Saturday, August 19, 2017

IL Section meeting at #WLIC2017

I'm attending the World Library and Information conference (aka the IFLA conference in Wroclaw, Poland. The main conference starts tomorrow. Today I attended my last IFLA Information Literacy Section committee as a committee member, as I have served the maximum of 8 years. Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe was elected section chair and Dilara Begum was elected Secretary, whilst Antonin Benoit Diouf remains information coordinator. Maria Carme Torres (former chair of the section and now a member of the IFLA governing board) and also Donna Scheeder (IFLA president) popped in to visit. The latter wanted to talk to us about the Global Vision programme, which has been gaining momentum through the year. I'll be blogging more about this later, as it aims to engage librarians internationally.
We discussed the section's session on Wednesday on infolit/copyright (which I will be blogging as best I can) and a proposal for a possible joint session next year focusing on research methods and approaches in transliteracy. There was also a discussion about whether there should be an infolit satellite meeting to the 2018 IFLA conference in Kuala Lumpur (I think there will).
The photo shows Sharon Mader (outgoing chair) addressing the committee members and observers (anyone can come and sit in on the committee meetings).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

TeachMeet 5 September, University of East Anglia

The Norfolk Teaching Librarians' Network is running a free TeachMeet on 5 September 2017 (1pm to 3:30pm) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. Presenters (10-minute presentations) are sought to share a teaching activity or idea. "The format is relaxed and friendly, and you can present in any way you like, with or without slides. At the end of the session we'll have a chance to reflect on the presentations as a group and how we might incorporate any new ideas into our own teaching practice." Book as presenter or spectator at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield Botanic Gardens, border, August 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Becoming blended

I recently noticed the tumblr of Melanie Parlette-Stewart (Blended Learning Librarian at the University of Guelph), who sketchnotes conferences etc. (I came across her account of the ECIL 2016 conference). In a recent post she talks about her approach to sketchnoting/visual note-taking including some links at the end. Also interesting is her tumblr What the librarian wore
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield Botanic Gardens, border with bees, August 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Design for Learning

There is a free online self-paced course Design for Learning: 21st Century Online Teaching and Learning Skills for Library Workers (D4L) which is "designed to enable library workers to transfer their in-person teaching skills to the online environment. ...The program is comprised of 7 online self-paced modules: Orientation, Foundation, Diversity, Community, Content Creation, Course Management, and Capstone. ... D4L was developed as a partnership between the the South Central Regional Library Council, Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, and the Empire State Library Network. It is funded as a three-year grant, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)." Registering for Webjunction is straightforward (I tried it) and you get access to other courses too.
Photo by Sheila Webber: seagull, Inverness, June 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Predatory papers

I saw from the Improbable Research website** that an annotated collection of papers that aim to expose predatory journals has been published. This mainly consists of papers that are nonsense and were devised to show that predatory journals will accept anything. Each paper has a short introduction and links to news items etc. that reacted to the "sting".
Faulkes, Z. (2017). Stinging the Predators: A collection of papers that should never have been published. Figshare. DOI:
A useful collection if you are discussing this topic with students/researchers: my only caveat is that it does not state clearly that the permission of the copyright owners was sought.

**a long-standing website/magazine that takes a droll and sceptical perspective on scientific output and has presented the ig-noble prizes since 1991
Photo by Sheila Webber: Sheffield Botanic Gardens, August 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fake news, quality images

Browsing the Information Today site, two recent short articles that caught my eye:
Badke, W. (2017) Post-Truth, False News, and Information Literacy. Online Searcher, 31 (4).
Burke, J. (2017). Finding Quality Free Images. Marketing Library Services, 31 (4).
Photo by Sheila Webber: my camera is saying goodbye: those lines weren't added in photoshop! Time for a new one. Autumn anemones, August 2017

LIANZA conference #open17

This is mostly not about information literacy (just a couple of sessions), but I thought the programme of the LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) conference looked very diverse and interesting. It takes place September 24 - 27 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand.One of the less usual sessions is "LIANZA Human Lending Library: The human lending library allows you to sit one on one with each of our human “books” and have a detailed conversation about an area of interest to you. You might drill down on an aspect of their keynote or professional expertise or pick their brain for suggestions towards your work." (The "books" are Bill Macnaught, Paul Stacey, Matt Finch, Laurinda Thomas, Lesley Acres, Donna Lanclos, Sue Sutherland)
You also might like to check out their open access journal (Library Life). The latest (July 2017) issue is the "Te Rōpū Whakahau edition of Library Life. Te Rōpū Whakahau is the leading national body that represents Māori engaged in Libraries, Culture, Knowledge, Information, Communication and Systems Technology in Aotearoa New Zealand"
Photo by Sheila Webber: wild oregano, July 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


McCrystal, E. and Migliaccio, C. (2017, 31 July). 10 Reasons the Listicle Is Effective for Digital Pedagogy. Educause review.
The authors say "The listicle is a strong pedagogical method for faculty to communicate with students, either about the curriculum, through specific assignments/goals, or regarding technology use in the course. Furthermore, students can use the listicle to synthesize information, organize information, and prioritize course tasks. On the surface, the listicle may seem simplistic, but the broad pedagogical power of the listicle helps students by enhancing their reading, researching, writing, and digital-media skills. Thus, the listicle serves as an effective tool in any classroom."

To be honest, I'm not totally convinced (aren't these just ... short lists? does calling them listicles really have a magic motivating effect on students?) but at any rate it made me think about the place of lists in teaching, and what to call them. In fact it also made me think I might have the odd listicle on this blog, so watch this space.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackheath, the heath, August 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

RUSA to become open access

Reference and User Services Quarterly, official journal of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association, will go open access from its Autumn 2017 issue. It includes a regular infortmation literacy column, and one of the forthcoming issues is focusing on workplace information literacy. For those of you with subscriptions (or access as ALA members) the last issue (vol 56 no 4, 2017) included:
- Esther Grassian: Information Literacy and Instruction: Teaching and Learning Alternatives: A Global Overview (pages 232-239).
- Marc Vinyard, Colleen Mullally, Jaimie Beth Colvin: Why do Students Seek Help in an Age of DIY? Using a Qualitative Approach to Look Beyond Statistics (pages 257-268) (so this should complement the JAL article I blogged yesterday on "Academic Information-Seeking and Help-Seeking Practices")
The home page is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: large daisies... July 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

