Friday, October 30, 2015

cfp #WILU2016

There is a call for Proposals for WILU 2016, the Canadian Workshop for Instruction in Library Use, which will take place May 30-June 1, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. The theme of the WILU 2016 conference is Intersections. Intersections refers to:
• education that is instructor lead and community generated;
• the growing interdependence of information literacy and digital literacy;
• the pedagogical impact on practice in the classroom;
• the growth of educational innovation and reflective sustainable practices;
• preparation for academic work and building enthusiasm for life-long learning; and
• the goals of the library nurturing an information literate community through partnerships outside of our own institutions.
You canb submit proposals for: Oral Presentations; Lightning Talks; pre-conference workshops; or Posters. Deadline for submissions is December 7 2015 5pm (I presume, 5pm in Vancouver)
There conference website is at
The online submission form is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: walking to the Kumu gallery, Tallinn, October 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Posters for the ACRL Framework

Ben Hoover, Jill Hallam-Miller, and Nancy Frazier (Bucknell University) have made a series of posters picking out the frames in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. "Our goal in designing the posters was to make the Framework accessible to students by creating visually attractive posters that would get students thinking." They can be found here are their creators are happy for them to be reused
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn old town, October 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

cfp #LILAC16

There is a call for papers for the annual information literacy conference, LILAC. In 2016 it takes place in Dublin, Ireland, 21-23 March. The deadline for submissions is 5pm GMT on 11 November 2015. You can propose workshops, symposia, long and short papers, or interactive posters, and there is also a new session: a "Lagadothon" which "enables presenters to showcase their prototypes for new IL products/games/innovations to small groups of delegates in a supportive environment". The deadline for the Lagadothon is slightly later: 27th November 2015 (17:00 GMT). More information at
Photo by Sheila webber: next to the Parliament building, Tallinn, Estonia, October 2015

Bookmark alert! #LILAC presentation archives

There is a new website for the 2016 LILAC (UK information literacy) conference and I had to search for a bit to find the link to the archive of presentations from previous conferences, so I thought I'd share it here. It is at - the conferences are listed at the top, and the pages have links to presentations embedded in the programmes.
I'm also kind of hoping that the main LILAC website might be offering an alternative view for people who aren't looking at it on small mobile devices....
Photo by Sheila Webber: autumn leaves on a bench, Tallinn, Estonia, October 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Critlib, youth citizenship, librarian-teacher workshops, research safari #ecil2015

Some presentations from sessions I didn't blogged at the European Conference on Information Literacy:

- Lauren Smith - Learning, Lending, Liberty? Can school libraries be engines for youth citizenship?
- Annamari Ikonen and Kaisu Sallasmaa - Librarians and English teachers join forces in information literacy training for better learning results
- Denis Kos and Sonja Špiranec - Understanding the field of critical information literacy: a descriptive analysis of scientific articles
- Leonie McIlvenny - Navigating the ‘information jungle’ on a Research Safari - see also and
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn, October 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Information Literacy and the Scottish Independence Referendum (2014) #ecil2015

At the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 last week Bill Johnston and I presented on Information Literacy and the Scottish Independence Referendum: in which, after a short introduction about autoethnography, Bill gave basic information about the referendum and gave some initial analysis which has grown out of his reflections and other material forming his autoethnography. Here's the presentation.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Closing session at #ecil2015

Back in the UK now, and I'm catching up with the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 that took place in the past week. In the closing session, they gave some facts and figures about the conference: there were 195 contributions from 50 countries, and 361 delegates. The top countries for participation were: 55 from Finland, 32 from Estonia, 26 from USA, 21 from both Norway and the UK, 15 Sweden, 13 from both Germany and the Netherlands, 12 from the Czech Republic and Croatia, 11 from Australia. You can see a Google map with the delegates marked on the map. The next venue (for ECIL 2016) was also announced: Prague, Czech Republic. I had been asked to act as raporteur for the conference, and I gave a short presentation (in the closing session) of what I saw as key points about the conference: I've embedded it below.
I've still got to post the first presentation I contributed to, and a couple of other posts that I only half-finished whilst I was there.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Information Literacy Instruction Methods for Lower Secondary Education in Finland #ecil2015

The next talk at this doctoral session at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 Information Literacy Instruction Methods for Lower Secondary Education in Finland from Tuulikki Alamettälä. She is looking at development of a new approach, using design based research and with Kuhlthau's model of guided inquiry as a framework. As well as having steps in the inquiry process, it involves collaborative forums and inquiry tools such as journals.
Her research investigates teachers' practice and feelings and the students' learning experiences, feelings and self-efficacy (etc.); in following a guided inquiry approach. This is a longitudinal study, and includes a control group not using guided inquiry. There will be questionnaires, interviews, tests and observation. Data collection started this autumn, with an intervention in a literature course, but the data has not yet been analysed.
Photo by Sheila Webber: another church I pass walking in to the conference, in Tallinn old town

Exploring the information literacy experience of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Learners #ecil2015

Jess Elmore talked about Exploring the information literacy experience of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Learners: a Discussion of Methods as the next presentation in the doctoral session at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015. She is using a case study approach, focusing particularly on what is happening in the ESOL classroom. Jess identified the huge number of people who lack English in the UK (1 million) and the disadvantage this causes. She identified her research as interpretive, reflexive and participatory, and also identified the problematic issues packed in these terms. Her research questions (at the moment) are focused on the interaction between learning and information literacy in the classroom. Elmore was reporting on a pilot study, using focus groups and observation, and also drawing on interviews with stakeholders and documents. She used pictures to elicit discussion (e.g. picture of a smartphone to elicit discussion about use of phones).
From the pilot she learnt about how complex the ESOL classroom was (with "life going on" in the classroom), how diverse experiences was, the importance of religeon and of keeping in touch with home, and there were very varied digital practices (e.g. importance of video - but some participants can't use a computer).
Elmore talked about challenges and learning from her pilot (e.g. about how she deals with participants' language level; that she needed to build relationships with participants over time; working out what "participatory" means in this context; that her findings will be about these particular classrooms.)

Electronic Engineering Student Information Literacy Needs: A Pilot Study #ecil2015

Evi Tramantza presented next in the doctoral forum at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 on Electronic Engineering Student Information Literacy Needs: A Pilot Study at the University of Surrey. She is using case study approach, including an action research element (as she teaches information literacy to the student in her case studies), in two universities, the University of Surrey (UK) and Aristotle University (Greece), with a focus on mechanical engineering students. Tramantza was reporting on a pilot study of electronic engineering students. She had undertaken focus groups and interviews, and collected documentation on the module structure, as well as her own field notes (as she teaches information literacy in this course). She has identified four key thematic areas: the first is resources, which included a theme about categorisation (the students struggling to find material at the right level, and anting it cartegorised) and use of media (e.g. Youtube video to explain concepts). The second thematic area was skills: students identified a lot of different skills that they need to complete their course (and these students were quite confident in identifying what they needed) and also the lecturer identifying needs in writing. The third area was Pedagogy and Learning, which included the nature of engineering teaching (with a more transmissive approach to teaching engineering) and peer learning (with engineering students having their own communities of learning, and this being connected to their identity as engineers). The final theme was information literacy iteself: including the students' awareness of the need to find good information and apply it.

