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Posts Tagged ‘information skills’

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.

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

Posted in Meetings, Research Support | 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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Critical Appraisal & Evaluation Skills

Posted by selinalock on 14 April, 2010

We had an interesting training session on Monday, run by our colleague Keith Nockels about critical appraisal. Keith went through the session he teaches to various medical and science undergraduates and postgraduates.

We had a really good discussion about based around appraising paper on crows using automobiles as nutcrackers!  Keith had found one of the difficulties with teaching critical appraisal was finding papers which people from various disciplines could discuss, hence the crow paper.

It made us think about whether the medical/science criteria could be applied to other subjects. For example, arts might be more interested in who’s writing the paper and their reputation, over the exact nature of the paper.

We would like to place more emphasis on appraisal and evaluation skills in future. Especially as studies, such as the Digital Information Seeker Report, still suggest that information literacy skills are lacking.  Plus, search technology is still moving towards resource discovery and single search boxes to search across many resources. To user the search seems easy so we need to make sure that they look more closely at the results they are finding.

We already include some evaluation skills in our sessions but there is certainly room for more, and more in-depth skills for postgraduates. At the moment we’re going to carry forward the critical appraisal discussion in our College Teams and look at what we can offer via a subject-specific route.

Some issues I thought we might want to consider were:

  • Do people need to understand better the type of information they’re looking at? E.g. website vs e-journal vs pre-print.
  • How about new ways of disseminating information like blogs or YouTube?
  • Are critical appraisal checklists useful? I thought it might be good to encourage people to write notes as they appraise and then use a checklist to ensure they haven’t missed anything.
  • What are the most effective ways of teaching evaluation/appraisal skills?

I’d be interested to hear what people out there think. What training do you think would be useful? Or what training do you provide?

Also love this little tutorial from our Student Development service on Being a Critical Student. We need to go pick their brains and see how we can offer complementary training.

Posted in Research Support, Subject Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching with online documents

Posted by selinalock on 27 November, 2009

A few weeks ago I asked if anyone could recommend an alternative to using wikis in a teaching session.  A few ideas were suggested including using twitter to get comments from, and interaction among students. An appeal to twitterers also yielded the idea of using www.etherpad.com

I decided that I would try out etherpad as it allows simultaneous (real-time) online document editing, which would allow me to achieve the same kind of aim as I had with using a wiki. That is to set students tasks using the online document and then get them to make comments on the results of those tasks during the session. The free, public etherpads expire after a week, but I wasn’t expecting the students to go back to the documents after session. I was just after something that could be used as a primer for thinking and talking online about issues surrounding the use of Wikipedia, tips for using search engines, sites they would recommend for their course etc.

Etherpad itself turned out to be a very useful tool with interesting features: I created 10 version of the same document and split the class of approx 68 (I think only about 40 actually showed up) into groups. The software coped very well with the simultaneous editing and there were other useful features such as a chat function at the side of the document, and a time slider feature so you could review all the changes that had been made.

Some of the students thought it was an interesting way to run a session, but I had not banked on the anonymous nature of the software causing issues. Basically, once the students realised it was anonymous because they didn’t have to register to use the documents there was a lot of inappropriate behaviour – posting of inappropriate links, deleting of the whole document while other students were trying to use it, using the chat facility to comment on one another etc.

So, overall I think Etherpad could be used in interesting ways in the classroom, you just have to be careful what ground rules you lay and what groups you use  it with!

Posted in Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alternatives to using a wiki to teach?

Posted by selinalock on 29 October, 2009

I’m looking for some advice or suggestions on alternatives to using a wiki during a session.

Last year I blogged about my experience using a wetpaint wiki with 1st year computer scientists which overall went well as the students liked the option to interact online, rather than interact verbally in the classroom. We found last year and so far with the group this year that they are far happier doing things in front of a computer!

Anyway, there are up to 70 students and I would like them to comment on issues such as the pros and concs of wikipedia during the session. The wetpaint wiki would not allow several people to edit at once so most of the students entries were lost or overwritten last year.

If anyone can recommend an alternative solution?

– wiki software that will let multiple people edit?

– chat room software that can deal with a big group?

– discussion forum software?

– would a blog allow lots of people to comment at once? Or would it fall over?

I only really need the software during the session, as I’m not expecting them to add to it afterwards, so it needs to be free and easy to use/register for. I would have used a Blackboard discussion board but this module isn’t using Blackboard!

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World Reprise

Posted by selinalock on 1 June, 2009

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Following on from Gareth’s earlier post on this subject, here’s my thoughts & questions:

