Abstracts.Wednesday 31 March. Parallel sessions 4 (morning)

Fiona M Forsythe

Fionn Consultancy Services

A sober Scot looks at the Rose

(with apologies to Hugh MacDiarmid, and A drunk man looks at the Thistle)

Sir Jim Rose, in 2008, was charged with undertaking a review of the primary curriculum in England which would provide pupils with an ‘entitlement to learning which encourages creativity and inspires in them a commitment to learning that will last a lifetime.’

In 2009 Sir Jim produced his 200 page report  (ROSE) in which he said there is ‘too much prescribed content in the current curriculum’ and that there should be a move to ‘cross-curricular studies’ and a curriculum which ‘instils in [children] a lifelong love of learning’

What does a move to broader topic work, and more investigation and questioning work mean for librarians supporting children in educational or public library settings? What does it mean for librarians supporting teachers either in schools or in training? What skills do teachers need to further support a move to more investigative learning?

Fiona M Forsythe works freelance. One of her major clients has been Creative Partnerships.  Through Creative Partnerships, Fiona is working with inter alia a Primary School in County Durham who are participating in the Creative Partnerships Enquiry strand of action research. The school has eagerly awaited the publication of The Rose Report and is now asking How do we explore, creatively, cross-curriculum links? as their action research question.

Working with a team of professionals from other disciplines, including public librarians, Fiona will work with school staff to plan a series of ‘incidents’ in the school which will act as catalysts to cross-curriculum learning, over the next two terms. These ‘incidents’ might be along the lines of a staged emergency, or a school evacuation, and will be designed to raise questions amongst pupils in the appropriate year groups. The main research will be finished in late February. 

Throughout the this action research, Fiona will be asking

         what information literacy skills do teaching staff need when planning such cross-curriculum learning events?

         What information literacy skills do pupils engaged in this form of learning require?

         How can public librarians support both teaching staff and pupils?

Much has been written in the press about librarians needing to ‘get out and start knocking on doors’ (BLANE) (DOUGLAS). This paper seeks to provide a case study into doing just that, whilst hoping to engage with other information professionals in the debate on the Rose Report and its impact on librarians.

Aoife Geraghty, Ide O’Sullivan and Lawrence Cleary

University of Limerick

A whole University blended approach to developing academic and information literacies for researchers.

“The new graduate must not only have specialist knowledge in their field, but also have a range of generic competencies required to participate in a  workplace subject to constant change, the skills to continue learning throughout a professional life time and sufficient breadth of knowledge and understanding to reach to entirely new challenges and to place their work in a broader social and cultural context.” (Irish Universities Association 2005)

Academic and information literacies are primary amongst the skills that researchers need to develop in order to be successful in their academic endeavours and in their professional lives. In the University of Limerick we believe that such skills should be taught from the beginning, from undergraduate through to research level.

The University of Limerick Library works with the University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Writing Centre, the Graduate School and the Information Technology Division, to support researchers in developing these literacies. Undergraduate modules run by the Writing Centre are fully accredited, while modules for researchers receive accreditation through the Graduate School.

The development programme takes a blended approach, including classes on-campus, online modules developed with Epigeum and partner universities, use of Web 2.0 tools and drop-in services.

In this paper Aoife Geraghty, the Research Support Librarian will join with Dr íde O’Sullivan and Lawrence Cleary, Research Officers with the Writing Centre, to discuss these initiatives in the University of Limerick.

As Research Support Librarian Aoife has worked with the Graduate School to develop a blended learning information literacy programme for researchers. As Research Officers with the Shannon Consortium Regional Writing Centre, Íde and Lawrence have developed an academic literacies programme for UL students, supporting undergraduate and postgraduate student writers and collaborating with faculty to develop their own writing and to expand writing-based curriculum innovations.


Irish Universities Association (2005) Reform of 3rd level and creation of 4th level Ireland. Dublin: Irish Universities Association. http://www.iua.ie/publications/documents/publications/2005/Reform3rdCreation4thlevelBrochure.pdf (Retrieved 29 October 2009).

Ruth Stubbings

Loughborough University

Jo Myhill

University of Bedfordshire

Moira Bent

Newcastle University

Developing librarians as teachers to enhance the learner experience

Both the Digital Britain Report (Ofcom 2009) in the UK and Barack Obama (2009) in the US recognise that with the growth of digital information, the general population needs information / digital literacy skills to be effective members of society.  Currently neither government has outlined how and who should help the public become information literate.  Librarians have stepped into the breach and have already begun to teach their readers how to find, evaluate and use digital information.  For the foreseeable future this role will continue.  Teaching is therefore becoming a core part of a librarian’s role, whatever sector they work in.  But how do librarians learn to be effective teachers and enhance the learning experience?

