Abstracts. Monday 29 March.

Pre-conference workshops

Angela Repanovici

University of Brasov, Romania

Ane Landøy

University of Bergen Library, Norway

The concepts of informational process in collaborative projects

Information Literacy refers to the process of acknowledging the information needs, of searching, evaluating and disseminating the information in order to accumulate and disseminate knowledge. This concept includes the former ones and the others (engineers, economists, philologists, informaticians, doctors, librarians).

In this paper we will report on an international collaboration project between Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania, and University of Bergen Library, Norway. In this project, we have done research on the students’ attitudes to information.  We have also compared this research with other kinds of research into the same area. The results from all over the world are similar in some respects. Both the students in Norway and in Romania prefer the Internet as information source accessed from home, however they are not acquainted with the rigorously scientific documentation sources, with the academic literature, with the scholar internet, with the invisible web, with the evaluation of the resources, with the ethic notions, with the plagiarism and the communication of the results in the scientific research. From this research, web-based teaching materials in information literacy has been created and developed, some of which will be shown here.

The actual uses in teaching of information literacy of these modules differ from our two universities, both with regards to who is doing the teaching, and as to how it is conducted. In Bergen the library plays the most important teaching role, while in Brasov the subject professors are the ones that use the web based teaching material and teach information literacy to students. Also, the teaching materials are in modules, which mean that courses may have quite different teaching outcomes and still be taught from the same program. In this paper we will also show some of the use of online teaching materials from our two universities, by comparing the teaching of a first-year course in information literacy and a masters program.

The collaboration between Bergen and Brasov has also been expanded to other universities and partners in Europe, in a new collaboration called «RINGIDEA», and we will report on the work here so far.

Jerald Cavanagh,

Limerick Institute of Technology

Padraig Kirby

Limerick Institute of Technology,

Library Network Support Services (LNSS): Developing the IL practitioner through collaboration, sharing, repurposing, reusing and not reinventing the wheel

Focussed on reusability and repurposing rather than reinvention and duplication of resources; on collaboration and resource sharing rather than isolation and unwitting repetition; on capacity building and integration, this paper charts the ongoing mission of the Library Network Support Services (LNSS) project,  a unique collaboration between the “Shannon Consortium” libraries of Limerick Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tralee, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland. Comprising of two major strands which are arguably the most important issues in Libraries and Librarianship today that of Library Staff Development and Information Literacy, this paper concerns primarily the information literacy component of the project.

The year 2009 has seen the LNSS achieve important goals. Following extensive international research into information literacy suites and learning outcomes, learning design and multimedia, as well as analysis of the needs of learners and existing IL initiatives across the Consortium the LNSS have evaluated, selected developed and marketed two innovative and engaging online information literacy suites aimed at Undergraduate and Postgraduate audiences and disseminating both lower and higher order IL skills. The rollout of these initiatives has been aided and enhanced by the running of what is perhaps one of the most ambitious and intensive programme’s of Library Staff Development initiatives ever staged in this country. As many as seventeen high quality courses using leading course providers from Ireland and the UK and an innovative online course on Web 2.0 will run right through 2009 covering topics such as marketing information literacy, learning and information literacy in Web 2.0, Train the Trainer/teaching skills for information literacy amongst many other diverse and engaging topics in librarianship.

The LNSS in fulfilling its mission to champion innovative web based support services and supporting information literacy teaching and training responding to the changing expectation of library users are striving to ensure that information literacy is firmly embedded across the Shannon Consortium. It must go beyond mere implementation and bequest a model of resource sharing and a foundation which will strengthen the future potential of the region, highly skilled staff who are aware of the most up to date IL practice, increased collaboration and capacity building and most importantly students who “recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the information needed”. (American Library Association 1989)

In this age when information literacy is widely considered the “trademark pedagogy of librarianship” (Kapitzke 2003 cited in Montiel-Overall 2007) our traditional role of custodian has been transformed and invigorated by this new “phenomenal push toward librarians demonstrating their pedagogical skills” (Bloom and Deyrup 2003). Our visibility has increased dramatically as we increasingly work side by side with Academic Departments in the delivery of transferable IL skills to our students. However, there are significant challenges ahead as we strive in collaboration with Academic Departments to embed IL so that it is tailored to students’ needs, level and subject area, and is  relevant, appropriately timed, compulsory and to include assessment if possible.

We propose to depict the process by which LNSS project initiatives have been implemented including a short practical demonstration of our online information literacy initiatives. We will also explain our rationale for choosing to evaluate, adapt and reuse existing content rather than its reinvention.  We will also describe a process by which the LNSS will endeavour to embed information literacy outlining the institutional and other structures we will use to reach this vital goal.


American Library Association (1989). Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report (Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.) http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential.cfm (Retrieved 15 October 2009).

Bloom, B. and M. Deyrup (2003). Information literacy across the wired university. Reference services review 31(3): pp. 237-247.

Montiel Overall, P. (2007). Information literacy: toward a cultural model. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 31(1): pp. 43-68.

Claus Wolf


Changing one of the vehicles for Information Literacy

Claus Wolf, European Operations Manager at RefWorks-COS, will review how RefWorks has been successfully implemented by universities around the world as one of the key vehicles of information literacy and how RefWorks has supported IL practitioners in implementing RefWorks at their institution. Claus will also show how the new RefWorks 2.0 interface has changed to take into account the ever changing needs of users and IL practitioners alike, making RefWorks 2.0 a viable vehicle for Information Literacy now and in future.

Ralph Catts

University of Stirling

Embedding IL in a Professional Doctorate Course Work

This workshop will be a ‘hands on’ exercise to consider a practical example of successful development of information literacy skills and its application in the taught component of post-graduate professional courses. It has relevance to all post-graduate programmes with a taught component leading to a dissertation or thesis. Participants will be encouraged to draw on the material and identify its application in a wide range of programmes.

This workshop runs from 9.30 am to 11.20 am and therefore enrolling in this workshop will mean you will then have a choice of further workshop options at 11.25 only. Because the workshop is an interactive experience not taking part in the full workshop will mean that you and other participants are let down. Therefore please do not enrol in this workshop if you want to do another session at 10.20 am.


Please familiarise or refresh your knowledge of the ANZIIL IL Framework and in particular read the sections by Judy Peacock and Mandy Lupton.

See Bundy, A. (Ed.) (2004) Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework, 2nd Edn. Available at:  http://www.anziil.org/resources/Info%20lit%202nd%20edition.pdf

Caroline Williams

Mimas, University of Manchester

Changing user behaviour on the web – what does this mean for the development of online information literacy tools?

This paper will summarise the findings of a number of market research studies that have been commissioned by Mimas (www.mimas.ac.uk) in order to gain a better understanding of how students and researchers interact with and search on the Internet.  The research revealed a wealth of information about use of Google, attention spans when using online tutorials, use of Web 2.0 and mobile technologies, awareness of academic electronic resources and Internet searching behaviour.  The findings are valuable in informing the development of information literacy programmes and tools and, specifically for Mimas, have provided significant insights into user behaviour as its looks to the next phase of development of, for example, the Informs and Internet Detective services.

Beginning work on a number of new projects and developments, Mimas initiated the market research to gain an understanding of our audience and to inform our work in the development of new functionality and tools through personalisation and aggregation, Web 2.0, and mobile technology.  The market research consisted of a number of focus groups and interviews with a range of participants from a variety of subject disciplines.  Undergraduate students, PhD students, and librarians were asked about how they conduct and manage online research, their thoughts on the design and functionality of online tools, their thoughts on Web 2.0 approaches to service delivery, and their use of mobile Internet.