New articles: metacognitive strategies; mobile devices; help-seeking; student perceptions; social media use

The latest issue (volume 43, no. 3) of The Journal of Academic Librarianship (priced publication) includes:
- Catalano, A. Development and Validation of the Metacognitive Strategies for Library Research Skills Scale. Pages 178-183
- Lau, K.P. et al. Educational Usage of Mobile Devices: Differences Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate Students Pages 201-208
- Thomas, S., Tewell, E, and Willson, G. Where Students Start and What They Do When They Get Stuck: A Qualitative Inquiry into Academic Information-Seeking and Help-Seeking Practices Pages 224-231
- Attebury, R.I. Professional Development: A Qualitative Study of High Impact Characteristics Affecting Meaningful and Transformational Learning Pages 232-241
- McCartin, L.F., Iannacchione, B. and Evans, M.K. Student Perceptions of a Required Information Literacy Course on Their Success in Research & Writing Intensive Criminal Justice Courses Pages 242-247
- Harrison, A. et al. Social Media Use in Academic Libraries: A Phenomenological Study Pages 248-256
- Stvilia, B. and Gibradze, L. Examining Undergraduate Students' Priorities for Academic Library Services and Social Media Communication Pages 257-262
Contents page at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Inverness, June 2017

Friday, August 04, 2017

Presentations from #LILI2017 Learning Social Justice through Critical Information Literacy

A number of the presentations from the one day LILi Conference (Theme: Learning Social Justice through Critical Information Literacy), held on 31 July 2017 in Glendale, USA, are online. This includes: Teaching Authority Where Black Lives Matter Presented by Faith Bradham (Bakersfield College); Engage Your Cultural Side: Cultural Intelligence Presented by Dr. Michele Villagran (University of North Texas); Teaching Future Leaders about Authority Presented by Charissa Jefferson (California State University Northridge); Keepin’ It Real: Reflections on a Fake News Workshop Presented by Aisha Conner-Gaten, Jennifer Masunaga, and Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet (Loyola Marymount University). Further presentations will be added. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hydrangea, July 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Calls for papers for iConference 2018 #iconf18

There is a call for papers for the 2018 iConference, which takes place March 25-28, 2018, at my own University, the University of Sheffield, in Sheffield, UK. This is the conference organised by the iSchools association (of which we are a member) but you don't have to be in an iSchool to submit a proposal. The call closes on September 18 2017. The scope of the conference is broadly the field of information science (and that includes information literacy. For papers they say that they are looking for research papers that "push the boundaries of information scholarship, explore core concepts and ideas, and help identify new technological and conceptual configurations."
- Papers: the submission needs to be written as a full paper (not abstract); either completed research or emerging findings.
- Posters: the submission is a long abstract (effectively, a mini paper)
- Workshops (half/full day): Submission is an abstract plus a 1000 word description
- Sessions for Interaction and Engagement (SIEs): which are interactive, but (basically) shorter than workshops: Submission is an abstract plus a 1000 word description
There are also calls for submission to the iSchool Best Practices and iSchools and Industry Partnership tracks, the Doctoral Student Colloquium and the Early Career Colloquium.
More information at

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Student Success: open access journal

An Australian open access education journal worth monitoring if you work in Higher Education is: Student Success: A journal exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education. "This journal provides the opportunity to disseminate current research and innovative good practice about students’ tertiary learning experiences, which are supported by evidence. Researchers, tertiary and university teachers and educators and professional staff who are advancing student learning, success and retention are encouraged to submit." It was formerly the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education and the current issue (volume 8, no 2, 2017) has something of a FYHE focus. It starts with an article by the well-respected Professor Vince Tinto: Reflections on Student Persistence and other articles includ: First year student conceptions of success: What really matters? (Ryan Naylor); Transition pedagogies and the neoliberal episteme: What do academics think? (Kate Hughes); The flipped classroom: A learning model to increase student engagement not academic achievement (Masha Smallhorn). Content page at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Canary Wharf, London, July 2017

#Dissertations: academic libraries and social media

In the #uklibchat session on library/information student research last night, one thing that was mentioned was repositories for Masters dissertations. The Sheffield iSchool (i.e. my department) has one (it's a bit clunky, you can only search on words in the title, not in full text, but there are lots of interesting dissertations!) and it was mentioned that City University use Humanities Commons, you search[group_facet][]=CityLIS
One recent dissertation from City University, based on desk research is:
Rippon, A. (2017) An examination into the ways that academic libraries can use social media to support information literacy teaching "This research provides an evaluation into the relevance of social media tools as a means of supporting the provision of information literacy in academic libraries. It uses the information literacy framework A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL) developed by Secker and Coonan in 2011 as the basis for examination and draws upon examples and studies from academic research, higher education institutions, and social media platforms. Social media is prevalent within many areas of modern life, particularly amongst younger generations. Therefore, it is important to consider whether it can be an active element to the development of information literacy skills. Typically academic libraries have used social media for marketing purposes rather than to provide study support or as information resources in their own right. This research seeks to highlight that social media platforms can be a valuable tool in developing information literacy skills in university level students. The conclusions drawn from the research provide clear recommendations for academic libraries to utilise social media to further their delivery of information literacy."
Photo by Sheila Webber: waiting for lunch at Liberty's, London, July 2017

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

#wlic2017 papers: media literacy; open publishing

I will be attending the World Library and Information Conference (the IFLA conference) in Wroclaw later this month, and intend to be liveblogging from there. As usual, some full-text papers are already uploaded to the IFLA repository. These are a few of them:
- PLANK, Margret and MOLNÁR, Attila Dávid and MARÍN-ARRAIZA, Paloma (2017) Extending Media Literacy Education: The Popular Science Video Workshop. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 242 - Audiovisual and Multimedia, Information Literacy and School Libraries.
- HE, Jian-hao and HORNG, Shih-chang (2017) Watching movies through listening at any place in any time- a special event for visually impaired people. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 242 - Audiovisual and Multimedia, Information Literacy and School Libraries.
- MENDINHOS, Isabel (2017) Advocacy through videos: Short movies on school libraries. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 242 - Audiovisual and Multimedia, Information Literacy and School Libraries. ("The Portuguese School Libraries Network Program (SLNP) has commemorated its 20th anniversary in 2016. Several initiatives were prepared to mark this event, some of them involving students, the main patrons of school libraries. “Short movies on school libraries” was a challenge presented to students. They would have to prove that their school library was the best through the production of a short movie, according to given rules...")
- RAJU, Reggie (2017) Altruism as the founding pillar for open monograph publishing in the Global South. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 232 - Academic and Research libraries, FAIFE and Copyright and Other Legal Matters.
- HARTGERINK, Chris H.J. (2017) Re-envisioning a future in scholarly communication. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 232 - Academic and Research libraries, FAIFE and Copyright and Other Legal Matters.
Photo by Sheila Webber: tower, Canary Wharf, July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Recent articles: information literacy everyday and in academia

