Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Information Behaviour and Breastfeeding #i3rgu

In the same session as I presented this afternnon, at the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen Hayley Lockerbie presented on Information Behaviour and Breastfeeding.
Lockerbie identified that there was "a skewed knowledge base" around breastfeeding, particularly influenced by the milk formula companies and their relationship with healthcare professionals. The UK has quite a low rate of breastfeeding (good initiation but low persistance). She identified 69 relevant existing research studies, most from the USA, Australia and the UK. The outcomes in many of them were focused on mothers, but some were focused on healthcare professionals, and e.g. one focused on fathers. There were seven broad themes. In terms of information sources, informal and blended information sources are preferred (e.g. written plus verbal). There is a tension between trusted informal information and getting access to the evidence base. In terms of need, e.g. there seems evidence that lack of information affects the decision to breastfeed or not, and there is a need for information for mother's before the baby's birth.
Healthcare professionals were another theme, who might be seen as "keepers of knowledge" but trust could be lost and different professionals might give conflicting information. In terms of content, there was an issue of accuracy, and of realism (what it is ACTUALLY like to breastfeed, with an over-rosy picture of what it is like). Media representation was also an issue. Technology (as a theme) is seen as an enabler, particularly online/mobile, but with concerns about quality. In terms of information seeking - mothers fear being judged (which is a barrier to seeking), the information gathering happens in phases, and one study showed mothers gathering information from a wide range of sources and then used the internet to "complete" it. Finally emotions - mothers have an emotional connection to information, and emotion can be part of the information landscape.
Thus, it does seem that information plays a role in decisions about breastfeeding. There seems a lot more to explore in many areas e.g. engagement pre-birth, connection of information behaviour with cessation of breastfeeding.
Photo by Sheia Webber: Aberdeen University Library last night

Towards an interactive data seeking and research model #i3rgu

I'm talking in the next session at the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen so, apologies, this will likely be a brief liveblog. Professor Gobinda Chowdhury (Northumbria University) presented a keynote on an interactive data seeking and retrieval model.
He started by talking about the pressures and rule changing that goes on the research field. One challenge he mentioned was the open access era - talking about both the growing requirement to make primary research data open access, and open access publishing. He saw a corresponding growth in the data management role of librarians. Chowdhury framed data as "the new gold (or oil)" (mentioning Uber, Amazon etc.), and pondered on the difference between information and data. He saw metadata and strings, words and phrases, as being the key elements in information - as opposed to data - retrieval. For data, people normally need to use other tools and systems to make sense of the data. The numbers alone will not have meaning without the context, e.g. the names of the variables, and the contextual knowledge of what lies behind them. He also identified specific characteristics of research data.
Chowdhury mentioned results from a survey in 3 countries asking about types of research data and what is done with it. He also reflected on how one might access research data: one example is a link from a published article. In that case you might get the context from the article. However, often you may be accessing data without that context. This is an issue with many of the searchable research data repositories: you also need to know a lot about the characteristics of the data before you can effectively search for it. Additionally, there may be potentially a lot of metadata you could add to your research data (e.g.the JISC repository profile has loads of fields) but few researchers may actually provide all this metadata. 30% of the people in their data research survey were unfamiliar with metadata and 37% did not assign tags to their data sets. Chowdhury also returned to the point that it was difficult to tell whether data was going to be useful until you had downloaded and explored it. The speaker identified a training gap in terms of understanding effective data sharing behaviour.
The international survey also identified challenges to data sharing e.g. Legal and ethical concerns, concerns about misinterpretation of data. Chowdhury then presented his model - interestingly it included the researchers themselves,the community culture, and the nature of the discipline, project, process, resources and (importantly) incentives (and not just metadata, indexes etc.)
Final points included that currently there was a focus on data discovery rather than data access, replicating traditional information retrieval systems. Key challenges focused on making sense, and using, the research data, and accessing research data.

Photo by Sheila Webber: St Nicholas Kirkyard, Aberdeen, a place full of metadata.