Key findings of the research revealed, perhaps unsurprisingly, low levels of information literacy amongst students at all levels and as such validates the findings of the CIBER Google Generation report.  Search practices were largely habitual, with strong reliance on Google, Google Scholar and a narrow range of resources dependent upon discipline.  Furthermore, little interest was shown in personalising and organising searches and material (as also evidenced in DPIE2 findings), and the results revealed interesting insights into perceptions about the disposable nature of information.  Perhaps more surprising, was the lack of interest in new and emerging technologies, with few students using the mobile to access online material, and a dismissive attitude to the use of Web 2.0 in education. As we move into an environment typified by ubiquitous information sharing, the issue of digital literacy (as articulated in Digital Britain) becomes more pressing and demanding of an innovative response from library and information professionals.

This paper will discuss and demonstrate how these findings have been, and will be, translated to Mimas service development, for example in the repurposing of the Internet Detective tutorial for use with mobile technologies.  We will also consider the wider applications of the findings for the information literacy community, and we are keen to seek the views and opinions of the participants in order to facilitate debate about the impact of user behaviour on the development of online information literacy tools.


CIBER, (2008).  Information behaviour of the researcher of the future: a CIBER briefing paper.  Jan 2008. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/reppres/gg_final_keynote_11012008.pdf (Retrieved 30 October 2009)

Curtis+Cartwright, (2008). Developing Personalisation for the Information Environment (2). JISC 2008.

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/amtransition/dpie2_personalisation_final_report.pdf (Retrieved 30 October 2009).

Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2009).  Digital Britain.  June 2009.  http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/digitalbritain-finalreport-jun09.pdf (Retrieved 30 October 2009).

Chris Powis

University of Northampton

Jo Webb

De Montfort University

Making a mark: Assessment for learning

Assessment is fundamental to effective learning (discussed best in Brown and Knight, 1994).  Teachers need to ascertain whether the learning outcomes have been achieved and learners need to test their understanding and receive feedback to reinforce or amend their performance (Biggs and Tang, 2007).  However, it is probably the element of our teaching that is perceived by practitioners as being most problematic for a variety of reasons (see Webb and Powis, 2004).

The teaching of information literacy in both formal and informal contexts is often confined to single interactions where assessment methods have to be incorporated within the learning and teaching event.  Even where the teaching takes place over a longer period or where the assessment is part of a wider course the problematic nature of information literacy assessment may lead to mechanistic testing of recall without checking deeper learning and understanding. 

Drawing on educational theory and current pedagogic practice, the symposium will discuss the rationale for embedding assessment into diverse teaching environments and draw together a set of principles for good practice in assessing information literacy synthesizing participant ideas and experiences of information literacy assessment into a novel framework.

Participants will work together to develop innovative and engaging techniques for assessing information literacy teaching across a range of possible teaching interactions. These will include single sessions as well as longer courses and face to face as well as online teaching.  The workshop will look at teacher-run, self and peer methods of assessment.  Although much of our assessment in necessarily formative the symposium will also explore summative methods especially in the integration of information literacy into other, existing schemes of assessment.  The development of assessment approaches will be informed by the work of the session leaders at their respective universities, as well from cross-sectoral work in the East Midlands and case studies in a forthcoming book (Blanchett, Powis and Webb, 2010).

Finally, feedback to learners is important if they are to understand how their actions are affecting the development of their information literacy and feed forward to inform their future actions. These elements need to be integrated into the assessment process and the workshop will explore ways to deliver feedback and feed forward as part of the learning experience.


Biggs, J. and C. Tang (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 3rd Ed. Maidenhead: SRHE and Open University

Blanchett, H., C. Powis and J. Webb (2010) A Guide to Teaching Information Literacy: 101 tips. London: Facet Publishing [Forthcoming]

Brown, S. and Knight, P (1994) Assessing Learners in Higher Education. London: Kogan Page.

Webb, J and C. Powis (2004) Teaching Information Skills: Theory and Practice. London: Facet Publishing.

Jane Secker


Rosie Jones

Manchester Metropolitan University

Debbi Boden

Glasgow Caledonian University

Ruth Stubbings

Loughborough University

Libraries & learning 2020: can technology save us and is information literacy (once again) making the wrong assumptions: a debate

This session considers what learning and libraries might look like in the year 2020. The audience will consider whether technology or information literacy teaching will become the key factor when supporting learners. Two sets of practitioners take opposing sides in the debate to predict what the future might hold. The technology advocates argue that librarians and researchers who are once again championing the importance of information literacy are failing to understand how technology might develop in the next 10 years. The developments in recent years have seen the rise of web 2.0 tools and technologies, cloud computing, concepts such as “wisdom of the crowd” and the growing importance of social networking. Can we equip students for a shiny new digital future by teaching them information literacy? The technologists would argue not. The following proclamation is made by Michael Wesch in his popular YouTube video, “A Vision of Students today” that ‘only technology can save us’.  Wesch is a cultural anthropologist who along with many others, believe that students today have a different relationship with technology to earlier generations. Technology forms an integral part of their lives, and technology is the key to engaging with them. Where does this leave librarians teaching information literacy? Some might argue that by 2020 technology will have developed in such a way as to make systems intuitive, personalised and flexible enough to deliver users what they need, before they even know they need it.

Meanwhile the IL champions will argue that technology alone can never be the solution and that students today are struggling with information literacy. With the massive growth in the use of web 2.0 technologies, students are increasingly perplexed about what tools they should be using and how they can find quality information. By 2020 this situation will have only worsened, but librarians will be heralded as saviours helping learners navigate the complex information environment and teaching them essential skills for life.

This debate started in 2005 between Stanley Wilder and Esther Grassian, two US librarians and featured at several conferences including LILAC 2006. The technology advocates will argue that librarians have not moved on – they are still banging on about teaching students skills being the solution, when surely we need to look to what technology can (and very soon will!) offer us. Join us for the debate and you decide – can technology save us, or will our future be spent teaching students critical evaluation skills in 2020 and beyond?


Grassian, E. (2005) Information Literacy: Wilder Makes (Some Right, But) Many Wrong Assumptions. Library Association of University of California. Available online at: http://www.ucop.edu/lauc/opinions/literacy.html (Retrieved 30 October 2009)

Wesch, M. (2007) A vision of students today. YouTube video available online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o (Retrieved 30 October 2009)

Merinda Kaye Hensley

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Critical reflection: Strategies for encouraging your growth as a teacher

In this workshop, attendees will learn how to engage their inner teacher by practicing critical reflection techniques. Two active learning segments will be used to demonstrate how to develop a personal teaching narrative as well as how to support a community of practice in the classroom through guided peer observation.

As the role of the librarian continues to expand within the instructional mission of the academy, librarians are searching for ways to improve their teaching skills. There is a widespread conversation among teachers from which librarians can benefit. Critical reflection informs a teacher’s practice by encouraging candid dialogue while examining the intersection between pedagogy and our personal teaching philosophy. Parker Palmer reminds us, “If we want to grow in our practice, we have two primary places to go: the inner ground from which good teaching comes and to the community of fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft” (Palmer 1998, pp. 141). Fostering critical reflection for the IL practitioner includes two key elements: an intentional and focused introspection that is complemented by a collegial coaching environment.

