which is the agency in charge of the national and public libraries), that was described in a poster (pictured) at the IFLA Satellite conference the week before last. Librarians from the three largest ethnic constituencies of Singapore worked with organisations in their respective communities (e.g. Chinese Development Assistance Council) to offer information literacy “Ace your project work” workshops for parents/ parent and child. As you can gather, it was emphasised how information literacy could directly help a child achieve in school. Although English is the official language in Singapore, the classes were offered by bilingual trainers in the appropriate language (Chinese, Malay or Tamil) to help parents whose English language skills were not so good. For this project they used the Big 6 information literacy model and 5 finger evaluation technique (Accuracy, Authority, Coverage, Currency and Objectivity).
The 2nd picture includes one of the trainers (Yashodha Devi Nadarajan, apologies to her, not a very good snapshot!) There is an advert for the workshop on this page (scroll down, you wil see there is also training for teachers)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Communications in Information Literacy - new issue

Communications in Information Literacy volume 7 no. 1 (2013) is published: it is open access. The articles are:
Teaching Matters: An Integrative Lesson on Searching, Tracking Citations, and Evaluating a Scholarly Article by Patrick P. Ragains
Keeping Pace with Information Literacy Instruction for the Real World: When Will MLS Programs Wake Up and Smell the LILACs? by Kimberly Davies-Hoffman, Barbara Alvarez, Michelle Costello, Debby Emerson (I should add that this is not LILAC the infolit conference, it is Library Instruction Leadership Academy)
Special Collections, Primary Resources, and Information Literacy Pedagogy by Melissa A. Hubbard, Megan C. Lotts
Teaching Web Evaluation: A Cognitive Development Approach by Candice Benjes-Small, Alyssa Archer, Katelyn Tucker, Lisa Vassady, Jennifer Resor Whicker
Cultural Shifts: Putting Critical Information Literacy into Practice by Alison Hicks
Promising Practices in Instruction of Discovery Tools by Stefanie Buck, Christina Steffy[]=13&path[]=showToc
Photo by Sheila Webber: Children's Library, Singapore National Library Building

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Infolit journal club #ilread 28 August: A Healthcare Lens for the SCONUL Seven Pillars Model

The next information literacy blog post discussion is on 28 August 2013 at 8-9pm UK time (see for times elsewhere in the world). The paper for discussion is by Michelle Dalton: "Developing an evidence-based practice healthcare lens for the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model". Journal of information literacy, 7 (1), 30-43. at the next Information Literacy Journal Club session. The discussion will be held in blog comments in the following post, and Michelle herself will be leading discussion:

You can can go to that blog post to get more background information from Michelle.
Photo by Sheila Webber: iconic view of Singapore, August 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MIL; intergenerational dialogue #wlic2013

Presentation of the Moscow declaration on media and information literacy and the Tunis Declaration on Libraries, Reading and Intergenerational Dialogue from Maria Carme Torres i Calva (outgoing chair of the IFLA IL Section) and Leikny Haga Indergaard (Literacy and Reading Section) was the final item in this morning's session at the IFLA conference. Maria described the partnership between IFLA and UNESCO e.g. in the IFLA/UNESCO Digital Library Manifesto 2011. She talked about the work of the IFLA Information Literacy Section and its work together with UNESCO, in particular IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations. Since I have blogged about these initiatives a lot, I will not repeat myself but suggest that you search this blog using UNESCO IFLA (no quotes!) to find relevant blog posts. Click Sort by date to see the most recent first.
Leikny Haga Indergaard talked of the aim of the the IFLA Literacy and Reading section and its initiatives. In particular they mentioned their symposium in 2011 in Tunis, on Inclusive society: libraries bridging generations. The Tunis Declaration on Libraries, Reading and Intergenerational Dialogue is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: one of the tables at the Information Literacy Section lunch, Maria is sitting at the back towards the right.

Exploring the role of public libraries in supporting intergenerational literacies through ICTs #wlic2013

Exploring the role of public libraries in supporting intergenerational literacies through ICTs is the next paper I'm liveblogging. It was presented by Hui-Yun Sung (National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, China) and John Siraj-Blatchford. The full paper is at
This was in the second session which was co-organised by the Information Literacy section, with the Reading and Literacy group at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore on Intergenerational literacies.
This presentation was introducing a research project currently in the pilot stage. A number of roles for public libraries in supporting intergenerational literacies were identified including "supporting a community of practice through online channels" and the introduction cited various important theories concerned with early years development which underpinned the research study being presented.
They are doing a qualitative, exploratory pilot study at the National Library of Public Information in Taiwan. They want to change the symbolic understanding of technology from a toy to something different including an information tool. Research questions include what motivations parents have in interacting with their children, and identifying interactions around ICT used for storytelling/creation. They are collecting data using social networks (Facebook) and also semi-structed interviews and participant observations. The speakers are identifying storytelling software/apps which can be adapted from individual use to collaborative use. So far this includes MeBooks (available for iPhone, iPad, Android) which includes editing e.g. adapting text and recording new sounds (storyline and pictures are fixed). This is something which typically young children wouldn't be able to do without adult help.
Another piece of software, from the Open University, enables you to create a story with your own pictures, using a storyboard. The final example is The Land of Me, which takes the child through an imagination game: in the demo given by the speaker Buggy Boo the bear chooses to pretend to be a vehicle and chooses the type, size and colour of a vehicle. The inteface includes text prompts and suggestions for the adult with the child - so this is another example with intergenerational playing in mind. Theyare seeking further collaborators for this research internationally.