Rethinking information literacy through understanding disciplinary information practices @edwardluca #i3rgu

The next session I attended at the i3 conference was Edward Luca (an academic librarian at the University of Sydney) on Truly embedded librarianship: rethinking information literacy through understanding disciplinary information practices in higher education.
Starting as a subject librarian in pharmacy, his question to the literature was "how can we embed information literacy within a disciplinary context". The conclusions seemed to be that information literacy was genrally left to librarians, and that is was dominated by one-shot sessions, which may not be contextualised. He noted that the solution to this was often aiming to tie the IL education to student needs for assignments. However, there did appear to be a lack of real collaboration between librarian and faculty.
The value of "embedded" librarianship was seen as it being user-oriented, with closer collaboration, with sometimes even physical embedding within a department. Luca moved on to look at varying information practices within disciplines, and relating information literacy to that.
In terms of "embeddedness" he cited Bowler and Street (2008) and then went on to discuss the approach described by Farrell and Badke (2015) that they have employed at CUNY. This stimulated him to use qualitative action research with his own interventions in a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. A key lens was the IL framework adopted in his university. He gave the example of "Foundations of Pharmacy" (year 1) where they had 3 weeks: but looking at sessions at level 3, they were actually teaching very similar things (assuming no retention of prior learning). There was also a "disconnect between expectations from faculty member in supporting documentation" and material actualy covered by the librarian.
Talking to colleagues, Luca discovered that integration varied depending on tehextent to which an individual librarian developed a relationship with faculty. The sessions tended to be orientation to the library, searching, and database searching. There was evidence that they were often "legacy" arrangements, that weren't well aligned and scaffolded.
Therefore he was advocating getting greater involvement of librarians in the disciplinary world. For the future in his institution, they are doing curriculum mapping and build in more scaffolding, as well as developing better disciplinary knowledge.
There was an interesting conversation afterwards about the challenges of getting engaged and collaborating with faculty (considering the power imbalance; the imbalance in interest on co-creation of knowledge - i.e. the librarian having to do all the work).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University Library

Instructional Librarians Talk about the #ACRLFramework #i3rgu

Next up for me (liveblogging from the i3 conference) is a paper coauthored by Dr Heidi Julien, Dr Melissa Gross and Dr Don Latham (presented by Julien and Latham) Being “Set Free” – Instructional Librarians Talk about the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This is the framework (mentioned many times on this blog!).
The presenters were reporting on a survey they carried out amongst librarians in the USA, investigating "information literacy instruction practices" (concerns, views and practice). They included questions about how/whether librarians were incorporating the Framework in their practice. More broadly, questions concerned assessment practice, extent and nature of collaboration with faculty, objectives for information literacy education etc. The presenters then explained some of the background to the Framework: since regular blog readers will have heard more than enough about that, I will just mention that the move from the old ACRL IL standards to the less prescriptive Framework was described and the core frames presented (they can be seen at the link above).
The presenters also noted that there was a new definition of IL (the new definition is "Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning."
The presenters noted responses to the Framework in the literature, which they identified "generally reflect excitement about the framework" with some critique (which, on reflection, is interesting in showing a gap between the discourse in dicussion groups etc. and the literature, as there has been a lot of negative reaction too)
The survey was publicised via the key discussion list ili-l, there were 622 self-selecting respondents. 31% said there had already been significant impact of the Framework. The "vast majority" saw connections between the concepts and developing IL in students. However, there was still a focus on skills development. Reported changes included the sessions becoming "more of a conversation"; aiming to help students understand "how information works" and "develop transferable skills that they can use beyond the classroom". Another librarian felt that the Framework had "raised our instructional brand in a significant way". "The IL Standards were great as training wheels to get us moving in the right direction towards authentic assessment, but the IL Framework will truly set us free".
So, there was a generally positive reaction, although most have yet to modify their practice. Empirical work (an interview study is underway) is needed to confirm ongoing effects of the Framework. The presenter felt that "analysis is needed on the effects of the framework on student learning outcomes".
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University Library, last night.