A few articles from the latest issue of the priced publication Journal of documentation
- Martzoukou, K. and Abdi, E.S. (2017). Towards an everyday life information literacy mind-set: a review of literature. Journal of documentation, 73(4), 634 - 665. Open access version at
- Walton, G. and Cleland, J. (2017). Information literacy: Empowerment or reproduction in practice? A discourse analysis approach. Journal of documentation, 73(4), 582 - 594. Open access version at
Koltay, T. (2017). The bright side of information: ways of mitigating information overload. Journal of documentation, 73(4), 767 - 775.
The JDoc contents page is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: hydrangea, July 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Presentations from #CILIPconf17 infolit in curriculum, Syrian new Scots, vaccines

CILIP Conference 2017 in ManchesterThe presentations from the CILIP (UK library/information association) conference in July jave been put online. There was a session devoted to information literacy, with three presentations:
- Beyond “Grey in Sepia”: Empowering the everyday life information literacy of Syrian new Scots – Dr Konstantina Martzoukou, Senior Lecturer / PG Programme Leader Information Management, Robert Gordon University
- Bookending HE: supporting transition and transformation at both ends of the curriculum – Emma Coonan, Information Skills Librarian, University of East Anglia
- The epidemic of misinformation about vaccines – Dr Pauline Paterson, Research Fellow and co-director of The Vaccine Confidence Project, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
You can find them, and presentations on a wide variety of other library and information topics, at
The embedded photo (under a Creative Commons license) is from the CILIP Flickr stream and shows me (right) and Lucy Sinclair at work on our (Information School, University of Sheffield) exhibition stand at the CILIP conference

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Call: Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

There is a call for chapters (20-25 pages) for a book to be coedited by Tom Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson: Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World. It will be published by the American Library Association in Autumn 2018. They say "We would like to include both theoretical and applied chapters written by academic librarians, disciplinary faculty from a variety of fields, administrators, and instructional designers that describe and reflect upon the importance of advancing metaliteracy in a post-truth world. We see a particular urgency in editing this book at this time when truth itself is questioned for political purposes, journalism and the free press are constantly under attack, science and climate change are doubted as factual, online hacking is prevalent, online privacy is a concern, and the ability to proliferate false information through circuitous social media networks has become a serious issue. It is profoundly clear that the competencies, knowledge, and personal attributes that define metaliteracy and inform the role of the metaliterate learner are critical in today’s connected and divided world: digital literacy and traditional conceptions of information literacy are insufficient for the extreme challenges we currently face. ... Given the interest in metaliteracy as a model for preparing metaliterate learners as responsible participants in today’s divisive information environment, we are especially interested in expanding the conversation to educators who have developed successful metaliteracy teaching and learning theories and practices to resist these challenges. Overall, how do we best prepare our students for being active and engaged metaliterate learners in today’s environment? ... The book will include both theoretical arguments for metaliteracy in a post-truth world and innovative case studies that respond to these complex issues, all from different disciplinary perspectives, and academic institutions in the U.S. and internationally. The Metaliteracy Learning Objectives featured in our books will be core to the chapters as well."
Send 1-2 page proposals to Tom Mackey at by September 29, 2017. First drafts are due on January 12, 2018. Questions to or
Photo by Sheila Webber: Fortuna, by Helaine Blumenfeld, Canary Wharf, London, July 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#uklibchat 1st August: Recent LIS Student Research

On 1st August 2017 6.30pm to 8.30pm UK time (which e.g. 1.30-3.30pm US Eastern time) there will be a discussion in Twitter about Recent LIS Student Research, as part of the regular #uklibchat series. There is an opening post by Michelle Bond, one of the founders of LISDIS – the Library and Information Sciences Dissertations Conference at and the agenda is open for you to add discussion questions at
On the day you just join in by using the tag #uklibchat

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Survey on teaching about trustworthy information

Esther Grassian is seeking tips and techniques for teaching and learning about trustworthy information, which she will summarise for the Information Literacy and Instruction column in a special issue of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association's journal, RUSQ. She is asking people to fill in a 12-question survey: Questions can be addressed to her at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hydrangea, July 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Videos, slides from #Dataliteracy conference

Carrying on from my last post, there are videos, chat transcripts, slides etc. from the online Data Literacy conference held 20-21 July 2017, as part of the project, Supporting Librarians in Adding Data Literacy Skills to Information Literacy Instruction. Talks included
- Using Social Explorer to Help Students Gain Insight (Justin Joque)
- Student data privacy: Protecting the personal information that informs instruction (Jennifer Colby)
- Tools & activities that help introduce newcomers to data storytelling (Catherine d’Ignazio and Samantha Viotty)
- DataRefuge (Justin Schell)
and numerous others. The links are on the schedule at
Photo by Sheila Webber: garden, Canary Wharf, London, July 2017

#DataLiteracy resources

There is a project, Supporting Librarians in Adding Data Literacy Skills to Information Literacy Instruction, which is funded by the (US) Institute of Museum and Library Services 2015-2017, which has a number of useful resources on its website. The goal is "to develop data and statistical literacy skills so librarians can better support critical comprehension skills in their students". The co-investogators in the project are Kristin Fontichiaro and Jo Angela Oehrli (university of Michigan).
One resource is their online book, Creating Data Literate Students, with chapters authored by various people. It is aimed at librarians teaching data literacy. The 10 chapters are:
Introduction to Statistical Literacy; Statistical Storytelling: The Language of Data; Using Data in the Research Process; Real world data fluency: How to use raw data; Manipulating data in spreadsheets; Making Sense of Data Visualization; Data presentation: Showcasing your data with charts and graphs; Deconstructing data visualizations: What every teen should know; Designing your infographic: Getting to design; Using data visualizations in the content area; Teaching Data Contexts: An Instructional Lens; Diving Lessons: Taking the Data Literacy Plunge Through Action Research
The book is here:
There is also, for example this poster, Real strategies to address fake news:
Photo by Sheila Webber: News ticker, Canary Wharf, London, July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

