Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Move on to Information Literacy meets Library 2.0 !

Thank you for reading this blog. Please move on and subscribe to my new blog Information Literacy meets Library 2.0 !
Bigger and better than this one, it will supplement my book "Information Literacy meets Library 2.0" (published by Facet) which Jo Parker (Open University) and I have just edited.
It was a brave and foolhardy thing to write a book on Web 2.0 (ugh) and we're going to use the new blog for the editors and contributors to update it and give you opportunities for comment.

The blurb about the book says

"This edited collection from an international team of experts provides a practically-based overview of emerging Library 2.0 tools and technologies for information literacy practitioners; addresses the impact of the adoption of these technologies on information literacy teaching; provides case study exemplars for practitioners to help inform their practice; and examines the implications of Library 2.0 for the training of information literacy professionals."

That's the last post on this blog!

Information Literacy meets Library 2.0

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Visual Dictionary

Visuwords is an online graphical dictionary. As it says "Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.
Enter words into the search box to look them up or double-click a node to expand the tree. Click and drag the background to pan around and use the mouse wheel to zoom. Hover over nodes to see the definition and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections."
I tried my unfavourite word "pedagogy" and it exploded all over the screen....

25 super research tools from around the world

A collection of search tools for you to try out from one of these betas sponsored by world-class libraries around the world. As this post from College Degree Co. says "From academic libraries like that at MIT or renowned research centers like the Library of Congress, the following beta research tools feature innovative tricks to connect you with the most relevant, valid results on the Internet and in their card catalogs. Melvil Dewey would be proud."

LASSIE Literature review

In case you haven't yet seen the final outcome of the LASSIE project : Social Software, Libraries and distance learners: literature review by Jane Secker. I can firmly recommend this excellent resource.

Inspiration Matters

I know this isn't directly to do with IL and Web 2.0 but inspiring presentations can stem from enthusiasm. This is something which I've always prized. This post on Presentation Zen is a gem. Garr Reynolds says : "In Sum(1) Never apologize for your enthusiasm, passion, or vision.(2) Never apologize for being inspired by another human being.(3) Seek out inspiration (don't wait for it).(4) Inspire others by sharing your talents and time.(5) And no matter what: Don't let the bozos grind you down, ever."

Flickr images

Michael Stephens is in Australia and his presentation The Hyperlinked Library is on his blog Tame the Web. The images he uses in the prsentation are Creative Commons material from flickr and are a brilliant example of how flickr can be used creatively in presentations. I am highlighting these because the images he uses are so powerful.Wow!

Understanding Information Literacy

If you thought you know it all, think again - here is the UNESCO IL Primer by Forest Woody Horton Jr. 87 pages all free : which print out beautifully. Documents outcomes from the international meetings held in Prague, 2003 and Alexandria, 2005, Ljubljana and Kuala Lumpur, 2006 and more. I must admit to being skeptical about international efforts when these began, but this document is a useful reference for any sector in any country who wants to raise the profile of IL. Annex B - the IL life cycle explained is presented in a useful grid format.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Information Literacy using interactive whiteboards

There is an excellent article "Active learning with interactive whiteboards" by Robert Schroeder of Portland State University, in Communications in Information Literacy. It is both literature review and case study for college freshmen. He makes important points about the investment in whiteboards in the UK schools. Many will be coming into Uni (as they call it) being used to lessons with smartboards... Research seems to show that use of these whiteboards is better for assisting affective rather than the cognitive domain of learning. Certainly it helps group learning as students see their skills and knowledge valued by peers at the same time they begin to value these traits in others.
My own experience at University of Bedfordshire in IL teaching in our Business School new teaching spaces and in our LRC Social Learning Space facilitating project support has been very positive. My colleague, Alan Bullimore and I will be presenting a paper which will include this at the LILAC Conference in a few weeks time.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Six Techniques to Get More from the Web than Google Will Tell You

Going through some links earlier today I came across a useful summary for librarians who serve business staff and students. It's by Margaret Locher of CIO, and she recommends use of search engines and Wikipedia, blogs, Business School sites, Government statistical data, trade magazines and trade associations, and library databases! It's good to see a range of sources but pity that library subscription databases come last!

