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Posts Tagged ‘information literacy’

European Documentation Centres: what are they for, what is their future?

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 9 June, 2015

Notes from European Documentation Training: Brussels June 2015

European Documentation Centres were set up to allow the citizens of the EU to participate in a debate about the EU. Their mission was to promote teaching and research of the EU and to make information on all aspects of the EU – from the economy to the environment to health – available to the wider public. Their role was not so much to provide information as to facilitate communication and their establishment was seen as good policy rather than an obligatory function of the European Union.

However, even as far back as 1985 it was calculated that an EDC cost the EU between €10k and €12k a year. In recent years, faced with every decreasing and restrained budgets, the EU has distributed more communications online and less via the medium of print, leaving EDCs with closed or very slow growing collections and a falling number of users.

The delegates at the EU documentation training event were asked to advise the newly-formed pan-European working group on the future of EDCs on ways to take the EDC forward. Over the course of 2 hours of discussions the following points were raised:

EDCs have to face the digital reality. Lots of their documentation is online, fewer and fewer print documents of significance are being sent out by the EU. Users are by-passing EDCs and going straight to Google to find EU documentation.

However, EU documentation is available from a myriad of sources. Refined and sophisticated searches are possible on these platforms though usability is not necessarily intuitive. EDCs will still have a role then in the future but the emphasis will be more on training users in online discovery. Delegates at the training event were unanimous in calling for EDCs to remain a discreet, physical space where people can seek out support in information retrieval and some still saw a role for print documents in that physical space; others envisaged a more world café type set-up with computers available for online access to information.  It has to be stressed though that some historic documents are still not online – digitisation of COM Docs, for example, has only reached the 80s so print is still essential in some cases.

All agreed EDCs need to work on promotion to increase visibility and attract users back to use our services. There was also a widely-supported call for EDCs around Europe to work more collaboratively to create a network in which to share best practice and to make open-source training materials for end users.

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Posted in Offical Publications, Open Access, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

eMRSG Meeting

Posted by selinalock on 17 September, 2012

 

I had lunch with Katie Fraser overlooking the lake at the University of Nottingham.

On Tuesday 11th September Helen Steele & I visited the University of Nottingham for the East Midlands Research Support Group meeting.

The first half of the meeting was about the creation of online learning resources for researchers (presented by Wendy Stanton & Helen Young), which you can find out more about on the eMRSG website. Some of the interesting points the group found when creating the online resources and talking to researchers were:

  • Researchers prefer online tutorials to be 10-30mins and include visuals, links, quizzes and screencasts.
  • They also prefer peer support, which was not an option for the current online tutorial project.
  • Skills they rated highly and think researchers should develop = literature search planning, assessing quality information and in-depth knowledge of published literature.
  • Tutorial creators thought they would need to present a balanced view – researchers wanted to know how to advance their career in three amazing leaps.
  • Tutorial creators thought they should include high level content such as ‘how to start a journal’ but many researchers were bemused as to why anyone would want to do that!
  • Calling the tutorial ‘Promotion of Research’ was perceived as too aggressive so changed to ‘Dissemination of Research’
  • Content more important than aesthetics – both were important.
  • The ‘Dissemination of your Research’ tutorials are now available under a creative commons license.

The second half of the meeting was a discussion of what the various libraries represented were doing to support research and the future of the group.

Keighton Auditorium, University of Nottingham

Main themes of research support were:

  • Work closely with Graduate School, Research Office, Staff Development/Learning Development.
  • Blogs, websites or Blackboard sites to bring scattered resources together as a one stop shop for research support within institutions.
  • Research Data Management – big theme for the future, how to support, where funds are coming from, working closely with IT Services etc.
  • Looking at different ways of engaging researchers – training sessions, Elevenses, attending appropriate committees, blogs, social media.
  • Mapping training and support on to the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Library support costed into research bids e.g. systematic reviews
  • Institutional repository data and REF.
  • OA publishing – how Finch Report will affect things – how/where OA funds placed and managed – what about institutions not receiving extra funds from Government?
  • Modules or moderated courses on information literacy and research skills for PGRs.
  • How to measure impact of training provided.
  • Contacting new staff/researchers on arrival (if possible).
  • Reference Management training and support.
  • Some libraries (like our new team at Leicester) have staff specifically responsible for research support, others it is part of the remit for all subject librarians.
  • Catalogue of Research Equipment (across the M5 group, as announced today here at Leicester) – could the equipment catalogue be linked to research data and research publications? (Loughborough investigating this).
  • Research Support Space within the library.
  • Challenges = time, resource, funding, do we know what researchers really want/need?

It was a really useful afternoon and everyone in attendance agreed that it would be useful to have a few meetings every year and keep in touch regarding developments to research support within the East Midlands. The next meeting will be hosted here at the University of Leicester in March, provisionally on Open Access Publishing Funds and the affects of the Finch Report.