cfp Fake News and Digital Literacy

There is a call for proposals for presentations (45 minutes) or posters for a conference to be held on October 20 2017 in Tampa, Florida, USA: Fake News and Digital Literacy: The academic library’s role in shaping digital citizenship. Deadline for proposals is August 14 2017. It is organised by the Florida Chapter of ACRL (FACRL). The conference will "explore digital literacy in higher education and the library’s responsibility to lead the charge toward the creation of learners with the requisite skills to engage critically and ethically with information in an open knowledge society. As proven authorities on information literacy, librarians are well positioned to lead learners through a politically and digitally polarized environment and advocate for the development of digital citizenship."
Submit proposals at All proposals relevant to academic librarianship and digital literacy will be considered, but some specific themes are suggested:
"- Institutional initiatives showcasing librarians as leaders, teachers, and supporters of digital citizenship at their respective institutions.
- Innovative applications of the ACRL Framework and corresponding instructional strategies that help students explore and understand the concepts of digital literacy.
- Case studies highlighting libraries capitalizing on the sensationalism of fake news to convene and lead, insightful community conversations on the moral and ethical implications of digital literacy.
- Digital collection development and how using electronic library resources can promote critical thinking, improve reading skills, and help learners better understand the research process.
- Legislative advocacy initiatives involving broader campus communities to inform and inspire action supporting the principles of digital literacy, freedom of information and efforts to ensure equal access to information."
Inquiries may be sent to the FACRL Program Selection Committee Chair, Michelle Demeter at
Photo by Sheila Webber: flat white, June 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Media and Information Literacy in Nigeria

A two-day UNESCO train-the-trainers workshop on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was held in Abuja, Nigeria. It focused on use of the Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for teachers. Yao Ydo, UNESCO Regional Director, Abuja, Nigeria, in his closing speech, advocated for including MIL in the school curriculum in Nigeria. According to, Media and Information Literacy of Nigeria (MILCON) was also launched.
Sources: AFRICAMIL (19 July 2017)
UNESCO Inaugurates NGO For Media Information Literacy (July 19 2017)
Photo by Sheila Webber: June rose

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Health Literacy Skills and Partnership Event

On 16 August 2017 at Richmond Library, Greater London, UK, there is a one-day event Health Literacy Skills and Partnership Working for Public and Health Libraries. To attend (free) you need to become a member of one of the co-organiser organisationa, the Public and Mobile Libraries Group (PMLG) and Health Libraries Group (HLG). "The provision of access to health information has become a key to public libraries. This event will provide practical advice and hands-on sessions aimed at supporting health and public librarians in finding and sharing health information."
More information about this event, and how to join the groups, at
Photo by Sheila Webber: lavender, July 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Crash Course in Assessing Library Instruction

A four week, online asynchronous course run by Library Juice Academy, from August 7 2017 to September 1 2017, and costing US $175 is Crash Course in Assessing Library Instruction. The teachers are Candice Benjes-Small and Eric Ackermann. "This class is intended for teaching librarians who have some classroom experience and would like to explore different assessment techniques in library sessions, such as one-shots. Using Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation as a framework, we will discuss how to identify what you want to know and how to match your assessment need to the appropriate assessment technique, and practice assessing student artifacts using a sampling of methods. For each module, we will also discuss strategies for closing the assessment loop."
For more info go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: bee and lavender, Blackheath, July 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

New articles: information literacy; #ACRLframework; metacognition; values; critical approaches

The latest issue of the Open access journal Communications in Information Literacy (volume 11, no. 1, 2017) is accessible at
A focus is the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. It includes:
- Frame Works: Using Metaphor in Theory and Practice in Information Literacy by Wendy Holliday, pages 4-20
- Revisiting Metacognition and Metaliteracy in the ACRL Framework by Diane M. Fulkerson, Susan Andriette Ariew, Trudi E. Jacobson, 21-41
- Reorienting an Information Literacy Program Toward Social Justice: Mapping the Core Values of Librarianship to the ACRL Framework by Lua Gregory, Shana Higgins, 42-54
- Connecting Information Literacy and Social Justice: Why and How by Laura Saunders, 55-75
- A Kairos of the Critical: Teaching Critically in a Time of Compliance by Emily Drabinski, 76-94
- Teaching and Un-Teaching Source Evaluation: Questioning Authority in Information Literacy Instruction by Katelyn Angell, Eamon Tewell, 95-121
- In Bed with the Library: A Critical Exploration of Embedded Librarianship at the City University of New York by Nora Almeida, Julia Pollack, 122-146
- Creative Approaches to Information Literacy for Creative Arts Students by Leo Appleton, Gustavo Grandal Montero, Abigail Jones, 147-167
- Using the ACRL Framework to Develop a Student-Centered Model for Program-Level Assessment by Rachel Wilder Gammons, Lindsay Taylor Inge, 168-184
- Asking Questions in the Classroom: An Exploration of Tools and Techniques Used in the Library Instruction Classroom by Sara Maurice Whitver, Leo S. Lo, 185-203
- Guided Resource Inquiries: Integrating Archives into Course Learning and Information Literacy Objectives by Ellen E. Jarosz, Stephen Kutay, 204-220
- Embracing Challenges in Times of Change: A Survey of the Readiness of Academic Librarians in New Jersey for Transition to the ACRL Framework by Leslin H. Charles
Photo by Sheila Webber: alium heads, July 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Webinar: Learners as Creators: Release of the 2nd Digital Literacy Brief @NMCorg

On August 17, 2017 at 10 - 11 am US Central time (so 4pm UK time) there is a free webinar Learners as Creators: Release of the 2nd Digital Literacy Brief, hosted by the New Media Consortium, sponsored by Adobe. They are producing a briefing report. "In a discussion moderated by lead author Bryan Alexander, join the NMC for the official release of our followup NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief focused on digital literacy. In addition to expanding upon the preliminary definitions outlined in the first report, the brief includes more global and discipline-specific information and context. The aim is for this deep exploration of frameworks and initiatives to contribute to the body of knowledge used by the higher education community to inform strategic planning around digital literacy."
Information about the event is here:
Their previous (October 2016) report on digital literacy is here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: radishes, June 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Expert Internet Searching @Philbradley