Model to develop texttotechno intergenerational literacies #wlic2013

Information literacy and cultural heritage for lifelong learning: applying the model to develop texttotechno intergenerational literacies was presented by Kim Baker (Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa). This was in the second session which was co-organised by the Information Literacy section, with the Reading and Literacy group at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore on Intergenerational literacies.
Her full paper is at and she has also written a book

She felt that libraries (unlike museums) have not taken a fundamental introspection into the nature and assumptions about cultural heritage. She felt that it would be possible to take the best of library and museum practice to create a model for lifelong learning. In terms of content concerned with cultural heritage, there were many related issues which make it important to ask many questions about the context of content (who created it? why? etc.) and this is not just about accuracy/authority, it is to see the cultural, social, political context.
In terms of intergenerational literacy, processes are:
- "Discover" where faciltators' tasks might include highlighting differences between text and print, and the learner to use the discovery tools.
- "Learn"
- "Evaluate" which includes training in critical thinking, and facilitating role-play in analysing information, and teh learners' tasks includes practicing cultural sensitivity and noting moral, legal and ethical issues.
- "Create"
- "Share" including attention to constructive feedback!
- "Modify"
The speaker identified that such training for lifelong could result in outcome "I see you": people understanding each others' contexts. As regards measurement of these processes, personal meaning mapping was recommended (reflecting on various aspects of its meaning to yourself).

Bridge the Text and tech literacy gap between generations - case study of reading programs from public libraries in Guangdong Province of China #wlic2013

The second session which was co-organised by the Information Literacy section, this time with the Reading and Literacy group at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore was on Intergenerational literacies: Texto-techno.
Bridge the Text and tech literacy gap between generations - case study of reading programs from public libraries in Guangdong Province of China was from Huang QunChing (coauthored with Liu Honghui) (Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou, China) The full paper is at
She identified a gap between young generations using screens and older comfortable with print in China. She talked about self-service libraries at places like stations ("elders like to stand by and learn: they name these machines Book ATMs") and the speaker also identified self issue terminals as places of text-techno communication (the young chiild touches the screen, the adult reads the text and says where to touch - this is in the slide I show above). She mentioned computer classes for elders (one satisfied participant wrote a poem!) News, search, WeChat, stocks, ephotos, games and microblogging were among things elders enjoyed doing.
Thery also do activities for teens' text literacy. An example is a composition competition in each summer vacation, another is a calligraphy onsite game started in 2012 which also can stimulate people who came to watch. "I tell the stories in books" started in 2007 and is a performance competition which stimulates reading. The Guangzhou Memories Cartoons database started in 2009 and is a popular way for teens to learn about their traditional culture.

ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom #wlic2013

Barbara Jones, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association gave a presentation in the FAIFE session at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore. She talked through the current case of Edward Snowden, and the impacts of that, including people in the USA who were not at all "left wing now raising their concerns about the extent to which their phone calls etc. were being monitored. Her talk had a lot of interesting background and detail that I'm afraid went by me too fast to capture fully. The ALA decided to go after the US law, rather than the particular Edward Snowden case. They are concerned about the gradual way in which citizens are losing their rights. They passed an ALA resolution in July and are aiming to reform or repeal part of the Patriot Act. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom website is here and their blog is here and it is worth following what they are doing They also organise Choose Privacy Week Like previous speakers she called on IFLA and librarians internationally to take up this issue of privacy and surveillance more robustly.
Image copyright ALA

"Libraries as a safe haven" #wlic2013

In the FAIFE session at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore I will report next on the talk 10 trends of internet censoship revisited from PÄIVIKKI KARHULA (Researcher, Chief Information Specialist at Parliament of Finland). The original 10 Trends paper was produced last year and is here
The speaker ideantified that censorship no longer just means filtering: it also means tracking, monitoring, data storage and collection, data mining (in other words finding out what you do in great detail and giving that information who know who), sanctioning, blocking and slowing down connections. She identified international pressure and support, and (e.g.) although the European Union countries prohibit export of surveillance technology to totalitarian countries is forbidden, EU countries have not supported Edward Snowden.
The criminalisation of everyday life - with routine monitoring of people's activities and people becoming targets if their activity deviates from "normal" - has become more and more of a concern.
In terms of libraries (which should be a "safe haven"), mass data collection is an increasing issue, especially as the data collected (e.g. on e-books) may be out of the libraries' control. She mentioned the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The speaker identified this power transfer to those who own and manage big data as a major concern. What are the consequences? There is non-transperency and apparently unlimited scope. She felt that there should be proper governance for these activities. However, for the moment, we know there will be new forms of surveillance.
Libraries need to redefine their ideas of freedom of information - to include safe access to communicate, search and use information on the internet. What can be done? Libraries need to be involved in development of technology, have impact on the marketplace and legislation, and pay attention to their own policies and practice. Karhula also urged librarians to support campaigns and to join with activities such as those of FAIFE. She also mentioned other organisations e.g.

Karhula reccommended: Davies, S. (2013) "Analysis: Eight global repercussions from the PRISM disclosures ".

FAIFE "The rights of our users" #wlic2013

At the IFLA conference in Singapore I am attending part of the session organised by FAIFE, Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression. "The overall objective of IFLA/FAIFE is to raise awareness of the essential correlation between the library concept and the values of intellectual freedom. To reach this goal IFLA/FAIFE collects and disseminates documentation and aims to stimulate a dialog both within and outside the library world." (from the website) The session was introduced by Kai Ekholm (Chair of FAIFE). He identified some of the prominent current freedom of information issues, and the work of FAIFE. This includes publishing "Spotlights". The spotlights for this year are: Freedom of expression and access to information in Syria today (Inaam Charaf), Interview to Saad Eskander, Director of Iraq National Library and Archives (INLA) (Suvi Kingsley) and Are digital laws making or breaking digital libraries? (Benjamin White): the Spotlight page is here The quote in the subject line of this post is how Ekholm described the role of libraries - supporting the rights of our users. He also challenged librarians to demonstrate their convictions: he wondered what it would take for libraries to shut for a day to show support for freedom of information or opposition to measures that threaten freedom of speech.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Health literacy; in India, in urban North American #wlic2013