Monday, 3 March 2008

How to be a super Conference attendee

I love this post from Will Richardson about the ultimate Conference attendee. It's Web 2.0 gone mad! Gone are the days of the typed Conference report to your manager - now it's all about sharing, remember?

How to save the world

I came upon this interesting post, which takes a chart by Chris Lott on Information Fluency, (which puts Information Fluency at the junction between critical thinking, presentation skills and discipline knowldge) a stage further to creating a model for social fluency.This is put at the junction between knowledge, thinking and communication skills. Maybe this is a bit deep for me on a Monday morning but the charts are interesting (or challenging, as they say..)

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

How to teach stuff

It's not particularly Web 2.0 but it made me laugh and there's lot of good advice : it's a little document by John Baez which a friend of mine passed on to me. I hope I haven't got like the last point - yet.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Wikipedia and how to use it in IL

Michael Lorenzen in his Information Literacy Land of Confusion blog has made an excellent and thoughtful post on the situation with Wikipedia. Students will use it, should be told about it, and instructors can use it as a tool for critical thinking and evaluation.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching (HILT)

I know this is not Web 2.0! But we owe the HILT Group of Cardiff University a big vote of thanks for making their excellent handbook available free on the web, under Creative Commons. We don't need to keep on re-inventing the wheel (how often have we heard that!) yet too often we don't take advantage of other's experiences. This is NOT intended for anyone to read from cover to cover, but to refer to and get ideas.
Promoting to schools and students
Library orientation
Lesson planning
Lesson formats
Teaching aids (like their IL resource bank or Intute) Nints on Powerpoint, handouts
Lesson delivery
Evaluating your teaching
A whole host of supporting documents, lesson plans, feedback forms, marking schemes etc.

Really useful. Thank you again!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Information Literacy : not for wimps, or how to untangle spaghetti

This very interesting post from Lis Parcell, tells about the course Information Literacy : Strategies for Success, led by Sharon Markless, held in Late January in Wales. She mentions the 30-40-30 rule: for any new initiative : if you are lucky 30 per cent of people will accept the change, 40 can be won over under the right conditions, and 30 will resist whatever you do. So that's what we can expect with acceptance of Web 2.0 by librarians??Interesting.

Information Literacy through fantasy football

This is a new approach : Librarians' sport of choice: Teaching information literacy through fantasy football C&RL News, January 2008Vol. 69, No. 1 by Paul Waelchli. Could be fun...

Shelving Books

At first sight this might not seem to have much to do with Web 2.0! Came across Carnegie Mellon University Library's game arcade the other day and it has a game on it which is very dear to my heart. It's called Within Range. They have to pick a pile of books off a trolley and shelve in the correct LC order. What a pity its not Dewey! Come on someone : do a Dewey version.
In fact, years ago, while I was at London South Bank we did do one : in our Information Quest tutorial and it worked rather well. It's still there. I always wanted students to be able to put a book in the correct place. Never easy when the Dewey numbers got really long...Those Dewey editors who thought up those long numbers should have been made to do a bit of shelving....

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future

This CIBER briefing paper is the most important read for academic librarians for a long time! Commissioned by JISC and the BL, it is the first attempt at a longitudinal study of how the so-called Google generation are using our libraries and what this might mean in the future. What stands out for me :

The huge choice available for our users to switch between now - from subscription databases to wikis, bookmarked items etc etc.

The research warehouse concept is becoming redundant as the library adapts to becoming a digital environment.

Everyone (staff AND students) are seeing huge changes in how they find information.

Research libraries are still offering huge range of content but often via intuitive interfaces.

E-books are going to become a big success story - sooner than I expected.

We should stop downloading dubious downloaded use stats and get nearer to our users' real search behaviour.

Time taken by users on e sites looking at e books or journals is low with the rise of power browsing.

