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Posts Tagged ‘conferences’

LILAC 2011

Posted by sarahw9 on 5 May, 2011

LILAC logoI was able to get to the third day of LILAC Conference 2011 (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) this year held in London on the final day at the LSE.  I’ve put down the main points I picked up from some of the sessions I attended.

Does information literacy have a future? Geof Walton & Alison Pope.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that people are concerned about their future in an economic climate of cuts that this session was so well attended.  Geof Walton modelled a session on enquiry based learning by giving us all a set of questions to discuss in small groups and report back.

It was a discursive session that covered a lot of ground, here is a selection of the type of issues that all the groups came up with:

– How do we manage the expectations and perceptions about the library and information of various groups; from students to academics / researchers to admin staff.
– How to make more connections to get more timely training/ teaching into student’s courses.
– Information Literacy as a birthright, related to literacy in general being able to read. Its not a luxury but a life skill.
– Need to be able to demonstrate the positive outcomes.
– Teach alongside academics so they can contextualise information literacy skills.
 
Geof Walton emphasised the need for research informed teaching, and enquiry based learning. Information literacy is the scaffolding to enquiry and it can blend with technology supported learning.

Information Literacy beyond 2.0. Peter Godwin
Peter Godwin had trouble getting any sound for his video clips, but that didn’t matter as he is direct and entertaining enough without needing to resort to videos.  He favours big global themes and here are a few he mentioned:

– Web 2.0 is old now, but actually no one knew what it was.  Its settled down but not gone away and we are all influenced by it.  Students don’t know what web 2.0 is although they experience and use it themselves all the time.
– We are heading for an increasingly mobile and social world and that won’t change. Our job is to accommodate to that.
– There are early adopters and slow adopters.  People don’t change quickly.  We can watch the early adopters and watch from their mistakes.
– The nerds are a minority.  Most young people use tools but don’t have a techie understanding of them.
– Younger generation are not good at sharing and neither are academics / researchers or librarians.  We need to reallocate the time we have and change the way we behave and work.
– Only when you try to write something for wikipedia do you realise how difficult it is.

He had some engaging thoughts on information literacy, for instance it has been ‘pampered’ by its attachment to academia, he suggested we should be thinking of it in the context of transliteracy.  This made me think that information literacy as we know it is based almost entirely on textual information rather than visual or audio.  We are dealing with increasingly multimedia information for instance from the familiar such as video to emerging technologies for instance Mike Matas; A news generation digital book and augmented reality / virtual reality.  New media is in perpetual development but on a day to day basis our students need help dealing with old media and communication tools.  Perhaps the gap between the two is where we come in at present.

This links in with Jesus Lau’s keynote speech on the UNESCO project to develop international indicators of information literacy. He has been developing this alongside folk from the media world to develop Media Information Literacies.  The focus is on everyday experience for instance access to news media rather than academic information. The competencies are based on how these intertwine

Information Literacy of Health Students: assessment and interventions. Lana V. Ivanitskaya

Led by faculty member who is not a librarian Lana Ivanitskaya is an academic in industrial / work psychology.  She designs tests such as personality tests and has to assess them.

Her first point was that competencies are not just knowledge and skills but also attitudes and beliefs.  If you only focus on the skills you will miss a lot.  Students own knowledge of their skills gaps is a familiar scenario for librarians. First year students think there is nothing you can teach them (often), PhD students seem to have the opposite attitude.  Lana Ivanitskaya described the RRSA (research readiness self-assessment) online survey which includes tasks such as evaluating websites and application of knowledge.   The survey includes ‘soft’ questions which assess the students’ beliefs as well as their results and they have found this is very predictive of their level of attainment.

The RRSA survey also found some interesting differences between students and experts at information skills. They found experts better and that students overestimated their skills.  In fact the experts under estimated their skill the more expert they were. 

Lana stated that students still find how to do research hard and are not taught how to do it.  She compared the number and quality of references cited in student papers between those who had completed the RRSA and those that had gone through library information literacy training.  She found that the impact of library teaching was three times better than the RRSA, but that the students preferred doing the RRSA and were more willing to do it.

So the message? Lana wondered if we should focus more on online training.  Without seeing in detail what either the RRSA consisted of compared to the library training its hard to say of course.  Perhaps its down to the old messages of getting to the students at the right time and place and using the right voice.

Knotworking as a means to strengthen information skills of research groups.  Elija Nevalainen & Kati Suvalahit.