How does a teaching librarian develop opportunities for critical reflection? The first step is in examining topics that take us beyond technique to the fundamental issues of teaching (e.g. images of who we are when we are teaching at our best, with attribution to Parker Palmer). In this light, we are better able to examine our experiences in the classroom and how our teaching impacts student learning. Second, by generating a community of practice, we are able to benefit from the experiences of our peers. One facet in developing a reciprocal peer-to-peer relationship is learning how to turn criticism into constructive feedback and how to use that feedback to inform effective teaching practice. The outcome is a mutual respect that empowers the teaching librarian to proactively problem-solve and take risks in the classroom. Learning outcomes for attendees include:

         Start a personal narrative for critical reflection on teaching

         Engage in discussion on how to be an effective peer coach

         Develop strategies for how to receive constructive criticism and apply it to teaching practice

This interactive workshop will illustrate two distinct methods attendees can use to encourage critical reflection of their own teaching practice as well as with their colleagues. After a mini presentation on defining critical reflection, attendees will expand their personal narrative on teaching by answering a reflection prompt from Stephen Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. Themes culminated from the reflection will contribute to a think-pair-share activity that highlights commonalities among teachers. Attendees will build on this foundation through a brainstorming activity and discussion on positive peer coaching strategies. A short video simulation will be shown in order to promote discussion on how to craft constructive criticism. And finally, the presenter will share tips on how to be a positive commentator and set protocol for meaningful dialogue.  Ideas generated in the workshop, although modeled by an academic librarian, will be relevant to the teaching needs of all types of librarians.

Attendees will take home:

         Top 5 professional readings that will kick start the critical reflection process

         25 critical reflection prompts to begin a personal teaching narrative

         Strategies and tips for providing and receiving constructive criticism


Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Forthcoming. Hensley, M.K. (2010). “Teaching new librarians how to teach: Strategies for building a peer learning program” In Recruitment, Development, and Retention of Information Professionals: Trends in Human Resources and Knowledge Management, ed. Elisabeth Pankl, Danielle TheissWhite, and Mary C. Bushing, Hershey, P.A., IGI Global.

Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach: exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life. San Francisco, Calif, Jossey-Bass.

Muireann O’Keeffe

Dublin Institute of Technology

Philip Cohen

Dublin Institute of Technology

An Introduction to Student Centred and Active Learning for the Information Literacy Practitioner

In January 2009 the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Library Services and the DIT Learning Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC) collaborated closely in developing a tailored professional development course entitled “An introduction to learning, teaching and assessment” for library staff involved in supporting the acquisition of essential Information Literacy (IL) skills by DIT students.

Library staff at DIT had previously recognised a need to develop teaching and learning skills that would foster active engagement and motivation in students, so in turn students would be able to apply IL skills to their own learning. Thus, this course introduced concepts, theories and practical strategies for learning that would help foster active student centred learning. (Biggs 1999; O’Neill, McMahon 2005)

Workshops on lesson planning, student centred learning and teaching strategies, observation of teaching/presentation skills, diversity in education, and technology in education formed part of this course, along with a filmed micro-teaching session undertaken by each participant. The course was accredited with 5ECTS credits. All participants completed assessments relating to reflective practice on their teaching experiences.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to theories of learning and to practical strategies for actively engaging students, as well as consideration of the benefits from such courses to both library staff and library users.

The workshop is planned for 60 minutes. It will actively engage participants in discussion and debate on the following topics:

         How people learn and the main theories of learning

         Exploration of learning and teaching strategies for student centred and active learning

         Benefits from such a course and future actions

         Exchange of experience of similar courses elsewhere by workshop participants

Workshop Facilitators

Muireann O’Keeffe and Jen Harvey from DIT Learning Teaching and Technology Centre and Philip Cohen and Brendan Devlin from DIT Library Services.


Biggs, J. (1999) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press.

O’Neill, G. and McMahon, T. (2005) Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers? Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Learning and Teaching. Dublin: AISHE. http://www.aishe.org/readings/2005-1/ (Retrieved 16th October 2009).

Nora Hegarty & Alan Carbery

Waterford Institute of Technology,

Learning by Doing: Redesigning the First Year Information Literacy Programme at WIT Libraries

 According to Smith (2007), students aged 17-19, known as Millenials, are characterised by their low boredom thresholds, and their short attention spans. Accustomed to being continually entertained, this has shaped their expectations for more engaging instruction. Taking these factors into consideration, together with Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT, 2007) commitment to a student-centred, active learning model, WIT Libraries’ Learning Support Team devised a new and innovative approach to teaching information literacy (IL) skills to first year undergraduate students.

Traditionally delivered as a two-hour blend of lecture and demonstration by the librarian at the top of the classroom, the revised programme moved to two separate one-hour, workshop sessions that places far greater emphasis on interactive, student-centred pedagogies. It is an inventive and original approach to IL instruction delivery that aligns with the American Library Association (2003) guidelines for best practice, which recommend diverse approaches to teaching and the use of active, collaborative activities.

Based on the concept of ‘learning by doing’, the student engages with their classmates, and together they interact directly with the library resources. Through extensive use of specially designed worksheets and reusable learning objects, the student takes an active role in the learning process, while the librarian guides and promotes student participation and facilitates collaborative learning. Based on television shows, the learning objects also act as the driving force and prime method of facilitating learning in an interactive and engaging way. With this worksheet approach, the active learner takes centre-stage and is directed towards independent learning through problem-centred activities, mutual enquiry, discussion and dialogue.

An initial small-scale evaluation study was carried out to determine the success of the revised programme. Feedback to date has been very positive: 94% of students surveyed rated the programme favourably. Furthermore, 85% felt more comfortable and confident about using the library and its various research resources. By providing constructive solutions for incorporating active learning into library user education programmes, this paper is expected to be a useful source of practical information for libraries in similar positions, faced with similar challenges.


ALA (2003) Characteristics of programs of information literacy that illustrates best practices: a guideline. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/characteristics.cfm (Retrieved 15 October 2009)

Smith, F. (2007) ‘The pirate-teacher’, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 33, No 2: p. 276-288.

WIT (2007) Strategic Plan 2007-2010. http://www2.wit.ie/AboutWIT/StrategicPlan/FiletoUpload,19822,en.pdf (Retrieved 15 October 2009)

Christopher James


Going back to university basics: how education is able to benefit from research tools

During this interactive workshop, we will investigate core tools and resources available to help teachers enrich basic courses with cutting edge, trusted information.  We will discuss how to help students develop in their chosen field and provide them not only with information, but up-to-date knowledge.

Sarah Faye Cohen, Janet Cottrell and Michelle G Miller

Champlain College

Building brick by brick: A pragmatic approach to measuring impact

An institutional culture of assessment is often promoted as a necessary component of a successful implementation of outcomes assessment. But what if such a culture does not yet exist?  This session illustrates pragmatic approaches to building meaningful information literacy impact measures in an imperfect environment.   

Champlain College (Burlington, Vermont, USA) has developed and implemented a course-embedded rubric-based assessment system to evaluate and refine our inquiry-based information literacy program. Through an electronic portfolio system, faculty members evaluate student work using rubrics that have been mapped to specific information literacy outcomes.  Evidence gathered through the e-Portfolio allows us to assess student learning, while simultaneously enabling librarians and faculty to react to gaps in student learning by revising instruction to reflect student comprehension and execution of IL concepts.

But it wasn't always this way.  Our assessment project did not begin in the context of a comfortably established "culture of assessment," nor did we start with a clearly-defined image of a successful evaluation scheme.  Using Champlain as an example, this session will explore pragmatic approaches to building meaningful outcomes assessment in an imperfect but realistic environment, one that requires progress even as a culture of assessment develops.