Doctoral Research on Teachers as Technology Users: Summary of a Work in Progress #ecil2015

Next in the doctoral session at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was Doctoral Research on Teachers as Technology Users: Summary of a Work in Progress from Agnese Karaseva. She is doing a PhD by publication, so has published articles and is writing the connecting part of the thesis. She is analysing how various aspects of different social domains are related to the ways in which teachers integrate technology into the practices. Thus the focus is on the factors behind the practice, rather than the practices themselves. She is using the theory of Derek Layder. The context is Latvia and Estonia, with her being able to compare the data she herself collected in Latvia with data collected by her supervisor in Estonia. The speaker noted the de-centralised school system, with teachers getting more training in technology than Latvian ones.
16 teachers in each country were interviewed; there were class observations in Estonia, and 10 of the Latvian teachers (who were all in the same school) were observed doing search tasks online. The latter showed that actual competence was not related to self-reported efficacy.
She showed a table with the elements identified by Layder: in particular there were a number of factors under "Psychobiography" (e.g. teacher's belief about IT) and "Situated activity". Preliminary conclusions included the very strong influence of subject cultures, the need to have a holistic view of background factors to understand practice, the impact of students having to take exams, and also that "technology has not brought a revolution to the classroom".

International students and academic integrity #ecil2015

I'm attending a doctoral forum at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 and will blog some of the presentations from the doctoral students.

Amanda Click
talked about International students and academic integrity: global perspectives on a complex issue, reporting on emerging findings from her doctoral study. She is investigating how international graduate students studying in the USA conduct their academic research and writing, and how they engage with, and negotiate, issues of academic integrity.

She is using cross-cultural adaption theory (with critical incident technique for data elicitation), and as part of this she has been looking at stress points and adaptions e.g.

Stress - learning a new academic style (adaption is e.g. guidance from lecturers, feedback from American classmates

Stress - fear of commiting academic dishonesty (adaption as e.g. understanding the honor code, learning to cite)

Stress - reading and writing in English (with difficulty in finding adaptions!)

Students felt that in their own countries they did pay attention to academic integrity, but it was more implicit, whereas in the USA they were warned against plagiarism all the time and became afraid about it. There was also worried about unauthorised collaboration - they were unsure what was ok in the many different assignments they took. There was also the issue that lecturers themselves had different approaches to what acceptable behaviour was (e.g. some telling students to avoid direct quotation, others encouraging it).

Research challenges were particularly assessing material as to whether it was relevant, and synthesising information.

In the discussion afterwards, implications of the various interpretations of academic integrity by both academics and students, were discussed (obviously when the academics have different interpretations it is difficult for the students; there was also the question of the phrase itself, whether it is easily understood).

Beyond the Hyperbole: Information Literacy Reconsidered #ecil2015

Heidi Julien was the second speaker today, and she started an interesting discussion with her talk Beyond the Hyperbole: Information Literacy Reconsidered, at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015.
She started by talking about the range of literacies, and the different ways in which people defined the same term (including information literacy). She noted that burdens were placed on concepts such as information literacy, associated with supporting democracy, inclusive society and so forth. This placed political and practical weight on the term and raised the issue of who was claiming to take responsibility or to own that term. Julien said that the library and information responsibility for information literacy was limited to certain aspects of information searching and interaction, and she placed information literacy within the context of socially contructed information practices.
Julien noted that behaviour with information was influenced by convenience etc.: human nature (including social norms) would have more impact on people's attitudes and behaviour than did IL. She doubted "whether information literacy alone can shift the ground towards social good". Julien noted the challenges to developing information literacy: including people's current convenient habits, misapprehensions about young people's skills, lack of resources to enable libraries to offer relevant services, a lack of librarians (e.g. in schools) and some gaps in librarians' own skills.
Julien then looked at IL in the context of global challenges. These include sustainability, inclusive social development, conflict, education. It is easy to exaggerate the potential of IL to meet these challenges. Julien highlighted some areas were she felt IL could make a real contribution, such as helping citizens engage in civil society, and in promoting health and wellbeing. In order to fulfill this contribution, library and information professionals needed to understand people's information practice and information behaviour. Then it is possible for information literacy to make its real contribution.
There was also a lively discussion after this, but I was listening and contributing ratherthan blogging that part ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: the Russian church again - on the walk into the conference from my apartment yesterday, Tallin, Estonia

Information and Awareness for Sustainability #ecil2015

The first invited speaker today at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn was Mikhel Kangur, on Information and Awareness for Sustainability. The key theme for the conference was sustainability and green issues.
He started by defining sustainability and highlighted the particular problem areas for earth e.g. population, scarcity of fresh water, climate change, threat to the biosphere. He then talked specifically about Estonia: environmentally they were in a relatively safe position, but this could be a trap. Estonians (according to surveys) consider themesleves quite environmentally aware. However, behaviour or mentality of Estonins gives a different perspective: a survey had shown that Estonians scored lowest in Europe in terms of considering water or energy conservation, or reducing waste in everyday life. A survey asking them about their behaviour showed that Estonians scored low in terms of, for example, participating in action groups. He showed an interesting diagram which showed that Baltic countries (including Estonia) were different from the "protestant Europe" group (including Nordic countries) in terms of "Survival vs. self-expression values". Thus although the Estonian economy was comparable, there was still this difference: there was knowledge about the problems, but not so much the will to change (and Estonians are not alone in this).

Also Kangur noted that there was a lack of holistic systems looking at all these issues together. He took an example of the Baltic sea, and showed that there were various Governments/ organisations responsible for it, who did not necessarily collaborate to ensure its sustanability. Although there are techincal solutions being developed (for example, to desalinate salt water) these are expensive (and therefore not necessarily sustainable.

Thus there is a need to go beyond just informing people, and raise consciousness that people must take action snd change their behaviour, otherwise nothing will change.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Critical Evaluation of Information: Generic, Situated, Transformative and Expressive Windows #ecil2015

At the end of the day, Mandy Lupton is speaking on Critical Evaluation of Information: Generic, Situated, Transformative and Expressive Windows at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015.
She started by describing her conception of inquiry learning, using a model of three overlapping circles: research cycle, questioning frameworks and the information literacy framework. She noted some of the terms that had been used at the conference itself to mean a critical perspective (e.g. evaluation, information discernment). Lupton said she had questioned why there was such an emphasis on evaluating web based information, rather than encouraging critical engagement with all types of information (she used examples of an article in a refereed journal being retracted, predatory publishers and example of a study showing that experimental results were not replicable). She also identified that for younger people all online things are the web (not just things other than journals and databases). Thus there could be a credibility crisis: with propoganda, hoaxes and scams.
At that point Lupton identified that for her information included sensory, embodied, subjective, artefactual etc. information, as well as textual. She recalled some of her doctoral work, where she had created four frames: Generic, Situated (e.g. disciplinary approaches), Transformative (coming from critical media literacy) and Expressive (creative) windows on information literacy worlds. These are hierarchical, where Generic is incorporated in Situated, and those are incorporated in both the other two.
Lupton showed the generic skills and processes window, and talked about it as a tool for analysis (she runs a module on inquiry learning). She thought it this generic window was important, but as a building block rather than as a whole generic solution. Lupton highlighted some of the questioning frameworks she'd collected, which could be useful, however it was not satisfactory if you used some of these rubrics without looking at the socio-cultural context (she used the example of an article about drop bears).
Therefore the next window (Situated) came in. There is a rather poor photo of it, at the top of the post. The Verification handbook was given as an example of tools for this window, and also Lupton presented a list of questions that represented a verification tool for historical documents, and another example of disciplinary situatedness concerned geographical place.
Then there is the transformative window (see the 2nd poor photo), which engages with critical theory, and issue of politics, ethnicity, gender etc. Lupton showed questions that might be asked at a historical site (e.g. about who is involved in maintaining it, who is excluded, whose voices are unheard etc.)
Finally there is the expressive window, in which affect is important (Lupton included the question "does this nourish me") and also aesthetics, self-expression (developing your own voice), and social media responsibility. She showed a rubric used by a design colleague which includes both transformative and expressive elements.
This was a fascinating and useful talk: you can find  more on her blog and publications.