SirLearnaLot is an online tutorial that aims to help library staff enhance their understanding of pedagogy so that they can feel confident in designing and delivering teaching.  The course is written in HTML and delivered using Moodle.  It contains a variety of activities, including: reading, watching / listening to videos and podcasts, discussion, self-reflection and creation of teaching materials.  The tutorial is divided into eight units: Tools for learning, Information literacy, Understanding learning, Teaching - planning a learning event, Teaching - delivering a learning event, Resources to support learning & teaching, Assessment and Evaluation.

SirLearnaLot was piloted with seven higher education institutions during the first semester of 2009 / 2010.  The course was evaluated through: questionnaire; unstructured interviews of participants and tutors; examination of the VLE activity logs; review of particular learning activities, especially the forums and learning journals.

This paper will:

a) Briefly outline the joys and tribulations of collaboratively creating an online course with representatives from several institutions.

b) Set the scene by describing how the course was delivered – warts and all.

c) Highlight key findings from the evaluation, for example:

         Do librarians like to learn via an online tutorial?

         Which units were most useful and why?

         How long did each unit take?

         What worked well and what didn’t work at all?

         Which type of activities did the participants like / dislike and why?

         Did the course help participants enhance the student learning experience?

         And lots more.


Obama, B. (2009) National Information Literacy Awareness Month, 2009.  Washington: White House. October 1, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-National-Information-Literacy-Awareness-Month/ (Retrieved 31 October 2009).

Ofcom (2009) Report of the Digital Britain Media Literacy Group.  London: Ofcom.  http://www.ofcom.org.uk/advice/media_literacy/media_lit_digital_britain/digitalbritain.pdf (Retrieved 31 October 2009).

Alanna Ross and Christine Furno

American University of Sharjah Library

Active learning strategies in the information literacy classroom.  Evaluating methods, comparing results and measuring ‘real’ impact.

This paper presents findings of a recent research study carried out at the American University of Sharjah (UAE) Library.  The study investigates the impact of various active learning strategies incorporated into the design of individual “one-off” information literacy sessions delivered to over 400 students over the course of the most recent Fall semester.  Three class types were developed.  One utilizing “personal response system” or “clicker” wireless technology, one based entirely on a problem based learning group activity, and one following a more traditional lecture style format for content delivery. 

Based on pre and post summative assessment results, student learning outcomes by class delivery type were analyzed and conclusions drawn.  Whilst each active learning technique has been discussed extensively in the literature and there are many examples of successful implementations of such approaches and technology in the library literature as basis of information literacy program redevelopments,  study of comparative findings and learning outcomes across the same timeframe and with the same testing mechanism is more difficult to identify.  

This study not only assesses the pedagogical impact of clickers and problem based learning activities in information literacy skills training, but it goes one step further by measuring the success of these techniques against each other and in comparison and contrast to more traditional classroom delivery methods.  In analyzing results, the study tackles the issue of measurement of skills levels versus task outcomes, and our understanding of the measurement of “impact” on learning.  How do we distinguish between impact on learning and measurement of our own impact in the classroom?  Is general rise in a student’s performance scores when conducting discrete information literacy tasks indication of their ability and adequate measure of their skills as an information literate student?  

Following results of our study, this paper takes into consideration other external, yet very implicit factors including the very nature of our students as second language learners, their differing learning styles and differing levels of media literacy, and the role of formative and self evaluative reflection.   As universities strive to meet various international accreditation standards and libraries become increasingly involved, even responsible for the design, and often-times provision, of curriculum integrated information literacy skills training, the importance of assessment and measurement of skills attrition becomes paramount. 

This paper reflects on the overall methods we devise, the classes we design and the results we gather when assessing our students, our programs and impact of information literacy skills instruction. 


Corcos, E & Monty, V 2008, Interactivity in library presentations using a personal response system, Educause Quarterly vol. 2, pp. 53-59

Kenney, BF 2008, Revitalizing the one-shot instruction session using problem-based learning, Reference & User Services Quarterly vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 386-391.

 Oakleaf, M & Kaske, N 2009.  Guiding questions for assessing information literacy in higher education.  Portal: Libraries and the Academy, vol 9, no. 2, pp. 273-286.

Saunders, L 2009, The future of information literacy in academic libraries: A Delphi study, Portal: Libraries and the Academy, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 99-114.