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USTLG Spring 2012 Meeting – Being a Science/Engineering Librarian

Posted by selinalock on 4 September, 2012

A very, very late report on the Spring meeting that I attended and spoke at, which was held at the University of Newcastle.

Although the main theme of the event was sharing experiences of being a science and engineering librarian, some other loose themes emerged becoming embedded vs becoming generic, and the way the profession has/is changing.

Being a subject librarian – Changes to the Profession

So, what does it mean to be a subject librarian? Jenny Campbell, Newcastle University

– Recognise how our jobs are changing – teaching, marketing, web guru
– Allowed to develop more things on OA & Endnote.
– Different ways of teaching, larger groups, lectures with drop-ins
– Research support growing – workshops at Faculty level (50-60hrs to PhD students) + need to do more
– Using social media & have some engagement
– Student surveys for refurbishment of library = more study space, quiet areas, more books, power supply at every desk, more IT…

The Environment and Technology librarian: a new professional’s perspective, making the role your own, Emma Illingworth, University of Brighton

– Know my students, researchers, school staff, academics, subjects
– Social networking on the student/staff community networking site
– Twitter for the subjects – but are the students on there? Professionals are on there but students prefer FB. Are there better ways of engaging?
– Little funky business cards to give to staff & students
– Mainly a L&T role & has become embedded in some modules
– Info skills in each year – need a clear path through the modules
– Tried various ways of delivering teaching – for some groups need to change activities to keep attention
– Email before session to online noticeboard to ask what they want out of session – works well for some groups & not others
– Working collaboratively with academics & sharing successes
– Helped with open day & it was pointed out as a unique selling point to students = their own librarian
– Future – wants to be an embedded librarian

From Soviet Studies to Science and Engineering, Jenny Brine, Lancaster University

– 40 years of librarianship, but only science for a few years
– 1st degree in Russian & first post was running library for Russian & East European Studies = Essential to have language skills, hard to find reliable information, embedded/worked closely with research staff, encouraged to do a PhD, specialised, treated as member of research team and found researchers didn’t want to share data until after they were published,
– Moved to Aberdeen & started teaching IL skills (just didn’t realise that they were called IL, but had been compiling bibliographies for years so had the skills required) to a wide range of subjects, encouraged to do a teaching qualification, had to supervise students doing searches in many subjects – learned about how to find out about research/suject vocabularly,
– Lancaster Uni Library – started in ILL which gives you a good picture of research within the Uni plus contact with staff and students, could notice trends and suggest books for purchase.

– Learning about new subjects – informal (family), formal – colleagues, reading, web resources etc
– Read new scientist
– Support from sci & tech lib colleagues e.g. lis-medical, USTLG, courses & conferences
– Read the study skills/research skills books for subjects
– Talk to academics – get invites to meetings or to look around the Depts.

Widening Participation: building on the role of a science librarian, Tony Wilson, University of York

– Helps with Developing Independent Learning Day for schools & colleges network – aimed at 6th formers
– Library challenges = researching & evaluating info (other session on day about academic writing, campus tour & student ambassadors help with day)
– Quzzies about how library works
– Wanted to work closely with other Uni services to make the events more joined up – collaborated more & became the actual widening participation co-ordinator for Uni
– Extended projects may start to be taken into consideration for Uni admissions
– Develpoing a realising opp website at York – freely available resources
– Also work with local primary school projects – they liked the tour of the library! Done some sessions with school librarians and 10yr olds about evaluating websites
– Challenges – Doing on top of normal liaison post, need to be an all rounder, lack of clear leanining objectives from schools, maintaining discipline within classes
– Top tips – use student ambassadors, ensure clear understanding/agreement over what is being covered, keep session interactive, keep groups small
– Now have a relationship management team with WP as an area they deal with, share the workload – in future all liaison librarians will play a role.

All Change! Restructuring Academic Liaison, Selina Lock, University of Leicester

– I talked about our restructure from a team of subject librarians to a team of T&L Librarians (each with a subject remit for UG & PGT students) and a Research Support Team (each with a much wider subject remit for PGR and Researchers).

– I move into my new position supporting STEM researchers in a couple of weeks and I already know I need to learn more about/provide more support on our research archive, OA publishing, REF preparation, copyright, research data management… on top of the experience I already have in teaching literature searching and bibliographic software.

Becoming Embedded (in various ways…)

Embedding information literacy teaching within Engineering, Liz Martin, De Montfort University

– Moved from one induction slot in 2005 to sessions in induction, 1st yr, final yr UG, PG students
– Web-based Induction before students arrive & available all during their first year plus face to face induction within course induction

– 1st yr session = 2hr within design project module (e.g. design a remote controlled gutter cleaner), within report have to show evidence of research & IEEE referencing.

