Information Literacy: the
Case for Strategic Engagement

Professor Sheila Corrall
Centre for Information Literacy Research
Presentation outline
•  The concept and context of information literacy
•  Developments in the higher education sector
•  ...
Information Literacy

Definitions – Origins – Dimensions
Social, Technological, Educational, Professional
Information Literacy
A Plain English definition
    ‘Information literacy is knowing when and why
    you need information...
Information Literacy
The Original American Definition (1979)
    ‘People trained in the application of information
    res...
Why Information Literacy matters
IL is an essential pre-requisite for achievement of important
personal, social, education...
Why Information Literacy matters
IL gives people the key, generic, transferable skills needed
to fulfil their potential in...
The Information Problem
•  Easy access to vast quantities of information via
   search engines, Internet directories, port...
©8/1/09
  The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
An Essential Competency for…
•  Individual and organisational learning
•  Employability and workforce performance
•  Democ...
An Educational Imperative (1975)
    ‘Dealing efficiently with information must now be
    recognised as one of the major ...
International Recognition – OECD
    ‘As access to information becomes easier
    and less expensive, the skills and
    c...
International Recognition – UNESCO
    ‘Governments should develop strong
    interdisciplinary programs to promote Inform...
International Recognition – UNESCO
‘we urge governments and intergovernmental organizations
to pursue policies and program...
An Educational Imperative (2009)
‘We recommend that…
•  HEIs, colleges and schools treat information literacies
   as a pr...
Higher Education
in a Web 2.0 World
Report of independent
Committee of Inquiry
into the impact on
higher education of
stud...
‘The skills that students
lack when they arrive at
university are much the
same as those students
have always needed to
de...
Teachers in the Edgeless University
‘University teaching long ago stopped being about mere
transmission. When not only sou...
Developments in
Higher Education
Spectrum of interventions – Professional standards
– Institution-wide information literac...
How practitioners are developing IL
•  Delivering planned group training interventions, ranging
   from standard generic c...
How practitioners are developing IL
Collaborative partnerships: strategic alliances
•  Library and information professiona...
How practitioners are developing IL
Creative partnering: boundary-spanning alliances
•  Not only within our own institutio...
‘In response to the needs of
employers, Government is
striving to develop a national
curriculum that offers
seamless oppor...
© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
Recent developments in the HE sector
•  Substantial growth in level of Library IL activity
        −  from standalone trai...
Key features of university IL strategies
•  Separate documents taking many different forms and/or
   strategies incorporat...
Formal
Information
Literacy
Strategies
•  Cardiff
   University
•  Open
   University

 © The University of Sheffield / De...
The
SCONUL
Seven Pillars
Model for IL
• most widely used
  model in the UK
• can be used as
  −  a diagnostic tool
  −  a ...
The SCONUL Seven Headline Skills
1.  Recognise a need for information
2.  Distinguish ways of addressing the information g...
Case Study –
The University of Sheffield
Background – CILASS – Strategic engagement –
Tactics – Achievements – Critical su...
Background
•  University commitment to research-led teaching
•  Library development of Information Skills tutorial
•  Some...
Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in
                                          the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS)


   ...
Information Literacy Network
 •  Led by the Department of Information Studies
 •  A cross-functional inter-disciplinary pa...
Strategic engagement
IL now prominent in strategy and policy statements
•  Specified as a formal objective of the Universi...
© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
Tactical deployment
•  Workshops offering help with LTA strategies
   used to raise awareness and share experiences
•  Fel...
Fellowships, Projects, Awards
 •  One-year part-time                                               •  Series of calls for ...
Awareness-raising,
sponsorship and
dissemination




© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
Operational achievement
•  Widespread use of customised online IL tutorials
•  Many examples of academic and library staff...
© The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
Critical success factors @ Sheffield
•  Explicit links to current institutional concerns
•  Formal incorporation in core b...
Benefits of strategic engagement
•  Ensures equal opportunity for all students to gain
   skills needed for academic and c...
Strategic questions for universities
•  Situation analysis – what are the big issues (strategic
    or operational) causin...
Readings
Corrall, S. (2007) ‘Benchmarking strategic engagement with
  information literacy in higher education: towards a ...
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Information Literacy: The Case for Strategic Engagement

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Presentation by Sheila Corrall for Staff Development Week at Coleg Prifysgol y Drindod, Caerfyrddin/Trinity University College, Carmarthen on 2 September 2009. Explains the concept of Information Literacy and why it is vital for Higher Education Institutions to engage with IL at a strategic level. Outlines developments in the sector and presents a case study of the University of Sheffield highlighting the importance of stakeholder involvement and multi-professional partnerships. Concludes with strategic questions institutions need to consider.