David Streatfield


Sue Shaper


Information literacy support in United Kingdom school libraries

To what extent do library staff in UK schools actively promote information literacy? If they do, what aspects of information literacy do they cover? Do they concentrate mainly on locating information or engage with all aspects of information seeking, storage, interpretation and use, including the development of the meta-cognitive skills that students need to manage their information-related activities? Again, if school library staff are working in these areas, do they focus on specific years or work on progression through the years? And finally, what do school library staff actually do to develop information literacy with students? Do they run lessons in the library, contribute to lessons in the classroom, offer on-line tutorials, concentrate on helping to prepare guidance materials for students or act in other ways?

All these questions have been actively explored over the past few months with library staff of Middle, Secondary and Special State Schools as well as Independent Schools throughout the United Kingdom, as part of a national survey of school libraries. This work was instigated by the School Libraries Group of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and supported by other relevant groups including the School Library Association and CILIP Scotland, with funds provided by the Wendy Drewett Bequest. The survey was managed by Information Management Associates and drew upon the enthusiastic support of a team of school librarians who interviewed library staff to complement the national electronic survey.

This presentation reports for the first time on information literacy aspects of the survey, which will have been completed shortly before the Conference. The report will describe how the survey was conducted. It will then provide a national picture on all the questions raised above and will summarize other ways in which library staff support teaching and learning through out of hours support, collaborating with teachers in joint planning, teaching and assessment of assignments, and other means. Varieties of interesting practice will be presented by drawing upon some of the short stories and incidents chosen and contributed by school library staff to capture the relationship between their libraries and their schools.

The main implications of the project findings will be considered for school library-based information literacy in the UK and for the next generation of students in further and higher education. Ideas will be offered to people engaged in the education and training of school librarians, library managers in schools, further and higher education, and to local and central government policy shapers on how to move forward to ensure that students receive appropriate and effective information literacy support.

Barry Croucher, Marshall Dozier, Fiona Littleton and Denny Colledge

University of Edinburgh

The IS Cream Van - an Information Sevices presence in Second Life

Information Services at the University of Edinburgh is an integrated service offering library services, archives management, museums and galleries support, e-learning, AV technologies, IT user support, IT development and digital technologies. We are keen to offer services that sit alongside the teaching and research of our users, including those who are off-campus.  We will be describing our ongoing project to offer an Information Services help function within Vue, the University of Edinburgh’s land in Second Life, which is used as tutorial space for online and blended courses.

Who is it for?

Any Second Lifers in the vicinity but targeted initially at students on the MSc E-learning course.

Visualisation for our project:

We are a partnership of Information Services staff and tutors on the MSc E-Learning so this is very much a collaborative effort and together we decided to design an ice cream van (in keeping with the beach theme of Holyrood Park, the Second Life learning space used by MSC E-learning students) – there is a definite element of playfulness in this project!

Realisation and progress:

The IS Cream Van service was launched at the start of this academic year. It has a permanent unstaffed presence in Holyrood Park, offering a generalist information service aimed at supporting the students' information needs (through our Ask a Librarian service) and also supporting their technical, computing and e-learning support needs, linking through to our specialist support teams. 

We are also experimenting with a more personal service aimed at supporting the students' particular information needs by “staffing” the van using avatars on a volunteer basis at times when students will be meeting for tutorials in SL. We also participated in start of semester induction events when new students were meeting in Second Life. Early feedback is very enthusiastic and we are currently working on a more formal evaluation.

Tanya Kirk and Claire Packham

British Library

Changing the catalogue: training the users at the British Library

At the end of 2008 the British Library launched a new beta search interface, called Search Our Catalogue, based on the Ex Libris product Primo. The aim was both to simplify the search experience for the user through a familiar ‘Amazon-style’ interface with social networking capabilities such as tagging and reviews, whilst keeping the search refinement functionality of a traditional library catalogue. Search our Catalogue also brings together collections unique to the British Library which users would previously have had to search several catalogues for, such as our Sound Archive, web archive, and newspaper collections, as well as the core printed book collection.

This new and exciting development required the coordination of a training programme both for British Library users and staff. Whilst in beta testing the interface is updated at least 3 times a year, a traditional leaflet-based approach to training was not feasible. A cross-team group was established to train all staff within Reference Services. This in turn enabled us to deliver a standardised level of training to British Library users through awareness sessions tailored to the Library’s key subject areas. This also had the effect of harmonising the workshop programmes offered by the different subject teams in the Library. Various techniques were explored, including Virtual Learning Environments, face-to-face demonstrations and screencasting. Varying degrees of Information Literacy meant that a hands-on approach was necessary in some cases, but due to restrictions on British Library systems, it was difficult to set up a VLE. Screencasting with step-by-step instructions was in many ways a better option.