– Final yr UG as part as project briefings, big lecture to everyone as a refresher with the option to sign up for tutorials for more help.
– PG (MSc) – 2hr session
– How from one induction to embedding? Lots of chance opportunities, put together a Bb module for another subject & then showed it to other academics, Technology module leaders liked it, other links were forged through management boards (external examiner feedback), once referencing session in place led to other academics being interested & 1st yr engineering project session came through that, also worked with study support to introduce sessions on report formatting & do team teaching on some sessions.
– Future – a lot of teaching still ad-hoc/short notice, would prefer to be timetabled, see students every year of course, keep plugging for other subjects.

Making yourself indispensible – Science Community Librarianship, Steve Lee, University of Glamorgan

– Science, sport, chiropractice – too many subject to be traditionally embedded!
– Must be valued by our users – how?
– Make our users lives easier – if they value us they will fight to keep us
– Get out of the library – go to where users are
– Visit academic staff in their offices (on their turf) – what are their problems & work out action plan to resolve problems
– What are their problems? = time management, getting research time, dealing with students, accessing journals, searching easier on google, marking, admin takes time, keeping up to date etc
– Library matters not a priority, help solve their problems and their priorities – what makes their life easier?
– Visit your researchers & find out their interests – keep notes
– Plan individual strategies to meet needs – become valued member of support team
– Upskill users – you don’t loose value as they will come back when they need updating
– Takes time to set up e.g. new book lists & Journal ToC, but once up & running they can become automated
– Can then focus on individual problems- take ownership of problems & see it through to resolution instead of passing on to someone else
– Staff & students want fast resolutions to problems – want help now.
– E.g. staff member wanted to be able to borrow moe than 15 books – is it a resonable request? What do other institutions do? Present evidence to colleagues to increase loan limit & take it to senior management – agreed to put it up to 22 for a year – tiny amount took it up but had a few very happy academics.
– Periodically revisit staff to re-evaluate & find out about new needs.
– If you can’t solve the problems then at least they know you tried.
– In response to student need – sits in chiropractic dept at set times to help, as they are in a building away from both libraries – sit in student computer room so became another channel for helping students solve other problems too. Other people wanted same service & now done in other Depts.
– These surgeries allow you to get to know students, staff & researchers, can do work even if people don’t come, on average answer a couple of indepth queries each time, gather evidence for resources needed, only do in term time (exam times usually very quiet).

– Have to be pro-active so users cannot afford to loose you…

Hiding library training in other classes, Kirsty Thomson, Heriot-Watt University

– Students not keen on library training – think they already know it – even if they turn up they are not there in spirit.
– What do students care about? Getting their degree.
– Intro to Essay writing – biology students in wk 2+3, jointly teaching with effective learning tutor – saw in groups of 60-70 & got them to do group work looking at extracts of texts (e.g. journal, textbook, fiction, newspaper)
– Think about the style of writing, could they use it for essay, where/what did it come from, followed by group discussion on what is/isn’t appropriate for essay writing
– Fake essay extract with no references, talk about importance of referencing & got them to look at the essay to see whether they picked up where it should be referenced
– Class discussion on plagiarism – ‘is this plagiarised or not?’ slides
– 75% of class said info about referencing was useful & relevant
– Liked group work, working with examples
– Followed up by essay feedback class – essays submitted via TurnItIn – which librarian could see & based follow up on the kind of mistakes they’d made e.g. structuring, problems with referecing, using illustrations
– Made you realise what students don’t know! e.g. don’t realise a 70% mark =  a brilliant essay
– Go to meetings, volunteer for anything that is IL related, work with other services e.g. effective learning
– Needs to be relevant to student interest & worries
– Be convinced your teaching is interesting – if you’re not interested then they won’t be!
– Be careful what you call your sessions e.g. Avoiding Plagarism became ‘Copy & Paste: Just Say No!’ (only works if you remember Grange Hill!) – finally became ‘Using evidence in your essays’
– Don’t give up on an idea too quickly, but be ready to change classes if not working.
– Link to an assignment if possible
– Future: put shorter IL content into other lectures – build links to course content.

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Eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. -Hans Hofmann

Posted by sarahw9 on 20 July, 2012

I’ve got to admit I was surprised to arrive at Information Literacy & Summon, Sheffield Hallam University, and find there were so many people attending.  There was a real buzz and engagement from the audience and the presenters.  The day was dedicated case studies and discussions about how the implementation of Summon (a discovery system that enables search across library electronic and print holdings, ranging from bibliographic database content to the library catalogue, using one intuitive interface) has changed how they teach information literacy.  At Leicester we have had Summon since the summer of 2011, you can see it in action on the University of Leicester library website

 The big message of the day was that discovery systems allow us to give up teaching complicated and arcane interfaces and focus on the higher level information literacy skills such as selection, evaluation, context, appropriateness, and synthesis.