Today at the IFLA conference I caught most of Maitrayee Ghosh's paper on Health literacy for all- an investigation into consortia and partnership amongst libraries to promote health care information in India. In it she gave a perspective on health literacy in India where there is a divide between the elite, who have good-quality care and are reasonably health literate, and the much larger number who do not have access to good quality care and furthermore experience significant barriers to their health literacy. The speaker said that 100% of communications from doctors were in English, a language which many of the patients didn't understand (in response to a question the speaker said the solution isn't as straightforward as one might think, since althoughHindi is the official language, there are about 2000 languages in India). 85% of women bring along a more literate family member. Under these circumstances, things like reading instructions for medicines are problematic.
The speaker described some initiatives to help with health literacy e.g. Mumbai's Health Education Library for People (HELP) (although again, that is in English) The speaker outlined some models (e.g. a "Health Literacy and women" diagram) and identified a lack of ccordination and collaboration: she proposed some collaborations that could be formed by librarians. The full paper is at

I didn't hear it, but this paper from the same session also looks particularly interesting:
Dalrymple, Prudence W., Rogers, Michelle, Turner, Kathleen and Green, Mary (2013) "Partnering to encourage health information seeking by patients in an urban clinic". Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 - 23 August 2013, Singapore. "This paper will report on work informed by the theoretical framework put forth by Don Nutbeam, a public health researcher who views health information seeking as a fundamental component in achieving health literacy and ultimately, improved health outcomes. In this pilot project, a multidisciplinary team that included librarians worked together to develop and test the feasibility of a mobile phone application aimed at increasing health information seeking by expectant mothers. It will also distinguish between “ a partnership” and “a collaboration” and will suggest that effective work in health literacy may require roles for librarians that differ from those traditionally assumed in delivering health information services."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Singapore, dusk, August 2013

My keynote: Question and enquire: taking a critical pathway to understand our users #wlic2013

I gave a keynote at the IFLA Satellite conference on information literacy last week, and here is my powerpoint presentation. I identify that things to aim for are:
- Support and challenge students to become lifelong reflective learners with deep critical information behaviour (IB)
- Support citizens/ workers as if they were, or aspired to be, lifelong reflective learners with deep critical IB
- Reflect on, and develop, our own IB and IL and be willing to challenge assumptions (including our own)
Then I go on to expand on the ideas of how you can take, and support, a more critical approach, including getting to know what your users are doing, and being willing to question your own assumptions about what is appropriate or inappropriate information behaviour. By the way I refer to Perry's framework of intellectual development and the research on approaches to learning, and there are 2 slides with more detail on these AFTER my references slide at the end.

IFLA Information Literacy Section Committee 2nd meeting #wlic2013

Today we had the 2nd of our Information Literacy Section Committee meetings, at the IFLA conference in Singapore. In case you are ever at an IFLA conference, all the sections' committee meetings are open to observers (and certainly in our committee, observers are welcome to comment and contribute).
The new chair, Sharon Mader, started (after introductions) by clarifying that to get to the old Infolitglobal directory of infolit resources (links/ information on reports, training courses, websites etc.) you go to the site and (1) register for the website (free) and login and (2) join the "Information Literacy" community (go to the community page and then click on the left). The link to the Directory then appears half way down the page. Hopefully we will be able to change this so you don't have to go through all that in order to see the directory (it may be because at the moment the directory has been transferred but not checked).
I already blogged several presentations from the session on "civic literacies" and it looks like there will be a book on the topic (in the IFLA series) coming out of that session and out of the conference on the same topic that took place in Riga (the papers for the conference are here:
The structure of IFLA groups is mainly into Sections (focused on a particular activity area e.g. Information Literacy, School Libraries or a particular region) and these sections are gathered together into Divisions (see here Maria-Carme Torras i Calvo has moved to a Divisional position and she reported on this.
After this we started to sort out who will be convening the events for next year's IFLA: there will be a satellite preconference in Limerick, and then in the main programme (the main conference in 2014 is in Lyon) there will be a session with the Education and Training Section, and another session with Health and Biosciences Section on health literacy. We also talked a little about the plans for the following year.
Finally we talked about future projects e.g. following on from the IFLA Trends report that I blogged about earlier. The website for the section is at and here is the blog
Photo by Sheila Webber: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, August 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Civic literacy projects in libraries: acting in the present, thinking in the future #wlic2013

Civic literacy projects in libraries: acting in the present, thinking in the future from Vera Maria Da Silva (Public Library of Seixal, Seixal, Portugal) and Francisco Vaz (Escola de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal) is the final presentation in the Civic Literacy session at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore. It is being presented in Spanish, and my Spanish is very patchy, so I will just attempt to the points that I grasp. Their full paper is at
Part of the talk described a project "Derechos por derechos?", a project to promote and understand human rights and freedoms, and the ambition is to promote reading and develop citizenship and information behaviour. Objectives include to introduce concepts of huiman rights are intrioduced, to foster reflection and debate and develop an idea of citizenship. This is not seen as an abstract idea, but one of real life. They prepared various material for the initiatives including promotional and teaching material. Pedagogic material included books, conceptual maps, but also paintings (ones which portayed situations or emotions relevant to civic literacy e.g. I think one was Picasso's Guernica, for discussion) and music. There were preparation sessions for the teachers and the speaker described various activities and the form of the curriculum. One statistic I grasped near the end of the presentation was that 80% of the evaluations of the project said it was good, and 20% very good! Also the need for a pedagogic approach based on critical engagement (not passive consumption) was emphasised. There was a lot of interesting detail in this presentation and so it is worth looking at the paper, which is in English.