This paper will explore the options we considered and solutions for delivering the training, and the challenge of fostering a sense of ownership of the new resource with all demographics of British Library users. We will also reflect on the lessons learnt and how this can be of use for future projects.

Wendy Mears

Open University Library

Developing the developers: skills, knowledge and behaviours for the 21st century information literacy practitioner

The paper will focus on the implementation of the Open University Library’s workforce development plan which was commissioned to review the needs of a team of faculty-facing Learning & Teaching Librarians.

The Open University’s quarter of a million students are distance learners and  librarians are able to utilize e-learning tools within a VLE to develop students’ information literacy skills. Librarians provide a range of specialist services to faculties to support the design and creation of course learning materials.

Specialist services include giving advice on the integration and use of appropriate e-resources, and writing learning activities that aim to progress students’ skills across academic programmes in support of one of the University’s strategic objectives ‘to increase information literacy development across the curriculum’. Librarians have increasingly felt that to become equal partners with academics in the course design process they need to be able to present the Library’s ‘products’ and services not in library-related, but in pedagogic-related, terms.

To tackle this, the Library has invested in a high-level strategic approach to prepare the Learning and Teaching librarians for taking these initiatives forward. A training needs analysis has been commissioned to identify and develop over a two year period the required skills, knowledge and behaviours of this team of librarians. The analysis revealed the need to build up a series of competencies in information literacy around, for example, designing learning materials and also around wider issues such as assessment.

This paper will outline how the analysis was undertaken to ensure maximum participant buy-in, but the main focus will be on implementation -  how we manage expectations, how we prioritize and cost specific training, and finally how we are to measure the success of what is delivered.

Gillian Fielding

University of Salford

The Information Literacy Audit at the University of Salford

This paper details the information literacy audit undertaken at the University of Salford. The aim of the audit was to measure how much information literacy was being delivered on each academic programme across the University. It also detailed who was delivering the content, eg the Liaison Officers, academics, other University staff, and by what method, eg online, in classes, by self-directed study. The results found variance in the coverage across the University, with some areas providing exemplary delivery and others not. This audit did not measure the impact of that delivery on the students or if it enhanced their skills. 


The ILS Information Literacy Framework was used as the basis for the audit.  An on-line and paper-based audit tool was created and Information & Learning Services (ILS) Liaison Officers met with Programme Leaders to discuss and record the IL provision in their programmes.  

Although the aim of the audit was to meet with all Programme Leaders and therefore audit all programmes there were some difficulties in achieving this. The main reason for this was that the audit came at a difficult time due to: structural changes across the University impacting on schools and on ILS; uncertainty about the future of certain programmes and the staffing of them; timing due to marking and exam boards; other significant projects including the reading list project which involved the same ILS and school staff. 


Across the University 78% of all under-graduate programmes were audited and a small number of postgraduate programmes.  The feedback both from ILS and academic staff is that it has been a very worthwhile and beneficial exercise as it has raised the profile of the IL Framework; clarified the definition of IL; generated more IL training opportunities for students and it has already informed the planning and development of IL provision including online resources.  ILS will continue the audit to gain a full picture of provision of IL training.

The audit resulted in areas of good practice being identified from all faculties and some gaps in provision have already been addressed with further sessions planned in for the next academic year.

The main focus of the audit has been on undergraduate programmes although some post-graduate programmes were audited.  Gaining a better picture of the post-graduate programmes will be a priority during the next academic year. 

Benefits of the audit

Where gaps were identified, sessions have now been timetabled in for the next academic year and in some cases additional sessions have been scheduled.  For example all 1st years in the Salford Business School will receive two IL sessions in their first year as a direct result of these discussions.  The audit has provided increased liaison opportunities and enhanced relationships. For example, more Programme Leaders now know more about IL and ICT training and support, e.g. SKILL-IT, surgeries, resources such as the Harvard Referencing guide.

Detailed Faculty reports were produced which were discussed with Associate Deans and Associate Heads and local action plans were developed.


Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (2006) Information literacy: a definition.  http://www.cilip.org.uk/policyadvocacy/learning/informationliteracy/definition/default.htm [accessed April 2009]

Elizabeth Symonds

University of Worcester

Sarah Kennedy and Allison Davis

University of Gloucestershire

Information literacy and digital natives - bridging the gap

This presentation discusses one aspect of the findings from part of a wider project carried out jointly between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire.

The original research focused on the student experience of tackling their first assignment in Higher Education and many of the findings indicated a wide variation in the level of digital and information literacy skills in first year students.