Many libraries use their discovery search and subject pages as their twin tools.  Some are abandoning their library catalogues completely (for example the University of the West of England) and at many others they are much less prominent.  No one is teaching ‘the catalogue’. 

I’ve reported the things that stood out to me the most.  The first section of the day was dedicated to presenters from Sheffield Hallam: 

  • Rod Aitken amused me with his comparison of Google (ideal search interface with clean screen) with the typical library website (completely cluttered). 
  • Alison Lahlafi emphasised how her teaching has shifted in focus from ‘the tools’ to ‘the process’. 
  • Sandy Buchanan pointed out that these higher level skills are in fact the more usefully transferable and generic skills, and how he focuses enabling building students confidence using academic resources.
  • Matt Borg pointed out that discovery systems are in line with the focus on the student experience and how they facilitated learning simply by making things easier. 

 The presenters from Huddersfield: 

  • Andrew Walsh amused us with the giving us an example of the information literacy lesson from hell, which included telling students that they will go blind and develop hairy palms if they dared to use Google.  He contrasted to how he can teach now, which is focus on the thinking about, context and application of information.  The students can teach themselves the basics of the interface, and he can facilitate to make sure they don’t miss anything. 
  • Bryony Ramsden raised some interesting questions about the dilemma that many health librarians have about whether to teach this as well as or instead of NHS Evidence (we do both here at Leicester). 
  • Alison Sharman pointed out that students often don’t find the facets (or tools to refine by subject / year / publication type) for themselves.  She had also devised an effective method for reaching students quickly at the relevant time in their course by getting 10 minutes slots in lectures and simply talking through the discovery search and relevant points.  She doesn’t prepare but gets the students to suggest the topics and works with what they give her at the time.  This is a quick way to reach students and incorporates an endorsement from the lecturer too.    

Finally Dave Pattern, also from Huddersfield, reminded us that the ideal interface is one you don’t have to teach.  If we insist on making it difficult for students they will simply go elsewhere. 

I realised I could be doing more with Summon than I do currently (which is to use it at induction level before moving onto the other resources in more detailed teaching sessions), and I’m going to investigate the possibilities of those 10 minute lecture slots.

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Lecture capture

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 24 April, 2012

Tony Churchill gave a presentation at DL Forum on Tuesday 24/4/12 on lecture capture.  He talked about a project funded by Echo 360 – a supplier of lecture capture software.  The project looked at uses of lecture capture software beyond simply recording and posting lectures for students to revisit.

The project looked at taking recorded lectures and cutting them up into 15 minute snapshots which can then be used a subsequent year to support students’ learning.  The snapshots could be posted in VLEs before face-to-face lectures to provide students with background knowledge and free up time in lectures for more interaction and discussion.  Recordings of face-to-face lectures can be used to support DLs.
Short snapshots of lectures can be made publicly available and used as effective recruitment tools.

Denise Sweeny reported on a lecture capture project going on at the University of Leicester at the moment.  Using Adobe Connect and/or open source software OpenEyA (see www.openeya.org for more information) lecturers from Media and Communication and from Chemistry have captured 5 hours of UG lectures and 12 hours of PGT lectures and have posted them in Bb with no guidance or instructions on how students should use them.  This term they will measure use of the captured lectures using Bb Analytics, focus groups, an online questionnaire and extended interviews.  They want to measure how often the lectures are accessed and how students use them.  They will also gather data on student demographics and their preferred modes of study.

If you want help and advise on capturing your own teaching sessions contact Simon Kear spk7@le.ac.uk in BDRA.

Posted in Projects, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Technology & Devices, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Information Literacy as a graduate attribute: Are employers getting a good deal?

Posted by katiefraser on 24 January, 2012

This event was a University of West London (UWL) event focusing on information literacy and its relationship to graduate attributes. Graduate attributes are qualities that a university aims for graduates to obtain (many universities have explicit lists of these expected qualities) and tend to be linked explicitly to the employability of students. With employability high on the agenda at universities I think most university libraries are keen to make sure that the value of information literate graduates is reflected in such discussions, so we were all eager to find out more.

Transport issues meant that I missed the introductory talks from the University of West London, but arrived in time for Ruth Stubbings’ talk. She got us all thinking about both the small and big picture of information literacy: what it meant to us personally, and then how it should be seen more globally. In the context of this event her broad perspective seemed very relevant, particularly her discussion of who ‘owns’ information literacy: practically I felt this was currently librarians, but the consensus was that this should be much wider, with discussion focusing on how information literacy could be ‘quality assured’ at governmental level.