Supporting information literacy in MOOC learning #ecil2015

This is my slideshare and some links for the ECIL workshop this afternoon!

Futurelearn "Exploring Play" MOOC

- Conole, G. (2014). A 12-Dimensional classification schema for MOOCs.

- Entwistle, N., Nisbet, J. and Bromage, A. (2004). Teaching-learning environments and student learning in electronic engineering: paper presented at Third Workshop of the European Network on Powerful Learning Environments, in Brugge, September 30 – October 2, 2004.

- Sharpe, R. et al. (2006). The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. York: HEA.

Information Literacy Instruction: What Can We Learn from Reading and Writing Research #ecil2015

The first invited speaker today is Eero Sormunen, talking on: Information Literacy Instruction: What Can We Learn from Reading and Writing Research? at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015.
He was motivated by the challenges of teaching information literacy in schools and by dissatisfaction with research silos (people being unwilling tolook outside their own discipline). He highlighted relevant work in education, some of which he was going to talk about more.
He went on to mention Kuhlthau's ISP model, and then showed his own model for information interactions in learning tasks. Elements were information environment, search interactions, source interaction and learning task (unfortunately since I'm still in the back row I couldn't capture the diagram).
Then Sormunen talked about research into reading multiple texts: "reading to write" studies (from the 1990s; e.g.looking at synthesising across texts, reading and writing as an integrated process) and later multiple text comprehension research on the internet (e.g. with a focus on evaluation and selection of information, synthesis across sources, constructing arguments). He moved on to research in online reading, mentioning particularly the work of Leu, who looked at information processing practice in online reading (e.g. this, or (thanks to Eero Sormunen) this). There was a cluster of reasons identified for reading e.g. to understand important questions, to evaluate information critically.
Another example given of online reading research was by Kiili, a qualitative study which identified various reading patterns in learners working in pairs on a task (e.g. co-construction of knowledge and meaning; individual construction of meaning; silent reading) (a quick search found what I think is the study he mentioned, and a similar study by the same author)
Then there were studies on epistemic thinking: people's ways of knowing, and conception of what knowledge is. He showed Kuhn's developmental model of epistemic beliefs and noted that there is current research into reading multiple documents and epistemic beliefs.
Sormunen finished by talking about his own research in this area, in particular the ARONI project: argumentative online inquiry in building students' knowledge work competencies. The home page for the whole research project is here:
They are looking at information and school-based practices, as well as information literacy education. He is working with teams from educational research (with expertise in online reading, argumentation, knowledge work competencies, evaluation of teaching practices). You can find a little further information on the website that I just linked to: the project only just started. It aims to develop an instructional model for Finnish high schools.
(Some updates made 15 November)
Photo by Sheila Webber: front door  to my apartment in Tallinn old own, where I'm staying this week

Guided Inquiry: A Pathway to Information Literacy in Action #ecil2015

It's day three of the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 and I have to confess that I arrived a little late, and therefore this liveblog has the caveat and apology that I missed the very start of the keynote by Carol Kuhlthau: Guided Inquiry: A Pathway to Information Literacy in Action. The photo shows my view from the back (rather than my usual front row view).
Kuhlthau proposed a definition for Information Literacy which was: "Information Literacy is the ability to use information to construct knowledge for wise action". The question was how to develop this kind of IL in learners: Kuhlthau was proposing that using her Information Search Process model and Guided Inquiry in combination would be valuable.
Kuhlthau mentioned some recent responses by other organisations to the question of "what is information literacy?" e.g. the new ACRL framework and the Standards for the 21st Century learner.
The speaker moved on to her own response in the new (2015) edition of her book on guided inquiry, which can be found here: In this new edition, she includes a curriculum which is built around three key questions:
1) "How do I find information about my questions?". This had an associated concept that "Information that is organised provides access to facts, ideas and multiple perspectives". She mentioned David Ellis' steps in information seeking.
2) "How do I know know the information I find is dependable?" with an associated concept "Valuable information prompts curiosity, reflection and enlightment"
3) "Will the information I find help me learn about my questions?" There was an associated principle "Thoughtfully interpreting information over time leads to deep learning" (note that I may not have got these wordings 100% correct as I transcribed them quickly)
Kuhlthau identified a gap in understanding how information becomes knowledge, and she highlighted some work which relates information behaviour to learning (e.g. Heinstrom, Limberg - and I would add my colleague Nigel Ford). (This is reaching back to the concepts of surface/strategic/deep learning developed by Ference Marton and his colleagues).
There was also Kuhlthau's own work, including her work of many years into seeking meaning and her Information Search Process model. She has a lot of information about this research model here Kuhlthau talked through some key elements in the model e.g. the critical stages of exploration and formulation, and she focused on uncertainty as part of learning (uncertainty being one of the stages in the affective aspect of the ISP). She also explained her ideas of zones of intervention (the points where the librarian could best help the learner, within the ISP).
Finally Kuhlthau brought together the Guided Inquiry process and the Information Search Process. Again there is a good amount of information about this on her website here so I won't try to explain it here.
She finished by adding to her definition a further gloss "The ability to interpret and use information for creating solutions for sustainable living".

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Update #ecil2015

Still 2 days left of the the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015!
Apologies - earlier today I posted a post with nothing in it but the link to the conference website, by mistake (and it had got 40 page hits before I noticed and deleted it, which made me feel guilty!) I'll be liveblogging a bit less less tomorrow since I'm delivering a presentation and a workshop.
Here's a link to a presentation that I didn't attend:
Presentation by Jane Secker and Maria Bell: Sustaining student ambassadors: developing digital literacies in undergraduate students
and of course there is the Twitter stream at

Mapping Collective Information Practices in the Workplace #ecil2015

Liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015. Andrew Whitworth presented a paper on Mapping Collective Information Practices in the Workplace coauthored with Maria-Carme Torras i Calvo, Bodil Moss, Nazareth Amlesom Kifle and Terje Blåsternes
They had been looking at IL as a set of practices (a collective activity) in two Norwegian libraries. To quote the abstract "The basis of the project is its investigation of how members of communities of practice collectively manage, or “steward” their informational resources – or information landscapes – in a context of significant change."*
They aimed to get both insider and insider view, and also to engage the staff with data. They used a mapping tool, Ketso, to map the information landscape. This mapping was focused around responsibilities and tasks, and looking at information sources and needs, as well as things that were blocking progress. This also helped to articulate tacit knowledge (see picture; though it's a pretty dreadful photo, it gives you an idea of the maps).
These maps could be revisited periodically, to see (for example) whether the blockages were being removed. Whitworth said that he felt that it would have been useful to have the maps on the wall as reminders, rather than folding them away between meetings.
*I removed the references from this quote.