To some extent, our approach was a combination of intentional acts with serendipitous results.  Our willingness to experiment and to reflect contributed greatly to our developing culture of assessment. Based on our experience, we offer other libraries the following tools and tips:

Discover data.  Sometimes the first hurdle to assessment is overcoming fear of data.  Prior exposure to data of any kind, even if not related to assessment, can help. For example, our library had documented activities in annual reports for several years before our assessment efforts began. Since many of the indicators in these reports were of interest to librarians--and fortuitously, showed desirable trends--internal resistance to collecting and interpreting data lessened, and a positive attitude toward data began to develop.

Collaborate widely. Look for collaborators throughout campus:  faculty members, course developers, the campus assessment expert, the campus instructional designer. We found that our IL assessment project benefitted from earlier campus-wide experiments with assessing students through standardized out-of-class assessment tools, which influenced us to choose more authentic course-embedded assessment methods.

Tolerate uncertainty. Be willing to try things -- and to fail, if necessary.  See what develops, and be ready to tolerate uncertainty.  As the four-year curriculum in which we were embedding IL unfolded, we felt a good deal of uncertainty, often preparing IL instruction for courses which were still themselves being designed.  In effect, this process mirrored the inquiry-based approach we incorporated into our information literacy instruction.

Make decisions when necessary. Be willing to make top-down decisions when necessary.  For us, this included stipulating that information literacy instruction would be grounded in theory, embedded in the college's core curriculum courses, spread over the students' full college career, and meaningfully assessed over time.

Emphasize meaning and usefulness.  Make sure the proposed measures are meaningful and useful: to students, to faculty, to administrators, and to librarians. Making measures meaningful is the foundation, the mortar, the framework that holds a successful assessment program together.  Much of our presentation will focus on this aspect as we weave it into the other elements described above.


Fourie, I. and van Niekerk, D.  (1999) Using Portfolio Assessment in a Module in Research Information Skills. Education for Information  [Internet] 17: 333-352.  Available from: <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=2919762&site=ehost-live> [Retrieved 8 December 2008]

Gerretson, H. and Golson, E.  (2005)  Synopsis of the use of course-embedded assessment in a medium sized public university's general education program.  JGE: The Journal of General Education [Internet] 54 (2): 139-149.  Available from: <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_general_education/v054/54.2gerretson.html>  [Retrieved 8 December 2008]

Jacobson, T. and Zu, L.  (2004)  Authentic Assessment. Motivating Students in Information Literacy Classes. New York, Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., pp 101-113. 

Napoli, A. and Raymond, L.  (2004) How reliable are our assessment data?: A comparison of the reliability of data produced in graded and un-graded conditions.  Research in Higher Education [Internet] 45 (8): 921-929.  Available from: <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=15075118&site=ehost-live>  [Retrieved 8 December 2008]

Oakleaf, Megan and Neal Kaske.  Guiding Questions for Assessing Information Literacy in Higher Education.  portal: Libraries and the Academy [Internet] 9(2). 2009. Available from: <http://meganoakleaf.info/oakleafkaske.pdf> [Retrieved 23 October 2009]

Claire Kenny

University College Dublin

An evaluation of technologies used for the delivery of online information literacy modules

This paper is based on research carried out as part of the Masters of Library and Information Studies in University College Dublin. The composition of today’s student population is considerably diverse with some students accessing the library’s resources remotely. Furthermore, library staff are facing challenges concerning financial and human resources. Academic libraries are increasingly “beginning to meet these challenges by using the online environment” (Dewald 1999).

This research, therefore, examined technologies that can be used to create and deliver online information literacy tutorials and asked which type of online information literacy tutorial is best received by a test group of users.

Methodology: Two online information literacy tutorials were developed, with the content of both centred on the basic searching of an online OPAC. A common computing design model was used during this phase. The online IL tutorials were then evaluated based on the users’ experiences and opinions using a mixed method approach. To this end, both a questionnaire and one-to-one semi-structured interviews were used.

Findings: Primarily, interviewees referred the visual aspects when asked what they liked about the two online IL tutorials. Similarly, the issue of visual elements was raised by some when asked what features of online tutorials, in general, were important. Content was mentioned little when participants were asked about important features of online tutorials in general. Overall, control over the tutorial was preferable to a more passive role and participants saw interaction in a positive light.

Conclusions: It can be concluded that participants appreciated the inclusion of relevant graphics to aid understanding, illustrate key points being made, and aid retention of knowledge. Positive comments were forthcoming for both voiceovers and animations, but it was concluded that multimedia elements should be used only when necessary. Finally, in the main participants preferred an interactive experience.


Dewald, N.H. (1999) Transporting good library instruction practices into the Web environment: an analysis of online tutorials. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 25 (1), p.26-32.

Monday 29 March – Parallel sessions 1 (afternoon)

Sophie Bury

York University, Toronto, Ontario

An investigation of the information literacy instruction practices, attitudes and knowledge of university faculty: findings and recommendations based on survey and interview research at York University

This session will provide a critical review of key results from research conducted with full-time faculty in a wide range of disciplines at York University, Toronto. Findings regarding faculty perceptions of the meaning and value of information literacy instruction will be shared, in addition to results, shedding light on faculty behaviours and beliefs, when it comes to the practice of information literacy.

Results obtained and recommendations made are based on a two-stage research process. Survey research formed the focus in stage one, and interview research (involving a semi-structured interview approach), allowing more in-depth investigation of selected issues, was the research method adopted in stage two.

Relevant disciplinary differences will be outlined, with a focus on comparison of results between the Science and Engineering disciplines, the Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines, and the Professional disciplines. The session will also examine the extent to which the findings of this study either corroborate or differ from results of similar studies uncovered by a recent review of the Library and Information Studies literature.

The session will begin by exploring faculty perceptions of the meaning of information literacy and the importance of information literacy instruction in fostering information literacy competencies. Faculty views on the relative importance of instruction in different information literacy skills areas in higher-level education are also summarised. Faculty perceptions and experiences of information literacy competency levels among their students will be discussed. Faculty opinions of student skill levels at different stages will be highlighted, i.e., lower level undergraduate students, higher level undergraduate students, and postgraduate students.

Results indicating the approaches typically adopted by faculty to engage students and motivate them to learn information literacy competencies are shared. The role of the research assignment in fostering information literacy competencies, in faculty’s estimation, will be discussed.  Findings regarding levels of faculty engagement in teaching information literacy competencies, either by themselves or in collaboration with a librarian, will also be summarized. Results will also be highlighted regarding the nature of information literacy instruction typically incorporated within the classroom by faculty, the amount of time typically allocated to this instruction, as well as their general experiences and estimation of it.

Survey results showed that the number of faculty, who opt not to incorporate information literacy instruction within their classrooms, is nearly equal to the number who do. Therefore, examination of the reasons for the non-adoption of information literacy was critical in this study and key findings from both survey and interview research will be highlighted.

Finally, faculty beliefs regarding appropriate roles, formats, pedagogies and methods for the effective teaching and learning of information literacy competencies will also be shared. Faculty views on how information literacy instruction might be more effectively promoted at York University will also be discussed.

Based on this survey and interview research, the speaker's summary of implications for practice and research will be shared.

Wendy Stanton and Jenny Coombs

University of Nottingham

Interactive Learning using Xerte: minding the skills gap

Nursing students bring different levels of information literacy skills and knowledge to their studies; students are recruited from a wide range of backgrounds and research conducted by Franks (2007) and Craig (2007) concluded that students lack confidence in using library resources and that they did not always utilise library facilities effectively. At Nottingham School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy timetabled sessions are arranged for every intake of Diploma students early on in their course, however many of the students request additional help on a one-to-one basis.