An Academic Library as a National Reference Library in Uganda #wlic2013

An Academic Library as a National Reference Library: contributions of Makerere University Library in promoting civic literacy, by Andrew Mwesigwa (Makerere University, Kampala (Maklib), Uganda), is the next paper at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore
As well as a university library, it is also a national reference library and deposit library, and so it has a wide range of populations to serve. So for example they give information literacy training to members of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
In this paper (which you can read in full at they analysed Maklib's position in terms of civic literacy. They did a SWOT analysis and then did a qualititative investigation at a primary school, collecting data from pupils and teachers.
Strengths include:
- access to unique collections, in their Africana section. Through this it has contributed to nation building, including helping government departments to gain access to documents to make decisions.
- they have developed a working relationship with authors and publishers
- a "convivial" external user policy - so the public come come in to use archives or read newspapers
- an information literacy campaign reaches users from all walks of life, and the librarians have influenced generations of users
The key weakness is having to operate with minimal resources. Among the opportunities are opportunities for collaboration to enhance civic literacy campaigns, and the existing community of users. Threats include environmental factors (which threaten preservation of material).
As regards the opinions of the primary school, there was a concentration on the impact of a book donation programme: students felt that:
- book donation was worthwhile
- reading of English improved, and students got inspired to go to university rather than just visit
Their teachers felt that the books donated were a patriotic act "which exemplified librarians in civic society" and supported the promotion of books and reading. The speaker finished by stating Maklib's continuing commitment to civic literacy
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tree structures in the Gardens at the bay, Singapore, August 2013

The lack of civility in the "Arab spring" #wlic2013

The lack of civility in the "Arab spring" and librarians and document manager’s duties for civic literacy and librarians and document managers duties from Ahmed Ksibi (Institut Supérieur de Documentation, Tunis, Tunisia) is the next paper at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore.
The speaker noted that the "Arab spring" movement began in Tunisia and shook the Arab world. Although Tunisia is small, it has a long history and had the first constitution in the world (as Carthage). The speaker identified the demands of the young people who took part in the uprisings - to do with demands for freedom, dignity and employment and catch up with gains in other counries. Ksibi talked about the demonstrations and activisim elsewhere e.g. in Spain and in the USA, also stimulated by the worldwide economic crisis.
He said that the arab spring is now turning to a dark autumn with a "gerontocracy retrograde" taking power and increased moves from militia and facist powers.
In terms of "lack of civility" he listed elements such as the impunity of people who practised violence, uncontrolled construction, increase in pollution etc. This should be reveresed with a movement for civic literacy. There has been a previous IFLA conference on the topic of civic literacies.
It was vital to accompany the revolt with a conception of the library as contributing to civic culture. The ides of the library as the "third place" that can establish a process of dialogue and be a place of discussion was very important. There, people can engage with each other about complex public issues, in a non-partisan manner. Also there can be access to documents and data relating to civic literacies on open web sites. The full paper is at

School libraries empower future citizens: a model to impart civic literacy in Indian schools #wlic2013

Next talk I'm blogging at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore is School libraries empower future citizens: a model to impart civic literacy in Indian schools from Rashmi Kumbar (Adani Vidya Mandir, Sarkhej, Ahmedabad, India)
The speaker starting by identifying the meaning of civic literacy in India, quoting Gandhi in emphasising the value of mass education. She outlined the education structure and identified that there are different curricula in schools that might be followed. There are "6 fundamental rights" in Indian democracy and also fundamental citizen duties, but there is a feeling that people may have lost the understanding of civic rights and duties and the work of their forbears in achieving democracy.
In the speaker's school pupils come from less privileged backgrounds, education is free and there are good facilities. There is a junior and senior library and they have 2 library periods a week. They have interesting practices including use of bibliotherapy. There proposed model for civic literacy is called Squaring the circle: to understand value of democracy, be aware of rights and duties, and instill the right approach to citizenship. Collaboration with teachers is encouraged and they want some whole school activities. Activities should give clarity about citizenship and civic literacy, and the activities may also be taken up by subject teachers.
The model involves finding solutions to difficult problems. The guiding principles are Awareness, Alacrity "brisk and cheerful readiness", Action, and Achievement (documentation and recognition is seen as motivating here).

As an example of an activity, the campaign on civic literacies is introduced, pupils form groups and choose a news topic and two weeks later they have to present an analysis of their reading and thinking. Meanwhile resources are also displayed in the library, pupils are supported in developing their ability to write up and present their findings. Presentation sessions are done in regular school assemblies.
As with other presentations at IFLA in this civic literacies session, there was a lot more detail than I can capture. A few details are - seniors mentoring juniors - using national days and festivals - exercises to "adopt a civil right". I will add the link to the paper when it is available.

The Russian School Libraries Association as a distributor of ideas of personal information culture #wlic2013

Next in my liveblog from the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore is: The Russian School Libraries Association as a distributor of ideas of personal information culture: experience of integration of researchers and school librarians' efforts for civic literacy formation from Natalya Gendina (Kemerovo State University of Culture, Kemerovo Russia) and Tatiana Zhukova (Arts and Russian School Libraries Association, Moscow, Russia). The first author presented.
She started by identifying the concept of "personal information culture" which she saw as broader than information literacy (I mentioned in the last post that the French speaker referred to "la culture d'information"). Civic literacy was a complex and ambiguous concept, in that (if I understood correctly) under the soviet regime it had a meaning that was focused on study of law and regulations.
Four elements of civic literacy were now identified as: law, policy, patriotism and moral values. These could be visualised using iconic paintings (see picture above). There are challenges for school librarians in teaching civic literacy - the term is not formally defined at the interational level and in Russia there any many theoretical approaches and points of view. However, the speaker identified numerous initiatives and acievements of the Russian School Libraries Association, which included collaboration with scientists to get their support. She said that the librarians were engaged more widely in civic society, and had also secured support at a high level: she showed a quotation from President Putin announcing the new title of "school librarian" which previously did not (I think) officially exist.
This talk was absolutely packed with information and I have only been able to capture a tiny part. Unfortunately I do not think the paper is online yet, but I will add the link when it is.

Information for civic literacies: an educational priority for school librarians in France #wlic2013

I'm liveblogging again from the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore, in the session on Civic Literacies. It starts with Information for civic literacies: an educational priority for school librarians in France from Didier Vin-Datiche (Ministry of National Education, Paris, France). It is presented in French, with no simultaneous translation and I am finding listening in French and blogging in English a bit challenging, so this is a brief report. In France, schools have an obligation to teach citizenship, and from what I can understand it sounds a more serious concept of this obligation than we have in the UK. The schools have to help students understand about culture and historical memory and their role as citizens. A new part of this is to require schools to include digital aspects of citizenshop: artistic, cultural, economic and social implications of digital information have to be understood, with education for Media and Information Literacy.
There are 3000 "professeurs documentalistes" in school libraries in France: I know that in France school librarians have more education in teaching and it seems also a better status within the school. Therefore they may be better placed than school librarians in other coubtries to take an active part in this kind of activity. The speaker referred to the importance of "la culture d'information" for the pupils, this is a translation of "information literacy" which is more holistic and wide ranging than one which stresses competences. The speaker identified the key role of the librarian both in developing the rights of the citizen to read and to access information to exercise the rights of the citizen. It seems that in France they have an interesting opportunity with this.