Despite the widespread use of computers and online technologies amongst younger students, there is evidence to suggest that many begin university with a lack of some of the information literacy skills needed for studying in Higher Education (Oblinger,2008). 

A range of issues surrounding information literacy skills were identified by questioning students on their expectations of learning in Higher Education and comparing this to their reflections on the actual experience of completing their first assignment.

Here we will present the issues raised and discuss the implications for information services in terms of bridging the gap between what students think they know and what they actually need to know in order to succeed in Higher Education.

If academics and information specialists are to effectively support student learning it is vital to listen to the student voice in order to meet the real needs of the new generation of learners and provide timely, relevant and appropriate guidance


Oblinger, D. G and Oblinger, J. L. (2005) Educating the net generation.  An Educause e-book publication.  www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101.pdf [retrieved 25/09/2009]

Wednesday 31 March

Parallel sessions 5 (morning)

Susan Boyle

University College Dublin

Using games to enhance information literacy sessions

Engaging students in information literacy (IL) sessions is a constant challenge for subject librarians. Games can offer a unique and innovative tool to the teaching librarian to approach an IL topic in a new way and combat student apathy to library skills training.

This one hour, four part workshop will explore the use of games as an innovative technique for information literacy training sessions. It will allow participants to play a case study game, devise a new game in small groups and discuss what they develop.

Intended Audience: Librarians that deliver information literacy training.

Workshop Aim:

The aim of the workshop is to develop a shared understanding of games for IL and explore how they can enhance the student IL experience. The workshop will also offer participants the opportunity to design a game they could use in future IL training.

By the end of the workshop, participants will understand the benefits of using games in IL sessions, the game development process and they will have shared the experience of game creation. >

Session Structure:

The workshop will have four main components:

1 - Case study presentation

Format: PowerPoint

Duration: 15 minutes

Content: The presentation will explore the use of games in information literacy practice and outline the design process used to develop the case study games, the benefits and challenges encountered during game play in the information literacy sessions and propose alternative ideas for games.

2 - Game play segment

Format: Interactive - game play

Duration: 10 minutes

Activity: Participants at each table will play the game described in the case study presentation.

3 - Brainstorming segment

Format: Interactive – brainstorming

Duration: 20 minutes

Provisions: Each table of delegates will be supplied with:

         A sheet of brainstorming rules in bullet point form.

         A scenario student cohort for the game e.g.: 1st year undergraduates or taught masters’ students.

         A scenario learning objective or IL topic that the game will address, e.g.: evaluating web resources, searching, citing and referencing.

         A flip chart

         Game design forms to help participants to structure their game correctly with headings like playing time, aim of the game, instructor guidelines and props needed etc.

Activity: Participants at each table will brainstorm for ideas for a new game that will teach their learning objective or topic to the scenario cohort of students.

Cathy Palmer

University of California

Carolyn Canaday

Newport Beach Public Library

Plan and Produce the Information Literacy Tutorial @ Your Library!

As institutions of higher education develop and promote different models of online instruction, the pressure for libraries’ to deliver instruction in the online environment will only increase.  Universities, colleges, and professional schools are struggling with a variety of challenges that make some form of using technology to teach an attractive option worth exploring.  The challenges include reduced funding for expansion of brick and mortar facilities, meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse and distributed population of learners, and the need to educate a highly skilled workforce able to succeed in an ever more complex world of work.

Faculty and librarians who engage in online instruction have learned that making effective use of technology to teach is not a matter of simply translating what we do and say in the classroom or the library workshop to an online information delivery vehicle.  Effective online instruction requires the use of new skills and new approaches, not just to deliver content, but to ensure that students are able to use and apply the content so that learning is achieved. 

In this workshop, we will explore the many roles and activities that must be considered in order to produce effective, high quality tutorials that will support and facilitate student’s acquisition of information literacy skills.  Much of what we cover will be based on our experience working with a variety of partners to create information literacy tutorials at UC Irvine.  Participants will have the opportunity to engage in activities that will help them understand the full range of considerations that must be addressed when producing an effective online information literacy tutorial.  We will engage in role playing, discussion, and other learning activities as attendees act as project managers to plan their institution’s information literacy tutorial. 


Martyn, Margie.  (2003). The Hybrid Online Model: Good Practice.  Educause Quarterly 26: (18-23).

Yi, Yua. (2005). Library Instruction Goes Online. Library Review 54 : (47-58).  www.emeraldinsight.com/0024-2535.htm (retrieved 13 October 2009).

Zhu, E. et all. (2003). An Introduction to Teaching Online. CRLT Occasional Paper No. 18.  University of Michigan Center for Learning and Teaching. 