Finding new ways to connect with colleagues across campus that work isn’t always easy.  At the University of Helsinki they had success using ‘Knotworking’ a way of working developed by one of their academics, Professor Yrjö Engeström.  The process brings together different groups from across the organisation to work more quickly and less hierarchically than team structures.  ‘Knots’ are formed to find solutions to specific problems, and the problem they wanted to address was how to re engage with researchers. 

Here is my summary of what they found:

– Research groups think information literacy is for the good but they have no time to do it, its best aimed at Masters students.
– Information skills still important to research groups are; bibliographic tools, searching databases, current awareness, obtaining material you can’t get locally, establishing networks of contacts, organising references, consulting library staff. 

Interestingly the librarians learnt that their changing role put them in the same boat as the researchers, and they learnt a lot about the researchers from this project. The project also had the unexpected effect of gelling together the researchers as a group.  The project reinforced the value of personal networks and working with user groups. Working with researchers as equals also had a beneficial effect on the library staff who developed greater confidence in working in emerging subjects and services they don’t yet have expertise in.  These themes are not new of course, but success in developing a change in culture is something often dreamed of but not realised.

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Posted in CILIP, Digital Strategy & Website, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Health Libraries Group Conference 2010

Posted by sarahw9 on 21 July, 2010

The Lowry, Salford QuaysI’ve just returned from my first ever Health Libraries Group conference in Manchester, well, Manchester was in the conference title, although we were told in no uncertain terms from a local that the conference location The Lowry is in fact in the city of Salford.

 I admit at first I was a bit concerned this was going to be too NHS-y for my job, but there was more than enough that was relevant to academic libraries, although I didn’t meet many folk who weren’t employed by the NHS.

 I doubt anyone wants to read a summary of all of the sessions I attended especially when you will soon be able to download the presentation yourself from  the conference website, so I’ve made a summary of points that caught my eye.  You can also read the tweets from the HLG conference searching under #hlg2010. 

Elearning vs Face to face training

Two very different messages came from  two presentations on teaching information literacy to nursing students and practicing nurses.  Mark Raynor & Alison Brettle from the University of Salford showed us the results of their study comparing the effectiveness of face to face training sessions with training that was entirely online.  They found no difference in the results or skills retention of both groups, although a vocal minority just did not like the elearning approach.  I admit in general I would rather learn something from a person telling me than from online instruction, and I’m convinced I remember more.  Whether that’s just a personal preference or an illusion that I remember more is another matter of course.  That could just be me slipping into pre web 2 mode.  If online learning is well designed and it’s a process you follow through rather than just a list of instructions then perhaps its just as good.

Tatjana Petrinic from the University of Oxford spoke about how the popularity of their generic training for nurses (in practice not students) had fallen off, but that 1 to 1 training was very popular – to the point that they no longer have to advertise it, nurses contact them for training.  This has developed into supporting nurses to publishing. They cover literature searching, referencing, complying with the journal style.  Nurses don’t get this kind of advice elsewhere and Tatjana said as a group nurses are very supportive of each other in the process (compared to other professions which will remain nameless).

I think where done well, face to face training can offer more support for people who are unconfident and who prefer a more human approach.  In reality where there are large numbers of students involved well designed elearning can do the job very well, but I can’t help thinking it always helps if you have a friendly face you can ask. 

What are librarians good for?

Two thought provoking presentations by Lyn Robinson and Andrew Booth , whilst very different, came to the similar conclusion that its not so much ‘technical’ skills such as information retrieval that librarians can offer which is unique, as an approach to seeing the bigger picture to facilitate the flow of information and knowledge either across organisations or from creator to user.  Andrew Booth started with the memorable finding made by Paul Glasziou that the longer doctors practised the less effective they were (they don’t keep up to date?), and had wondered whether this could also apply to librarians.  Are the experienced over confident and novices under confident about what they can do? Another perhaps less surprising observation Andrew found in the literature was  a study that concluded that more experienced staff (not necessarily librarians or doctors) tend to have a more ‘passive implementation of the curriculum’ than novices, in other words they are less inclined to innovate (I presume that’s what is meant).  I’m not sure a total novice is always keen to innovate, unless they are completely foolhardy, but perhaps there is somewhere in between.