Modeling the Metamemory of Information Seekers Through Visual Metaphor #i3rgu

I'm liveblogging from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen
Dr Leanne Bowler presented on Modeling the Metamemory of Information Seekers Through Visual Metaphor. She was aiming to generate visual metaphors that reveal, for example, awareness and beliefs about ones own memory, and about finding and refinding information. In her PhD, Bowler looked at metacognitive strategies in information literacy, adopting a metacognitive ethnographic approach (one article about this research is here). She became particualrly interested in in a category revealed in her research: "Knowledge of Task" (which included understanding memory).
She described this as discovering a person's schema about how their memory works. The challenge was uncovering this elusive area, as you can't really look "straight on" at metacognition. She had felt that metaphors might be a way of revealing the way the mind works and epistemological beliefs.
Her "metaphor" research had 27 participants, including teens, doctoral students, and people from 2 different Masters programmes. Bowler used brainstorming, sketching, metaphorical design (see Madsen, 1994) and fictional enquiry (essentially storytelling, including drawing the story). Bowler gave an example of a prompt she used with participants: "When I search for information my memory is like a... [object]". The participant would do the drawing and then the participant would talk about it (it was part of a 2 hour session including storytelling)
Some findings: the younger the teen, the less complex the notion of memory as it relates to information seeking (assumption that information is neatly stored in memory "information is waiting tio be retrieved"). One participant drew a picture of a computer (so like computer memory) andother of houses along a street. The older group saw memory as more complex, they had more ideas of tools needed to help memory. Bowler thought this could be linked to epistemological development, as memory is part of how you build knowledge. There were some metaphors that cut across all age groups. Examples of metaphors were a maze; something ordered (e.g. a picture of a chest of drawers, of a mailbox); "inferential" (e.g. using a musical metaphor when one thing was alerting you as to whether something was wrong or right); "elusive" (e.g. pictures of trying to get hold of a cat; trying to catch butterflies); random (e.g. information like sprinkles on doughnuts, some sprinkles fall through); effortful (e.g. memory like picking up a grain of rice with chopsticks).
Bowler concluded that the study demonstrated that metaphor can illuminate two complex phenomena. She felt it would be interesting to see whether different metaphors translate into ways of thinking and acting about information.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University Library (site of the reception last night).

Visual methods as an entry point to information practices #i3rgu

Day 2 of my liveblogging from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. Alison Hicks and Professor Annemaree Lloyd presented on Seeing information: visual methods as an entry point to information practices. The presenters felt there hadn't been extensive exploration of visual research methods in the information field, although there were examples of use. They adopted a definition "the use of images to learn about the social world" (Hartel et al., 2012) (images included multimedia, not just 2D static images). They felt there had been a move from the researcher being the one who took the images, toward a more critical and participative approach.
They categorised the methods into non-participatory (photo inventory; documentary photos) and participatory i.e. with the participant creating the visuals (drawing; mapping; visual elicitation; photo voice) and gave various examples of their use in library and information research.
They went on to talk more about photo voice (where the participants take photos in reaction to a prompt from the researcher, and then generally the researcher carries out an interview or focus groups with the photos as a focus and a way of eliciting response).
Hicks then went on to talk about how she used photo voice in her research into language-learners and their everyday information literacy. Her participants used an app called ethos and uploaded their photos to that. This provided a good project management tool, as Hicks could then share screens in skype and talk the participants through their photos. Lloyd followed by saying something about her research into refugee youth, where they were asked to take photos about their information practice (they took a very large number of photos and had to select their top 5 that were most important to them). {articipants discussed this in focus groups, and there was also active participation in creating presentations and exhibiting the photos to stakeholders. Lloyd highlighted four photos: of the women's health clinic (a photo taken by a young man, as they found the clinic useful for their own knowledge building); a football field (where a lot of information was exchanged and "you learnt about love" i.e. learning about being a young man in a rural community); a photo representing church and spirituality; and a mobile phone (which also connected them to their family).
The presenters identified some particular aspects of visual methods e.g. that can introduce richness and material that might not have been surfaced, although also it can mean that you can be drawn off topic. Visual methods enabled Hicks to get insight into the lives of participants in different countries, revealing had to reach aspects of their lives (Hicks showed a picture of a participant's bedroom and a participant's commute). Also it is valuable where the participants have limited language and literacy skills. Photo voice has become more possible because so many people carry their phones around with them all the time, and are able to document their everyday life.
There are ethical challenges: e.g. safety, confidentiality of others (this is particularly an issue), the way in which the metadata automatically attached to a photo identifies the time/location. The presenters had both talked through these issues with participants e.g. Hicks telling participants not to take recognisable photos of other people without their consent.
The presenters felt that there was more scope for participatory video. She mentioned )Bhatt (2013 who combines video and screencasting (I think that addresses the methods used there)
Photo by Sheila Webber: i3 delegates assemble at Aberdeen University Library