Ethics of Professional Information Literacy #ecil2015

Matthias Rath is speaking next, at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015. His topic is Ethics of Professional Information Literacy. In particular his focus was on the information literacy of professional journalists. He felt that communicating "many to many" with Web 2.0 (defined as a participative web) was the problem for journalists. He defined user created content as being content created "outside professional routines and practices". He also used the concept of the "public sphere" (professional, non-private, one to many, and associated with bourgeois society in the 17-19th centuries). Ordinary citizens did not have opportunities to communicate within this public sphere in its traditional form. The speaker presented a model in which journalists were positioned as representatives of the public, but also a bottleneck intermediary (between citizens and politicians, for example). However, this situation changed with Web 2.0. Axel Bruns had identified the "produser" (user and producer). Not only citizens, but also companies, politicians etc. also participated in Web 2.0 "many to many" interactions.
Turning to positives and risks of this situation. Positives were: Negotiation (different perspectives); Collective intelligence; Judgement (helping people to evaluate reliability). Risks included lack of orientation about truth; no control over truthfulness.
The speaker proposed journalists as "managers of attention" helping citizens to decide where they could most usefully direct their attention on the web. Turning explicitly to ethics, Rath identified general journalistic ethics (being balanced, not publishing news that causes harm, giving citizens information they need for self-government). To enact these ethics, journalists needed to be information literate, particularly in the Web 2.0 world. Individuals haave to earn their own individual reputation and credibility, including journalists. Also (I think) this might help non-journalists develop a sense of what it meant to be a reputable, reliable producer/produser in the Web 2.0 environment.
A delegate raised afterwards the issue of journalists who are told what to do by a government or powerful figure (which was acknowledged as a problem), and the speaker also mentioned that there is an issue of journalists who are working online, and often working/publishing in different countries. The problems of a press controlled by vested interests even in a democracy (the UK) were also raised.

Information-seeking Behavior and Information Needs of Farmers in Turkey and Sweden #ecil2015

The final talk I attended today at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was Information-seeking Behavior and Information Needs of Farmers in Turkey and Sweden: A Comparative Study from Demet Soylu, Nilay Cevher and Marco Schirone. I'm drooping a bit at the end of the day, so usual apologies to the speakers if this isn't a good representation.
The speakers identified that farmers encounter problems, both do to with their farm produce and the more general economy, climate etc. Previous research has identified that farmers benefit from national systems to support the farmers' information needs. There may also be issues of farmers' literacy.
This study investigated the needs to two areas, in Western Sweden (a developed country) and a comparatively less developed region of Turkey, Fethiye. A questionnaire was used for both countries, using both print and online (36 respondents in Sweden, 38 in Turkey) Additionally in Turkey there was an interview with farming associations, and for those Turkish farmers who were illiterate, there were phone questionnaires.
The educational and literacy levels were higher in Sweden. The biggest needs in Turkey were seed and product cultivation and other physical aspects (more so than in Sweden, where there was more interest in market prices and day to day trends). The Swedish farmers were using libraries to find information, in contrast to Turkey.
Recommendations included "green spaces" in libraries, and courses from libraries, but most of all there was a need to tailor services and information to the local needs of the farmers, which the study showed were varying.
Photo shows another view of lunchtime at the conference

Determining the Value of Information Literacy for Employers #ecil2015

European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn. Determining the Value of Information Literacy for Employers was presented by Stéphane Goldstein and Andrew Whitworth. In work sponsored by the CILIP IL Group they had investigated 3 companies and developed a draft tool to help people identify the value of information literacy to employers. This is a spreadsheet with cells for areas in which the participants said they invested and the expected returns on investment.
The areas for investment included investment in: organisational practice, information systems and technologies, staff development and support; and use of space.
One thing that was mentioned that the participants said they wanted to develop the capacity of their clients in handling information (e.g. a local authority wanting to develop citizens' skills or a company wanting people to develop skills in using its software)
As usual this is just a liveblogged impression of the talk and there is a lot more detail here, including the actual spreadsheet tool: and I've embedded the presentation below

Professional Information Literacy From Workplace to Profession #ecil2015

After a pleasant lunch, the first talk I attended at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was Professional Information Literacy From Workplace to Profession: New Focus for the Information Literacy Discourse. Elham Sayyad Abdi presented (with Christine Bruce as co-author). Abdi started by saying that the idea for this presentation had grown out of her PhD research. The focus was looking at professional and workplace information literacy as different things.
She identified that workplace information literacy has been examined before, and workplace information literacy researchers have emphasised to look at IL in context, with the need to examine different types of workplaces. Therefore she agreed that IL is shaped by context (people, spaces and the interactions). The focus here was on level of interaction. Workplace was distinguished from professional in focusing on location (with local colleagues) rather than looking at the group/community that form a profession (with interactions within the profession).
Abdi's PhD was a phenomenographic investigation the IL of web professionals. She had not started out by distinguishing between workplace and profssion, but the participants were articulating their IL more as professionals (rather than relating it to their physical worlplaces). The categories that she discovered were staying informed; building a successful website; problem solving; and participating in a community of practice.
This prompted the focus on professional IL. In the case of web authoring, there is a virtual working aspect that might put more emphasis on professional rather than physical workplace settings.
This is the start of this research and there werre intersting questions about the differences between the two concepts and where Communities of Practice fitted in, following the talk.
Photo taken at lunchtime today

How Can Video Games Facilitate Information Literacy? #ecil2015

How Can Video Games Facilitate Information Literacy? was presented by Emmanouel Garoufallou and co-authored with Ioanna Pervolaraki (PhD student), Rania Siatri, Georgia Zafeiriou and Sirje Virkus is next up at European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn. They had conducted a systematic literature review on use of videgames in literacy, learning and libraries. They covered publications 2004-2015. The speaker summarised some of the benefits of "video game literacy", use of "video games in education", "game design benefit" (for developing critical thinking, creativity etc.), "Video games and reading and writing" (where research shows gaming can improve these skills), and use of video games in libraries (as discovered in the literature). In concluding, the speaker idenfied different levels of engagement in different countries, and the need for more training in this area for educators and librarians.
I will take this opportunity to advertise my article, since this addresses the title topic:
Gumulak, S. and Webber, S. (2011) "Playing video games: learning and information literacy" Aslib proceedings, 63 (2/3), 241-255. I've also supervisied numerous other Masters dissertations on information behaviour and videogames e.g. Cheng, Y. (2013). An Analysis of Gamers’ Information Behaviour in Computer Gaming Environment: improving the features of games. MSc Dissertation. University of sheffield.
Photo: another shot from last night's reception

Systemic Disturbances in Thesis Production Processes #ecil2015

My next liveblog at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn is about Systemic Disturbances in Thesis Production Processes by Juha Kämäräinen, Erja Moore, Ilkka Mönkkönen and Jarmo Saarti
They used Engestrom's activity system approach: looking at the process of preparing and finalise a thesis, in which the elements were fullfilling administrative tasks (factitive system), the thesis process as the thesis research and reporting process unique to each student, (the object system) and the activities to support students in completing the thesis (the support system). In addition to this the speakers looked for anomalies in information use. For example the ideal is to write an original text, plagiarism is an anomaly; the ideal is to do a rich information search, not doing one is an anomoly. This opposes the idea of accepting that there is a "new normal" (of superficial search and copying).
They took the example of "unclear references within a text" - a student might use many references in a paragraph, but the role of each reference may be unclear. The second case was of a thesis detected to have plagiarised material; it was implied (I think) that this might be ignored or remain undetected. Another example was where student and others including supervisor made assumptions that were in fact incorrect (should the librarian intervene here?)
In conclusion, the speakers felt that at the moment the actors were seen to be the student, supervisor and (if present) project or client partner (i.e. not the librarian). They proposed that institutions should be more open about it being OK for theses to be "quick and dirty" or take things like plagiarism more seriously.