IFLA Trends website launched #iflatrends #wlic2013

The IFLA trends report was launched by the President of IFLA, Ingrid Parent, today at the IFLA conference in Singapore. It is now available at and the hashtag is #iflatrends
There is a “insights” report summarising the key points, “Riding the waves or caught in the tree: navigating the evolving information environment”, but at the launch it was described as the IFLA Trend Resource, as the aim is to create a dynamic resource which IFLA members can add to, and comment on. In presenting the report, it was stressed that the value would come through discussion, input and examples. They encouraged hosting events at regional meetings, adding it as an agenda item, blogging and tweeting about it. To contribute to the resource you have to register.
The report was developed through an initial literature review and input from “experts” (including technologists, lawyers, social scientists etc.)
The headline trends are
- New technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information (information literacy was mentioned here)
- Online education will transform and disrupt traditional learning
- Boundaries of data protection and privacy will be redifined
- Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new groups
- Our global information economy will be transformed by new technologies
As the presenters themselves said “so what” – these are not new trends. However the interest comes in the next step. They looked at the points of impact between trends, “collision points” for libraries. As one example they took Google Glass which “redefine the boundaries of privacy”. Since libraries position themselves as safe places, and someone with Google Glasses is effectively putting people under surveillance – what are the implications (I think back to my visit to Newcastle public library where I was told not to take any photographs, even). Another example is the intersection between online education x the boundaries of privacy (are we collecting too much information for students).
Interesting questions were raised as regards the impact of automatic translation on various important areas (e.g. local-language publishing, literacy criticism, reading of classics which jave been translated by a machine without understanding of the cultural context. “If filtering is becoming a standard government practice” what is the implication for libraries’ mission in preserving digital information and giving openb access to information.
I haven’t yet read through the report/resource, so that’s all for now, but I’m sure to be blogging more about it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Public libraries, the crisis of the welfare state and social networks: the Portuguese case #wlic2013

It's the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore, and another post from the Librarians and social movements: a force for change session
Luisa Alvim (in a paper coauthored with Jose Antonio Calixto) talked about Public libraries, the crisis of the welfare state and social networks: the Portuguese case. These are photos of a couple of her slides, which used striking images. She talked about the background for public libraries and the current problems consequent on the economic recession. Because of the pressures on the welfare state there was a question about whether they could (with reduced resources) continue to have social concerns and reduce social exclusion. She highlighted the vital role of public libraries, and at the same time the threat because of public sector cuts.
The speaker identified the role of Web 2.0 in battling these problems and generate social capital for the library: libraries can use them to fulfil their social mission. The authors had done some research into Facebook use.
In May 2013 99 public libraries (about a third of the total) had a Facebook presence. The paper's authors collected information on the libraries involvement in social actions: 42% did have social actions in the month they studied. Examples are: contributing to the sense of community, being a lifelong learning centre, promoting peace/international understanding, promoting intercultural dialogue. Most of these were promoted to the general population, 14% to the elderly and there were a number of more specific populations targetted by one or a few initiatives. The speaker observed that they felt that this did not present as much engagement with the current social crisis as might have been hoped. "It's time to rethink the public library's mission" and social media can be an important part of that.
The full paper is here:

How libraries can use living archives to support, engage and document social movements #wlic2013

I'm at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore, another post from the Librarians and social movements: a force for change session.
Tamara Rhodes talked about A living breathing revolution: how libraries can use living archives to support, engage and document social movements. In saying why she thought this was relevant to libraries she mentioned the American Library Lssociation's Social Responsibilities Round Table and the goal area the ALA currently had of "Transforming libraries". She explained what "Living archive" meant, tracing its meaning through time. The speaker gave examples of a theatre company performing neglected plays, and a person who was a living archive of history. She also mentioned oral history projects. Examples of "capturing the act of living" were the William Mcdonough archive at Stamford University and DOK Agora which has enabled people to film their stories and have them displayed on a video wall. As a new theme is announced, stories are archived on the library's website.
The speaker finished by talking in more detail about #searchunderoccupy (which is about the Occupy Wall Street movement), which has an archive, visuals, social media elements, performance art and teach-ins. Tamara's paper, which outlines this better than I have (she was winner of the best IFLA student paper award), is at

Archiving Egypt's revolution: the University on the Square #wlic2013

Today at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore I attended a session called Librarians and social movements: a force for change (organised by the IFLA Social Sciences Section)
Steve Urgola (the American University in Cairo Library) talked about Archiving Egypt's revolution: the University on the Square. The university is physically situated at the heart of revolutionary activities and efforts started with documenting January 25 2011 revolutionary moment and has continued onwards. They have collected images, videos, artefacts (e.g. banners), flyers and posters, and also original oral history by interviewing a range of people involved in different ways. Steve said that whilst social media were a good way of seeking and collecting material to begin with, increasingly they need to use personal contacts, as fewer images etc. were contibuted online (e.g. because of disillusion with the revolution). When they interviewed someone, they would ask for more recommendations for personal contacts. They have made an effort to collect material refleecting different perspectives e.g. pro and anti Mubarak. Although it was known as a social media revolution, Steve noted that in fact traditional means of communication was very important (print leaflets, banners etc.) Steve also mentioned other types of archiving projects e.g. iwasintahrir (pictured) and 18daysinegypt.
The Univeristy on the Square project website is here: and their digital library, which includes project materials is at
His full paper can be found at