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Information Literacy: The Case for Strategic Engagement

  1. 1. Information Literacy: the Case for Strategic Engagement 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 •  Case study – the University of Sheffield and its Centre for Inquiry-based Learning (CILASS) − strategic engagement – tactical deployment − operational achievements – success factors •  Institutional benefits of strategic engagement © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  3. 3. Information Literacy Definitions – Origins – Dimensions Social, Technological, Educational, Professional
  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. Information Literacy The Original American 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
  6. 6. Why Information Literacy matters IL is an essential pre-requisite for achievement of important personal, social, educational, cultural and economic goals •  to bridge the digital divide that cuts off people with poor IT skills and hinders the free flow of information and ideas •  to facilitate independent lifelong learning in a fast-moving environment, including access to e-learning resources •  to strengthen employability in an economy where work is characterised by information dependence and intensity •  to solve the problem of information overload arising from the proliferation of communication, especially email © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  7. 7. Why Information Literacy matters IL gives people the key, generic, transferable skills needed to fulfil their potential in education, work and society, e.g. •  to retrieve information from the ‘deep’ or ‘invisible’ web which is hidden from people with limited searching skills •  to apply evidence-based policy and practice in research, government and the professions, such as medicine •  to access and manage intangible assets in organisations represented by their knowledge or intellectual capital •  to engage with e-government processes and participate actively as informed citizens in their local communities © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  8. 8. The Information Problem •  Easy access to vast quantities of information via search engines, Internet directories, portals, etc •  False confidence of many Internet users about their ability to find the information that they need •  Information behaviour often characterised by shallow searches and poor selection of sources •  High incidence of information misuse and abuse, including copyright infringement and plagiarism © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  9. 9. ©8/1/09 The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  10. 10. An Essential Competency for… •  Individual and organisational learning •  Employability and workforce performance •  Democratic participation and global citizenship Information Literacy has a vital role in: − Information and knowledge management − Continuing professional development − Evidence-based policy and practice © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  11. 11. An Educational Imperative (1975) ‘Dealing efficiently with information must now be recognised as one of the major problems of modern society…[a learner] must be able to identify his own information needs…know the sources…judge the value…select the limited amount which will serve him best’ A Language for Life Committee of Inquiry into Reading and the Use of English London: HMSO, 1975 [Bullock Report] © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  12. 12. International Recognition – OECD ‘As access to information becomes easier and less expensive, the skills and competencies relating to selection and efficient use of information become more crucial.’ The Knowledge-based Economy OECD/GD(96)102 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/51/8/1913021.pdf © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  13. 13. International Recognition – UNESCO ‘Governments should develop strong interdisciplinary programs to promote Information Literacy nationwide as a necessary step in closing the digital divide through the creation of an information literate citizenry, an effective civil society and a competitive workforce.’ Towards an Information Literate Society UNESCO Prague Declaration (20-23 September, 2003) http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  14. 14. International Recognition – UNESCO ‘we urge governments and intergovernmental organizations to pursue policies and programs to promote information literacy and lifelong learning. In particular… •  recognition of lifelong learning and information literacy as key elements for the development of generic capabilities which must be required for the accreditation of all education and training programs Beacons of the Information Society UNESCO Alexandria Proclamation (6-9 November, 2005) http://www.ifla.org.sg/III/wsis/BeaconInfSoc.html © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  15. 15. An Educational Imperative (2009) ‘We recommend that… •  HEIs, colleges and schools treat information literacies as a priority area and support all students so that they are able, amongst other things, to identify, search, locate, retrieve and, especially, critically evaluate information from the range of appropriate sources – web-based and other – and organise and use it effectively, attributed as necessary, in an appropriate medium’ Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World Committee of Inquiry (Bristol: March 2009) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  16. 16. Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World Report of independent Committee of Inquiry into the impact on higher education of students’ widespread use of Web 2.0 technologies Bristol, March 2009 http://www.clex.org.uk/ © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  17. 17. ‘The skills that students lack when they arrive at university are much the same as those students have always needed to develop: the capacity to filter and analyse sources and to assess the validity and authority of material.’ Demos, June 2009 (p.55) www.jisc.ac.uk/edge09 © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  18. 18. Teachers in the Edgeless University ‘University teaching long ago stopped being about mere transmission. When not only source materials are readily available, but also recordings of lectures and seminars, the ‘value added’ of a teacher needs reassessing. There are more important skills that academics and teachers need to pass on. They can help students develop their ability to analyse and use information creatively, and to engage and work with networks of other people. These will be increasingly important skills for students and researchers, a transition that has been described as “from the sage on the stage to guide on the side”.’ (Bradwell, 2009: 42) © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  19. 19. Developments in Higher Education Spectrum of interventions – Professional standards – Institution-wide information literacy strategies – Library and information professionals as educators