As part of a research study for her Masters in Education, a member of the Medicine and Health Sciences Team produced a series of tutorials using the Xerte Online Toolkit to investigate whether using an online tutorial would improve information skills and confidence amongst nursing students, compared to traditional methods. This view is supported by Childs (2005) whose findings demonstrated that elearning is effective and improves the education and training of healthcare students.

The Xerte Online Toolkit http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xerte/

is an Open Source content creation tool developed by the Information Services team at the University of Nottingham. It provides project templates which easily allow the creation of interactive learning materials and a suite of browser-based tools for developing interactive content. This enables non-technical staff to create rich, interactive engaging resources with high levels of accessibility. The Xerte Team won The Learning Technologist of the Year Team Awards in September 2009.

The tutorials were designed to encourage self-paced independent learning to aid development and retention of information literacy skills. Two were introduced at the beginning of the Diploma in Nursing Course; the first was a basic introduction to the library including borrowing, finding books by classmark and using the online catalogue followed by a more advanced tutorial covering an introduction to literature searching, planning a search, identifying keywords and searching subject databases. Handouts were produced to accompany the tutorials, which students used to make their own notes as they worked through them. Quizzes based upon the tutorial content were also developed, which students enjoyed, and these added a fun element to the sessions.

The tutorials have been used with three separate intakes of diploma in nursing students at the Derby site and various changes were made in response to user feedback. The response from students has been very positive and the results indicate an improvement in student information literacy skills as a result of the introduction of the tutorials. The tutorials have now been adapted for use at all 5 sites and there are plans to introduce them in to future sessions with undergraduate nursing students.


Childs, S. et al (2005) Effective e-learning for health professionals and students – barriers and their solutions. A systematic review of the literature – findings from the HeXL project. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 22 (Supp2), pp.20-32

Craig, A. et al (2007) Making a difference? Measuring the impact of an

information literacy programme for pre-registration nursing students in the UK. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24 (2), pp. 118-123

Franks, H. et.al. (2007) Establishing library ‘key skill’ confidence levels amongst a cohort of nursing students at an English university. Nurse Education in Practice, 7 (4), pp. 258-265

Christine Irving

Glasgow Caledonian University

Begin at the beginning – Information Literacy in primary schools

A key objective of The Scottish Information Literacy Project was to develop an information literacy framework, with cross-sector partners linking primary, secondary and tertiary education to lifelong learning including workplace and adult literacies agendas. This is in line with the Scottish Government’s ‘cradle to grave’ educational strategy. The project has long advocated that it is too late to teach / develop information literacy skills in higher education students. It needs to start much earlier in primary schools and continue throughout education into lifelong learning. The framework has been drafted, piloted and recently restructured using a weblog to facilitate the adding of exemplars thus extending and redrafting it to make it a genuine lifelong learning policy document.

The exemplars highlight that there is some notable work taking place within the primary school sector including a resource called ‘Real and Relevant – Information Literacy Skills for the 21st Century Learner aimed at the upper primary/early secondary stages. The resource developed by a Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Literacy Development Officer, reflects the purposes and principles of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence as well as linking with specific experiences and outcomes from the ‘Literacy across learning’ which includes information and critical literacy skills and competencies.

Following discussions with Learning and Teaching Scotland’s CfE Literacy Development Officers, the project was awarded funding to continue the above work lower down the school by creating a quality CPD Information Literacy resource pack Real and Relevant – Information and Critical Literacy Skills for the 21st Century Learner’ (Early and First Level) for Primary 1, 2 and 3 Teachers containing:

         Background Information re Information Literacy

         Lesson Plans 

         Supporting resources –e.g. Posters, Power Points.

The project aims to complement existing work already carried out by Learning and Teaching Scotland in this area, e.g. the structure and terminology that has been adapted to be in keeping with primary practice and the CfE literacy across learning framework.

Working with Primary School Teachers, and Education / Curriculum Literacy Development Officers (national and local authority based) is a fairly new important area for the information literacy community and LILAC and should be of interest to all on a local, national and international level not just the school sector.  Whilst the main focus of the presentation will be to report on the project: the development, dissemination and evaluation of the CPD resource pack plus the problems experienced which had a knock on effect and subsequent change to the initial timeline. Time will also be spent on looking at the purposes and principles of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and specific experiences and outcomes from the ‘Literacy across learning’ which includes information and critical literacy skills as this will set the scene for the work undertaken. It also sets the scene for the framework exemplars from the Primary School Sector - local authority initiatives, toolkits, models and Secondary School Librarians working with Primary 6, 7 pupils (11 and 12 year olds) from their feeder primary schools.

Andrew Whitworth

University of Manchester

An evaluation of a course located in the relational frame of IL

This presentation expands on a paper in the Journal of Information Literacy (Whitworth 2009) which described an example of innovative practice in IL education, examining the ethos and design of a post-graduate course unit, Media and Information Literacy (M&IL). The unit has been cited as a rare integration of media with information and multiliteracies (Beetham et al 2009). It locates itself in the “relational” frame of IL (Bruce et al 2007). Bruce et al describe six frames, characterised by different definitions of IL and how it should be assessed. The ‘content’ and ‘competency’ frames represent an objective approach to IL, viewing it as knowledge about the world of information and competency with searching techniques. The ‘learning to learn’ and ‘personal relevance’ frames are subjective, with IL viewed as enhancing learning and context-dependent. The ‘social impact’ frame is intersubjective, with IL seen as important to society and the connections between people.

The sixth frame, the ‘relational’ frame, is also critical, but brings together the other five. In this frame, students “experience variation” in their approaches to information searching, developing an understanding of when each of the other frames provide an appropriate method for interacting with information. Whitworth (2009) also proposed that the relational frame “bridged” IL and multiliteracies, as it demanded a critical approach to the bases of any given information search, and thus an awareness of systems of value (for example, religion or environmentalism) which provoke information needs.

M&IL contains activities and a final assessment which encourage students to apply each of the six frames in practice, thus connecting objective, intersubjective and subjective approaches to the valuing and filtering of information, and the links between IL and multiliteracy.

However, the JIL paper lacked any evaluation of the student experience and impact of M&IL. This long paper presents results from the first stage of this evaluation. Students who studied the course unit in 2008-9 have been surveyed by email, with a sample also interviewed in focus groups. Students were asked: what conceptions of IL they had most fully developed as a result of their experience on the course; what frames of IL education they had consciously or unconsciously embedded into their assessment activities; and what application they have subsequently made of IL in their professional and personal lives. The researcher also analysed all submitted coursework portfolios, allocating the students’ activities to each of the six frames, with the email and face-to-face interviews thus serving as a form of member checking or dual coding of these data.

The conclusion is that the course has been successful in instilling in the students an appreciation of the multifaceted nature of literacy. Although generalisability is always difficult with evaluative research of this kind, suggestions are offered to IL educators for how to achieve a more rounded approach to teaching IL in ways that pay tribute to the value of the relational frame.


Beetham, H., McGill, L. and Littlejohn, A. (2009). Thriving in the 21st Century: Learning Literacies for the Digital Age, Glasgow: The Caledonian Academy. Available at http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/llida/outputs.html [Retrieved: 11 Aug 2009]

Bruce, C., Edwards, S. and Lupton, M. (2007). Six frames for information literacy education: a conceptual framework for interpreting the relationship between theory and practice. In Andretta, S., ed. Change and Challenge: Information literacy for the 21st century, Adelaide: Auslib (pp. 37-58).

Whitworth, A. (2009): ‘Teaching in the relational frame: the Media and Information Literacy course at Manchester’, Journal of Information Literacy 3/2.