Next up was Marc Forster, discussing information literacy as a graduate attribute in the context of nursing. Nursing is a profession with a heavy focus on evidence-based practice, with nurses needing to find up-to-date information on health. He had worked on a standalone module in UWL’s virtual learning environment, which is supported by nursing tutors (as first point of help) with Marc advising those tutors. Marc will be evaluating the course as part of his PhD on the experience of information literacy by nurses, the results of which I’m sure will be interesting reading.

Jason Eyre then discussed a project he’d been doing with information literacy in social work (another discipline with a focus on evidence-based practice). Jason had worked with key stakeholders in De Montfort University’s social work course to establish a mediated discussion board, intending to facilitate conversation between students (on placements and thus crossing student and practitioner boundaries), practitioners, the department, and the library. Although the discussion board received limited use, it’s development and evaluation allowed him to gather a whole range of data students’ experience of information behaviours. A particularly interesting finding was that while the academic environment encouraged written, formal and critical information seeking, the practitioner environment used verbal, informal information seeking, with a strong respect for authority. Jason concluded that ‘authentic’ tasks were needed, and that students needed to be supported in developing criticality as a verbal skill, to allow transition of evidence-based practice from the academic to practitioner environment.

The last talk was from Jo Lozinska from the University of West London’s Careers section spoke about trying to help students articulate and communicate the skills that they gained at university. She went through some application forms for graduate jobs, picking out areas where they had to demonstrate information skills, particularly problem solving and decision making skills. It was very interesting to see information literacy discussed in this context and to see someone from the ‘other side’ making these connections.

Finally, we split into groups to discuss whether we needed to reassess our information literacy teaching to make them relevant when students became graduates (short answer: yes!) and some of the issues around this. Key needs identified included making sure that the library, student development and careers gave out a consistent message.

This was a timely session with some highly thought-provoking presentations. I think my strongest resolution is to make more of an effort to think about the employment context that students will be (or, for professional courses, are) experiencing: how the information literacy support I provide will translate into that context, and how I can improve the likelihood of that translation.

Posted in Subject Support, Training | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

EMALINK Supporting Researchers Event

Posted by selinalock on 13 July, 2011

Several of us attended this event on the 13th April 2011. Sorry for the rather delayed write-up!

The bulk of the session revolved around the idea of the “information arc” that a researcher would work through, going from a consumer to a producer (see embedded slideshow). We all thought about what researchers might want at different points in their research and how we can fulfil those needs.

Literature Search

  • Defining research topic, Concept mapping, Search Strategies
  • Types of information required & how to access them
  • Time management
  • Reading strategies, decoding academic language
  • Alert services – as literature search evolves, is refined and is reviewed  later in research

Information Management

  • Reference management strategies & software, bookmarking tools
  • RSS tools
  • Note taking
  • How to structure writing  a literature search, thesis, journal article
  • Critical Analysis

Writing

  • Academic writing style
  • Proof reading & grammar skills
  • Summarising, paraphrasing, citing

Publication Strategies

  • Types of publication
  • Copyright issues
  • Writing for a specific audience
  • Quality measure – impact factors/bibliometrics – what might be required for REF
  • Benefits of collaboration
  • Publication fees – OA ‘vs’ traditional publishing
  • Publication trends
  • Responding to feedback and/or Handling rejection
  • Tips for becoming highly cited & reviewed
  • Corrections and retractions

Publicising Work/Publications

  • Open Access (Institutional Repository)
  • Online research profiles (and being professional online)
  • Social Networks and blogs
  • Google Juice

Most of the institutions represented at the event felt that they offered training or services that could help with all these areas but:

  • Not clear who offers what – Library, Student Development/Support/Study Skills, Staff Development, Research Support Team.
  • No clear advertising/promotion or route through the training available from different places.

Other points that arose from discussion were:

  • Researchers often need/want one to one support as have specific needs.
  • Useful to talk to staff before they go on sabbaticals to see if they need any research support.
  • Good to get research supervisors on-side and clued-up on training on offer.
  • How can we get involved in the research process and be there at the right time to offer support?
  • Important to share expertise between staff.
  • Look at collaborative project e.g. EMRSG who are creating online tutorials for supporting researchers.
  • Online tutorials – there for staff that cannot access face to face services, access at the time right for them.
  • Need to market libraries better and ensure buying the right resources for researchers.

We are lucky at Leicester to have a couple of specialist posts to support researchers and work alongside Information Librarians:

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USTLG Information Literacy Meeting

Posted by katiefraser on 16 May, 2011

Programme for the day

Programme for the day

This Monday I attended the University Science and Technology Librarians’ Group (USTLG) Spring meeting on Information Literacy. It was my first USTLG meeting (regular blog readers will have gathered that we try and send at least one science librarian to each) and was at the University of Sheffield, where I studied for my MA in Librarianship. The full information literacy presentations are available on the USTLG website.