Jessica Elmore receives Mark Hepworth memorial award #i3RGU

Jessica Elmore, whose PhD I co-supervise with Dr Peter Stordy at the Information School, University of Sheffield, was today the recipient of the inaugural Mark Hepworth Memorial Award. She received it for the best abstract submitted to the i3 conference. The award is in memory of Professor Mark Hepworth (1955-2016) who was a valued information behaviour researcher and educator. Jess is shown here with i3 Chair Professor Peter Reid and Professor Graham Matthews, from Loughborough University, where Mark was a faculty member.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Job search information behaviours #i3rgu

I continue liveblogging from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. The second talk this afternoon that I've attended was authored by John Mowbray, Professor Hazel Hall, Professor Robert Raeside and Dr Peter Robertson (presented by Mowbray, based on his PhD work): Job search information behaviours: an ego-net study of networking and social media use amongst young jobseekers. This research was sponsored by the ESRC, and Mowbray was also exploring issues with Skills Development Scotland. He started with some statistics e.g. 61% people use social media during job search; 31% find jobs through people they know.
Previous research has suggested that it is important (for job searching) to have strong social networks, and tap into wider "weak" social ties too. Social capital is also an issue: developing social capital, and using those in your network who have social capital. Mowbray said there was a gap in terms of rigourous studies of job searching network. Mowbray's research questions were concerned with: what are the key offline networking behaviours employed by young jobseekers during the job search process, and how do social media tools engage with those behaviours.
This presentation focused on the initial, qualitative, stage of the research. There were 7 interviewees (17-24 years, 2 females, based in various locations in Scotland) Tom Wilson's 1981 information seeking behaviour model was used as a framework for the interviews (so gathering data on the person in context, barriers to job seeking, and on actual information seeking). Ego-net data was gathered by a "name generator approach" (asking them literally to name the people/organisations that had given them help; then asking questions about the help given). This was analysed using content analysis and also quantified to create ego-net visuals.
Mowbray then gave more findings relating to specific interviewees. "Ross" wanted an internship in the software industry, he did job search daily. His network included family (Mum and Dad), friends, tutors, classmates and various connections to gaming contacts either via games forums or via Twitter. This included forums hosted by companies that Ross wanted to work with: there was sometimes information about the skills needed in games developers posted in these forums and Ross could be active in the forum. Ross got 4 types of information: on practical skills needed; industry and job roles; contacts and leads and job opportunities.
A second interviewee "Steve" was doing less frequent job serach, with a much smaller network, and he was a less active networker (the information was being pushed to him, rather than him seeking it). There was passive information seeking, notably coming across job related information on Facebook. There was also a lot less information being acquired about skills, job roles and job opportunities.
The barriers to job search were typically: social (not knowing people to ask etc.), intrapersonal barriers (e.g. not thinking about using social media); situational barriers (e.g. lack of access to the internet). Conclusions at the moment include: situational context directing networking behaviours, and therefore "social capital accessed is largely ascribed in nature (e.g. family contacts)". It was also notable how "sporadic and unplanned" the information behaviour was (it being opportunistic etc.) Where social media WAS used it could have "potentially profound information impact" and could "provide access to higher level of (informational) social capital".
Photos by Sheila Webber: Mowbray presenting "Ross"