Infolit - through the Case of the Antique Chairs - video #wlic2013

Another catchup post from the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services . There was a poster session, and one of the posters described how the National Library of Singapore created a video (professionally produced and acted) to introduce information literacy to a wider audience. They base it around a Singaporean version of Sherlock Holmes and call it the Case of the Antique Chairs. Using their infolit formula (SURE: Source, Understand, Research, Evaluate) the sleuth is able to evaluate a con-artist's website. Here is the video on Youtube and their information literacy site is here: (on which you will see they also do interesting work with schools)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dr Ismail Serageldin's keynote #wlic2013

Catching up with the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services , as I had not got my netbook up and running for the introduction and first keynote on Thursday.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education, started the conference by stressing the importance of information literacy and talking about what Singapore is doing in this area. She talked about paying attention to a wide spectrum of people that they were reaching out to, including parents, teachers and those outside formal education.
Dr Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, (pictured) gave the first keynote speech of the conference. This was a rich and fast-moving talk, so I did not manage to capture everything!
He talked about the huge changes in the information world, including the idea of the bookless library – though he also reminded us that change is constant (at one point books were a new technology!)
He identified 7 Pillars of the Knowledge Revolution
- knowledge used to be parsed in individual volumes, but now documents are “alive”, so the web page is the new was things are parsed. We are moving towards a “living vibrant interconnected knowledge base
- Images are becoming more important and dominant
- humans and machines working together more: machines becoming integrated into what we do every day
- amazing complexity – in terms of scientific principles and fields of study as well as our everyday lives, with implications for how we handle information
- Computation and research: moving from data collections to connections between data collections, computer research has come more to the fore
- Convergence and transformation, with transformative research (e.g. synthetic biology) changing the paradigm of a research field.
- Pluri-disciplinarity and policy; we need insights, knowledge and wisdom from social sciences, hard sciences and the humanities.
Libraries should be placed as vital supporting institutions for these developments.
Dr Serageldin then talked about the issue of “big data”: huge amounts of information being collected for various purposes e.g. by radio telescopes, by the USA’s National Security Agency, by Google.
So, Information Literacy for the future has to take account of the vast amount of data there is today. The speaker saw the librarians’ function as getting the information “just right” with appropriate filtering: he used the image of a glass of clean, filtered water. This involved developing people’s evaluation skills, and taking account of the way that the information was consumed. He saw three essential dimensions: speed and accuracy (i.e. meet expectations that things happen quickly); quality, and ethics (including being aware of plagiarism and applying the values of science – truth, honour, creativity and imagination, constructive subversiveness, tolerance of engagement, arbitration of disputes). He noted educational changes, with modular lifelong learning and MOOCs. Similarly, libraries need to change. He mentioned the inviting spaces of Apple stores, with the knowledgeable staff as part of the reason they attract customers in.
The speaker identified four kinds of space for libraries: Creative messy spaces, group work space, quiet spaces, and community space. He finished on a stimulating note: “The libraries of tomorrow are being invented in our minds today”

IFLA Information Literacy Section meeting #wlic2013

I have been re-elected to the IFLA Information Literacy Standing Committee and we have had our first meeting at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore.
We welcomed new members Min Chou, Chu Jingli, Marilda Martins Coelho, Jane Secker and Jaclyn Teo. The new chair is Sharon Mader, and the new secretary is Jaclyn Teo. WE were saying farewell to our outgoing chair Maria Carme Torras Calvo, Chihfeng Lin, Ruth Stubbings and Franziska Wein.
Maria reported on the progress with work with UNESCO. Firstly, there was the progress on the UNESCO recommendations on Information Literacy. If this succeeds this is a big issue, as it would mean information literacy should be paid attention to at the national level by UNESCO members. An agenda item resolution has been written, with the recommendations attached, to be put forward for the Autumn general meeting of UNESCO, and the section has sought the support of a delegate member to put the resolution forward. The process is complex and time consuming, so the Section officers have had to spend a lot of time and effort on this.
The next report was on the UNESCO OAR platform for media and information literacy (MIL). Jane Secker and Nancy Graham have been very active on this project. It is intended that this will be a more active community platform. This has replaced the site. There was also a lot of dicussion around other UNESCO media and information literacy initiatives, not all of which the IFLA section is involved with.
Then I reported on the #infolitpro project, Agnes Colnot on translation of section documents and Lisa Hinchliffe on the IFLA Standards working group. It was also mentioned that IFLA was invited to give patronage to the European Conference on Information Literacy, which it has done. There were then brief reports about the satellite meeting that I have been blogging from, and about events for next year e.g. the satellite meeting which will be held in Limerick Institute of Technology 14-15 August 2014.
There will be another Section Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Refining information literacy online: library search smart quiz #wlic

My final liveblog this morning from the IFLA satellite conference in Singapore is on Refining information literacy online: library search smart quiz by Beth Prior and Peggy Brooksby.
They were describing a review of a library quiz at Flinders University, Australia. The quiz is generic, is incorporated into the Learning Management System and is formally assessed by several courses. They decided they needed to formally review it as the university was implementing a new LMS, moving from Blackboard to Moodle, and also there was a new discovery tool for library content being adopted. They did a survey of students using the old quiz on the old platform in 2011 and of the quiz on the new platform in 2012.
The first survey had a 17% response rate (over 400 responses). Feedback included highlighting that it could be slow and was not visually interesting. Starting the review they decided to stay with the quiz tool, but there were features in Moodle they could add e.g. a library forum and a glossary, links to specific parts of the tutorial and the Moodle question bank. In the new Captivate videos they added a student guide (a comely girl in a red dress).
Respondents to both surveys were mostly (78%) female and on campus. Looking at the results of the survey on the new quiz, more students were completing the tutorial. The quiz was found more helpful in learning how to learn about the new discovery tool than the old one had been in helping to use the library catalogue. Lessons include: videos should be shorter and preferably include other guidance; embedding in LMS is a good idea, it makes the quiz visible; students wanted more help in keyword selection and search strategy; and it would be desirable to make the quiz compulsory!
I always like to add a link: so this is a page on the Flinders University website that describes the quiz's value in the context of graduate attributes
Photo by Sheila Webber: the speakers looking at the amazing view from "pod" earlier today