I think it would be interesting to have learnt more about the use of activity theory here. In teh questions there were various questions raised about plagiarism (including what IS plagiarism)
Photo by Sheila Webber: more food at the reception last night

Reflecting on Diverse Teaching Methodologies for an Information Literacy Programme #ecil2015

Theo Bothma presented Reflecting on Diverse Teaching Methodologies for an Information Literacy Programme for Large Groups (coauthored with Ann-Louise de Boer) at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn.
He explained that they had been delivering an information literacy module at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) for some time. They were redesigning the module, and they used the The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) as part of this process. Analysing the textbook they'd been using, they identified whetre it was lacking in terms of the HBDI, and used that in designing the new online version of the texbook. For example they added simulation exercises. This module is taken by 9000 students over 3 campuses, there are 175 sessions a week in 16 dedicated teaching labs, with 35 students per session (so it's a very big initiative!)
He said that IL was presented as being valuable for life, not just study. The IL aspect is based on the big 6, and there is also a computer literacy component. There is a lot of emphasis on searching, as well as ethical use, evaluating and presenting the information. Computer skills training is I think integrated, in that they learn by using applications such as Word and reference managers as part of the tasks and assignments.
They have evaluated the module over the years, currently this is done via questionnaires and focus groups. Before starting the module students tend to be negative (why are we doing this) but survey shows that at the end a big majority agree that IL is important, is important to studies etc. In terms of print/online preferences, 25% said they only use the paper workbook, whilst 11% use only the e-textbook. The rest use both, with varying preferences. Most students liked use of multimedia and would have liked more, although some felt they hadn't the time to watch extra videos. They were more divided in opinion about whether there should be more exercises.
They want to introduce more subject-specific exercises and assessments; want to do more advocacy (to make academics aware of whathe students do in the class: at the moment there isn't development of IL to build on this initial education); to improve the e-book with more interactivity; to review pedagogic approach in light of the HBDI model; to get the publishers of the e-book to get it to work properly on a mobile device.
I think I have blogged about this initiative before. Also there are publications e.g.
De Boer et al. (2011) Enhancing Information Literacy through the Application of Whole Brain Strategies. Libri, 61, 67-75.

Argument-Driven Inquiry in the Information Literacy Instruction in Taiwan #ecil2015

Next at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 for me was Argument-Driven Inquiry in the Information Literacy Instruction in Taiwan , presented by Lin Ching Chen, coauthored with Yaw-Huei Chen. She started by identifying the importance of argument learning (which means meaning making anargument using logical reasoning and relevant evidence to convince and audience whilst condsidering one's own opinion). The speaker felt that there was a lot of similarity between information literacy and argument-driven inquiry. The purpose of her presentation was to examine students' overall argument performance and to get the views of teachers and students.
She used a class of 30 grade 5 (which is towards the end of primary school, I think) learners in Taiwan where IL using the Super 6 and Big 6 were intergrated into the curriculum. The exercise involved groups of students chosing a controversial figure, mindmap the person, identify pros and cons of the person with evidence, write argumentative essays and then present their conclusions to the class.
As a research instrument she had a 13 item instrument (e.g. asking them to give a positive example or argument abpuyt something, or asking about the argumentative process itself), which was used for a pre and post test, and looking at the written answer and using a kind of rubric as analysis framework. There were much better results in the post test. One third of students had difficulty integrating multiple perspectives in one text. 50% could apply what they learned in argumentative texts. Looking at the teachers' opinions; time was a key problem (more time was needed). The speaker recommended teacher librarian and classroom teacher systematically and collaboratively designing argument-driven inquiry projects.

Young Children Making Connections Using the Web #ecil2015

This is the second day of European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn. The day opens with a keynote from Susan Danby: “How do You Make Paper White?” Young Children Making Connections Using the Web. This is the link to her publications on her institutional repository,_Susan.html
She started by identifying access issues for children in Australia. She said that Australia's network was slow. 90% children 5-14 years old have access to the internet - but that means that 10% do not. As in other countries, low income families are less likely to have access to the internet. If children in low income areas need to use the internet for homework, then they may have to find somewhere that has free wifi, particularly a problem in rural areas and where public transport isn't good. Similarly, low income families will have older/cheaper devices, which may disadvantage children who are expected to bring their own devices to school. Another issue is whether parents join in communal activities around computers (e.g. games and Minecraft), or whether the child uses apps by themselves without social interaction.
Danby highlighted some research on very young children and web searching. She mentioned Australia's early years learning framework, that included technology and use of digital technology for information seeking and play. However there is still ambiguity about this use. Danby briefly described some of her own research, in which they surveyed teachers, observed children at home and at school, and then the final phase will be a survey of teachers. There is also a 3-year longitudinal study of 6 families (with young children, 3-5 years). Through the projects they are aiming to understand childrten's use of technology in terms of social interactionsand daily practice.
From the teacher survey, about 80% gave access to computers (though less were connected to the internet). Although the teachers had positive beliefs about the place of digital technology, only a minority (for example) discussed finding information in class. The teachers appeared to struggle to know how to incorporate use of digital technology in the classroom. By the way, Danby put a lot of information on the screen, and I could only capture some of it.
She gave a couple of examples of something prompting a web search (e.g. a child having a tick, leading to discussion in class, then a search at break time, which gets documented as an activity). Another example was a child discovering a caterpillar, leading to an unsuccessful web search, then a digital photo sent to an expert, then an ongoing search for information, interacting with actual observation of the caterpillar pupating, becoming a butterfly, and the teacher and child seeking out more caterpillars of the same species. Danby showed us a video recording a teacher with a child trying to identify the tick that she had, looking at the ways in which the teacher and learner interacted, and the assumptions being made about the child's knowledge.
Further video clips showed children exploring google streetview, playing with what can be done on the screen, and talking about themselves in relation to a location they have been, and then interacting with each other, screen and mouse to find a place on google maps. Another example, of a Sunday morning in bed, a father was taking the two young children's digital interactions for granted and asking them questions about what they were looking at e.g. the older child looking at pictures of the planets and the sun. In another video clip, a father was scaffolding a child in working through a search problem (encouraging, querying and guiding). Therefore in these examples the focus is on "talk in practice", how the teachers, parents or peers are interacting with the child and the device to problem solve, and whether or not they are scaffolding students' progress and giving them agency.
Some finishing thoughts were that
- there was some rich interaction between siblings going on in homes around digital technology
- teachers of older children could learn from teachers of young children in the way that the teachers of young teachers used real life incidents to stimulate web searches
- adults could be playful in their web searching, and also use correct terminology to help children learn
This talk was also interesting in that to me these would fit as information behaviour studies, but undertaken by someone outside the IB community: there is a lot of overlap in terms of research questions and methods between the two fields.
Photo by Sheila Webber: food at the reception last night.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Outsourcing Trust to the Information Infrastructure #ecil2015