Andy Jackson

University of Dundee

Just enough education to perform : information skills, professionalism and employability

How well do we equip students for life in the information-rich world of employment? In celebrating our successes in making significant contributions to learning through our information skills programmes, are we missing the point – are the information skills we teach appropriate to the workplace?

The HE sector in the UK is being required to look at issues of employability and professionalism as part of the Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR) process, with the aim of producing what has become known as the 21st Century Graduate. Many Universities are addressing employability through the creation of coherent frameworks, some of which draw on our existing information skills frameworks. For some, the increasing focus on employability means that the issue of information skills is moving up the agenda.

Research is being undertaken in the UK and beyond into the linkages between higher education and the workplace, and the role of information skills is being considered as part of the wider range of transferable skills, values and attitudes which it is becoming necessary for students to have. The role of information skills in the workplace also forms part of the emerging debate on graduate attributes. The work of the Scottish Information Literacy Project (Irving & Crawford, 2007) aims to map information skills longitudinally from primary education through to the workplace, while the work of Simon Barrie (2006; 2008) and others on concepts of ‘graduateness’ places information skills at the heart of what it is to be a graduate. This trend towards linking sectors through common skills is a growing one.

This workshop will examine the concepts of professionalism and employability, and will encourage participants to look at information skills as part of a whole range of attributes which employers may be looking for in their graduate employees. This will be done through small group work and through the use of case studies and scenarios in which participants will consider the needs of employers in a variety of sectors. Participants will also be asked to consider how the role of the information skills specialist might persist into the workplace, and start to imagine new or innovative approaches to teaching information skills for the workplace.

The session should be of value to anyone who is interested in the role of information skills in the workplace, along with anyone whose institution is wrestling with issues of employability, professionalism and fitness-for-practice. Participants will be encouraged to share their views on the effectiveness of their own information skills programmes and also to consider what it is that employers might actually require of their graduate employees. The emphasis will be on ideas and creativity rather than systems and models and frameworks.


Barrie, S. (2006). Understanding what we mean by the generic attributes of graduates. Higher Education.  51, pp.215-241.

Barrie, S. (2008). A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes. Studies in Higher Education. 32(4), pp.439-458.

Irving, C. and Crawford, J (2007). A national information literacy framework Scotland. Glasgow: Glasgow Caledonian University; Eduserv.

Barbara Sen

University of Sheffield

Reflection and improving information literacy practice

The aim of this workshop is to explore the breadth and depth of reflective practice and its potential application in information literacy practice.

“…information literacy must always be qualified, contextualized, reflexive, and dynamic.” (Jacobs ,2008: 259).

This workshop, will consider key theories on reflective practice with a specific focus on reflective writing.  It will explore the theories and their application in information literacy. Using reflection can help qualify or give meaning to the nature of information literacy, support the understanding of the context of information literacy initiatives and support dynamic and transformative actions that improve information literacy efforts.  Reflection is frequently used in information literacy, but not always at a deep level of learning (Moon, 1999; McGuinness, 2007).  Levels of cognitive development and reflective judgement can impact on the ability to learn (Jackson, 2008; Sen, 2010). The benefits of different types and levels of reflection will be explored in aspects of information literacy practice. Participants will engage in individual and group reflection in order to improve their own reflective ability and explore potential applications of their reflection practices. Types and uses of reflection to be explored will include:

         Individual and group reflection.

         Reflective writing including logs and journals.

         Reflective evaluations.

         Peer reflection to improve practice.

         Reflective dialogue and engagement with stakeholders.

         Reflection and IL research

Participants in the workshop will:

         Explore key theories on reflection

         Gain practical skills in reflective practice.

         Explore a range of applications for reflective practice in an IL context.


Jackson, R. (2008) Information Literacy and its relationship to cognitive development and reflective judgement.  New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 114 Summer 47-61

Jacobs, H. L. M. (2008) Perspectives on…Information Literacy and reflective pedagogical praxis. The Journal of Academic Librarianship.  34 (3) 256-262.

McGuinness, C. (2007) Using reflective journals to assess the research process. Reference Services Review. 35 (1) 21-40.

Moon, J. (1999) Learning Journals: A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development. London:  Routledge.

Sen, B. (2010) Reflective writing:  A management skill? Library Management. 31 (1/2) In press.

Lorie Kloda

McGill University

Alison Brettle

University of Salford

How to interpret research on information literacy and library instruction

Critical appraisal is an essential skill for librarians wishing to transfer evidence into practice. For promoters of information literacy, the ability to interpret and evaluate the quality of library instruction research leads to better implementation of educational interventions and saved time and resources. This workshop, offered by the associate editors of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, introduces participants to the critical appraisal process.