Exploring Youth Information-Seeking Behaviour @netchildren #i3rgu

I'm liveblogging from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. The first session this afternoon was authored by Dr Leanne Bowler, Professor Heidi Julien and Dr Leslie Haddon (presented by Bowler and Julien): Exploring Youth Information-Seeking Behaviour and Mobile Technologies Through a Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data: Methodological Approaches.
They were exploring methodological issues to do with using secondary data, and implications for information behaviour research. They were reusing data gathered for the project
They started by defining secondary analysis: i.e. that it is data collected for another project and being reused to address different research questions. There is increasing interest in making more use of data collected with public money etc., so there is more pressure to share data, and growth of repositories.
The data set they were using was funded 2011-2014, and was a sister project to UK Kids Online (which I've blogged about before). The goal of Net Children Go Mobile, was not exploring information behaviour, but rather issues of online risk. The qualitative data, which was used for the project covered in this presentation, is not openly available online, but was made available after the researchers had asked whether it could be reused (permission of the EU project partners had to be sought).
They had 24 transcripts of interviews and focus groups with 34 children. (Also there were transcripts from 5 parents and 17 youth workers etc., not related to this presentation).
In this reanalysis they were seeking evidence of information behaviour, in order to understand how mobile technologies may be changing the way that young people seek and use. They used an inductive approach: two aspects they focused on were evidence of new aspects of info seeking; evidence of confirmation of existing info seeking models.
They found that the data did support some existing models of information seeking online e.g. that speed of access was important to young people; that there was an intersection between social media and information seeking, as shown in previous studies (with info seeking not seen as a separate activity, but part of using social media). In terms of technology affordances in relation to information seeking: there was notable co-searching. For example, information seeking could be a family activity. Serious information seeking was not usually done on a small-screen mobile device, but on larger devices such as laptops and PCs. Visual media (e.g. videos) were used for information. Also, the data plan used by the young person shaped data use and therefore information use. The speaker noted that this raised social equity issues (i.e. for those who couldn't afford aplan with lots of data). Finally "attitudes towards information credibility focused on security issues" e.g. if the site didn't have malware of viruses, they might trust the actual information on the website.
Then the speakers moved on to the challenges of data reuse. It was essential to ensure that ethical permission for re-use has already been granted. The reliability and reputation of the new researchers also should be investigated. It is important that there is a correspondance between the data set and the new research questions (and it may be necessary to explore the data before it is evident what ARE valid research questions that can be answered by the data).
Then there are challenges - or frustrations - to do with the protocols (e.g. wishing they had reworded a question a little; not being able to probe questions with participants). The separation between researchers and participants, which is not usual for qualititative research, means that the research and its participants is more difficult to contextualise. In this situation, there was not a huge gulf between the situation in the country where the data was gathered and the country of those doing the analysis, but it would be more problematic if the setting and population were more distant from those reusing the data.
The presentation was followed by some interesting comments and questions, including the ethical and access issues (concerned with re-use)
Photo by Sheila Webber: St Nicholar Kirkyard, Aberdeen, June 2017

Library TeachMeet in Plymouth

On 6 September 2017 there is a free Library TeachMeet in Plymouth. This event is organised by CILIP ARLG South West and CILIP South West Members Network. "This Teachmeet is an opportunity to boost your creativity just in time for the new term. It’s an informal flexible day led by the participants. Your input is invaluable! We’re looking to hear about your teaching experiences in any type of library or information setting. It could be a new teaching activity, or even an old one that really works well. Perhaps you’ve done some research or gathered some useful feedback about your teaching. Or you’ve started a new venture and have lessons to share." People can present in 15 minute sessions or 40 minute workshops, and there are also places for non-presenters. Register at
Photo by Sheila Webber: spot the cone, by the River Ness, June 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our wicked problem: educating for digital literacy

Fortuitously, this evening an very interesting talk was given at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Since this is just an hour from Edinburgh, I travelled through to hear it after the seminar I attended at Napier University in Edinburgh. Professor Heidi Julien gave an invited talk on Our wicked problem: educating for digital literacy. She started by identifying that digital literacy wasn’t the “solvable” problem that some claimed. Julien then went on to talk about some of the issues associated with fake news: e.g. the extent to which right or left wing media might have more false news. She saw the fake news phenomenon (and associated filter bubbles) as “the making of a crisis for democracy, for good governance, for health and wellbeing” .
Julien identified the increasing resistence to experts by various constituencies (dismissing them as elites, biased etc.): she recommended Nichols (2017) book, The death of expertise: the campaign against established knowledge and why it matters. She encouraged people to engage: be active, expressing views publically, educating government representatives, and advocating for digital literacy.
Julien mentioned the #librariestransform campaign, #librariesresist, posters etc. created by the Association, IFLA etc. and various guides such as She identified challenges to digital literacy education including that people may overestimate their digital literacy skills, that information practices are complex, information seeking is a dynamic process, that people favour habitual practices and convenient solutions. She also noted that "people are irrational" e.g. that we tend to persevere with an opinion once it is formed, so there is confirmation bias. In particular "resistance to changing our beliefs is especially strong when those beliefs are central to our identity". he mentioned the "backfire effect" - that people confronted with evidence contrary to their beliefs might be even more strongly convinced of their own belief in reation. There were numerous other challenges to digital literacy - for example, that social conformity affected decision making (so if extreme views are the norm, there is pressure to adopt them).
Julien proposed that it is necessary for educators to engage with the issues in classrtoom discussion, and teach people to teach digital literacy - including teaching library and information professionals. She listed various essentials (such as being taught about learning theory, online learning, assessement - I will just put in an advertisement here for the Information Literacy module I teach at Sheffield University iSchool which includes learning about teaching and covers some of this ;-)
There was an interesting discussion afterwards that touched on topics such as: librarians and neutrality; access and awareness; how filter bubbles may create an illusion of digital fluence (that because you can navigate your filter bubble well, you don't realise what you are missing and your lack of competence outside your bubble).
Thanks to the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Strathclyde for organising this.