Jacqui Weetman DaCosta

The College of New Jersey (USA)

Eleonora Dubicki

Monmouth University (USA)

Using Weapons of Mass Collaboration to Implode Information Literacy into the Curriculum

This session outlines the collaborative efforts to develop Progression Standards defining the information literacy skills and competencies, which must be mastered at the first and second year collegiate level by all students, and the process of making the Standards an integral part of curricula in New Jersey (USA) colleges.

The state of New Jersey (USA) has produced many valuable assets, such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra. However, the state’s latest production could eclipse all of these in its contribution to information literacy and mass collaboration! Three academic library professional groups have joined forces to produce a set of Progression Standards for Information Literacy. The Progression Standards were created in response to state legislation, known as the Lampitt Bill, which aims to smooth the transfer of students between two and four year colleges. (This is comparable to students moving between Further and Higher Education Institutions in the UK.)

The standards are based on the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) but have been simplified by attempting to eliminate library jargon and include terms that academics could relate to. Each of the five ACRL standards have been given a set of skills (or learning outcomes), which students are expected to master by the end of each of their first and second years of an undergraduate degree.  The document has deliberately been designed as a basic framework to provide a starting point for discussion, development and customisation by institutions.

The three professional groups (ACRL User Education Committee, Central Jersey Academic & Reference Librarians’ Committee and the VALE Shared Information Literacy Committee) established an 8 person Task Force, comprised of librarians from both two and four year colleges. The Task Force started its work in December 2008 and has not only produced the standards but also embarked on an action plan to raise awareness and obtain endorsement from academics and their professional bodies. A wiki has been developed to help academics and librarians put the standards into practice, with useful tips on how to incorporate information literacy skills into the curriculum.

This project is an example of successful connections being made by academic librarians across many sectors and groups: further and higher education colleges; academic staff and managers, who were consulted during the drafting of the standards and provided useful feedback; and school librarians, who expressed an interest in using the standards as a transitional tool for their students moving into colleges.

This session will introduce the Progression Standards and outline the collaborative work that has not only brought them to fruition but will continue, in order to promote the standards and to make them an integral part of curricula in New Jersey colleges. It is hoped that attendees will be inspired to undertake similar collaborative initiatives whether at a national, regional or associate college level. The Progression Standards wiki will be shared with a focus on some sample assignments, which illustrate how the standards can be incorporated.


Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) (2000) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago, IL: ALA. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency.cfm (Retrieved October 29, 2009

Sean Cordes

Western Illinois University

Measured steps: an experimental study in multimodal literacy and learning

More than half of new 21st century jobs will require the skills needed to access, evaluate, and use digital tools to perform information work. Students of today are technically savvy, but much of this experience lies outside of the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.  There has also been much effort, resources, and research put forth to enable educators to prepare students with skills that will help them succeed in the digital workplace. Still there remain gaps in the process that turn digital natives into successful information workers.

A critical area in this effort is the ability to develop contextually relevant information and communication technology (ICT) experiences for students that leverages their existing knowledge to match the information needs of the academic and business workplace.

This paper documents an initial exploratory experiment combining information seeking behavior with information presentation skills in a multimodal literacy context. Starting with an initial research question students created a presentation using Google Web Sites to incorporate visual and textual information objects using a variety of applications including: LibraryThing, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, and library databases. Activity Theory and its components of community, rules and regulations, tools, and division-of-labor provided a framework to analyze student cognitive, affective, and psychomotor interactions with information literacy and technology. 

A quantitative and qualitative assessment of student activity and development was documented through a triangulation of survey data, observation and one-to-one interaction, and student self-reports. The paper concludes with a discussion of the study results, and the potential development of framework for ICT use in education and training that will enhance learning across subject domains, and that can be customized for effectiveness in performing information work that is domain specific.

Nigel Morgan and Nicola Jones

Cardiff University

Now showing at your nearest lecture theatre! Bringing IL to life with innovative homemade movies

Creating innovative teaching materials and catering for a range of learning styles are essential to successful IL teaching. In 2008, we successfully experimented with tailor-made video montages to enhance library orientations. Spurred on by their positive reception by students, we set about creating a series of five-minute films focusing on the information requirements of undergraduates.  These deliver punchy, memorable footage to support and reinforce the content of IL sessions and provide focal points for discussion. Library and Media Resources staff collaborated to storyboard, script and shoot the films which are sufficiently generic to be used across most disciplines. Topics include obtaining initial background information, the importance of peer-reviewed journal sources, evaluating online information, and citing and referencing.  Each film stands alone but also forms part of a wider narrative; the series follows the fortunes of two students as they engage with information sources to complete their first assignment task.  Whilst one student is ‘clued-up’ and adopts a highly systematic approach, his companion blunders through the information research process in a comically idiosyncratic fashion. The contrast between these approaches provides a strong dramatic scenario through which the information is delivered.  As the saga unfolds, members of library staff make onscreen appearances to assist the students and reinforce key messages, and lecturers provide cameos which highlight the importance of IL skills. Stylised cinematic techniques are used to present content in a quirky and dramatic fashion. The paper will feature short excerpts from the movies, focus on their planning and production, and assess their versatility and effectiveness as teaching resources. It will analyse the generally favourable but sometimes polarised student feedback received and will incorporate the reflections of the librarians who have used the films. Whilst we cannot offer Nicole Kidman or Tom Cruise, we can certainly promise a lively and informative session exploring this engaging method of presenting IL principles and encouraging good practice.

Carole Thompson

Texas A&M University at Qatar

Gillian Westera

Northwestern University in Qatar

Bijan Esfahani

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar

Developing literacy in an oral culture

Qatar is a well funded, developing nation in the Persian Gulf, with an outstanding educational effort in progress.  Texas A&M and Northwestern University are two of six US universities with branch campuses in Qatar's Education City, each with a different and highly specialized program taught in English, typically the students' second or third language. 

The cultural tradition of the indigenous people is oral.  Very little primary material exists in written form.  Modern communication is primarily in person or by telecommunication (phone, fax or SMS.)

The academic libraries and writing center have a vested interest in strengthening general literacy skills, such as reading, writing, information discovery and retrieval research, and logical reasoning.

The speakers will describe their experiences, challenges, trials and solutions in developing literacy efforts to support the construction of a knowledge society in Qatar.

Catherine Davies

City University London

‘Upgrading’ our information skills training: new technologies and new relationships

In October 2007, the Learning and Research Support team at City University launched an information skills module on the university’s VLE. This was the first attempt an online resource for information skills. After two years it was decided that this offering did not meet the needs of staff and students, and a new module, Upgrade, was developed.

There were two main characteristics of this new module that distinguished it from its predecessor. The first was the type of materials on offer; the new module made extensive use of ‘talking slideshows’ built using the Adobe Presenter software, in addition to other media, such as video, downloadable guides and quizzes. This ensured a more engaging ‘standalone’ module for students. The second was the involvement of other support services around the university in created a holistic support module, including academic learning support, the careers service and the Personal Development and Planning unit, which positioned information literacy as an essential skill that students needed to succeed in university life, rather than a ‘library skill’ that would have little relevance outside of their university career.

This paper will consider the rationale behind the new module, the benefits and challenges that were faced in using the new technologies, and of working with services outside of the Library in producing a single resource.


Eduserv (2009) The Information Literacy Website. http://www.informationliteracy.org.uk/. (Retrieved 24 October 2009)

Cottrell, S. (2001) Teaching study skills and supporting learning. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Webb, J. and Powis C. (2004) Teaching information skills: theory and practices. London: Facet Publishing

Eeva Koponen

Jyväskylä University Library

Jyväskylä Libraries make it happen. A common strategy for information services

The first common strategy for information services in Jyväskylä Libraries was made in 2003. The participating libraries were:

* Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences Library

* Jyväskylä City Library – Regional Library of Central Finland

* Jyväskylä University Library

Also the school authorities took part in the process.