Information literacy of young people has not improved despite the growth of access.

Young people do not spend enough time on evaluation of web sites.

They have problems with keywords.

They don't understand the structure ofthe web and associate a search engine as their "brand" of web.

They don't find library resources and prefer the ease of the search engines.

We can expect that present younger generations will move markedly toward virtual library by preference.

There is a lot of questionable information about the way young people behave in cyberspace - many myths.

They approach research without regard to library structure and different segments of our web sites, and we dont aggregate subject resources very well.

Social web sites are transforming the web and making formally published and self-published material indistinguishable.

Libraries often pay for the content but dont get the credit.

E-books are more important than social networking issues.

There is a whole list of supposed characteristics of the Google generation : some they agree with, some myths are exploded. Perhaps a common thread would be that some characteristics are not JUST the Web generation but are far more general - e.g. that learners prefer small chunks of information. Indeed as other generation strive to "catch up" there will be common trends.

From a library viewpoint, the report does conclude that young people are unaware of library-sponsored content, and this is the library's problem.

So we are all gradually becoming the Google generation as all generations use the Web and Web 2.0 more widelky for all kinds of purpose.

There is too little emphasis on research into information skills behaviour of young people entering into higher education.The research in the US ( Gross, Melissa and Latham, Don "Attaining information literacy : an investigation of the relationship between skill level, self-estimates of skill, and library anxiety" Library & Information Science Research (2007) 29 332-353, about which I posted recently), if replicated here would suggest that HE is too late to make up for the Googling habits, which will be too deep-seated. This has really serious implications for school librarians, could imply outreach work from HE librarians, or new ways to reach these students once in HE.

Explosion of electronic book content could mean in the future that our library-sponsored content will shrink in relative terms.

We will have to cope with different versions of the same document (pre-publication) and different forms of peer-review.

Users will not put up with barriers to access.

We should integrate content within commercial search engines.

Library users are diverse and we need to study their characteristics and behaviour much more closely.

Power browsing is terribly important.

Our sites need to be more visible on the web.

We won't be a one-stop shop.

Get IL on the agenda because people are finding it hard to navigate and get the best scholarly material.

This is my longest ever post. Do read the original as well!

LASSIE reports!

In case you haven't seen these, the research reports from LASSIE (Libraries and Social Software in Education) led by Jane Secker and Gwyneth Price, are now available. There are useful short reports on use of social software and reading lists ; resource sharing and social software ; citing and referencing podcast and blogging and libraries. I found the report on use of with distance learners particularly interesting. The first report on reading lists, alas, showed that all the systems trialled (CiteULike, H20 Playlists, LibraryThing and Bibsonomy) were found wanting in their management of the lists : but then so would the commercial examples...

Thursday, 17 January 2008

New book : Information Literacy Programmes in the Digital Age

Information Literacy Programs in the Digital Age: Educating College and University Students Online edited by Alice Daugherty and Michael F. Russo will be published in time for ALA Midwinter 2008. It will present significant and innovative online instruction programs, describing the development, implementation, and assessment of each of these. It is described as a resource for institutions currently teaching information literacy online, and a guide to those considering doing so.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

White bread for young minds

Wow, what a furore the article reporting that Tara Brabazon, Professor of Media at University of Brighton (and author of "University of Google") which appeared in Times Online seems to have caused! I suspect that she has been somewhat misunderstood, but even so, I do not believe banning the use of Google and Wikipedia by students is the best course.
Now I know you would expect me to say this (!) but its impossible to enforce and more important, it shuts off the huge amount of useful material there and the value of learning how to evaluate the best which can be found there.
Phil Bradley in his blog says it all really.
Information Literacy librarians should not be afraid of students using Google, Scholar or Wikipedia. Our job is to help students use them sensibly, sifting the best content, using them as starting points, and working with academic staff to build assignments which engage and assess student learning that uses the full panoply of resources available. I suspect that we are not far from Tara Brabazon on this really and that she is not proposing a kind of Luddite return to print, but we will have to see when she addresses LILAC 2008 in Liverpool!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Using Google Scholar

