Friday, 22 August 2008

Testing, Swimming and Searching in Scandinavia

Have found out about three online Information Literacy packages on the web from Scandinavia. You may get some good ideas from them and also be able to use parts of them, as they have English versions available.

Library Test is from Syddansk University, Denmark. It claims to be able to tell you in 10 minutes how good you are at finding information, and help you to improve. I didn't get all the answers right in the modules I tried (maybe I shouldn't have been listening to Bach at the time..) but multi-choice questions and answers are often ambiguous, but with the right group it could lead to a good discussion. May try it out next term.

SWIM (Streaming Web-based information modules) from Aarlborg University is very impressive. I only had time so far to watch a video clip where 3 students were discussing how to start their research and I was like a fourth member, wondering how to contribute. Very powerful. Must look at again.

Search and Write from University of Bergen : aims to help students who writing a thesis or assignment and need good tips on how to find relevant literature.

Using screencasts in Information Literacy

Andrew Eynon's Library blog (for FE) contained a useful post this week about how video can be used for supporting Information Literacy. While I would disagree that YouTube doesn't contain much material for this already, his descripton of what he is doing at Colleg Llandrillo Cymru using Moviemaker is very interesting. It has inspired me this week to create a vodcast for some of our overseas MBA students, utilising Audacity for the soundtrack and Moviemaker for the slides, and will be housed in the course Blackboard site. If I create more general ones (and they are OK!) I will put them on YouTube as Andrew suggests.

Flickr Storm

Take a look at this! It makes using images from flickr in your presentations so much quicker and easier! And you can limit to Creative Commons images.
With this post I have now passed the 100 mark on this blog! I hope there have been items which have helped you. I hope some have amused you too!

Beyond Google : developing training

Martin De Saulles (University of Brighton) and Jackie Chelin (University of the West of England) have produced a HEA-ICS funded project 10 minute video titled: “Beyond Google: Developing Training Skills for Library and Information Students in Their Work With the Google Generation”. It outlines, through interviews with academics, librarians and students, some of the issues surrounding how students use the Internet as a research tool. It offers suggestions for developing and delivering training sessions for end users to help them look beyond mainstream Internet search engines and to explore subscription-based databases.

There are some good quotes in the student and academic staff interviews, e.g.a savvy student saying she looked for the links at the end of Wikipedia articles. Much of the advice would have applied to teaching students "before Google" (e.g.plan ahead, align to an assignment) and I would have liked more about ways of employing wikis, blogs, video material from YouTube, podcasts etc.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Sofia 2008

There is a panel on information literacy and Web 2.0 (with four speakers) at the Sofia 2008 conference being held in Bulgaria in November 2008: there are some other presentations on information literacy too. For more information (including informative abstracts) go to

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

WILU Conference, Montreal, May 2009

Cameron Hoffman (one of our contributors)has asked me to post this first call for papers :

WILU 2009
38th Annual Workshop on Instruction in Library Use 38e Atelier annuel sur la formation documentaire
Université Concordia University
Montréal, Québec, Canada

May 25-27, 2009 / 25-27 mai 2009

Submission deadline: Monday, December 8, 2008 Date limite pour soumettre une proposition : le lundi 8 décembre 2008

Conference theme: Reflections
We welcome papers that present variations on reflections, a word that signifies different aspects of our information literacy work and experience.

Podcast : Beyond the Google Generation - next steps

This interesting 14 minute podcast follows up the Rowlands report.The "Google Generation" made a major impact when it was published in January of this year. In this podcast interview one of its authors Ian Rowlands of University College London talks to Philip Pothen from JISC about some of the implications of the report, while Rachel Bruce, JISC programme director, gives her views on the report and possible next steps.
In the podcast Ian suggests that academics should retreat from the old standard declamatory teaching methods, relax and make it more fun. Librarians can assist. Totally agree with this and Web 2.0 tools can help. He believes we do not know enough about user behaviour : they are not homogenous, and we should seek segmented data so we understand better the contexts in which they use Google. In one sense, future user behaviour is predictable : they expect one click solutions and we must make our library systems simpler.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Information Literacy gets a logo!