The talks fell into three themes: two on researcher support, two on outreach, and two on online tutorials, alongside a presentation from the British Standards Institution, which sponsored the lunch. I’ll tackle the talks in terms of theme, rather than in the order they occurred.

Researcher Support

Moira Bent, from the University of Newcastle, spoke about the revised version of the 7 Pillars model of Information Literacy. This model, well known in the library world, mapped the different skills an information literate person should possess. The revised model addresses some concerns which have been raised in recent years: it is no longer linear, the focus is not just on skills, and each ‘pillar’ has a simple name (Identify, Scope, Plan, Gather, Evaluate, Manage and Present).

To further increase the model’s ease of application, a ‘research lens’ has been produced: looking at which skills and attitudes researchers would find productive under each pillar. The lens draws some of its terminology from the Researcher Development Framework, the UK’s widely-endorsed model of researcher development, in order to ensure its relevance. Moira emphasised that she was keen to use other ‘lenses’ to more increase the accessibility of the model in the long-term, perhaps for schools, undergraduates, or the workplace.

Further pursuing this theme, Sheila Webber, from the University of Sheffield, spoke about the influence of PhD supervisors on information literacy. She related Brew (2001)’s model of conceptions of research and Lee (2008)’s work on conceptions of supervision to simply demonstrate how a supervisor’s views were likely to influence the types of training they directed PhD students towards. She also made the interesting point that information literacy might not look the same in every field: a small field might be relatively easy to keep up-to-date with, while other PhDs might require a broad interdisciplinary approach and need a student to access many different tools and literatures.

Outreach

The two talks on outreach looked at science / technology librarians working with academic departments: one from Evi Tramatza at the University of Surrey, and one from Elizabeth Gadd at Loughborough University. Evi’s was a real success story, about the work she’d done to embed herself into the departments she supports using a focus on shared ground, pilot lectures and the support of the wider library to make sure she delivered on her promises.

Elizabeth talked about a more specific contribution she’d made towards improving teaching for a Civil Engineering literature review assignment. Elizabeth’s talk really emphasised for me how useful evidence can be in developing teaching: she’d used simple measures of the quality of the reviews before and after the teaching was introduced to demonstrate its impact, and was building upon this with other departments. You can see more of the evidence she used in Loughborough’s Institutional Repository.

Online Tutorials

Lastly, the two talks on online tutorials. The first was David Stacey, from the University of Bath, talking about the library’s role in creating an online tutorial on academic writing skills. This was a great illustration of how different specialists across the university (including the library and a Fellow from the Royal Literary Fund) had worked together to obtain funding to create this helpful resource. Unfortunately the tutorial is not currently accessible to those outside Bath (there’s some screenshots in his presentation slides) but they may produce an Open Educational Resource (OER) in the future.

The second, I already knew a little about, as Leicester is an observer on the project. This was the East Midlands Research Support Group (EMRSG), represented at USTLG by Elizabeth Martin from De Montfort University and Jenny Coombs from the University of Nottingham, who have been working together to produce a resource for researcher training. Again, this project was a triumph for collaboration, with four different universities – Loughborough and Coventry being the other key players – working together to get funding. I was really pleased to see how far the project has come since the last meeting I attended: they have developed a fantastic resource, with videos of senior researchers explaining core concepts and plenty of interactivity. Again, screenshots are available in the presentation slides right now, but the group intend to make an OER available in Jorum and Xpert in the future.

Overall, this was a great event, with good breadth, and plenty of practical ideas to bring back (particularly the focus on evidence and collaboration). I’ll look forward to my next USTLG meeting.

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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.

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

Good Practice in Information Literacy for Academic Research

Posted by knockels on 4 April, 2011

I attended this RIN/UK Council for Graduate Education workshop at the University of Warwick on 14 March.  It has taken a little while to write this!

There were three useful particualrly useful presentations:

Kate Mahoney of Vitae spoke about the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), designed to be integrated into all training given to researchers.  It is a tool designed to help researchers find out what they know and what training they need.   It has four domains – one, “Knowledge and Academic Abilities”, specifically includes Information literacy and management as one of its “descriptors”.   Other domains include descriptors of interest  – for example, “IPR and copyright”, in the “Research governance and organisation” domain.    There are also many other descriptors that have an information literacy angle.       There is more about the RDF on the Vitae website.

Wendy White of the University of Southampton spoke about the soon to be launched revised Sconul 7 Pillars of Information Literacy.   This is scheduled to be launched at the forthcoming LILAC conference.  