This is just one of the videos now on YouTube about using Google Scholar in your library. This recent 6 minute example from USF (University of South Florida) is interesting because it presents the librarian doing a live search and bringing out a lot of points which we may all have experienced in using Scholar. I like the discursive style and the conclusion about using "it as just one more database" which "doesn't do everything," yet "may give you a pleasant surprise" is right on the mark.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Evaluation Wizard tool from IMSA

Just came across a "wizard" page from the IMSA 21st Century Information Fluency project. It provides an interactive form for students to use to evaluate a web page. They identify themselves at the top, then add the web page to be evaluated and then go through a series of ten criteria in the form of questions, to help them assess the credibility of the web resource. Doubtless we may all query the wording and the criteria but the idea looks really interesting and worth trying with a group of students.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Pay Attention!

I've just been watching a really powerful presentation by Darren Draper of Jordan District Schools, Sandy Utah, about 21st century students and the potential of digital learning. Available in a variety of formats, I had to install Quicktime on my browser which then gave me about 8 minutes of slides underpinned by equally powerful piano music by Carly Comando (wish I could compose and play like this - I wouldn't be a librarian any more...she has obviously come across Philip Glass). Some interesting statistics (US) are quoted for school age pupils and then linked to the new technologies (iPods, mobiles etc etc) and the potential for thier educational use. And don't think that this won't have implications for libraries in schools and beyond...

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Is this the Golden Key?

This is an important article :

Gross, Melissa and Latham, Don "Attaining information literacy : an investigation of the relationship between skill level, self-estimates of skill, and library anxiety" Library & Information Science Research (2007) 29 332-353.

The authors describe surveys among a sample of fresher students at Florida State University which analyse student self-assessment of their IL skills, their actual skill level, whether this mismatch is greater among the less IL proficient, and whether there is any correlation with Library anxiety theory. Inevitably the article calls for "more research" and is cautious about generalising the findings beyoind the sample. It is not an easy read unless you are a statistical expert! However, I think it is a very significant article which confirms much of IL theory. For example it demonstrates that those who are less IL proficient are likely to overestimate their IL ability, and that they are likely to still overestimate this even after they have done an ability test ; on library anxiety - there is no correlation between those who have the most anxiety over knowledge about the library and being over-confident about their ability.
What does all this mean? There is a disconnect between secondary education and HE, which means that more could be done to prepare students before they come. There was evidence that most students got very inconsistent IL instruction at K-12 level and were usually regarding themselves as self-taught in terms of IL skills. This contributes to "their faulty sense of skill attainment".Much was picked up from friends or classmates but how good was IL competency?
Most interesting from other studies was the view that the common skills-based didactic cure for low-skilled individuals may not always be successful. This implies a search for new ways to intervene helping students to recognise and overcome their IL deficiencies.
Now we come to the reason why I am blogging about this piece of research : could it be that Web 2.0 can offer ways of reaching these students? Certainly I believe that many of the so-called Web generation students are disadvantaged because they think they know how to find information. Putting it simply - they don't know what they don't know. Librarians lecturing to them is not the answer. Making them aware of what is available is only a part of the equation. Carefully crafted assignments which force them to use a variety of resources, and methods which use active learning to engage them will give librarians an opportunity to use Web 2.0 tools.

Monday, 7 January 2008

FuzzFind and Carrot

Happy New Year! I'm starting with a couple of serach engines which I have seen reeferred to on other blogs. They are worth looking at.
FuzzFind is a metasearch "which combines the power of the leading search engines and social bookmarking sites to make it easier to locate and identify the most relevant information. All results are grouped together and sorted according to the search engine rankings plus the popularity of the sites according to the social bookmarking community". This means Google, Live Search, and Yahoo are searched altogether. results came through fast : try it!
Carrot is an Open Source Search Results Clustering Engine which can automatically organize (cluster) search results into thematic categories. For example you can use it to cluster together search results from Wikipedia or PubMed, or with your own chosen search tool.