The final talk of the day European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 is from invited speaker Olof Sundin, speaking on Outsourcing Trust to the Information Infrastructure: A Socio-Material Perspective. An underlying theme is the need to understand what is going on in the search engines and devices that are relied on so much, and mediate so much information, nowadays.
The first thing he looked at was the changing learning environment in schools. Theses changes mean that there is an increase in active learning, looking at many websites rather than one book, with more digital media, ubiquitous access, new ways for mediating knowledge, and possibly with knowledge itself more subject to market forces. For example, the top hits on Google may be said to be there because of market forces. Sundin gave the example of a search on climate change where suggestions for search (from Google) included prominently "climate change hoax": the top hits, as readers will know, depend a lot on the popularity of sites (in links and clicks and various other - secret- aspects).
Sundin then cited a Swedish National Agency for Education survey from 2013 which showed that students of about 13-15 years thought they were pretty good at searching and evaluating (Sundin noted that the fact that search is not seen as a problem IS the problem).
This forms a background to Sundin's research. He identified that, in this research, he took a sociomaterial perspective, saw humans as coproducing knowledge, and people as "actors translating their activities in relation to each other" (so people are acting and reacting, I think also in relation to the tools as well as each other). Thus people's source evaluation practice is shaped by the nature of the technical/information infrastructure and sources themselves.Sundin identified Google as "obligatory passage point": something that people had to engage with in order to act and progress.
Sundin then presented some insights from the project on Knowledge in the Digital World (KDW). This is funded by the Swedish Research Council, and investigates practice of information seeking in everyday life and at school. They have been collecting qualitative data and Sundin presented some vivid quotations that showed how search had become an intergrated part of everyday life. In a focus group there was a response to a question about when you didn't search - and answers frpm participants were that you only didn't search if the internet was down, or your phone battery was flat.
Regular readers of this blog will remember that I blogged a talk from Sundin at the i3 conference, and there he introduced a phrase "search-ification of everyday life", which captured people's imagination at the conference. He also introduced it here. It indicates how many different kinds of information were accessed, or mediated,via a search engine. Search engines, particularly Google, have thus become naturalised as an unquestioned part of people's lives.
This means that people "outsource critical evaluation of information to Google" (by accepting the top hits). So "Search engines are not just tools for finding information, they are also technologies for establishing significance".
Sundin concluded by calling for a renewed interested in search as an object of learning, with searching seen "in a critical light" rather than being regarded as neutral. This information side needs to be addressed critically as part of media and information literacy research. This involves probing the information infrastructure which is hidden beneath the seeming simplicity of the search box: highlighting that this seeming simplicity is actually complex.
Another old photo: Olof is from Lund University and this shows a picture taken in the grounds of Lund University by me in 2013

From Information Literacy to Environmental Literacy #ecil2015

There are two invited talks at the end of the first day of the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. The first invited speaker talk is Gobinda Chowdhury: From Information Literacy to Environmental Literacy: Design and Delivery of Sustainable Information Services. He started by mapping out three elements 1) Information skills and Information behaviour; 2) Information systems and 3) Information services. In the centre he saw sustainable information services. He identified economic, social and environmental aspects to sustanability. Social sustainability, for example, includes ensuring equitable access to information. Ideally, a service would be sustainable in all three ways. Chowdhury gaves some examples from Higher Education, highlighting that issues such as energy and green transport tend to be prominent. He noted that in the UK there are figures which show that the HE sector is important within the national economy. There have been about 400 signatories to the Talloires Declaration, "a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities".
So, what can the information community contribute? Chowdhury emphasised that plans for sustanaibility of information systems and services need to take account of the institutional context. One possibility is replacing print with digital, however ther ehas not been good research that actually demonstrates that replacing print with digital is necessarily more sustainable. He noted that "Globally the ICT industry produces over 830m tonnes of Co2", and specifically HE institutions produce high levels of CO2 from ICT. A substantial amount comes from individual use of PCs again, so reducing access time would seem positive.
The speaker felt that sustainability could be improved through collaboration and access (e.g. open access). However, there can be questions about the sustainability of institutional repositories, which tend to be funded in addition to journal subscriptions etc. and have rising energy costs. He went on to talk about improving search recommendations and filtering, which would save time of learners' searching (and thus save energy costs) - though possibly this would not develop their information literacy!
Chowdhury was keen to develop a community researching these issues. During his talk he also presented a model of the sustainable digital library (see picture).
He has written about these issues, for example here: and here

Reading Preferences of Finnish, Norwegian and Romanian students #ecil2015

Below I summarise findings from the last two studies about student preferences between electronic and print documents. I will preface this with some of the issues and questions that emerged. One was the problem of government and instutional policies that were pushing strongly towards having electronic materials for students. Studies that had identified that people learnt better from print rather than screen were also mentioned: there seemed to be evidence from these studies, as well, that learners felt that they were learning better from print. What was notable was that the all the studies, from various countries, came up with very similar results. Although none of the samples (as I understood it) were robust and random, aggregating the results makes them more persuasive. There was discussion about whether the preferences would be different if the technology was better (more usable and easy to read).

Next in the print/electronic reading session, some more national studies from the cross-national study I blogged a earlier from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015. Firstly, there was Reading Preferences of Finnish University Students, presented by Terttu Kortelainen. have had joint electronic resource in Finland for a while now, and collection of e-books has become larger. In addition to research questions persued in other surveys, a further research question was to see whether students with visual impairments had different preferences. 668 questionnaires were completed (in March 2015), as a result of contact with 18 Finnish universities. 287 were social sciences, 142 medical/nursing (the 2 biggest disciplinary groups). Strengths of printed were seen that it was better for learning, easy to read and share, tactile - but less available. A number of free text views about preferences were given (e.g. getting distracted online, finding the screen too bright, eyes getting more tired when reading on screen, finding easier to read in peace in print). There were also comments about books being "heavy" on screen, but articlres being good electronically. Some students qualified their statements about preferences for print with comments about realising that this print-preference was bad for the environment! (So, the Finnish students were ecologically aware: it was noted during question time that students were assuming that electronic sources were better ecologically, which hasn't been proved). Students mostly did annotate print course materials and didn't annotate electronic ones. There was little difference between the responses of those who had visual impairments and those who did not. The only notable disciplinary difference that was mentioned was that engineers tended to prefer electronic format.
The comments gave more insight into preferences. The students had different preferences in different circumstances and wanted to have the choice (also, e.g. they might want to read in print and archive electronically).

Next, Almuth Gastinger presented The More They Tried It the Less They Liked It: Norwegian and Romanian Student’s Response to Electronic Course Material, coauthored with Ane Landøy and Angela Repanovici. This reported on responses from Norwegian (1063 answers across 6 institutions) and Romanian students (610 responses, from one university).
In terms of preferring to have all course materials in print format, there was a majority agreeing in both countries. In response to a statment about preferring material electronically, there was correspondingly a majority in disagreement. A majority of students felt they remembered information best from printed information. The results from the two countries were very similar, but there was a slightly larger number of Romanian students who liked electronic publications.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Russian church, Tallinn, October 2015

Electronic/ Print preferences in Portugal and France #ecil2015

I will put together the next 2 studies about print/electronic reading, given at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn (one study in France and one in Portugal). Firstly: Student Reading Behavior: Digital vs. Print Preferences in Portuguese Context by Ana Lúcia Terra. Her study was carried out in the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal. The 23 item survey was administered March-June 2015. 262 students completed the survey, 73% undergraduate students, 57% male. 53% agreed/strongly agreed they preferred to print course readings. 67% disagreed/strongly disagreed that they preferred electronic textbooks. In comments, preferences for manual handling of books was mentioned. A majority preferred to print items over 7 pages, and 32% preferred to read items less than 7 pages in print (slightly less than the number who disagreed with this statement, 36%). Language did not strongly affect preference. A with studies already presented in this session, students annotated print more than electronic texts, and felt that print was better for remembering and focusing on material. "Portuguese students prerceived print as more suitable for successful learning"- however the students did want a mix of print and digital resources.