Joy Davidson of the Data Curation Centre spoke about data management, something, along with copyright, that researchers need to think about at the outset, and not the end of their research.      Many people – universities, publishers, funders – have opinions or mandates on data management, but not many people offer support, so perhaps a role for us as part of our own institutional support?  Attention was drawn to DCC training and support materials.  

The two breakout sessions produced some interesting things which I will follow up: I liked the sound of Glasgow Caledonian’s RefWorks material, online and designed to be worked through at one’s own pace.   I liked the sound too of adding “contact your information librarian” to the induction of new staff, thus becoming something that they had to do and have ticked in their first week or month.

The three presentations mentioned above, plus one other, are at http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/events/pastevents/1011area/infoliteracy11.

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USTLG Winter Meeting 2

Posted by selinalock on 8 December, 2010

This follow on with my report of the USTLG Winter Meeting.

Finding the known unknowns and the unknown knowns, Yvonne Nobis, University of Cambridge.

  • Talked about their development of the http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/scienceportal/website aimed specifically at researchers (which I know some of our researchers rather like the look of!)
  • Researchers often don’t known what they’re looking for: unknown unknowns, as research skills might need updating, looking for something outside their field or don’t know where to begin.
  • Scientists don’t tend to use the Cambridge libraries (over 100 of them so confusing system) and they want everything electronically so looking for a way to meet their needs.
  • Found most visitors to the science library are those looking for historical (print) information, or students wanting a place to study.
  • ~95% journal are online and ~95% of monographs are still print only.
  • In response to this they will now scan on demand from their own collections for Cambridge researchers (currently a free service as charging would have copyright law implications).
  • As the staff would often need to retrieve these items from storage the scanning has not added too much extra effort.
  • Science librarians at Cambridge do a lot of training of early career researchers.
  • Science@Cambridge contextualises information within a subject area to help researchers start their searching.
  • Includes a federated search option where relevant databases have been chosen (to steer researchers away from just using Google Scholar as they don’t realise what scholar doesn’t index: unknown unknowns).
  • Trying to make resource discovery as easy as possible.
  • Have problems with making eBooks easy to access, especially individual titles on catalogue records.
  • Trialled using chat with subject  librarians but not really worked so looking at centralising enquiries more.
  • Training branded through College or Computing Services gets a better turn out than library branded training.

We use a similar idea to Science@Cambridge in our subject rooms, but could learn more from them when redeveloping our Rooms as part of our digital library overhaul? Hopefully using Summon in future will make resource discovery easier at Leicester

Lunch!

Obviously the most important part of any conference is the lunch provided. This time it was a good spread sponsored by Wiley Publishers, and in a very unexpected place…

USTLG Lunch in a Church!

Lunch in the Divinity School

USTLG Lunch 2

Citations Count! Experience of providing researcher training on bibliometrics, citations and Open Access publishing. Kate Bradbury,  Cardiff University.

  • Training in citation data in response to REF raising interest in bibliometrics, funders requesting bibliometric data, help deciding where to publish and to promote work. 
  • Training covers: WoS/Scopus/Google Scholar, looking for data in other sources (e.g. book citations, full text resources which include references), what each database provides e.g. impact factors, increasing citations, using open access publishing and repositories.
  • Format of training: 30 min talk and 1 hr hands-on using workbooks – activities such as finding impact factors, setting up citation alerts, looking at OA resource and using ResearcherID.
  • Also do shorter, tailored talks for Departmental meetings etc.
  • Sessions dones for subject librarians, staff development programme, specific schools/depts (e.g. Comp Sci, Engin, Psychology) and within seminar series.
  • Lessons learnt: avoid too much detail, stay up to date with new database features and REF, emphasis benefits to researchers, takes time to build interest in training, targeted sessions best, be flexible & adapt sessions to suit audience, be prepared for discussions about the validity and use of bibliometrics!
  • Stance taken: explain how to find information but leave it up to the researchers to decide if it is useful to them, including discussion of pros/cons of bibliometrics.
  • Types of questions asked:
  • How to pay for OA publishing?
  • Shouldn’t we just write controversial articles to up our citations?
  • What about highly cited, poor research?
  • My journals not indexed in WoS, how do I get citation info?
  • How to find book citation info?
  • What about self-citations? Will they be excluded from REF?
  • BMJ article said no observable citation advantage from OA publishing…
  • Can I import articles on in WoS into ResearcherID? (can do, but tricky)
  • What is a good H-Index to have?
  • Doesn’t H-Index just reflect length of career?
  • Where’s the best place to put an OA article?
  • I use a subject repository so why also use institutional repository?
  • I don’t want an early version of my work available…
  • What next in terms of training? – Continue with sessions, support subject librarians to run their own sessions, introduce Bristol Online Survey to collect feedback from attendees, respond to individual follow-up questions and do a separate presentation on OA publishing.