As a result of the research and strategy work, a Liaison Committee of Jyväskylä Libraries was set up in Jyväskylä. In addition to the above-mentioned libraries also Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Library joined the committee. The committee monitors and evaluates the information service strategy in Jyväskylä. It coordinates and develops cooperation between libraries. With its working groups it organizes training, development projects and events in the library sector.

The focus of this strategy work has been to improve information literacy among pre-school and school children, students, educational personnel, library personnel, but also elderly people and citizens in general. Forms of cooperation include harmonization of library services, collaboration in providing databases and other electronic resources, common training sessions, Central Finland Libraries extranet and circulating personnel between libraries.

At the moment, we are carrying out the second round of this overall strategy work. Although many of the partial goals have been reached, a lot has to be done before the main target, information literate pupils and students, can be systematically reached. Among the questions to be discussed are: developing the resources and role of school libraries, mainstreaming information literacy in curricula, better use of electronic materials and e-learning and training of the personnel involved.

Jyväskylä libraries with different clientele, eg. varying age groups, work together with one another and with their interest groups. In my presentation I highlight the factors in the common strategy which enable libraries to make a difference in educating information literate citizens. And in discussion I hope to get new ideas and solutions for our strategy work.

The Liaison Committee of Jyväskylä Libraries, http://www.jyvaskylankirjastot.fi/index_eng.php.

Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences Library, http://www.jamk.fi/english/library.

Jyväskylä City Library – Regional Library of Central Finland, http://www.jkl.fi/kirjasto/eng.

Jyväskylä University Library, http://library.jyu.fi.

Kristy Widdicombe and Lucy Gundry

University for the Creative Arts

An introduction to research for creative arts students: visual research methods and information literacy

Garfield suggests that students ‘only retain about 10% of what they read, but they retain 20-30% of what they see’ (Garfield 2008, citing Weiler 2005).  In creative arts practices students think visually and communicate through images as well as words. ‘The word ‘idea’ is closely related to the Greek verb ‘to see’ – how often do we say ‘see what I mean’? (Gray and Malins 2004:95) Visual, and information literacy is therefore essential for students who are required to develop a range of creative and critical thinking skills and toolkits. 

This paper will report on findings from two overlapping research projects at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), highlighting the importance of Library-Faculty collaborations in developing key skills.

Healey and Jenkins’ report for the HEA, Developing undergraduate research and inquiry (2009), argues that all undergraduate students ‘should experience learning through, and about, research and inquiry’ and that one of the main ways of doing this is by ‘developing research skills and techniques’ (p.3).  In response, this paper advocates the importance of discipline specificity and identifies the need for a new vocabulary when discussing research methods in the creative arts.

The first project aims to investigate the pedagogic practice of visual research methodologies at UCA.  Phase one of this project involved a contextual review of the relevant research and practice literatures/media on visualising research in the sector.  Phase two involved collecting data from cross-discipline and cross campus student focus groups at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The project findings are being analysed with view to identifying the best practice ‘visual research methods’ models used by students and to implement these as ‘visual research tools’ into the future practice of learning and teaching at UCA and other arts universities in the UK.

The second project focuses on the development of learning objects, which allow students to make the connection between visual thinking and research.  An online tutorial has been created that aims to introduce students to the research process, highlighting the importance of research for practice-based students.  As a basic introduction, the tutorial covers areas such as mind mapping, keyword construction, primary and secondary research and planning.  Although focusing on the wider research context (e.g. sketchbooks and museum visits), the primary focus is library research. 

A recent report published by JISC has revealed that ‘students’ perceptions of research is very much led by the context of their assignments’ and that they are ‘reluctant to approach their tutor directly…for advice on what research content to access’ (Hampton-Reeves, et al 2009).   One of the recommendations of this report is that a student-authored guide to research is created.  As a result, the Introduction to Research tutorial contains student-authored elements (e.g. video footage of students reflecting on the importance of research). 

Aiming to share practice in an important and under-researched topic, the presenters will outline their research and point to future developments.


Garfield, D. (2008) A reading strategy for a UK university: reviewing the literature on reading, literacy and libraries, with particular regard to the HE sector. Journal of Information Literacy, 2(2). http://jil.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/RA-V2-I2-2008-2 (Retrieved 4 October 2009).

Gray, C. & Malins, J. (2004). Visualising research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Hants: Ashgate.

Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2009). Developing undergraduate research and inquiry. HEA. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/publications/DevelopingUndergraduate_Final.pdf (Retrieved 4 October 2009).

Hampton-Reeves, S. et al (2009) Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning. University of Central Lancashire: Centre of Research-Informed Teaching. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/aboutus/workinggroups/studentsuseresearchcontent.pdf (Retrieved 4 October 2009).

David Meehan

Dublin City University

Adapting information literacy practice to changing conditions: The example of business postgraduates

Certain aspects of the management and delivery of information literacy to university students are quite stable. Libraries may develop strategies to inform training policy and practices which maintain broad relevance over many years. Programme structures and numbers may vary little over time. Some of the problems may be constant too, such as regular changes in academic liaison contacts, or the regularity of developments in resources that are always on the agenda when educating users.

There are, however, other trends which can change information literacy delivery both in subtle and more fundamental ways. Some of these could pose essential questions on the extent, if not the quality, of information literacy delivered by libraries. For instance, publishers are looking for various ways to communicate directly with content users. Although online discovery, full text and data resources are proliferating, in many ways they are becoming more intuitive and easier to use. Social web tools are starting to perform functions heretofore mediated exclusively in library classes.

Academics have been responding to different concerns Competition between institutions causes some to differentiate their offer in order to attract enrolments.  Problems with drop-out rates cause lecturers to find better ways to engage students and improve their education experience. This may include adding new dimensions to their traditional structures, and changing methods of assessment.

All of these factors have come into play in the delivery of information literacy to business postgraduate students at Dublin City University. This presentation will, by way of introduction, illustrate our general approach to satisfying the research needs of business postgraduates. It will briefly identify the principal strengths and drawbacks of the Library’s postgraduate training offer over recent years, highlighting practice issues that have arisen. Trends in the overall postgraduate business programme will be considered alongside the specific issues arising from the core of masters programmes which constitute the basis of this study.

We will, in particular, consider how we have tackled matters such as changing assessment requirements, increases in class sizes and fundamental programme revisions. We shall also examine the physical and technological options we have employed in order to ensure that, in adapting to new circumstances and demands, our offer loses neither its quality nor its personalised face-to-face character. We will describe the business postgraduate strategy we have been developing, particularly over the past year. We will also document and evaluate actual outcomes. A key part of this evaluation will include formal quantitative and qualitative feedback from postgraduate students. Informal responses from academics and students in follow-up meetings will also be considered.

The presentation will particularly highlight the crucial role of liaison with key academic staff, in terms of general communication, identification and negotiation of library input, and feedback on specific outcomes. Conclusions will be drawn on the effectiveness of the new information literacy model applied to business postgraduates, and its adaptability to future change insofar as this can be reasonably foreseen.