Participants will be introduced to the importance of critical appraisal, and will learn how to evaluate research studies for validity, reliability, and applicability. Critical appraisal checklists, including ReLIANT, and other tools for the busy professional to quickly interpret and evaluate research publications will also be discussed. The workshop will use a case study approach, and incorporate existing research for participants to practice their critical appraisal skills on recent publications in the area of information literacy. Time saving suggestions will also be addressed.

The workshop is designed for information professionals involved in information literacy promotion, planning and delivery as well as managers who wish to make informed decisions about instructional services.


Koufogiannakis, D., Booth, A. & Brettle, A. (2006) Reliant: Reader's Guide to the Literature on Interventions Addressing the Need for Education and Training. Library & Information Research 30(94), 44-51.

Amanda Poulton

De Montfort University

Fine Art Wiki: reflections on using the read/write web to develop information literacy skills in first year Fine Art students.

De Montfort University has a strong tradition in teaching information literacy to students at all levels and across all faculties. The Faculty of Art and Design has a range of information literacy sessions integrated within the curriculum for the majority of its programmes, including Fine Art.

In recent years Fine Art sessions for first year students followed a traditional format of presentation and worksheet. Student feedback on the sessions has been variable and neither the faculty nor the library were satisfied that this approach was effective.

Discussions with the Head of Fine Art revealed the popular perceptions that students in Art and Design were unfamiliar with academic sources, had additional learning needs and were unused to producing written work were incorrect. Instead of this deficit view, it was found that the students had the highest average A level points at the university and were highly motivated, confident and effective learners.

As a result information literacy teaching was revised to reflect this changed understanding. In addition, in order to provide a stronger focus and structure to the teaching sessions a wiki was developed as a formative assessment tool. Students would form groups to research an artist using the information retrieval tools presented, and were asked to find and select appropriate resources to include on a wiki page. Each group was asked to review at least one other group’s wiki page. The wikis would be presented in the final week with the librarian providing feedback and facilitating a plenary session on effective tools for searching.

An evaluation of the wiki will take place in Autumn 2009, drawing on student feedback and reflections from the teaching team.

This paper will reflect upon the wiki as a learning and assessment tool, presenting feedback within a theoretical context, and demonstrating the wiki to delegates. 

Christina Lake and Dawn Lawrence

University College Falmouth

Teaching online using Captivate, Jing & Echo360: developing best practice in a changing electronic environment 

Online tutorials have a huge potential for improving the way students learn to use the library resources, and teaching them information literacy skills. From tutorials on using the library catalogue, to recorded lectures on basic research skills, online tutorials, available via the library website and the VLE  can be used to prepare students for teaching sessions, build up their confidence and offer them the chance to learn at their own pace, as well as providing library training for distance learning students. The challenge for the IL practitioner is that technology is changing fast, and selecting and learning to make effective use of the technology can be a race against time before something more cutting edge emerges.

This session will talk about experience at University College Falmouth with using three different types of tutorial technology: Captivate, Jing and Echo360. 

We will talk about our reasons for using the three different technologies, and the way in which the technology itself affected the type of tutorial we were able to produce. We will consider what we learned from looking at tutorials produced by other academic libraries, and what we hoped to emulate or avoid. We will discuss some of the technical problems we encountered with each, in particular the challenge of effective editing and use of sound. We will also emphasise the key role of good planning and preparation in producing an end-product of high enough standard to use,  

In conclusion we will consider the effectiveness of the tutorials we produced in providing additional training materials, consider the costs and benefits of engaging in the new technology, and how we hope to take forward online training. We will also look at some preliminary feedback we have received from students when interacting with the tutorials.

Vicki Cormie

University of St Andrews

Increasing the number of doctors in Malawi: challenges and changes affecting the Medical Library

The University of St Andrews has entered into a Scottish Government funded partnership with the College of Medicine (CoM) of the University of Malawi in Blantyre, Malawi in a three year project to increase the number of doctors being trained each year in Malawi from 17 to 100.  At the moment there is only one doctor for 200,000 people in the population, the lowest ratio in the world.

There have been two main facets to the project. The first has been to redesign and streamline the curriculum to enable the increase student numbers. The second has been to improve the infrastructure and services to support the changes to the curriculum including improved IT facilities, a curriculum management system and improvements to library and information services.