USTLG Lunch

Wiley Publishers: WIREs, Alexa Dugan.
Next up was our sponsor for the day Wiley talking about their new product:

  • WIREs = Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews.
  • Reference work meets journal review article –  a new concept in publishing.
  • Have been finding it difficult to find authors/researchers with enough time to devote to writing traditional reference works, especially as those works do not gain professional recognition .i.e. they are not indexed or cited.
  • WIREs is Wiley’s answer to this: invited content with high quality editorship, drawing on their research journal community ties (so like a reference work), but also managed to get them indexed in major databases and WoS so the authors can get recognition.
  • Each Review has a carefully thought out structure, which is kept up to date with a range of article types e.g. focus (news) articles, opinion pieces, basic reviews, advanced reviews etc.
  • Content is added every two months (so serial like a journal) & articles retain their title and DOIs for citation purposes.
  • One of their flagship titles: Climate Change Review has won several awards already.
  • FREE for first two years: wires.wiley.com
  • USTLG Conference

    Getting Interactive

Researcher@Library – becoming part of the research cycle, Katy Sidwell, University of Leeds.

  • Leeds, like many of us, have managed to get a certain amount of library training embedded or offered to PhD students, but what about Academics and other Researchers?
  • Started to think about how to support researchers so thought about the life cycle of a research project:
  • Ides (pre-funding) – Planning (finding application) – Action (research/life of grant) – Dissemination – Application (of research knowledge/transfer) – back to beginning of cycle.
  • They got us to think about how we all support these stages of the cycle & feedback (using post it notes – a good bit of interactivity to wake us all up!).
  • What they (and from the feedback, others might do) are:
  • Ideas = library collections, current awareness & literature search training.
  • Planning =  Identify funding sources ^ support research bids (though in Leeds this only happens in particular areas as it’s labour intensive and unscaleable).
  • Action = PhD workshops, bibliographic management, lit search support, data management advice, user behaviour research, friendly space for researchers.
  • Dissemination = RAE/REF support, etheses online, institutional repository, publications database.
  • Application = intellectual property advice (Business officer), market research for knowledge transfer e.g. patents.
  • Hard for researchers to know about training – where/how to promote?
  • Created a website for researchers to bring together the various things available to them (need user needs analysis to find out what to put there).
  • Researchers wanted a website that was not solely library resources/focused, not tutorial but advice that could be dipped into at appropriate time, simple navigation, no login but not really basic advice – appropriate to their level.
  • library.leeds.ac.uk/researcher
  • Work in progress – need to clarify purpose, look at navigation issues, obtain feedback and roll out across other faculties.
  • Where now? – created Library Researcher Support Group to continue the work and look at how it fits in with the new Vitae researcher development framework.

A good day all round. The presentations from the day can now be viewed at the USTLG site.

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Visit to Gondar, Ethiopia

Posted by knockels on 27 September, 2010

I have just returned from a visit to Gondar in northern Ethiopia, under the auspices of the Leicester-Gondar Link, a long standing link between hospitals/universities in Leicester and in Gondar.     The link encompasses clinical hospital staff as well as academic and support staff, and has seen many visits of Leicester people to Gondar as well as the other way round.

I went as part of a team, along with Tatjana Petrinic of the University of Oxford and Getachew Bayissa of the University of Jimma, Ethiopia,  to teach an information skills module on a new MSc course.   The course is the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and there are courses for physiotherapists, clinical laboratory staff, midwives and anaesthetists.   The aim is to improve practice and also to have aa course that is self sustaining, with people who qualify going on to teach it.   There were 45 students, more than planned, reflecting the demand for such a course.

Ours was the first module, and ran from Wednesday to Sunday to avoid the Ethiopian New Year.   The module was called, rather grandly, “Evidence based practice and health informatics”.  We certainly covered evidence based practice (not sure about the health informatics!), along with website evaluation, critical appraisal (my favourite!), and the resources available through HINARI, a WHO initiative.  HINARI includes PubMed, as well as e journals made available free of charge to countries with low average income.

A theme in my thinking since my return is that although some things are very different in Ethiopia, a good many things are the same.  

Of course, the town of Gondar feels very different.   Very few people have their own car, relying instead on shared minibuses or autorickshaws (“tuktuks”).   We had a day with no electricity, and another with no Internet access.    But there are still students, who want to succeed.  Some of them have extensive knowledge of computers, although others have less.   We had the use of a 40 seater computer room, with digital projector.   The questions that came up in hands on practice time were not that different from what we get asked here.

And here are some photos…

Royal Enclosure, Gondar, Ethiopia

Royal Enclosure, Gondar, Ethiopia

Teaching in progress

Teaching in progress

Blue Nile Falls, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Blue Nile Falls, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

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