Digital reference: a survey of its popularity as a reference tool #wlic2013

My next liveblog is Digital reference: a survey of its popularity as a reference tool and technologies used by the US academic libraries from Sharon Yang and Heather A. Dalal on the 2nd day at the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services .
This reports on a study of academic libraries in North America, looking at provision and marketing of digital reference services. They selected a random sample of 362 universities (14% of the total population), and they examined the websites of each of these institutions. They were looking for asynchronous and synchronous digital reference services. For 21 universities, they couldn't access the information (e.g. password protected website) but they were included for the purpose of calculating percentages.
Some results: 68% provided reference on their main page (e.g. pop up chat box) and "Ask a librarian was most popular title for the service. 47% libraries provided chat, 31% (of the the total population, not of those who used chat) placed the chat box on a sub page and 16% on the front page. LibraryH3lp was the most used chat programme, and Questionpoint was the next most popular. Most people who provided chat used in-house staff. There was also a percentage who used consortia to provide the service. IM was not so popular: 6.6% used instant messaging. About 12% used a "knowledge base" i.e. a searchable FAQ, mostly using Springshare software. 23.8% used text messaging. 65% had a special email for reference questions, but the rest only gave general emails.
After making all these observations, the researchers looked at how many of the channels the libraries offer: no-one offered all of them, and only 3 offered all but one. The largest group was of the libraries who offered three channels (with chat and email being the most common). Then the researchers looked at key variables of the institutions e.g. size, type of institution, library hours. There were correlations between highest degree and type of institution and provision of chat (e.g. the unis offered PhDs and public universities were more likely to offer chat).
Photo by Sheila Webber: in the "pod" at the top of the National Library of Singapore

Global tweets: a reading group in Denmark, New South Wales, New Zealand and Singapore #wlic2013 #rwpchat

Global tweets: a reading group in Denmark, New South Wales, New Zealand and Singapore presented by Lyn Koh and Ellen Forsyth is the first session I'm liveblogging on the 2nd day of the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services .
The initiative is called Read Watch Play #rwpchat and is an international reading group. It was created by the New South Wales Readers Advisory Group (in Australia), and it includes formal cooperation with libraries in Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore, and informal participation from numerous other libraries. It has a theme every month (this month the theme is "furry" so: there isn't one work to study, and people are also encouraged to talk about games, films etc.) and there is an online discussion every last Thursday of the month.Each library arranges its own customised publicity etc.
This is allowing librarians to bring Readers Advisory out of the library to reach to wider audiences, and also the people from different countries interact around the works they have read/seen/played. The librarian partners use a wiki and tools such as Google hangouts to dicuss decide and record things to do with running the service. They cross post to other social platforms e.g. posting book covers on Instagram and also using pinterest - there is also a blog which is the home for the service They use tools such as Rebelmouse and Storify to archive the tweets and other social media associated with the monthly themes.
Key outcomes include being able to share resources, learning from international colleagues, and that the "community benefits from a wider range of recommendations from different perspectives and cultures."
The next discussion is on 27 August #rwpchat #furread and there is a paper with more information at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Information literacy for scanning the external environment

Dr Shaheen Majid presented a paper authored with Zhang Xue, Information literacy for scanning the external environment - a qualitative study at the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services . Environmental scanning (ES) involves monitoring, gathering analysing and applying information about an organisation's wider environment (so that the organisation can identify potential changes, trends, market opportunities and threats etc.) The speaker identified how close the steps of environmental scanning and of IL are.
This study was focused on travel agencies in Singapore, chosen because travel is an important industry in Singapore, and it is an industry subject to rapid change. One research objective was to look at the role of IL in the ES process by conducting a questionnaire survey and undertaking interviews. From the survey, the most used source was human contacts, then sources such as newspapers and magazines, with online sources the third choice. Various barriers to ES were perceived including lack of time and lack of information skills. From the interviews, problems included inability to identify sources, overreliance on human sources, and that they don't have any strategy for storing information for future use.
The speaker felt that this study helped to provide evidence for the need of information literacy education, so that future employees could support their workplaces more effectively.
Note that again I am liveblogging and I am feeling a bit jet lagged, so this isn't a complete view of the talk.
Photo by Sheila Webber: post-its in the National Library of Singapore, public central library

Development of a madrasah library model for information literacy

A talk on the Development of a madrasah library model for the implementation of information literacy from Sri Rohyanti Zulaikha and Nurdin Laugu was next at the first day of the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services .
This was an example from Indonesia. Creating a foundation for Lifelong Learning is a core program in a Madrasah library (which has a community role, not just for school pupils). However, the libraries have problems in terms of out of date collections, lack of collaboration between teachers, head teachers and librarians, and the students' lack of skill. Three State Islamic High Schools (MANs) were studied. The researchers used the Big Six model, which is used in private schools in Jakarta, but not so much in public-sector schools. Pupils at each of the schools were asked questions based on each of the Big Six elements. It emerged that some of the elements in the Big Six were being covered, but not as part of a holistic approach to Information Literacy. In all three schools, most attention was paid to the "Evaluation" step in the Big Six. The elements with least attention were search strategy in two of the schools and usage in one school. One of the schools had the highest score. It was found that in this school there was a "Developing critical thinking and reading" module, which aimed to improve the students' curiosity. One of the resulting conclusions was "the need for local content subjects which help develop a holistic program" to develop reading and information skills.