Reinforcing the original point about the use of librarians was Emily Hopkin’s presentation on how she set up a library service (or rather an information service) with no physical library or stock at NHS North West.  She went about all the informal ways of gathering information about the organisation going to meetings, talking to people in corridors, finding out what was going on.  She discovered all sorts of places where people had information needs she could help with.  Unsurprisingly she found people had little understanding of what a library service is beyond books in a room and that asking people what they wanted was not the most fruitful approach.  To show what she could do she sent them information she knew they needed based on her ‘spying’, and before long they were sending her requests for more work. She found the thing people most wanted was for her to do internet research where they simply don’t have the time or they want a more comprehensive search.  This sounds like great practice; going to grass roots to find out what people are actually doing , and providing a valuable service they never knew they could have.  Its just as relevant to academics libraries as anywhere else.  I think us subject librarians could learn a lot here, in particular with supporting research or even supporting not only the academics but all sorts of administrative staff.  Of course we have known all this for years, but implementing it seems to be another matter.  I had a similar job for PricewaterhouseCoopers (doing internet research / enquires for their staff and writing summaries, briefings and current awareness bulletins), and that was over 10 years ago.

 Other highlights:

Critical Appriasal teaching: Michelle Madden showed  us her excellent wiki for supporting librarians teaching critical appraisal.  She had surveyed attitudes to teaching CA and found three quarters of librarians think they should teach it, but despite the majority having had training that only one third actually do train others.  There were some organisations barriers to this, but often it was down to lack of confidence in knowledge of statistics and medicine.  She has set up a support wiki CATNiP – Critical Appraisal Tookit Navigating into Practice which includes lots of support material include preappraised articles.  I’ve requested access to this site, which I hope I get as it all looks very useful. 

LibraryThing – to update core collections: Helene Gorring and Helen Buckley Woods are using LibraryThing to update the core collections of books for medical libraries, the mental health version is the first they have tackled.  It’s a great idea to do this collaboratively and get direct input from everyone, so get inputting and rating here:  http://www.librarything.com/catalog/corecollection

The Health Informaticist  and collaborative blogging: Alan Fricker and Hanna Lewin talked about their experience of producing their collaborative blog The Health Informaticist.  Unlike our very own collaborative blog, the four writers come from different settings within health information  (a charity, hospital library, governmental body and a private company).  Perhaps we could claim though to have very different specialisms even if we all work for the same organisation.  It was interesting to see another very different collaborative blog in a related field of interest.  On a purely trivial note I did think to myself its time we improved the look of our blog – unless the strictly functional style is what we prefer.

And finally… 

Thanks HLG  I enjoyed this event.  There were lots of useful practical things I could take away, and that’s not just the free pens and post-it notes.

Posted in CILIP, Collection management, Research Support, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

UHMLG (University Health and Medical Librarians Group) Conference 2009

Posted by sarahw9 on 8 July, 2009

 

uhmlgbanner

Last week I enjoyed a very brief visit to this small and friendly conference of health librarians.  I was one of the speakers, talking about our project ‘Using web 2.0 to cultivate information literacy via the construction of personal learning environments’  at Leicester last year.

Sadly I had only made the Friday morning of the conference.   There I managed to catch Isla Kuhn sharing some of her expiences using web 2.0 at the University of Cambridge.  Using clickers in during her presentation we soon found out that of those in the room 68% didn’t use Twitter, but 14% did specifically for their library.  I admit I was surprised that so many are not using Twitter, perhaps I’m in more of a clique than I realised.  Isla described herself as a ‘complete non-paper librarian’  which raised a smile, well thats me too and I’m sure quite a few of others could say the same.  Do we have the right job-title?  Thats another issue.  The work of the Arcadia Project at Cambridge, exploring the role of the academic library in the digital age is worth watching, and they have already produced a favourite of ours here at Leicester, the science@cambridge portal

Sara Clarke from the Royal Free Hospital also gave an entertaining presentation on ‘Memoirs of an Invisible Librarian’, describing how her library had set about raising its profile at the hospital.  They worked on embedding their services, using the Map of Medicine to create a patient journey as it happens specifically at the Royal Free Hospital, to help clinicians redesign their services.  This way they reintroduced a new set of clinicians to the library services.  They did alot of the traditional profile raising activities, getting physically in the way of staff offering an ipod shuffle as a prize drawer in hospital corridors.  One interesting point was their posters campaign which promoted not just the services but what their staff could do for their users.  This is relevant to us – we need to show we are adding value and emphasise our human skills – not just say that we subscribe to a range of databases.  Sara said their membership rates doubled during that period.  They have also set up a clinical library service (we can smugly say we have an excellent clinical library service here at Leicester already) and have set about making their services known to senior management.  This sounds familiar but its continual process we can’t afford to forget. 

 

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