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10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011


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This talk is part of a "Report back from LILAC 2011" given on Second Life by Eleni Zazani
(Birkbeck College; Loreena Sandalwood in SL), at Infolit iSchool

Other Speakers include: Sheila Webber (Sheffield University; Sheila Yoshikawa in SL), Elisabeth Marrapodi (Trinitas Medical Library; Brielle Coronet in SL) and Vick Cormie (St Andrews University;
Ishbel Hartmann in SL)

LILAC is the major UK information literacy conference that took place 18-20 April 2011
in London, UK.

The LILAC conference website is at

This was a Centre for Information Literacy Research event

Published in: Education
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10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011

  1. 1. 10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011LILAC 2011 was the second LILAC in a row I attended so unavoidably I makecomparisons in my mind. Today, I thought to address some of the IL trends Inoticed, along with the audiences’ reactions.What I call trends are things repeatedly mentioned throughout a 3-day programmeby different speakers from around the globe and in some cases in different context.This year focus was given to themes, already mentioned, underpinned by recentresearch, reports, polices, delivered both by national and international work acrossvarious sectors. I suppose that each year themes are selected in a similar manner.The themes covered last year were also characterised by variety but the conclusionof a great number of the presentations was about measuring impact or justifyingvalue, something which was expected due to the introduction of new workingpatterns and financial constraints. New structures are already in place or in somecases are about to be. This year I feel we took a step forward and a stronger focuswas placed on practices that allow us to move forward. 1. Namely, the digital divide, technological advances and our digital transformation in an information-rich world was the driver in this year’s LILAC. Mobile technologies and web 2.0 applications are going to definitely impact the IL agenda. Andrew Walsh, in his presentation about “Martini information literacy: How does “anytime, anyplace, anywhere” access to information change what Information Literacy means?” pointed out that people usually don’t search on the open web but prefer apps instead for quick and fast information. Stats also show that we may have nothing but smartPhones in the market after 2015. The traditional IL model doesn’t fit. Of course new technologies affect us all as well. “We are all Google Generation” as Dave Nicholas said in his keynote speech and I would say that we have started behaving as such in some occasions. Dave said that Google generation is a multitasking generation because this attitude stimulates a continuous skittering and flicking through pages on the web. 1 10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011| Loreena Sandalwood, RL Eleni Zazani
  2. 2. I was amazed to see a significant increase in the tweets produced this year in comparison to the LILAC 2010. For instance this year twapperKeeper archived 2787 tweets to date (03.05.2011) whereas last year we had 1416 tweets during an equally lively LILAC. Looking more closely to see whether fellow librarians have been more multitasking this year than before, it was noted that,two of the top 10 twitterers significantly increased their tweeting in comparison to last year.2. Employability skills and graduate attributes is another driver of IL provision librarians will look at. Many speakers stressed that IL is a key attribute for the 21st century citizen and a key competency to lifelong learning. It was acknowledged that employability skills are at the top of the agenda. [Horizon report New Media Consortium (2011). The Horizon Report: 2011 Edition.], declares that the game-based learning in massively multiplayer online games, as a key trend to watch out for in the next 2-3 years, is going to be an influential part of the educational technologies (Andy Jackson). Dave Nicholas with the CIBER report on the Google Generation Project outlined that people like immersive environments, those which create a sense of being there. The report itself predicts the 3-D virtual environment as a key player in the years to come (CIBER report, p.27) pdf3. Terminology. Academics don’t understand and don’t like the jargon of IL. Terminology is one of the issues often discussed although this year another angle was revealed. Up to now emphasis was given on using educator’s language and it was thought that the IL term was the most appropriate for approaching academics. Surprisingly, many fellow librarians especially from other countries mentioned that the term doesn’t help, as it has negative connotations in their language. Similar comments were expressed from English speaking librarians as well. Two keynote speakers openly stated that they were not in favour of the term, namely Jesus Lau and Dave Nicholas. The latter advised that the literacy part is dropped.4. I don’t know whether there was a stronger presence of school librarians this year or not. What I am certain of is that a more robust and constructive dialogue took place between Academic and School librarians, addressing IL gaps across sectors. School Librarians, on the one hand, stressed the need for a focus on IL coverage in the PGCE curriculum for people prepared to teach in Primary and Secondary levels, and Academic Librarians on the 2 10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011| Loreena Sandalwood, RL Eleni Zazani
  3. 3. other hand outline the need for a basic preparation of students before entering HE.5. To model or not to model? Are models constructive and useful tools or not? This year’s LILAC provided a fertile ground for discussions whether models are useful or not. I think people were mostly lost in terminology (between models and frameworks) rather than questioning the value of models. I think the majority like models as they provide a common language and this is evident by the fact that during this year’s LILAC the revised model of SCONUL’s Seven Pillars was launched, and at least 2 international presenters showed their models for embedding IL in an academic context (New Zealand and Thailand). [Part of the LILAC 2011 debate :Challenging the linear models of IL linear-models-of-il/]6. IL and other “literacies”. Digital literacy (and other literacies e.g. transliteracy) are part of the overwhelming information landscape. Librarians definitely feel that other “literacies” create niche areas we need to address and that they become integral part of IL. I am very glad that the revised model functions as an umbrella for all the literacies.7. IL and globalisation or Educating for the global citizenship. I think that what will be discussed more in the future is how IL is impacted in an interconnected world and how librarians approach the IL and globalisation intersection in practice, especially in institutions whose motto is “Education for the global citizenship”.8. IL and research. A lot of research still needs to be done. Last year Research methods proved to be one of our weaknesses. Many Innovative projects were presented but only few have been assessed through reliable research. I do recall that Ralph Catts mentioned in his closing remarks that the Quality of the research was fairly poor . Judging by the presentations I attended, the quality of the research presented was exemplar and less based on empirical assumptions.9. Literacy that appeals to Lifelong learners. Happy to see it at the top of the agenda along with the employability skills and graduate attributes.10. Rethinking IL... Rethinking... It’s probably time for revising practices however I feel that we were inviting each other to get involved in deep lateral thinking rather than be stormed away by the horizontal thinking our times are defined by! 3 10 Trends on Information Literacy and LILAC 2011| Loreena Sandalwood, RL Eleni Zazani