This is what we're going to cover… we will try to touch on the perspective of librarians, academics etc
The catalyst for our work with the careers service was an event in Dec 2011 which I attended. This was billed as an opportunity "to explore whether or not employers feel that graduates coming in to employment have the skills they would expect, and specifically if they are able to find, use and evaluate information in a useful and effective way"and the University hoped to get some local employers along - unfortunately they couldn't persuade anyone to come, leading them to conclude "unfortunately that says it all"!However, the event was really interesting, and one of the speakers was from the careers & employment service looking at the top ten most important skills and capabilities when recruiting graduates. Information Literacy (no surprise) was not explicit in the list, however could be seen to fit under many of the headings eg problem solving.
As a follow-up we decided to look at how IL is currently represented within the careers and employment frameworks at SHU. A meeting with careers staff and audit of IL in careers websites sent us off in 2 directions,1) we identified a training need for careers service staff and faculty employment advisers around researching company and industry sectors for a job or placement interview. Resources quoted were Library Gateway (too broad, where do students start), and company directories, which have little other than addresses. 2) we also started looking into IL as a graduate attribute
We ran 2 workshops Nov 2012, and Jan 2013, attended in total by 24 Careers Advisers / Faculty Employment Advisers (each faculty has a small number of these, recently introduced),
We ensured the session linked in to what the careers website advice on interview preparation
We started with an activity to help us assess the range of resources careers and employment advisers are currently recommending
We found heavy slant towards web based / social media resources - little reference to university subscription resources apart from newspapers & trade press (sources not mentioned) and Mintel. Company:NewspapersCompany websiteTrade pressSocial networking sites (LinkedIn)Print directories (Kompass; Dunn & Bradstreet)Industry sector:MintelProspectsLibrary GatewayNewspapersProfessional bodiesSector skills councilsCareers Central (SHU careers website)
We then went on to demo some of the company information resources we have at SHU such as Key Note, Business Source Premier, Mintel, Passport, Nexis and PI Navigator prefacing this with an interactive game we get students to do in our workshops to get them thinking about the name and ownership structure of the companywe finished by discussing the best way to get this information across to students
We got some fantastic verbal feedback on the day, and followed up in February with a short online survey to get feedback on the workshop, and whether they had used resources with students. We got 11 responses - all found session useful / v useful and informativeIn terms of using the resources with the students3 have already referred students to them, and 5 plan to, one person said they thought the databases looked a bit complicated and would prefer to refer students to LIS for expert guidance, 1 person asked for a 1:1 to get more familiar with the resources We also asked how they thought SHU can best promote the resources to students,we got some very varied answers
No separate category for IL - part of 'learning skills'Components here that we would define as elements of information literacy, but does that have meaning outside the library?In light of this we asked our careers colleagues, as part of the feedback from the workshops, what they understood by the term "information literacy". We got a variety of interpretations...
There was general agreement that these skills, however we might define them, are valuable. Both for researching an industry or sector to gain employment and to utilise once they got their foot in the doorBut is our library definition hindering the work we do?Use of the word "literate" to define literacy. A lot of our students have grown up with this word in a very different context to how we use it."use of IT" - fixation on the medium, which confuses it with other skills. Makes it more difficult to emphasise the transferability of information literacy/research skills as the focus is on the tools you are using.So if there is a lack of understanding within HE once you leave the safe boundaries of the library, where does that leave us with the real world?