  20. 20. How practitioners are developing IL •  Delivering planned group training interventions, ranging from standard generic courses to specific tailored classes •  Integrating and embedding in their educational curricula, as explicit element of teaching, learning and assessment •  Designing self-paced (online) tutorials/learning resources •  Providing one-to-one instruction and individual guidance •  Develop user capability when giving point-of-need help •  Incorporating into meeting people’s information requests •  Including hints and tips in information resource guides A spectrum of interventions, formal and informal
  21. 21. How practitioners are developing IL Collaborative partnerships: strategic alliances •  Library and information professionals are working alongside academic/teaching staff and also with −  basic skills and study skills tutors −  staff and organisational developers −  key skills trainers and careers advisers −  learning technologists and instructional designers −  data, information and knowledge users/specialists Cross-functional, multi-professional, team-working
  22. 22. How practitioners are developing IL Creative partnering: boundary-spanning alliances •  Not only within our own institutions, but also −  working collectively with practitioners in other HEIs −  working across different educational sectors, e.g. higher + further + secondary + primary education −  working across different professional sectors, e.g. academic + public + workplace information services −  working across different professional specialisms… Cross-institution, multi-sectoral, strategic networks
  23. 23. ‘In response to the needs of employers, Government is striving to develop a national curriculum that offers seamless opportunities in digital competencies from entry-level school age through to Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE), to equip the future workforce with relevant digital skills to succeed.’ June 2009 www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/ © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  24. 24. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  25. 25. Recent developments in the HE sector •  Substantial growth in level of Library IL activity −  from standalone training to curriculum integration •  Shift from operational to strategic initiatives •  Rich array of models, tools and other resources −  informing and supporting good professional practice •  Vibrant community of practitioners engaged in knowledge exchange + pedagogical scholarship −  conferences, e-journals, listservs, portals, workshops © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  26. 26. Key features of university IL strategies •  Separate documents taking many different forms and/or strategies incorporated in other institutional statements •  Extensive contextualisation (both internal and external) •  Use of formal definitions, standards and/or frameworks •  End-to-end involvement of key stakeholders in the development, implementation and delivery of strategies •  Focus on advocacy, awareness-raising and marketing •  Recognition of the need for library staff development •  Provision of illustrative examples and/or case studies © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  27. 27. Formal Information Literacy Strategies •  Cardiff University •  Open University © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. Case Study – The University of Sheffield Background – CILASS – Strategic engagement – Tactics – Achievements – Critical success factors
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS) Collaborative Networked inquiry learning Partnership CILASS Community Seven Pillars IL Network Learning space Information literacy collaboratories development Information Commons ‘Modelling the process of research within the student learning experience’ © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. 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 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
  35. 35. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  36. 36. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  37. 37. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  38. 38. Tactical deployment •  Workshops offering help with LTA strategies used to raise awareness and share experiences •  Fellowships and project funding to stimulate IL initiatives and Library staff development program •  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 other key players © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  39. 39. Fellowships, Projects, Awards •  One-year part-time •  Series of calls for bids secondment (20%) from departments •  Pedagogical research (including the Library) and development •  Funding for staff buy- •  Financial reward for out and other costs individual (£1,000) (maximum £10,000) •  Salary compensation •  Formal reporting and for department/school evaluation required © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  40. 40. Awareness-raising, sponsorship and dissemination © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. Benefits of strategic engagement •  Ensures equal opportunity for all students to gain skills needed for academic and career success •  Equips students and staff for international arena •  Competitive advantage in graduate employability •  Distinctive branding of ‘The Sheffield Graduate’ •  Promotes sharing and take-up of good practice, while reducing risk of wasted or duplicated effort •  Enables coherent and holistic development of IL © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  45. 45. Strategic questions for universities •  Situation analysis – what are the big issues (strategic or operational) causing concern in the institution today? −  can IL enhance our performance and improve our position? •  Stakeholder mapping – who are the key players with a potential interest or involvement in the areas identified? −  can they be recruited as partners in IL initiatives/pilot projects? •  Portfolio development – where should we target effort and how should we design and deliver IL interventions? •  Professional standards – adopt, adapt or develop? © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  46. 46. Readings 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. Eisenberg, M.B. et al. (2004) Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Libraries Unlimited. Johnston, B. & Webber, S. (2004) ‘The role of LIS faculty in the information literate university: taking over the academy?’ New Library World, 105 (1/2), 12-20. © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
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