Next, Joumana Boustany talked about: Print vs. Electronic: What Do French Students Prefer in Their Academic Reading Material? She started by highlighting how digital technology is everywhere, and the French Government had a goal of making 100% of educational materials in digital format. The survey was the same one as others had mentioned in this session. The author mentioned that it had been difficult to get the questionniares disributed, and she had feared that respondents were biased towards those liking technology as social media was important in recruitment of participants.
1629 completed responses were received, 80% female. The majority were studying at undergraduate level. A majority agreed or strongly agreed that they remember information best, and can focus on and review information better when it is in print. 68% disagreed that electronic was more convenient. The majority of students also preferred to read material in print, and annotated it in print, but not if it was electronic. Preferences were not affected by language (French or another language).
Thus there was a clear preference for print format despite the Government and University push towards the digital format. This leaves a problem for the librarian - to go with user preference or University/Government.

Photo by Sheila Webber: outside a cafe, Tallinn, October 2015

Paper or Electronic: Preferences of Slovenian Students #ecil2015

The next paper in the "reading format" session at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was Paper or Electronic: Preferences of Slovenian Students from Vlasta Zabukovec, coauthored with Polona Vilar.
This study was part of the multi-country study that I just blogged about: a 25 item survey carried out March-May 2015. The content addressed format preference, behaviour and attitudes, devices used.
120 male and 140 females responded from three universities in Slovenia. There was a strong preference for print format. 76% disagreed or strongly disagreed that e-textbooks were good. When they read the e-textbooks they did so on laptops and PCs more than anything else. The students agreed by a big majority (about 80%) that articles over 7 pages were read in print for preference. Language did not emerge as a factor affecting preference (this would mostly be Slovenian and English). Only about 5% agreed/strongly agreed that they preferred Slovenian material electronically (even a smaller percentage than for other languages). A majority annotated print items, and a smallminority annotated electronic items. In teh learning process, participants identified that print was easier for learning, focusing and reviewing.
There were obvious implications: i.e. that students still want to use printed materials, although there could be scope for developing students' knowledge/skills about electronic publications.
In a question afterwards, it emerged that students did like convenient, free online publications: but then they wanted to print them out.

Reading Format Preferences of Students - Print vs Electronic Academic Reading Format International Study #ecil2015

After lunch, I am attending a session looking at print/digital reading: I'm liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn. The session started with Reading Format Preferences of Students - Print vs Electronic Academic Reading Format International Study: Investigating the “Print or Electronic” Question around the World from Diane Mizrachi, Joumana Boustany and Serap Kurbanoğlu.
The study was stimulated by a presentation from Mizrachi at the last ECIL conference, into preferences of students at UCLA (USA). Findings from that included that: undergraduate students preferred print, but liked the convenience of electronic. Their preference also depended on context e.g. if a paper was important or long they preferred to print it. Kurbanoğlu presented the next section of the talk, which explained the research network that has developed to do multi-country studies.
In this particular case they used the Limesurvey survey tool. The researchers from each country had responsibility for the survey in threir own language (Limesurvey has a feature that makes formatting this easier). The survey has 25 questions. 9650 completed answers have been collected from 22 countries, with 4 more about to participate. Whilst most questions are uniform, there are some differences (notably, different qualification). They are starting analysis this month (though some national results were being presented later in the session): they have had to do a small amount of data cleaning, and translate comments into English.

Perception of Information Literacy among Faculty #ecil2015

Still liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn. The next paper I heard was Perception of Information Literacy among Faculty at the University of Graz, Tallinn University and University of Zagreb was presented by Valentina Kirinić, coauthored with Christian Schlögl and Sirje Virkus.
The study explored how IL is perceived by academic staff in 3 different disciplines at the three universities. The perception was explored by looking at attitudes and behaviour and practice.
26 academics were interviewed, mainly using closed questions. They were asked to express their familiarity with IL, say whether they thought they were info literate and express the needs, benefits etc. of IL training. Awareness was greatest at Tallinn, but there the discipline was information science. At Graz (business studies) awareness was lowest and at Zagreb there was more familiarity than at Graz, but it tended yo be associated with information technology. In terms of different elements of IL, there was no broad agreement between academics at Graz and Zabgreb, with information sources and quality assessment prioritised at Zagreb, and articulation of information needs at Graz, whilst at Tallinn they were all seen as important, depending on context. Most respondents saw advanced training in IL as important, with only one person at Graz and 3 at Zagreb disagreeing. However there were various views of what kind of training ws needed. Academics at Graz and Zagreb mostly thought IL should be a separate course, whilst at Tallinn they thought it should be integrated.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn, 2011

Information Needs of Doctoral Students in Psychology #ecil2015

Zuza Wiorogórska delivered a paper on Field-Specific Information Needs of Doctoral Students in Psychology. A Comparative Study, and I am liveblogging this from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015.
The inspiration for this was work on her PhD research. Her sites were Lille and Warsaw, and participants were PhD students in psychology. She aimed to investigate their information behaviour (IB) and discover their information needs, so library services could be improved. She used three concepts: Information Literacy, IB and methodological literacy. Firstly there was an online survey, and then a semi-structured interview. 5 students from each country agreed to be interviewed (from 12 answering the questionnaire in Poland and 9 in France): she is treating this as a pilot.
In both countries keywords, names and previous references were starting points for search. Students weren't using journal publisher alerts. Students searched in Google, Google Scholar, Science Direct and some other databases, e-journals, and networking websites such as Polish students complained about embargos on papers and the cost of purchasing articles (which they couldn't afford). The students mostly searched for articles and were selective on what they printed out (e.g. just things for indepth reading). Most of the students downloaded papers and stored them on their computers, also using tools like dropbox, external data stick etc. and some were attempting to categorise them.
The respondents found information sharing important e.g. with peers, supervisor: this was part of being in a community of practice in which students would share ideas with colleagues and learn to network.
There was little use/awareness of bibliographic management software: from that point of view the research itself helped to raise awareness of what was available and could be used.
In terms of social media, French students used Twitter more, and Polish students were more likely to use Facebook. They also looked at academic blogs. In terms of open access, although they saw this as a good ideal, their focus was on publishing in high impact journals (and teh students could not afford to pay to be published).
The results were generally very similar in the two countries, and the respondents felt there was a need to a "structured specialized instruction" for doctoral candidates. The speaker felt that it would be worthwhile to foster a learning community ofPhD students.
The next step is doing a study in the USA, to compare with Polish/French students.

The Enactment of Information Literacy: An Exploratory Study among Interdisciplinary PhD Students #ecil2015

Next in liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was The Enactment of Information Literacy: An Exploratory Study among Interdisciplinary PhD Students was presented by Ola Pilerot, and his co-author was Louise Limberg.
This study was based on material originally gathered for Pilerot's PhD work. The problem that they perceoved that students in interdisciplinary fields face "a number of chal;enges concerning epistemic traditions and research practices" - as they are having to engage with more than one disciplinary areas they have to cope with a scattered literature, and differences in disciplinary practices (about how you do research, what tools you use, what are good methods etc.)
In this context information literacy is seen as the embodied capacity to engage with information (find, evaluate etc.) in a disciplinary area (so that the students can come to grips with the different disciplinary practices and information worlds). The interdisciplinary field here was "design research".
Research questions were "How is IL enacted in the investigated practice" and "In what ways does IL relate to people and material objects in the practice under study?". There was apractice theory approach. Data was collected through 10 interviews and observations etc. in conferences, meetings etc. The "guiding principles" for the study were activities (what is done); individual agency (what can people do, what practices happen); material objects; power (what can/can't be done) and what it means to be knowledgeable.
The results included that IL is enacted:
- in dialogue with others (e.g. fellow students and conference delegates)
- through discussion about work in progress (which can be academic work, practical design wotk etc.)
Thus IL is "a collectively sustained project that unfolds in dialogue with othersand through interaction with material objects". However, it is challenging for the students to position themselves, when their projects are interdisciplinary and may be novel.
In a question afterwards I made a connection with the skills that a librarian needs to understand and think themselves into different disciplinary information/knowledge worlds.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn, 2011