There's a new edition of expert Phil Bradley's book on internet searching.
- Bradley, P. (2017) Expert Internet Searching. 5th edition. London: Facet Publishing. ISBN 9781783302475; Price: (UK) £59.95, CILIP members price: £47.95
"Now fully revised for its fifth edition, this book covers the basics of search before going into detail on how to run advanced and complex searches using a variety of different search engines. This edition has been updated to include current trends in search, such as social media search, fake news, and discussion of the authority and validity of search results. It will ensure that information professionals, whether complete beginners or more experienced, are able to work efficiently to obtain accurate information in a timely fashion."
Apologies, forgot to give the link when I first posted
When you "look inside" the book (a feature which now works) you get a pdf which includes an excerpt from a chapter on "news based search engines".
Photo by Sheila Webber, styled and taken in Second Life (SL is a TM of Linden Lab)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Final update on #i3rgu

A few last links to do with the i3 conference held in Aberdeen, Scotland, last month.
Conference roundups
- Nice Storify from Antony Osborne
- Very interesting summary of personal highlights from i3 by Bruce Ryan
Individual presentations (that I think I haven't already blogged)
- Clare McCluskey Dean Communities of Practice in Information Literacy in Higher Education: informative notes at
- Peter Cruickshank Practices of community representatives in exploiting information channels for citizen engagement and a blog about it at
- the presentation which I made, coauthored with colleagues Professor Nigel Ford, Dr Andrew Madden and Mary Crowder: Mapping the development of critical information behaviour through school and university (a mainly quantitative study).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Teachmeet Ravensbourne 3 August

When I just checked there were a few places left at the Teachmeet on the theme of Supporting Library Users on 3 August 2017 13:00 - 16:00 at Ravensbourne, UK.
Photo by Sheila Webber: July 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

UK Adults' media literacy: information sharing; trust and use of social media; mobile devices

Ofcom's annual (UK) Adults' media use and attitudes report was published last month. It gives "gives detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among UK adults aged 16+. It covers TV, radio, mobile phones, games, and the internet, with a particular focus on the latter."
This is based on substantial research: "interviews with 1,846 adults aged 16 and over in November and December 2016 .... supplemented with data from another Ofcom research study, the Technology Tracker survey in 2017 based on 3743 interviews with adults aged 16 and over in January and February 2017."
The points they highlight in the introduction are:
- Older people are embracing smart and social technology (this includes 75+ age group) These findings were highlighted in a feature at
- Smartphones are becoming an essential tool for navigating daily life… but some things are still more difficult on a smartphone ("there are certain activities they prefer not to do on a smartphone, such as watching TV or doing school or college work")
- Managing mobile data can be a challenge (by this is meant working out what they can do with the data allowance in their mobile phone package, conserving it by using free wifi etc.)
- People are using a broader range of social media to communicate with different groups
- Sharing with friends and family is an important route to discovering new information and content.
- There has been a slight decline in trust in social media content
- Many are thinking carefully about the trustworthiness of the content they encounter.
- People are opting to communicate via private group discussions
- The majority of internet users (72%) say that they are confident in their ability to manage access to their personal data online.
- Most internet users make some checks to judge the accuracy of factual information online.
- Tthere is a continuing gap between confidence, knowledge and behaviour in understanding how the internet works. "most internet users describe themselves as confident online (89%) ... However, this online confidence does not necessarily translate into an understanding of the way the internet operates. Although 97% of internet users have used search engines as a source of online information there is a continuing lack of understanding about how search engines work, and just under half of all adults do not know how search engines are funded (47%)."
- While the majority of internet users are confident they can recognise advertising online, only half of search engine users could recognise adverts on Google
The report (with the main parts available both in English and Welsh) together with data tables etc. is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: spot the cones, Inverness, June 2017

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Responsibility for #ACRLframework projects moves

As the ACRL Information Literacy Framework Advisory Board (FAB) ("tasked with developing resources for professional development in support of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education") has finished its term, responsibility for projects has moved to ACRL's Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC). The projects incude: ACRL Framework Sandbox, ACRL Framework Toolkit, and the ACRL licensed workshop Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices, Framework discussion list and the Framework WordPress website.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Mostly not blogging at #cilipconf17 ;-)

I am on the exhibition stand for the University of Sheffield Information School, together with a team of students, to connect with iSchool students and recruit more students ;-) - at the CILIP Conference 2017, taking place in Manchester, UK today. Left to right in the photo are: me, Itzelle Medina, Lucy Sinclair, Jaimee McRoberts, Erica Brown and Hannah Beckitt.  I have to be on the exhibition stand most of the time, so I am missing possibly all of the sessions - so probably no liveblogging. However I am tweeting from the @Infoschoolsheff account all day. Also our students will have some blog posts on the iSchool blog so I will link to them in due course. To follow the lively twitterstream from the conference, it's

Monday, July 03, 2017

Rudaí 23: open 23 Things course begins in September #Rudai23

"23 Things" initiatives started some time ago, using open tools like blogs to help librarians learn about using Web 2.0 and other tools more effectively, and supporting Continuing Professional Development. In September 2017, Rudaí 23 begins, "an online, self-directed course based on the 23 Things program, delivered by a collaborative group of librarians and educators, in association with the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland, and The Library Association of Ireland." There are 23 modules, and "Participants can choose which sections to complete and earn up to 5 digital badges: Visual Communicator, Online Networker, Critical Thinker, Engaged Professional and CPD Champion." Topics include: blogging (as is common with 23 Things inititaives, participants are expected to blog their reflections and experience), image banks, communicating visually, infographics, networking and collaboration tools, professional brand, Personal Data Management, podcasts, advocacy, and evaluating information: reflective practice is encouraged throughout. Registration starts on 28 August 2017.
More information at: Rudaí 23 also ran in 2015 (obviously Rudaí 23 2017 is a heavily revised/ updated version) and you can see the posts for the 2015 iteration on the Rudaí 23 blog