Connecting People Connecting Ideas and digital ways #CPCINapier

Today I’m at a seminar at Napier University, Scotland, organised by Professor Hazel Hall and Frances Ryan. It’s called Connecting People Connecting Ideas, and is focused on sharing ideas for research and identifying priorities.
Most of the day is about discussing the ideas, but it is starting with a talk from Simeon Yates, on Ways of being in a digital age. This is the title of an ESRC-funded research project (which I see included someone from University of Sheffield, which demonstrates again that academics don’t know what’s going on in their own university, or that academics keep their research to themselves (or both ;-). The project has produced a report, but the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council, a major funding body in the UK) is still mulling it over (it commissioned it in order to steer its research priorities), so he was just able to indicate some themes.
He started by going back to Marshall McLuhan, with the idea that we would become connected, and Yates showed graphs indicating the growth in the numbers of communication media from prehistory to the present (obviously, with huge growth recently). He talked about the need for (and challenge of) interdisciplinary work. For example, the power of bringing together artists with people in information science and medicine, to look at a medical issue from a new perspective. He also emphasised the constants of culture and human interaction (e.g. gender differences in how peopel interact via txt msg is certainly not just to do with technology).
One of the foci for the project was probing the naure of digital inequality. He emphasised that some things that are associated with age/generation are actually cohort factors (e.g. young people may consume more digital media, but they also consume all sorts of other media, and it could be more to do with older people generally consuming less media because they have other things to do in their lives). He showed some interesting cluster analysis using Ofcom data, which e.g. showed the correlation with social class.
Another project he mentioned as I'd hide you (in which performers with webcams went round cities and tried to spot each other with enagagement from the public online: Yates mentioned a moment when the social/digital divide emerged starkly when a performer went to a good spot to hide and there were homeless people using that "hiding place" as a place to stay. That was an encounter between the digitally superserved and underserved. Yates was also referring to an Ofcom research project/report I have mentioned before on this bloog, which showed that although people with less money were apparently online, their dependence on what they could do on a mobile phone limited their options (e.g. they needed a better computer to fill in job seeker forms) and also didn't develop some useful skills.
He also looked at the various studies (again including a Pew study that I think I blogged here) that showed that people with different poltical opinions consumed and shared different media, with not a huge overlap. Finally he showed evidence that, whilst previous industrial changes had created different types of jobs, technological change did actually seem to meaqn reduction in jobs.
Photo by Sheila Webber: view out the window from the seminar!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How can we all best use scientific evidence?

There was a lot of news coverage today of a report produced by the (UK) Academy of Medical Sciences, reporting on an inquiry into "how the generation, trustworthiness and communication of scientific evidence can be enhanced to strengthen its role in decisions by patients, carers, healthcare professionals and others about the benefits and harms of medicines." The key statistics that caught my attention were that "In a survey of 2,041 British adults, commissioned to inform the project, only about a third (37%) of the public said they trusted evidence from medical research, compared to approximately two-thirds (65%) who trusted the experiences of their friends and family." [extract from the summary report] I was trying to find more detail on this study on the AMS website, but have failed so far. Everyone seemed to be rather surprised by this finding, but in fact I think it chimes in with results of a good deal of Information Behaviour research which shows that people rely on advice from trusted personal sources.
The report focuses on making recommendations about how the evidence base could be improved and how the various stakeholders (including patients) could contribute to better health decisions. It includes (for example) messages for communicators "We believe researchers, research funders, universities and press officers should work together to help make sure that evidence about medicines is communicated accurately. We also believe that journalists should be aware of the potential impact on the public of the way they report health stories. Journalists could be better supported to report the results from research more accurately by clear markers – such as a traffic light system - on health press releases. Training for journalists and their editors could also help, and good practice guidelines for scientists, press officers and journalists should be drawn up or better followed where they already exist."
The website with reports, "case studies" (detailed examinations of examples including statins, and the MMR vaccine) and short videos is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: heron, Amsterdam, May 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