Two Years of Information Culture Development for Supporting Higher Education #ecil2015

Juan D. Machin-Mastromatteo gave the next talk I'm liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. It was entitled: Two Years of Information Culture Development for Supporting Higher Education: Initiatives, Teacher’s Perceptions and Future Actions.
Information Culture is identified by his university (CETYS Universidad, Mexico) as important for students (it is in the strategic plan), and has resulted in an Information Culture (IC) Development Programme. I would say their definition of IC is broadly similar to information literacy. Initiatives are divided into three axes, including subject guides, support of online courses, joint activities between librarians and academics, flyers, videos and (in the axis todo with research support) citation and communication support guides (including courses on publishing etc). They use the SAILS and iSKills assessment tools. There is also an evaluation strand to the programme.
As part of this latter activity, they have interviewed 8 academics and collected questionnaires over 2 years of implementing the programme. Looking at the interviews with academics; they were aware of the initiative but fuzzy about what exactly the scope was and how it differed from other library activities. However, they felt that there were positive changes in the libraries because of the programme, and there seemed to be better links between academics and librarians. It was agreed that IC needed to be better integrated into curricula and the academics gave some specific suggestions.
In conclusion, so far they have been aiming at developing basic IC skills. They have also found that there are fewer barriers when the activities as regarded as challenging (e.g.publishing) so help is welcomed. However, there are still a good deal of challenges in reaching students. They have identified that more promotion and communication has needed. There are opportunities e.g. as the university is moving more towards as a research orientation, and librarians can offer support.

Information Literacy and Information Culture in Higher Education #ecil2015

Continuing liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. The next talk I am attending is: Information Literacy and Information Culture in Higher Education Information Literacy and Information Culture in Higher Education Institutions in Estonia. It is presented by Liia Lauri, and coauthored with her supervisors Sirje Virkus and Mati Heidmets.
Information Culture is here interpreted in its information management sense, as an information culture (IC) within an organisation (information/knowledge practices, attitudes and values). Thus the research questions concerned the various ICs in HE instititions in Esonia and how they could be characterised, as well as looking at whether there was any relationship with job satisfaction.
Data was collected via a web based questionnaire, using concepts developed through previous research e.g. information sharing as a component of IC. There were 160 respondents from 12 institutions.
Through factor analysis they identified 3 types of IC:
- Integrated, with academics well informed about their unit and the institution, with formally regulated information sharing: a transparent process
- Proactive, in which the focus is on serach for trends and changes in HE, involved in joint activities, with a high use of new information channels
- Informal, in which people prefer to get information from colleagues, rather than from formal sources.
In terms of information use, Integrated uses more internal (intranet) sources, whereas Proactive uses more external sources (e.g. websites) and uses sources more frequently. Integrated was satisfied with information availability, whilsy Informal was frustrated about information overload.
There was a significant correlation between Integrated and job satisfaction and satisfaction with leadership, as well as with self-reported performance. However Informal IC had negative correlation with job satisfaction and there was more willingness to leave their jobs.
Thus a key finding was that having an integrated IC had significant correlations with job satisfaction and self-reported performance: on the other hand it is notable that this IC was not so outward looking and alert for trends. Therefore it is not compatible with a risk-taking culture that might be seen as necessary for organisational development and market awareness.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn, 2011 (I will be reusing some of my old photos today!)

Modelling Children’s Experiences of Online Skills #ecil2015 #eukidsonline

I'm liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. The first keynote is from Sonia Livingstone on Modelling Children’s Experiences of Online Skills, Opportunities and Risks: a European Perspective.
She started by talking about the European Union-funded EU kids online network, which operated 2006-14 and ended by involving 33 countries. It carried out qualitative and quantitative research. This was funded by Safer/ Better Internet for Kids initiatives, and in 2015 the network passed to the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg. Additionally there is a collaboration between the LSE (where Livingstone is based) and UNICEF: Global Kids Online.
There is a lot of information on the linked websites, and I’ve blogged some of the reports previously as they came out.
Livingstone highlighted how much media anxiety there is about children's use of the internet and online/social media. Indeed there is more focus on that, rather than on the benefits of online engagement. This had had implications for directions in which research and Government attention had gone, with questions urged about the potential harm of digital media. At the same time there was the equally problematic counternarrative about digital natives, which also inhibited focus on developing children's literacies.
Therefore the projects that Livingstone had been involved with were aiming to address these problematic narratives. She highlighted the extent to which access and use of information is changing fast, and the need to investigate the children's perspective. Whilst on the one hand children may be very comfortable with using their devices, they still have anxieties and find some material (e.g. about violence to people and animals) upsetting.
Livingstone said that a survey of a thousand children (and parents) in 25 countries was the one of the most challenging things they did. It shows (and she said, most surveys of this kind show) that the risks that adults worry about (e.g. seeing sexual content and being bullied) affect a minority (e.g. 12% in 2014). Overall, in 2014 17% say they had been bothered by something on the internet in the past year. Notably, some of the things that worry adults were not worrying the children. However, more concerning is that between 2010 and 2014 there was more of an increase oin girls being bothered.
Livingstone moved on to talk about "skills and literacies". The Kids Online project had asked chilldren what they had done online. Comparing 2010 and 2014, basically the children do more of everything. The top 3 activities were visiting social networking profiles, using instant messaging and watching video clips. Using the internet for school work followed on from that. (n.b. this information can all be found in more detail on the websites I've linked to).
Moving on to skills about privacy and evaluation; for example (in 2014, 11-16 year olds) 71% could block messages, whilst at the other end of the scale 37% knew how to change their filter preferences (e.g. on search engines). 57% said they could compare information to find out if it were true. Livingstone showed there was a correlation between doing a lot on the internet and having these skills, although their were variations by country. There were also correlations between a high level of activity and the number of risks encountered. Obviously there are hopes that developing skills in information/media/digital literacy could help counter the risks. What is unclear is which factors make some countries apparently less risky (ie with a lower correlation between high level of activity and experiencing more risks).
Livingstone moved on to reflect on the directions for the research field. One issue is that of the nation: as noted, there are differences between nations, so how does one characterise a nation? There may be ways of comparing between countries e.g. if there is more gender equality in a nation, is there less difference between patterns of male/female internet use? A context for some of this investigation is a new COST project The digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children (DigiLitEY). Livingstone put a model on the screen indicating influential factors at the individual, social and national level (see the 2nd picture). Two question are - what matters (e.g. does it matter that children may be encountering risks and opportunities online rather than face to face) and why does it matter. A final fact that Livingstone highlighted was that children are using online and devices at very young ages and therefore parents involvement is very important. A report released last month is:
Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G., Dreier, M., Chaudron, S. & Lagae, K. (2015) How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: the role of income, education and parental style. London: EU Kids Online, LSE.
This was the outcome of an observational study with 70 families. Parents and siblings interaction and involvement with young children was important.
Livingstone finished by talking about the challenges of impact, in particular impact on policy, as well as achieving change. Sometimes the push for education to simplify and make measurable, and the service/application designers' complication of privacy setttings etc do not help. She left us thinking about digital Barbie, and the issues around the information which children are giving their digital Barbies, and what might happen to it (this draws in issues of surveillance, by companies, parents and governments, the subject of some questions after the talk).