Friday, June 30, 2017

Qualitative research; Getting unstuck; Youth digital participation #i3rgu

I'm no longer at the i3 conference at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, but I have a couple of links for presentations I didn't attend today. I won't attempt to do a conference overview, but I will say that I have returned to the i3 conference (every year it's run, I think) because it is the only UK-based conference with a strong focus on research in information behaviour and information literacy. Although, obviously, LILAC does have research papers, it doesn't expicitly cover information behaviour, and there isn't the space to discuss research methods indepth. You can see from the interactive poster (photo - click on it for larger view) that a lot of the delegates were qualitative (rather than quantitative) researchers, which I like. i3 is a fairly small conference (about 80 people this year, I think) with a big presence from international researchers, students (and some practitioners) in IB, IL and related areas such as Information/Knowledge Management. It is a good place to have informal discussions about your research.
Non-sponsored endorsement over with, here are the links:
- Presentation by Todd Richter, Dr Laura Muir, Dr Tom Flint, Professor Hazel Hall and Dr Colin Smith - Getting Unstuck: information Problem Solving in High School STEM Students and Evidence of Metacognitive Knowledge. Abstract at and presentation at
- Alicja Pawluczuk, Professor Hazel Hall, Dr Colin Smith and Dr Gemma Webster had a paper
Measuring the Social Impact of Youth Digital Participation: examining the research gap Abstract at and presentation at
Indeed Hazel Hall has helpfully put links to abstracts and presentations that she co-authored (which covers most of the Napier University presentations) at

Thursday, June 29, 2017

the relationship between post-truth politics and Scottish citizens’ information behaviour #i3rgu

My final liveblog post from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen (Sadly I'm missing tomorrow's sessions as I have to make an emergency trip to the dentist!) is a paper from Dr Graeme Baxter (presenter) and Professor Rita Marcella: An exploration of the relationship between post-truth politics and Scottish citizens’ information behaviour.
Baxter started by exploring the meaning of "post truth", with it first being attributed to Tesich in 1992, but with a recent huge growth in the use of the term.
In the Scottish Independence Referendum (indyref, which took place in 2014) there were accusations of manipulating the facts from both sides. At the time of the indyref, the researchers undertook a study (in a community centre, church and two other venues in Aberdeen) where 54 people were shown various political websites and asked for their views. Respondents were sceptical about the information which was being presented as "facts". The respondents wanted more sources cited, so they could see where the information came from, 37% described the information they'd seen a very or quite reliable. The researchers developed a matrix - one axis was confidence in ability to judge reliability of information, and the other the participant's awareness that information may be unreliable. Participants would be in one of the four quadrants. Additionally, the researchers developed an emerging typology of searchers: indifferent; reactive; haphazard; proactive; or engaged searcher.
The researchers carried out another piece of research, #alternativefacts, April-June 2017: an online survey (538 responses) and 23 interviews in Westhill with the same method as before (using political party websites that claimed to present facts).
The online survey asked people to rate the reliability of information in 5 screenshots. Work on transcription and analysis is still very much going on, so emerging results were presented from the online survey.
From the online survey, 64% were female, about two thirds resident in Scotland, a range of ages and political party allegiance. The interviewees were mostly female, with about half aged 60 and over. Baxter showed a couple of slides showing people's opinions about perceived reliability. In each case there was a full spectrum of opinion (from think it very reliable to very unreliable or don't know).

The Green party's screenshot fared best in terms of people thinking it reliable, but none of the images had a majority thinking it was reliable. Survey respondents were asked for examples of facts exposed as falsehood: the included Iraq, Brexit, but also "The Vow" (made by Gordon Brown in trying to affect the result of Indyref). Asked about factors affecting trust - these included levels of trust in politicians in general (although did trust some individual politicians).
Political allegiance seemed to affect views e.g. 74.5% of SNP supporters felt that the SNP image contained reliable data. Respondents were wary of facts from unfamiliar sources; and thought that facts could be biased and be subject to spin. They were affected by their own personal or professional experience: i.e. if they has experience or knowledge in the area that was covered by the information they were looking at. Likely sources of good information (according to respondents) included trusted media sites, academic institutions etc. but Google was likely to be a first point of call for fact checking. The researchers managed to track down the actual sources of the political party-generated information they used in the survey: in each case there was foundation for the facts, but some selectivity, and the information was hard to track down.
Finally Baxter presented an emerging model, mapping the journey of a political fact.
First photo by Sheila Webber (donor board in Aberdeen University Library) second picture from the presentation

Practices of community representatives in exploiting information channels for citizen engagement #i3rgu

Another presentation from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. Peter Cruickshank (presenter), Professor Hazel Hall and Dr Bruce Ryan authored a paper on Practices of community representatives in exploiting information channels for citizen engagement.
The project was funded by the CILIP Information Literacy Group. It was looking at the information behaviour of members of Scottish Community Councils: these are unpaid volunteer posts, elected, but not necessarily with much competition for election. The representation role is "entirely oriented to finding and sharing". The researchers wondered whether there were analogies with findings into research about hyperlocal media. Additionally the conversations might e.g. start on social media, but be continued when you bump into someone on the street.
The researchers had previosuly used a lens of knowledge sharing and Communities of Practice, so it seemed fruitful to explore this population again to look at how the councillors went about acquiring information skills and sources.
The speaker went back to Zurkowski's definition of information literacy and noted how it had been "hijacked by librarians ;-) and IL now tended to be seen as a "good thing" i.e. it was value laden.
Themes they wanted to include included lifelong learning, citizenship etc. They also used the SCONUL 7 Pillars as a mode of "validating" their questions (I think, that covered various aspects of IL). They also used the nodes of the activity theory triangle to test that they were asking questions that related to these elements.
They mainly gathered data via interviews. The councillors were mostly highly educated - not typical of citizens, and they don't have enough information about community councillor demographics to know if this is typical of councillors.
(1) Finding and sharing information. They defined their role in terms of information e.g. "voice of the community" "our currency is information". They were using a mixture of digital and non-digital, including importantly face to face information.Facebook was the key channel.
(2) Analysis using the SCONUL model. There was little "Scoping" and lack of conscious "Planning". They were quite good at "gathering" and with "Evaluation" they would put a lot of emphasis on the source of information e.g. trust official information. They showed awareness of responsibilities to citizens in terms of what they do or do not share. "Information Management" wasn't mentioned. "Information presentation" was practised in a variety of ways.
(3) Using activity theory was good for exploring the social context - motivations, roles, obviously division of labour, tools etc. (they will be presenting more about this at ECIL in September)
(4) They didn't find the SCONUL model explanatory, and its academic origins will have affected that. Sharing was key to the councillors' role and not covered so well in the model.
(5) There are evident training needs, and opportunities for library support are being missed (specifically IL skills for community councillors).