#ACRLFramework for Information Literacy Toolkit launched

The ACRL Framework Advisory Board (FAB) has launched of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Toolkit. It takes the form of a free LibGuide and is focused around four "modules": Finding Time to Engage the Framework, The Framework’s Structure, Foundations of the Framework, and Strategies for Using the Framework. They say that "A fifth module, Collaboration and Conversations with the Framework, is currently in development." Each of these sections has: Guided Reading Activity, Discussion Prompts, Activities, Key Concepts, Key Readings, and some also have Handouts. They say that "Librarians can use the ACRL Framework Toolkit resources in a variety of ways: for their individual professional development needs; to form a community of practice with their colleagues around the Framework and information literacy; and to develop workshops and professional development opportunities in their libraries and also for local, regional, and state-level events and conferences." Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: bowl and jewellery, June 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Christine Bruce: Building information and learning experiences through partnerships

The AMICAL Consortium held its 2017 annual meeting and conference on 17–20 May at the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece with the theme of Centering on learning: Partnerships and professional development among librarians, faculty and technologists. There are videos and presentations available, and in particular I will highlight the keynote from Christine Bruce: Building information and learning experiences through partnerships (embedded below). Another talk very relevant to this blog was Interdisciplinarity, co-teaching, and information literacy from Elena Berg, Antonio Lopez, Linda Martz and Michael Stoepel
Links at

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recent articles: STEM infolit; data literacy; digital literacy; information behaviour of farmers and beggars

(open access) Harris, S.Y. (2017). Undergraduates’ assessment of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) information literacy instruction. IFLA Journal, 43(2), 171-186. (this is a pdf of the whole issue)

(priced) articles from the Journal of Librarianship and Information science (volume 49, issue 1)
- Data literacy for researchers and data librarians by Tibor Koltay, pp. 3–14
- A study on the effect of digital literacy on information use behavior by Younghee Noh, pp. 26–56
- Information sources preference of poultry farmers in selected rural areas of Tanzania by Grace E.P. Msoffe, Patrick Ngulube, pp. 82–90
- An explanatory study into the information seeking-behaviour of Egyptian beggars by Essam Mansour, pp. 91–106
Photo by Sheila Webber: wild strawberries, June 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Backward Design for Information Literacy Instruction

A priced online course is: Backward Design for Information Literacy Instruction, a Library Juice Academy course taught by Andrea Baer. It runs July 3 2017- August 11th 2017 and the cost is US$250
"As librarians look increasingly to integrated models of information literacy (IL) instruction that reach far beyond the one-shot and the mechanics of searching, it is becoming ever more essential that we design instruction that foregrounds learning as an incremental and ongoing process. Backward design – which is an iterative process that begins with considering learning goals, then determining acceptable evidence of learning, and addressing those outcomes through sequenced activities - offers powerful ways to develop IL instruction that fosters critical thinking and habits of mind like inquisitiveness and reflection.
"In this 6-week course, participants will focus on three essential pieces of backward design – learning outcomes, assessment, and sequencing – and their applications for IL instruction. Throughout the course, students will dissect how these elements of backward design function in various activities and assignments, while simultaneously developing and refining their own activity, assignment, or lesson plan. Through weekly discussions and assignments, participants will reflect on course readings and instruction examples, share teaching experiences and ideas, and exchange constructive feedback on one another’s developing instruction plans."
More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: sage flowers in the garden, June 2017

Friday, June 09, 2017

Hepworth Festschrift: Information behaviour/Literacy, HIV/AIDS, Dementia, Mobile phones

The latest issue of the Aslib Journal of Information Management (priced publication) is a Festschrift in honour of Professor Mark Hepworth, who died last in December 2016. As it says in the introduction to the issue he "for many years pushed forward the boundaries in studies of people’s information behaviour and their information experience" ". In his last post he was Chair in People’s Information Behaviour at Loughborough University, UK. There is an obituary here. The picture is one I took of him presenting at the i3 conference in 2013.
The issue includes an article based on part of the findings from one of my graduated PhD students, Kondwani Wella, and coauthored with me and Professor Phillipa Levy:
Wella, K., Webber, S. and Levy, P. (2017). Myths about HIV and AIDS among serodiscordant couples in Malawi. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3),278 - 293.
The other articles are:
- Harland, J., Bath, P., Wainwright, A. and Seymour, J. (2017). Making sense of dementia: A phenomenographic study of the information behaviours of people diagnosed with dementia Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3),261 - 277)
- Cibangu, S., Hepworth,M., and Champion, D. (2017) Mobile phones for development: An information case study of mobile phone kiosk vendors in the Congo Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3),294 - 315.
- Kelechukwu Ibenne, S., Simeonova,B., Harrison, J and Hepworth M. An integrated model highlighting information literacy and knowledge formation in information behaviour Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3), 316 - 334
- Foos, S., Majid, S. and Chang, Y.K. Assessing information literacy skills among young information age students in Singapore. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3), 335 - 353
- Taylor, L. and Willett, P. (2017). Comparison of US and UK rankings of LIS journals. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69 (3), 354 - 367
Contents page at