The previous curriculum was very much rote based and the students were taught minimal Information Literacy (IL) skills, not needing to use the Library for more than a place to study and photocopy. Student are now working in a problem based learning environment which will equip them with for a medical career where they may be required to keep up to date with their skills in an environment where they may well be the sole doctor working in a rural hospital.

This presentation will look at how the CoM Librarian and the Medical Librarian from St Andrews worked together to improve Library Services;  in particular looking at developing and introducing IL skills teaching at various points in the curriculum, both in the classroom and the electronic environment. It will also cover the ways in which access to information has been radically improved by the introduction of a journal A-Z system and improvements in the CoM book provision policy.  It will compare the challenges and difficulties facing the two libraries, which are not always the ones that might be expected.

Valerie Kendlin and Lorna Dodd

University College Dublin

Damned if we do and damned if we don’t – how to address sustainability in the delivery of information literacy components in UCD

This paper examines the library’s current approach to embedded information literacy and reviews possible options for streamlining the delivery of information literacy components to Schools within UCD.  The logistical challenges that continue to face the Library’s teaching librarians will be detailed and an investigation of surmounting these challenges will also be outlined. The paper will conclude with some suggestions and recommendations aimed at maximizing the benefits resulting from the Library’s involvement in embedded modules, and positioning the Library strategically as a value-added component in achieving module outcomes.

UCD has approximately 22,047 students and has recently undergone an extensive restructuring, resulting in changes to the administration and delivery of content to students.  Key University drivers now include the introduction of an emphasis on the ‘first year experience’, modularization and the requirement to produce students with acquired, discipline-specific knowledge and lifelong learning skills (‘graduateness’) including information literacy.  This has resulted in the introduction of new and often innovative approaches to teaching, which often includes embedding information literacy into a range of modules.

However, the success of Library involvement within embedded modules has raised a number of issues, as initial collaboration with academics has resulted in further involvement in modules across the campus.  The challenges resulting from both reduced staffing levels and the ongoing requirement to ensure all librarians engage fully with information literacy delivery continues to cast doubt over the sustainability of the Library’s current role within embedded modules.  This in turn begs the question - if we withdraw from delivering this level of information literacy, how can we prove our value in research-lead teaching?

Jodi Tyron, Emily Frigo and Mary O'Kelly

Grand Valley State University, USA)

Using faculty focus groups to assess information literacy core competencies at a university level

The Libraries of Grand Valley State University (GVSU), a comprehensive university serving approximately 24,000 students, crafted an Information Literacy Core Competencies document during Fall 2008 for adoption by the larger GVSU community. 

Although the philosophy of information literacy is embedded in all learning environments, the term Information Literacy is most prevalent in the context of libraries. The document was an attempt to clarify these concepts in a manner that would be inclusive of the broader academic community. To that end, information literacy concepts defined in this document were mapped wherever possible to GVSU’s existing General Education Program outcomes.  Every effort was made to use inclusive language and to make concepts applicable to a wide variety of academic discipline.

We received funding for a project to solicit feedback from GVSU teaching faculty before presenting the document to the University.  During the first phase of the project, we conducted faculty focus groups with the goal of generating discussion to gauge the inclusivity and perceived applicability of the document.  During the second phase, we will test the applicability of the competencies by working with several faculty members to apply the document to their existing course materials.

This paper will outline main focus group findings including the success of using an existing University framework upon which to map information literacy outcomes and the need to provide a plan for assessment.  The paper will discuss how this research will allow the GVSU Libraries to generate practice documents and assessment strategies that will become part of a collection of information literacy resources for GVSU teaching faculty.


American Library Association (2000)

Catts, R. et al (2008) Towards Information Literacy Indicators. Paris: UNESCO. http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/cscl/InfoLit.pdf (Retrieved 30 September 2008).

Eisenberg, M. (2008) Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

Grand Valley State University (2008) General Education Program 2008-2009. Allendale, MI: Author. http://www.gvsu.edu/cms3/assets/DD30608B-F2B0-6E39-6AFC8AC3617100CF/Gen_Ed_Handbook/GenEdGuide0809-COMP.pdf (Retrieved 30 September 2008).

National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise (2008) College Learning for the new Global Century. Washington D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. (Retrieved 30 September 2008).

Oakleaf, M. (2008) Dangers and opportunities: A conceptual map of information literacy assessment approaches. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 8(3), 233-252.

Saunders, L. (2007) Regional accreditation organizations' treatment of information literacy. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(3 )317-326.

UCLA Library Information Literacy Program Steering Committee (2005) Information Literacy at UCLA: The Core Competencies. Los Angeles: UCLA. http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclalib/il/03/ (Retrieved 30 September 2008).>