Some points from the conclusion were - that it is interesting to see whether this relates to workplace research, and whether other frameworks could also be useful in exploring the research problem.

Information in transition #i3rgu

As the final session this morning at the i3 conference I attended a talk from Dr Rebekah Willson on Information in transition: the social flow of information.
This was from her doctoral research. It focused on the transition from PhD student to lecturer. She defined transition as a convoluted passage in which people redfine their sense of self .. in response to disruptive life events. The literature indicated that "resources available in the environment have a key mediational role". Willson also connected transition to the concept of liminality, where you are "betwixt and between" in the process of crossing from one space (literal or metaphorical) to another. This can be a time of not-belonging, when you are marginalised, and examining this place of transition can be fruitful for researchers wanting to uncover problematic areas, exclusions etc.
She gathered data from 20 early career academics, 10 Canadians and 10 Australians, in a variety of arts and humanities degrees, and from a total of 10 universities.
In terms of findings (1) Information needs. They had increased information needs, they change over time and in terms of urgency, and there is a lack of accurate up-to-date information (with university procedures unclear/undocumented). (2) Colleagues were very important as information sources. They were a more accurate, complete (including insider, non-codified), convenient and up to date as information sources. Willson referred to McKenzie's (2003) study of ways of finding information, which identified active seeking, active scanning (observing closely et.) and obtaining information by proxy.
(3) Collegial relationships. People found safe spaces by creating information relationships, and collegial relationships enabled social inclusion and support so the new academics could learn nuances of their new roles. Most of this was sharing information face to face, although online networks were used for broader topics.
(4) Bouncing ideas. This was iterative work on an idea, which Willson characterised as "a temporary space created between colleagues to work" - it is moving beyond seeking information, to interaction and enagagement.
(5) Physical proximity and "popinquity" ("tendency of individuals to form close relationships with people they repeatedly encounter"). People mentioned popping into each other's offices etc: there was also the example of the person who was physically isolated (on a difference floor) who suffered from this isolation. Information sharing, information encountering tec. is a by product of the social interaction.
(6) Informality was important - for asking questions you wouldn't like to document, to get the "real" story etc.
In conclusion, colleagues are a key information source, information flows through sharing and encountering, aided by physical proximity and interacting informally.
Future research includes examining the information behaviour of academics on short term contracts.
Photo by Sheila Webber: chairs in Aberdeen University Library

Full Fact - fact checking #i3rgu

Today's keynote, earlier this morning, from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. was Amy Sippitt (Research and Impact Manager, Full Fact)
Sippitt started by talking about how a false statistic about the percentage of people aged under 18 who were engaged in knife crime, and how this overestimate (roughly doubling) led in the end to a law being introduced. There were lots of opportunities for the office of national statistics or government departments to correct the statistic, but they did not. This false information had serious consequences.
Full Fact started in 2010, inspired by a fact checking organisation in the USA. However, they felt that fact checking on its own would not work. They therefore adopt a carrot and stick approach, involving, for example, working with organisations to help prevent false information being disseminated, and (the “stick”) pressuring for correction. Incorrect information may be sometimes a result of the unhelpful presentation of statistics etc. in, for example, national statistics. They have found responses to these pressuring have improved from months to hours, due to Full Fact’s persistent work.
Sippitt described their reaction to the surprise announcement of the UK 2017 general election: to get out out high quality fact checks, work with partners in getting out correct information, and strategic interventions in areas that had been problematic in the past. They have lobbied for changes to the purdah rules that restrict information given out by the government during an election period, as this can also be a barrier to disseminating correcting information. Full Fact reacted to key stories where facts would correct/ illuminate issues (e.g. “the dementia tax”) and paid attention to the places where people get their news, notably social media. They found that graphics were more effective than videos in conveying information.
For a key TV debate they were based in the studio, tweeting and blogging to provide a factual commentary. They have developed a fact checking tool which also enabled them to generate informative tweets very quickly to respond to things under discussion.
The number of fact checking organisations has grown, throughout the world. Sippitt felt that they were relatively lucky in the U.K., since they have access to officials and official sources, whereas in other countries the fact checkers may have less access and cannot have the same relationship with official organisations.
Full Fact would like to know more about the people i.e. the general population, who they want to influence. There is research evidence that people are misinformed about some issues, that people don't trust politicians, and may end up choosing between total faith and total cynicism.
Sippitt went on to list some research questions they would like to investigate. At the moment there was research whether we change our minds, but there were a lot of research gaps. A lot of the research was carried out in North America, which obviously may not transfer to other countries and cultures.
They wanted more research on: how Full Fact can best communicate; how Full Fact can demonstrate their credibility; how people consume information e.g. what makes people share their work, why do people get interested in fact checking, how can they reach people who are not currently interested; Full Fact’s impact on the people they fact check e.g. are they changing their behaviour.
Photo by Sheila Webber: a fact checking tweet that Sippitt showed for our amusement

Distance learning and the experience of variation: How authority can cross geographical divisions on asynchronous discussion boards #i3rgu

Next from the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen Dr Andrew Whitworth presented a paper coauthored with Dr Lee Webster on Distance learning and the experience of variation: How authority can cross geographical divisions on asynchronous discussion boards
The research problem was on how informed learning develops information practices, and specifically on how a particular learning environments can enable variation.
They studied how 20 small groups who had to coordinate activity across geographical space carried out a task. They were therfore looking at ability to navigate the information landscapes and how they made deicsions and used technology etc. to construct the context.
Dialogue was seen by Whitworth as critical as enabling students to experience variation in learning: Whitworth referred to Christine Bruce's work, in particular the 6 frames (relational model) of teaching information literacy (which I would add also draws on Marton et al.'s variation theory) and the concept of alterity (awareness and experience of the "other" which can expand understanding/learning).
The context was a postgrad course in educational technology (taught both on campus and online, as one cohort), and part of that was enabling students to make critical judgements about learning environments and technological enhancements. The shared informational spaces provide a boundary zone where the distance learners and oncampus learners can engage. Whitworth talked about the characteristics of the two sets of students (e.g. most oncampus from outside the UK, with English as a 2nd language, most distance learners from the UK).
The focus of this presentation was "The museum activity" (which is preceeded by other activities). Oncampus students visit the National Football Museum. Distance learners design their own field trips to other museums. Then have to work in groups to produce a proposal about something which will improve the 2 museum experiences (I think).
In terms of observations: (1) Students were probing for information about the context (including seeking the opinion about those who have visited in person) (2) Students were offering images, links, their own observations/ experience. (3) There is evidence that they are checking and validating each other's information, and interacting with each others' ideas so that they are "learning to make judgements together" (4) There were strains and tensions, but an example was given of a careful interchange when one student felt he/she had been patronising (5) They created their own lexicon within their dialogues.
Further issues concerned e.g. the role of power (role of tutor and self-constraint) and the nature of the parameters of the activity and how they constrain information practices.
BTW I accidently deleted a chunk of text part way through doing this post, so there may be gaps I couldn't fill in from memory ;-)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University Library, on Tuesday.

Information sharing in the ESOL classroom #i3rgu

Next from the i3 conference was Jess Elmore on Information sharing in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classroom: a case study. This presented material from her PhD research, mainly focusing on methods and challenges. ESOL learners are learning English as a tool for their everyday life (not for tourism or as an academic subject), and they are also migrants (i.e. someone who is living in a different country). There are a million people across the UK who say they need to improve their English. Elmore related her research to that of ESOL and information (where there hasn't been much research from the information field); migrants and information (e.g. how people transfer their information practice; the importance of people and places); and information literacy and language learning (literature saying there is a link between the two, but mostly understaken in an academic context).
Elmore's focus is on information sharing (how it is mediated by people, places and objects): she is using Fisher's Information Grounds theory as a useful way to frame her research, and also drawing on practice theory.
Her research is sited in a Northern English city with a long history of migration into the city, and the research is focused on two ESOL classes, each a case study. The case study/class which was the focus of this presentation was a women-only class, in particular from Yemen and Pakistan. Elmore collected 35 hours of data, mainly observation, and she took an active part in the class. A central part of the activity were three trips to a city farm, a photography exhibition and a centre for the visually impaired.
Elmore discussed the challenges to the research: the power dynamics (and Elmore discussed the challenges of designing and implementing research that deals with that imbalance and does not "other" the participants). She talked about the duty of care to the partcipants, whilst also respecting their power over their own lives. Elmore was aware of how her research could be (mis)used, keeping at the back of her mind the question "What's the worst interpretation that the Daily Mail could make of this research"? Her inspirations here included bell hooks and Bev Skeggs.
Elmore gave examples of her data: observational notes, pictures, reflective diary and some transcribed recordings. She had hoped to do more analysis WITH her participants and she compiled a book with a story (pictures and a small about a text) which she took to her participants, but there was not much discussion from the participants. Her move from that was to concentrate on incidents of information sharing, and look at those episodes within the information grounds framework. She read out one of the episodes, and talked about how in the city farm they were visiting, Elmore herself, the learners, the animals and the signs were the people, places and objects (see the rather bad photo I took). Because they couldn't read the signs, the signs were less important than the animals, specifically chickens that the women knew a lot about and which were a link with their home countries. Elmore talked about spaces, and how people may be threatened and constrained by space. You could also say that there were information flows, and the visit might be said to be affecting the women's information literacy.
Discussion points were: critical stance to embodied information; understanding particular migrant experience; and, what arrangements constrain and enable information sharing?

Advantages and disadvantages of printed and electronic study material #i3rgu

First liveblog from the 3rd day of the i3 conference at RGU in Aberdeen. It was presented by Professor Ágústa Pálsdóttir and coauthored by Sigriour Bjork Einarsdottir and entitled Advantages and disadvantages of printed and electronic study material: Perspectives of university students
This presentation focused on the Icelandic study that is part of the Academic Reading International Study (ARFIS), an international study involving researchers in 36 countries. I have reported on some of these studies, particularly in my reports from the ECIL conference. In this presentation, the authors concentrated on analysis of the open question in the survey.
Previous studies from this project have shown that students prefer printed materials, but also enjoy the convenience of online access, and being able to search inside and across electronic material. Students consider themselves more highly motivated and more likely to highlight and remember what they read. Male students are more likely to prefer online than do female students. Studies to do with behaviours in different disciplines is inconclusive.
The research question of this study was: what are the advantages and disadvantages of printed and electronic study material? Through this is was hoped to gain understanding about preferences and help librarians make collection decisions.
The survey was conducted at 2 Icelandic universities, advertised to 12K students. Response rate was 7.33% (952 respondents), and 178 students answered the open questions.The questionnaire was based on that from Mizrachi's (2014) original study, translated into Icelandic.
Five main themes were identified in the open questions. (1) Printed or electronic material: in this they were stating support for one of the other e.g. "The more teachers use electronic course readings, the happier I am". There were two subthemes: flexibility (having both); preferring electronic but wanting to print it out.
(2) Learning Approach. The first subtheme was ability to concentrate on the learning material e.g. mentioning distractions reading online. The 2nd subtheme was ability to remember the material (mostly saying that they remembered better from print) and the 3rd that the length of the text matters (e.g. articles were good online, but not books and chapters).
(3) Technology: limitations and possibilities. First subtheme was searching and browsing. Some had said electronic was better and some print (e.g. "it's much more easy to move between pages to check material I have read". 2nd subtheme was note making - many of them explained about why they preferred doing this on print e.g. it was easier to make notes or highlight on print, or "if I make notes on the computer, I end up by writing notes which are too long and I lose the main point". 3rd subtheme is technological advancement. The students made interesting observations about how the current technology was not convenient and how it could be improved (e.g. that you couldn't change the layout of pdfs so they were fewer pages to print out; that the material was "badly suited" to read on a screen). The final subtheme was about physical reasons e.g. reading from a screen affecting sleep, causing headaches.
(4) Convenience and expenses. The 1st subtheme was organising and access, where online was emphasised. The 2nd subtheme was cost - and here digital sources were seen as cheaper or free and preferable to buying textbooks etc.
(5) Environmental issues. This was quite a strong theme e.g. that they felt guilty printing out pages.

In sum "The main reason why students prefer printed material is based on their study habits and they feel that the technology has not developed sufficiently to support their learning engagement." Additionally it seems that physical problems haven't been paid enough attention, without awareness of how this can affect study engagement, and environmental aspects have weight with students.

Photo by Sheila Webber: student magazines from the early days of RGU librarianship, seen at the 50 anniversary reception last night