Claire McGuinness

University College Dublin

Teaching Librarians or librarians who teach? - Exploring aspects of teacher identity among academic librarians

Precisely 30 years ago, in a polemic that remains unique in the LIS literature, Pauline Wilson described the concept of the teaching librarian as an “organisation fiction”; namely a false belief propagated by librarians in order to “provide a more comforting self-image, to bolster a status claim, and to relate the profession to the world outside it” (1979, p.146). While these comments were ostensibly made in a world where “information literacy” had yet to become the global phenomenon it is today, recognised at the very highest levels (The White House, Oct. 2009), they nonetheless raise still-pertinent questions regarding professional identity, the nature and extent of “teaching” in modern librarianship, and the role and self-image of librarians who engage in instructional activities. When one considers the volume of literature devoted to information literacy instruction during the past three decades, it is perhaps surprising that comparatively little attention has been given to the question of “teacher identity,” and how it is constituted among librarians. The first study specifically devoted to exploring librarians’ “teacher identity” from an experiential viewpoint was carried out by Scott Walter, and published as recently as 2008; hitherto, papers addressing this issue had been written primarily from a practical perspective, exploring the tasks, skills and responsibilities associated with the teaching function.

Inspired by Walter’s use of personal narrative to explore central themes which inform the study of “teacher identity” among academic librarians, this paper revisits previously unpublished datasets, gathered in the course of two Irish-based studies of information literacy instruction and academic –librarian collaboration, with the aim of identifying shared beliefs, practices and attitudes which may help to further articulate the concept of the “Teaching librarian.” Data collected from academic librarians in Irish third-level institutions, through in-depth semi-structured interviews (2002) and a nationwide questionnaire survey (2006-7), are re-examined from a phenomenographic perspective, in order to identify and explore themes in the participants’ negotiated experiences of teaching information literacy to undergraduate students. The resulting themes are discussed with the aim of extending and deepening Walter’s initial model of the subjective world of the “teaching librarian.”

In addition, the paper also analyses several conceptual frameworks in terms of their potential usefulness in defining and fostering “teacher identity” within the profession:

1) Process of socialisation to the profession, through which fledgling librarians are integrated into their work environments, and learn to negotiate the norms, behaviours and attitudes that constitute the “profession.”

2) Communities of Practice, defined as groups of people who “share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002, cited in Ng & Tan, 2009, p.38).

3) The adoption of formal sets of standards and competency criteria for teaching librarians; for example, “Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators” (ALA, 2008)

4) The cultivation of “reflective practice” within the library profession (Jacobs, 2008)


Jacobs, H. (2008) Information literacy and reflective pedagogical praxis. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(3), pp.256-262

Ng, P.T. & Tan, C. (2009). Community of practice for teachers: sense-making or critical reflective learning. Reflective Practice, 10(1), pp.37-44

Walter, S. (2008). Librarians as teachers: A qualitative inquiry into professional identity. College & Research Libraries, 69(1), pp. 51-71

White House, Office of the Press Secretary (2009). National Information Literacy Awareness Month, 2009: By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-National-Information-Literacy-Awareness-Month/ (Retrieved 8th October 2009)

Wilson, P. (1979). Librarians as teachers: The study of an organization fiction. Library Quarterly, 49(2), pp.146-162.

Debbi Boden

Glasgow Caledonian University

Sarah Arkle

University of Bedfordshire

Expository online learning versus evidence based interactive online learning: is there really a difference to learning outcomes?

In 2006 the online Information Literacy programme POP-i was developed for and piloted with staff working in Bradford Public Libraries.  The pilot was evaluated using focus groups, online reflective journals and the Museum Libraries and Archives Councils (MLA) Inspire Learning Generic Learning Outcomes (GLO).  The evaluation demonstrated that the pilot was very successful and raised interest in the HE sector. Therefore in 2007, using the feedback from the pilot, the programme was improved and rebranded as LolliPop before being piloted in the HE sector with Bedfordshire University and Loughborough University. The programme was at this point, static and expository, with the exception of the ‘New technologies’ unit.  This unit was changed for the LolliPop pilot and a WIKI within the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle was used but with minimal success. Feedback from this pilot suggested that university library staff  found the content of the course was very useful and pertinent to their role within the library; the general consensus was however, that ‘there was too much reading’ and that the programme needed to be more interactive.

In 2008 the programme was re-written and an evidence based interactive version was created. The course had nine units and ran over eighteen weeks from March – June 2009 with forty-nine library staff from the University of Worcester, University of Bedfordshire and Worcester College of Technology.  The students were divided into 8 mixed groups each with a mentor; the mentors were librarians from Bedfordshire and Worcester Universities.  Several of the mentors from Bedfordshire had experience of being LolliPop mentors but were required to take a much more active role with the new evidenced based version.  Key elements of this programme were the use of Web 2.0 collaborative tools, course materials in various media formats, investigative tasks, reflective journal and sumative assessment. 

To evaluate the programme we have used the MLA’s Inspire Learning Generic Learning Outcomes in the form of an online questionnaire and focus groups.

Key questions are:

1. Was the evidence based interactive version successful and did it improve the learning experience in the third pilot?

2.  Is the role of mentor important when working with an online evidence based programme and do they effect the quality of the learning experience?

Also to be considered is why was the first pilot (POP-i) in the Public Library sector was so successful in its expository style compared to the feedback from the second pilot (LolliPop) in the HE sector?  These questions will be considered and discussed during the 40 minute session.

John Crawford

Glasgow Caledonian University

Employability and information literacy: a review of a training programme

The Scottish Information Literacy Project which began in 2004 includes the following objectives:

Researching and promoting information literacy in the workplace

Identifying and working with partners, both in education and the wider community.

Although the Project was originally begun to develop an information literacy framework linking secondary and tertiary education it soon expanded into lifelong learning and this led to contacts with adult literacies tutors. These contacts were able to support an important study on the use of information in the workplace (Crawford and Irving 2009) which raised employability and training issues. Most of the interviewees considered the public library service to be irrelevant to their training and information needs. As many public library services provide employability training skills courses, including IT skills, this was an extremely disturbing finding.

This led to discussions with several public library services during 2008 but it was Inverclyde Libraries in West Central Scotland which showed most interest.  Inverclyde is a former heavy industrial area with high unemployment and relatively low skill levels. It also includes areas of multiple deprivation.

In discussion with Inverclyde Libraries staff it emerged that the service planned to run two identical employability training courses in late Spring-early summer of 2009. It was agreed that these would contain a substantial information literacy component and John and Christine would evaluate the course and offer recommendations.


The methodology adopted can be described as the ‘learning life histories’ approach. It aims to situate and understand people’s learning in their life experiences including personal motivation and ambition, family life, work experience, the environment in which they live and their previous education. It takes the view that learning issues cannot be properly understood and addressed unless these factors are known.  Interviews were held with five learners, all women and the tutor. 


Most participants in the course were women. Few young people participated

Interviewees had previously mainly worked in a service industry background

Pressure from family and friends were the main motivations for participating

It is difficult to separate vocational from personal development motivations

There were major issues around recruitment especially in recruiting young people (16-19) and liaison with Job Centre Plus in recruitment. 

Health issues and their management is an employability issue and introduces a  health literacy agenda 

Information literacy is an important course component (30- 60%)

Sensitive tutoring is essential

The main impact of the course is  greatly increased self confidence  and improvement in IT/IL skills

It is very difficult to disentangle employability and recreational usage of information literacy

Community learning and information skills training staffs can learn a lot from each other.

The two main findings were: the need to strengthen recruitment and build links with community learning and development. The finding have been reviewed and implemented by Inverclyde Libraries.


Crawford, John and Irving, Christine (2009) Information literacy in the workplace: a qualitative exploratory study, Journal of librarianship and information science (41) 29-38 URL  http://lis.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/41/1/29?etoc  [consulted August 09]