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Webinar recordings: Community College/ infolit; living with the Framework

Recordings of two ACRL Student Learning Information Literacy Committee sponsored webinars are available:
- ACRL SLILC Framework for Information Literacy: A Community College Showcase (Recording from April 12, 2017: 3 panelists talk about how they are using the Framework):
- ACRL SLILC: Framework Freak-out: How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Live With the Framework (Recording of the June 1, 2017: talk by Meredith Farkas):
Photo by Sheila Webber: working in the park, Sheffield, June 2017

Two Paths Converge: Designing Educational Opportunities on the Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy

There is an ACRL Roadshow taking place in the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University, USA, on July 14, 2017: Two Paths Converge: Designing Educational Opportunities on the Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy. "This is a full day workshop and attendees will gain a better understanding of the intersections of scholarly communication and information literacy and obtain the expertise to develop education and outreach initiatives that address the aspirations and needs of scholars, students, and researchers at their institutions." More info at

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

New #openaccess articles:@JInfoLit anniversary issue: information literacy theory, discipline, learning and more!

The tenth anniversary of the open access journal Journal of Information Literacy has been celebrated with a bumper issue (volume 11 issue 1) of articles by information literacy experts from around the world.
The articles can all be accessed from the contents page at
They are:
- Information literacy: conceptions, context and the formation of a discipline by Sheila Webber, Bill Johnston (this is my blog so I'm highlighting the article by me ;-)
- Information literacy and informed learning: conceptual innovations for IL research and practice futures by Christine Susan Bruce, Andrew Demasson, Hilary Hughes, Mandy Lupton, Elham Sayyad Abdi, Clarence Maybee, Mary M Somerville, Anita Mirijamdotter
- Crossing the threshold: reflective practice in information literacy development by Sheila Corrall
- Lessons from Forty Years as a Literacy Educator: An Information Literacy Narrative by James Elmborg
- The Warp and Weft of Information Literacy: Changing Contexts, Enduring Challenges by Barbara Fister
- Posing the million dollar question: What happens after graduation? by Alison J. Head
- Information literacy and literacies of information: a mid-range theory and model by Annemaree Lloyd
- How can you tell if it’s working? Recent developments in impact evaluation and their implications for information literacy practice by Sharon Markless, David Streatfield
- Information Literacy: Agendas for a Sustainable Future by Ross J. Todd
- Information literacy is a subversive activity: developing a research-based theory of information discernment by Geoff Walton
Photo by Sheila Webber: rose "Sheila", June 2017

Monday, June 05, 2017

Random sample video from @pewresearch #researchmethods

The Pew Research Center conducts good quality research into aspects of (US) American life, and I have highlighted numerous of their reports about Americans' use of the internet, social media etc. They seem to have started a series about research methods, and the first is a short (2 mins 25 second) video about random samples. Obviously they can't cram a complete description of sampling into under 3 minutes, but it is a nice introduction. When teaching research methods, I find that the fact that "random" can mean "any old thing" in ordinary language can prevent people from realising that random samples are definitely not composed of whatever sample happens to come along. The introduction and video are at and I have also embedded it below

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Qualifikationsprofil des Teaching Librarian

On the same theme as yesterday: from the German Library Conference tweets I picked up a link to:
Scholle, U. (2016). Qualifikationsprofil des Teaching Librarian: Positionspapier der Gemeinsamen Kommission Informationskompetenz von VDB und dbv. o-bib, 3(1). [in German] [open access]
This roughly translates to: qualification profile of a teaching librarian: position paper from the VDB and dbv's [German library/information associations] joint commission on information literacy. It is intended to address formal learning and continuing professional development. The tables at the end list subject knowledge and personal competencies that are seen as required. They propose differentiating the competencies, depending on the type of library and level of study (in information/library school: in Germany many qualifications still vary, I think, according to the library or information sector being targeted).
Photo by Sheila Webber: rhododendron, May 2017