Academics' research capacity and pedagogic skills and fostering critical thinkinglearners

Next liveblog from the first day of the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services . Mark Hepworth presented Is there a connection between building academics' research capacity and pedagogic skills and fostering information literate, critical thinking independent learners? (Coauthored with Siobhan Duvigneau). The aim of the research was to investigate whether an institutional strategy for information literacy could be developed at the University of Botswana, University of Zambia and Mzuzu University (three universities with different levels of resourcing). They were identifying the current vision for developing IL, the expected outcomes and impact and the current challenges and solutions. It was exploratory research, and they interviewed staff in Zambia and Malawi, and had a workshop with staff in Botswana. Mark presented a few key findings: academics and librarians identified students as lacking information literacy and passive learners, and it was felt that efforts to improve literacy had so far not been very successful. There were various challenges, including lack of funding, not enough staff, the mode of schooling before they came to university, lack of local (in terms of language or focus) information resources, and the teachers' current pedagogic approaches.
However, there were some positive findings too. Some teachers did find ways to develop the students' learning and when students were (e.g.) asked to do "real world" research as part of their work there was evidence of enthusiasm and hard work.
It seemed that when staff were themselves involved in research, this made it more likely they would actively engage students in interesting research problems. Senior staff thought that some lecturers lacked information literacy. A conclusion was that the ideal academic needs the pedagogic skills and research ability, and also needs access to appropriate information resources and support to develop the appropriate skills e.g. an "Information and Research capabilities and pedagogic capacity unit". Such a unit would support a number of capacities and skills (research methods, pedagogy, data and knowledge management, project magagement). Universities may have units which support these various activities and skills, but it is not normally all together in one unit. Mark proposed a Theory of Change model (which I'm afraid I didn't capture) to bring about the development of information literate, critical thinking students, including the involvement of such a unit. A relevant report (which I think I already blogged) is

Close encounters of the digital kind #wlic2013

I'm at the first day of the IFLA Satellite meeting on Information Literacy and reference services taking place at the National Library of Singapore. I just learnt how to use the wifi (thanks to Mark Hepworth, who pointed out that the instructions were in the conference handbook ;-) I will catch up with the first part of the day later - in the meantime in the track I chose, the first talk I'm liveblogging was: Close encounters of the digital kind: designing effective online tutorials from Susan Gardner Archambault (coauthored by Lindsey McLean)
They did a review of the literature and content analysis of online tutorials from the last 10 years which were listed on the PRIMO database.
Susan presented the elements she identified. The first set were to do with visibility and user control (including showing use progress, call outs for additional information, a visible way to get help (so they don't trapped) and multiple content formats. Aspects of visual clarity included consistent use of colour, a level of branding, and effective use of graphics. Clear navigation was another important element including consistent, visible navigation thatwas separate from the content. I think some of these overlap with the classic heuristics identified by Jakob Nielsen.
Information clarity included: use one idea per screen, use of bullet points, having summaries and making any videos short. Accessibility (with captions, alt tags etc., and complying with national or local guidelines/legislation) was obviously important. The technical considerations included testing on different devices and browsers (you can recommend the ones where it looks the best), making sure plugins are free of charge.
A second overarching category was to do with pedagogy. They saw planning as very important: identifying all the stakeholders and incorporating them into consultation and development. Developing learning outcomes for the tutorial is another obvious must. This stage also included reviewing the technology (to pick the most appropriate) and using storyboards. "Embed multiple forms of communication within the tutorial" included embedded help and enabling people to leave tips for other learners.
"Instruction" was the next heading, including a reminder not just to teach mechanics, to use metaphors and examples, and to "promote critical thinking". With "Assessment" the focus was on good practice in online testing, and "Active learning" concerned using interactive elements (e.g. drag and drop). The whole presentation can be viewed on Slideshare at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Registration desk today

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Library wars, the movie

I am in Singapore for the IFLA preconference (at which I am speaking) and the main IFLA conference. I will be blogging about both over the next week. In the meantime, the Singapore airlines inflight entertainment service included the film version of Library Wars (previously a Japanese manga series and anime): this is set in a Japan where the Media Betterment law has resulted in huge numbers of books being banned, with squads of sinister men with guns coming in and seizing most of the stock from bookstores and libraries. In reply the Library Defence force has been formed, with the right to approve and preserve books in libraries (and only libraries, so at a critical plot point they buy a building so they can declare it a library). The film does have some passages about the importance of the freedom to read, publish and write, but rather more scenes with Media Betterment chaps and Library Defence chaps firing guns at each other. Yes, the life of a librarian in this film is partly seeking out obscure titles in compact shelving bays, part issuing books politely to grateful patrons, and part learning how to fire your machine gun whilst abseiling down from the library roof. I must say I enjoyed it: possibly my favourite moment was when the heroine was angsting over who to ask for advice over an error message she was getting on the Library Management System. This is a reasonable review of the film
Photo by Sheila Webber: first coffee and cake in Singapore, August 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Reputation in the Cyberworld

The International review of information ethics (IRIE) is the open-access official journal of the International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE). "It envisions an international as well as intercultural discussion focusing on the ethical impacts of information technology on human practices and thinking, social interaction, other areas of science and research and the society itself." The latest issue focuses on "Reputation in the Cyberworld" e.g. an article on the social media usage of new social workers and teachers in Ireland ("Professional Reputation and Identity in the Online World" by Gloria Kirwan and Conor Mc Guckin)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Squirrel, Kensington Gardens, August 2013

Friday, August 09, 2013

Digital visitors, digital residents

Yesterday we had our journal club in the virtual world Second Life and discussed a paper on the information behaviour of young people. There is information on this information behaviour project here. A key way that the authors were analysing their data was by looking at "resident" and visitor" behaviour. This is an alternative to the Prensky "native" / "immigrant" categorisation of digital use. The resident/ visitor categorisation does not include assumptions about age; residents are people who (essentially) have part of their identity online and see their presence in various online environments as part of their life (so I would categorise myself as a resident). Visitors go online for specific purposes, and go offline when they are done: they do not build up an online identity in the same way as residents.
There is a proper explanation in a blog post here: and at greater length in this article:
White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011) "Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement." First Monday, 16 (9).

There is a presentation ("The new digital students, or 'I don’t think I have ever picked up a book out of the library to do any research – all I have used is my computer.'") based on the same project, presented by Lynn Connaway at the UK Serials Group Conference in April 2013, here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bee on blackberry flower, August 2013