Can see this as soon as you leave the library - academic staff generally more comfortable with 'research skills' or similar. Collaborative research that has led to conference papers has had a different emphasis with an audience of faculty academics as opposed to librariansIncreasing volumes of literature devoted to the notion of information literacy and graduate attributes. Whetted our appetite to research this further! However, just a cursory skim through throws up articles, across the subject spectrum, which highlight a couple of distinct issues:
1) are we shooting ourselves in the foot by using a term no-one outside libraries understands? Are we missing an opportunity to demonstrate our value?Refer back to earlier slide re: initial workshop2) are we developing truly transferable skills in our students? in-depth database knowledge vs. evaluation skills. Recognition that accessibility of resources, and the nature of the work required of many graduates, might mean a shift in thinking if we truly want to tap into the employability agendaAs well as teaching students how to use the expensive databases we subscribe to, we have been trying to focus more on truly transferable information literacy skills, eg. 2nd year IB module assessed activities get students critically evaluating the use of the web for business information and reflecting on their research skills. Evidence from student feedback shows many understand how this skills development is transferable beyond their course"All of this will not only greatly help me when it comes to researching my other assessment tasks, but will be a skill which stays with me forever. "
De Saulles, Martin (2007) Information literacy amongst UK SMEs: an information policy gap, Aslib proceedings: new information perspectives, 59(1), pp68-79132 replies from random selection of companies across UK. How SMEs used the internet as a research tool:54% listed internet as most important source for keeping up to date with developments in their industrySokoloff, Jason, (2012) Information literacy in the workplace: employer expectations, Journal of Business & finance librarianship, 17(1) pp1-17Researcher conducted telephone and F2F interviews, 2010, 15 people from 14 companies, multiple industry sectors:50% cited Google as their primary means for searching for information80% widely panned the use of proprietary databases or other subscription products
. We are currently talking to Careers staff about jointly developing an online guide to the resources which will link into the interview preparation material and work done by the Careers Centre and Employment Advisers. We don't have access to fancy packages so could use a libguide - this is our business and management one on company info, scope to add in screenshots and divide it up into sections (link behind picture) One of the issues that was raised at both workshops was what access students have to these resources once they have left - none - and we are currently considering a subscription Business Source Premier Alumni and in the short term building up the free resources we recommend (show subject guide) to complement those already used by Careers, edition
Abson & Lahlafi - The application of IL to gain and undertake graduate employment: a collaboration between the library and the careers service at Sheffield Hallam University
The application of information literacy to gain andundertake graduate employment: a collaborationbetween the library and the careers serviceClaire Abson & Alison Lahlafi
Todays session• Training & collaboration with careers colleagues• Information literacy as a graduate attribute: •the HE view - Librarian / Academic / Careers Adviser / Student •the employer view
Information Literacy as a graduate attribute: Are employers getting a good deal? University of West London, Dec 2011"get some local employersinvolved in the discussionor to give shortpresentations from theirpoint of view, which willhelp us all to deviseinformation literacytraining with lifelongapplicability".
Job and Placement InterviewsResearch the company and sector
Researching thecompany before attending interview will make youbetter prepared to ask and answer questions
What resources do you direct students to ifthey are:a) researching a company prior to a job orplacement interview?b) researching an industry sector prior to a jobor placement interview?
Sector skills Trade press councils Prospects Social Newspapersnetworks e.g. LinkedIn The Library Gateway Print directories Mintel e.g. Kompass Professional body website Company Careers website Central
the name gameCompany Parent CompanyAsda WalmartT-Mobile Deutsche TelekomMarriott Hotels Marriott International Inc.Apple Apple Inc.Rolls-Royce BMWBoots Alliance BootsBHS Arcadia GroupNatwest Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Feedback & follow-up• workshops / careers sessions• on an individual basis, careers service appointments• through academic staff and in lectures• better awareness by the Careers Information Team to enable us to pass information on to students and staff
information gatheringcritical thinking ability to process large amounts of information
How our careers colleagues defined it..."how literate you are, how well you canunderstand research and interpretinformation""being able to handle effectively the vastnumber of resources""ability to use IT effectively"
Is information literacy relevant? "only librarians seem to be making direct connections between information literacy and desirable workplace skills" (Sokoloff, 2012, p.7) "once the term information literacy leaves its domain, it loses its power" (Lloyd, 2011, p.279) "some of the limiting factors in developing interest in information literacy include the term itself, which does not clearly communicate its meaning" (Bruce, 1999, p.34)
Information literacy in the workplace• Does our choice of language mean we aremissing an opportunity to demonstrate ourvalue?• Are we developing truly transferable skillsin our students?
The employer view"it is conservatively estimated that £3.7 billion isspent by SMEs in the UK on time wastedlooking for information that they cannot use"(De Saulles, 2007, p75)
Next steps• online guide• resources for alumni students• scope for work with faculty placement teams• further research!
ReferencesBruce, C.S. (1999) Workplace experiences of information literacy.International journal of information management, 19, 33-47De Saulles, M. (2007) Information literacy amongst UK SMEs: an informationpolicy gap. Aslib proceedings: new information perspectives, 59(1), 68-79Lloyd, A. (2011) Trapped between a rock and a hard place: what counts asinformation literacy in the workplace and how is it conceptualized? LibraryTrends, 60(2), 277-296Sokoloff, J. (2012) Information literacy in the workplace: employerexpectations. Journal of business & finance librarianship, 17(1), 1-17.