  • Information Literacy is a major component of this report – it argues that it is a growing area that students are deficient in. Recommends that it is a high priority for HEIs to train their students in & keep their staff updated on.
  • “Information literacies, including searching, retrieving, critically evaluating information from a range of appropriate sources and also attributing it – represent a significant and growing deficit area”
  • However, no mention anywhere of how to do this or that libraris have been struggling to get this on the agenda for years.
  • Q: What do we do with this report? Take it to VC? Take it to teaching & learning committees? What strategies & solutions do we suggest for training students & staff? Do we take a take roots approach with lecturers? Do all of the above?
  • Web 2.0 skills (communication, networking, sharing) are becoming employability skills.
  • Students are living in a Web 2.0 world and might expect Web 2.0 solutions in the future – though at present they expect a traditional face to face approahc in HE and do not equate social software with learning. This may change as the next few generations come through the school system.
  • Students are currently consumers of content in the Web 2.0 world rather than creators – we need to find hooks i.e. show them how the technology helps them.
  • Q: What are the hooks for staff and for students in using Web 2.0 in a learning context?
  • Three types of online space: Personal (emails & messaging), Group (social networking sites) and publishing (blogs, wikis, youtube).  Students will not want us in their personal space but there is scope for utilising group and publishing space for learning & teaching.
  • Information literacy should incorporate other web awareness issues e.g. plagarism, data protection, personal data on the web and online identities.
  • Q: How do we do this? How do we work with others in the institution who teach/train on these issues? How do we update ourselves in all these areas?
  • Upskill staff on e-pedagogy: as this will be needed for them to take advantage of using Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Q: How skilled are we as librarians in this? What training do we need in order to offer the information literacy teaching the report advocates?
  • Report suggests there are already examples out there of good practice in the use of digitised materials and online learning resources at module level. Though no specific examples included. It asks how these can be supported and used on a wider/larger scale.
  • Q: What good practice are we already using or aware of with regards Web 2.0? Does it upscale? What opportunities are there for us to work with other colleagues inside & outside the institution to provide services?
  • Take into account the prior experience and the expectations of students.
  • Q: How do we do this? Do we cultivate more links with school librarians in the UK? What about overseas, distance learning and mature students?
  • Digital divide still exists – don’t forget that!
  • “Means of access will be multimedia, mobile and pocket-sized”
  • Q: Are we prepared for the next wave of multimedia and mobile type resources?

Overall, this report is good for librarians and the information literacy cause as long as we DO something about it. Take action & not just talk about it!

Posted in Service Delivery, Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

TAN: Web 2.0 & Information Literacy

Posted by selinalock on 15 January, 2009

Several of us from the library attended the Teaching Assessment Network presentation yesterday by Sarah Whittaker and Alan Cann.

The slides with an audio commentary for this session can be found in a previous post.

The session mainly consisted of a face to face and simultaneous twitter discussion about using Web 2.0 technologies in teaching, particularly with regards to information literacy skills.

I don’t have a particular problem twittering while listening/discussing issues face to face. However,  it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some people had problems hearing the face verbal discussion due to the tapping of keyboards and/or concentrating on the online discussion due to the amount of tangential “twittering”.

Some of the interesting points I picked up in the room and online were:

  • Web 2.0 tools used included a customised google search engine, wikis, and a pageflakes page for relevant journal links and RSS feeds. All bought together through the Blackboard VLE page for the course.
  • As the students saw each other daily anyway there was very little interaction online.
  • The custom search and the journal pages were very popular with the students.
  • The tutor saw an improvement in the quality of resources used.
  • suggests it’s best to integrate appropriate Web 2.0 info literacy tools within student courses.
  • Academis staff were offered library sessions on RSS and social bookmarking but take up was low – they didn’t come because they didn’t know how it would be useful?
  • The library needs to expand on our Web 2.0 knowledge and the support we offer – need web 2.0 evangelists?
  • More emphasis on evaluation – less on searching?
  • Issues to think about teaching: advanced google searching, specialist image/audio search engines, wikipedia, youtube as reference tool, RSS, blogs/blog searching, citing new types of resources and copyright/creative commons.

Posted in Meetings, RSS, Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sign(age)s and Portents

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 November, 2008

Feeling chuffed right now as I’ve managed to get the digital signage here to obey my commands – and so now it’s displaying a new message as well as the standard stuff.  That seemed fairly easy now I know which buttons to press, though the software didn’t make it obvious I can certainly say!

Spent most of today teaching new sessions to the science postgrads on Databases and Endnote/RefWorks. A small but good bunch of students, all of whom bar one came to both sessions.  I have to say it’s been rather a herculaean effort to get all the handouts and lecture slides up and running; but well worth the while.  Like most first run sessions there were various things I felt could have been done better – but you generally only think of them once you’re live.  But since I made the sessions fairly informal I was able to slip them in every now and again as though they were pre-planned.

I think the only two real glitches we hit were Zetoc failing to work for anyone (so I’ve passed that onto Sheree) and some of the EndNote filters not quite working like I expected – something to go away and investigate post-hoc I think.

I’ll read through the feedback tomorrow, once I start working on the Chemistry p/g sessions for next Wednesday – hoping to recycle a fair bit of info…

Posted in Research Support, Subject Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Web 2.0 technologies should libraries be teaching?

Posted by selinalock on 30 July, 2008

For the first time this coming academic year I will be teaching an information skills session to 1st year computer scientists. This is likely to be challenging as they tend to think that the library resources are not relevant to their subject and that they know how to search the net.

I’m thinking I might use a wiki which has been primed with exercises for them to complete and feedback on during the session as described in this paper; http://jil.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/RA-V1-I3-2007-1

So, the next question is what exercises should I use in the wiki? The Department expects the students to mainly use websites and books. Plus a couple of journals that have articles appropriate to 1st years.

I’m thinking that they need to also be discussing different types of online sources such as wikipedia and blogs. So, as part of that do I include social bookmarking and RSS feed readers? It’s only a 2 hour session so I’ll only be able to include so much.

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »