Exploring the Development of Information Literacy Strategies

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Presentation by Sheila Corrall to the Network of Government Library and Information Specialists (NGLIS) Conference in London on 3 June 2009. Explains the concept of Information Literacy and discusses the development of information literacy strategies in the Higher Education sector, drawing on research and practice at the University of Sheffield. Examines the situation in the Government sector, providing examples of initiatives taken by library and information professionals. Concludes with practical steps towards developing an information literacy strategy.

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Exploring the Development of Information Literacy Strategies

  1. 1. Exploring the Development of Information Literacy Strategies Professor Sheila Corrall Centre for Information Literacy Research
  2. 2. Presentation outline •  The concept and context of information literacy •  Developments in the higher education sector −  Research findings and university case study •  Application to the government sector −  Research findings and practical action steps •  IL networks and CPD opportunities •  References and readings © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  3. 3. Information Literacy The original definition (1979) ‘People trained in the application of information resources to their work can be called information literates. They have learned techniques and skills for utilising the wide range of information tools as well as primary sources in molding information- solutions to their problems.’ Paul Zurkowski, President, Information Industry Association (in Eisenberg et al., 2004: 3) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  4. 4. Information Literacy A plain English definition ‘Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.’ Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP, 2004) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  5. 5. The information problem •  Easy access to vast quantities of information via search engines, Internet directories, portals, etc •  False confidence of many Internet users in their ability to find the information that they need •  Information behaviour often characterised by shallow searches, uncritical selection and misuse •  Poor understanding of information management as a discipline, specialism and profession © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  6. 6. Positive developments •  Collective efforts of (academic) librarians have raised awareness, produced useful tools and moved the IL debate onto a strategic level −  many universities now have formal policies/strategies −  UNESCO has asserted the critical role of IL in personal, economic, social and cultural development •  Strong vibrant community of practitioners willing to advise and help newcomers to the field © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  7. 7. Key features of university IL strategies •  Separate documents taking many different forms and/or integrated in other institutional statements •  Extensive contextualisation (internal/external) •  Use of formal definitions/standards/frameworks −  e.g. ALA definition, SCONUL Seven Pillars Model •  End-to-end involvement of key stakeholders in developing, implementing and delivering strategy •  Focus on advocacy and library staff development © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  8. 8. The SCONUL Seven Pillars Model for IL • most widely used model in the UK • can be used as −  a diagnostic tool −  a process model www.sconul.ac.uk
  9. 9. The SCONUL Seven Headline Skills 1.  Recognise a need for information 2.  Distinguish ways of addressing the information gap 3.  Construct strategies for locating information 4.  Locate and access information 5.  Compare and evaluate information obtained from different sources 6.  Organise, apply and communicate information to others 7.  Synthesise and build on existing information, contributing to the creation of new knowledge www.sconul.ac.uk/groups/information_literacy/seven_pillars.html © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  10. 10. Case Study – The University of Sheffield Background – CILASS – Strategic engagement – Tactics – Achievements – Critical success factors
  11. 11. Background •  University commitment to research-led teaching •  Library development of information skills tutorial •  Some coverage of skills in Information Strategy •  Low level of awareness of the concept of information literacy among staff and students •  High level of expertise within Information Studies •  Opportunity to bid for national funding as Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  12. 12. Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS) Collaborative Networked inquiry learning Partnership CILASS Community Seven Pillars IL Network Learning spaces Information literacy collaboratories development Information Commons ‘Modelling the process of research within the student learning experience’ © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  13. 13. CILASS Information Literacy Network •  Led by the Department of Information Studies •  A cross-functional inter-disciplinary partnership −  library professionals, information science academics, academics in other areas and educational developers •  Discipline-sensitive focus on information literacy •  Programme of curriculum innovation placing information literacy at heart of student learning © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  14. 14. Strategic engagement IL now prominent in strategy and policy statements •  specified as a formal objective of the University Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy •  listed in Characteristics of the Sheffield Graduate •  identified as key theme of Library Strategic Plan •  incorporated in Departmental LTA Strategies −  with some examples of Departmental IL Strategies •  included in undergraduate induction checklist © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  15. 15. Tactical deployment •  Workshops offering help with LTA strategies used to raise awareness and share experiences •  Project funding used to stimulate IL initiatives and deliver Library staff development programme •  Presentations reporting progress on IL initiatives delivered at internal and external conferences •  Series of events and blog postings organised as Information Literacy Week to reach more people •  IL Network extended to bring in more key players © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  16. 16. Operational achievement •  Widespread use of customised online IL tutorials •  Many examples of academic and library staff working together on new IBL learning resources, workshops, assessments and IL presentations •  Academics using Seven Pillars in their teaching •  Library staff more involved in IL teaching within Information Studies (classroom and Second Life) •  Information literacy part of everyday vocabulary © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  17. 17. Critical success factors @ Sheffield •  Explicit links to current institutional concerns •  Formal incorporation in core business strategy •  Financial incentives for staff to launch IL projects •  IL network group to focus and co-ordinate effort •  Stakeholder-based multi-professional partnership •  Dedicated specialist support to take work forward •  Senior people acting as institutional champions •  Departmental contacts acting as local advocates © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  18. 18. Government sector Research evidence – skills needs – key task for info pros – information literacy initiatives/strategies
  19. 19. Research evidence: government sector ‘a…relatively introverted information environment’ •  Searching for information a major activity, but poor awareness of advanced search techniques •  Existing policy used as starting point for search, heavy reliance on people and standard sources •  Problems with information overload and quality •  Staff need help with updating, horizon scanning and accessing a broader range of sources (Crawford & Irving, 2009; Taylor & Corrall, 2007) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  20. 20. Skills needs for government workers I •  Ability to outline and recognise the information environment and its information sources •  Skills to use the information sources and information systems common to the organisation and related to their own work •  Skills to use the information sources of the open net and information media Kauhanen-Simanainen (2007: 116-117) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  21. 21. Skills needs for government workers II •  Skills relating to information production, including both the core content and meta-information •  Skills of cooperation, as well as communication and networking skills •  Knowledge of the most important principles of the legislation and concomitant ethical procedures connected with the use of information Kauhanen-Simanainen (2007: 116-117) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  22. 22. Key task for government info pros ‘The key task for information specialists working in government is to awaken awareness about the need to develop information and Media Literacy and actively assess and promote the versatility of information sources and their use. In the easily accessible surface information world, the information specialists have to signpost the versatility of the information environment, increase the visibility openness, vertical depth and lateral direction of the information channels to encompass different areas, conflicting sources and the past, present and future.’ Kauhanen-Simanainen (2007: 143) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  23. 23. Info lit initiatives: government sector GCHQ Scottish Government •  Service development •  Training sessions − e-Learning modules, −  Google Treasure Hunt with online assessment −  Essential Internet Skills (recognising one-to-one −  Advanced Information Skills sessions not scalable) − Intranet training portal •  Information drop-ins − Blog, alerting people to −  help at people’s desks new resources available •  Promoting information skills •  External speakers −  corporate induction events © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  24. 24. Scottish Government: an IL strategy model •  Librarians have identified and strengthened partnerships with internal and external stakeholders −  Corporate Learning Services, HR Development Advisers, Skills & Learning Team, Social Researchers, Policy Team, NHS Scotland, CILIPS, Scottish Information Literacy Project •  Raised awareness of key role IL plays in organisation and gained recognition of IL as vital skillset for staff •  Achieved substantial section on IL in Information Strategy and submitted draft IL Strategy to senior management www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/skills-strategy/progress/sg/ supportingindividuals/InformationLiteracies © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  25. 25. Practical action steps – questions •  Situation analysis – what are the big issues (strategic or operational) causing concern in your organisation? −  is there an IL dimension which could act as a hook? •  Stakeholder mapping – who are the key players with a potential interest or involvement in the areas identified? −  can you get their support as partners in IL initiatives? •  Portfolio development – where should you target your efforts and how should you deliver IL interventions? •  Professional standards – adopt or develop your own? © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  26. 26. IL networks and CPD offerings •  The Information Literacy Website •  CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group •  LIS-INFOLITERACY@JISCMAIL.AC.UK •  Sheila Webber’s Information Literacy Weblog •  LILAC (Librarians’ Info Lit Annual Conference) •  University of Sheffield specialist modules and PGCert/PGDip/MA in Information Literacy © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  27. 27. References Crawford, J. & Irving, C. (2009) ‘Information literacy in the workplace: a qualitative exploratory study’, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 41 (1), 29-38. Eisenberg, M.B. et al. (2004) Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Libraries Unlimited. Kauhanen-Simanainen, A. (2007) Corporate Literacy: Discovering the Senses of the Organisation. Chandos. Taylor, K. & Corrall, S. (2007) ‘Personalised service? Changing the role of the government librarian’, Journal of Information Science, 33 (3), 298-314. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  28. 28. Further reading Corrall, S. (2007) ‘Benchmarking strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education: towards a working model’, Information Research, 12 (4), paper 328. http://InformationR.net/ir/12-4/paper328.htm Corrall, S. (2008) ‘Information literacy strategy development in higher education: an exploratory study’, International Journal of Information Management, 28 (1), 26-37. Foreman, J. & Thomson, L. (2009) ‘Information literacy in the Scottish Government’, Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference. www.slideshare.net/scottishlibraries/ informationl-iteracy-in-the-scottish-government © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies

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