I've just heard from Sheila Webber that the winner of the information literacy logo contest was announced yesterday, at the UNESCO session of the IFLA World Library and Information conference. The winner was from young Cuban designer Edgar Luy Perez, based in Havana. Here is more information about the logo and the designer.
The logo could become regognised internationally, as more people use it. It can be downloaded in various formats.
The contest was supported by UNESCO and IFLA (International Federation of
Library Associations and Institutions) and masterminded by Jesus Lau. There
were 198 different logos submitted by 139 participants from 36 countries, with
11 judges representing different regions of the world.
Let's hope that this helps to get the message across that IL is really important in the 21st century!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Do you trust Wikipedia?

Some researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have created WikiTrust for evaluating every word on Wikipedia. It highlights text added by authors according to their past editing reputation. It works with a cached copy of Wikipedia so is not totally up to date. "Suspect" text gets deeper and deeper orange highlighting. It is an interesting idea, and may well be developed further and applied to other wikis. Could be useful in teaching students about Wikipedia and exposing more questionable parts and how entries are built up.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation

Remember what Tony Blair said ("education, education, education")! I have been saying for several years that evaluation is the key part of Information Literacy in the 21st century. Michael Lorenzen and Stephanie Mathson have an article in the new issue of College and Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1/2) (2008) on critical thinking, entitled "We Won't Be Fooled Again: Teaching Critical Thinking via Evaluation of Hoax and Historical Revisionist Websites in a Library Credit Course." It's not electronic so I look forward to reading it via print.
In addition Kathryn Greenhill posted "Discovery skills versus evaluation skills" recently and eloquently made the case for evaluation. She writes :
"What I have a hard time imagining is *how* to design a series of information literacy classes to bridge the gap between uncritically using Google and a thorough intellectual assessment of scholarly resources. How do we break it into small, engaging components that build on each other to give those critical thinking skills? It is much easier to teach students the mechanics of searching, of discovery.
Is it encroaching on what academics should be doing as part of their course? Should schools have already taught them this by the time they set foot in our libraries? It’s definitely beyond our traditional brief, but given that we no longer have a monopoly on the best discovery tools, is it time we sold the library as a place that has value because there are smart people who can give you personalised help to evaluate your information needs and the resources you find?"

Let's use Web 2.0 tools to help us crack this.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Why not try TeacherTube?

TeacherTube collects the more educational short videos which you might be able to use in your teaching.
2 thrive in the 21st century is very short but might kust be useful for provoking discussion.

Be Cybersmart ! Researching the internet wisely. Joyce Valenza, the well-known schools champion for Information Literacy, gives a very good introduction to why it is so important in schools.

Did you know - information literacy for nurses. Although American may be useful to show why so important in era of evidence-based practice.

21st century library : a vision of what should be. What the school liubrary could aspire toward.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Delicious gets a face lift

After hearing rumours over past weeks about delicious (the leading social bookmarking service) being revamped, today it has appeared!
Looks much cleaner and may be easier for new users to manage. In particular your main display page of most recent bookmarks is much clearer and the tag list on the right focuses on your Top 10 tags, followed by an alphabetical list, with options to display by tag cloud etc. Read/Write Web, have given it a seal of approval after an initial test run. If you were thinking of using something else or changing, stick with delicious. Incidentally the URL is going to become delicious from now on...

100 unbelievably useful reference sites you've never heard of

Thanks to Laura Milligan (Teaching we have a list of 101 reference sites to share. Headings include dictionaries; teacher references ; Librarian references ; Fun references ; health care ; student references ; niche sites ; search engines ; consumer rearch and news sites.

Ten social networking tips for librarians

LibrarianinBlack has posted a superb list of tips to which I must draw attention . She says :
"Part of Library 2.0 is social software, and as more and more libraries put themselves out there on social networks it becomes increasingly important that we do so in a way that works well for ourselves and for our users. How can we best take advantage of thsee community building tools?"
See here for the 10 tips

New pics on flickr

Following the success of Library of Congress images on the flickr The Commons project, there have been some more additions from The Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, George Eastman House, and other historical collections.

How the Google generation thinks differently

"Digital-age kids process information differently from parents. Catherine O'Brien (Times Online July 9, 2008) admits misjudging how her son was learning".Ultimately she does not decry the way her son seems to learn. She says "as a digital immigrant, my mind has baseline skills in concentration, contemplation and knowledge construction. My fear - and the reason why I wrested my son's laptop away from him - is that the acquisition of those skills is being lost in the twitch-speed of our new Web 2.0 world".She then quotes a response from Brian Kelly. Overall it's quite an interesting little article and emphasises the need for parents and teachers to realise they need to help the Web generation to reflect and evaluate. I would add that librarians should play a key role here too.