On April Fool’s Day, over 190 information professionals gathered in London for the CILIP Copyright Executive briefing but as our chair, Naomi Korn (and Chair of LACA – the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance) , told us at the outset this was no April Fool. After almost 10 years in the making, this June the government is set to amend copyright law in the UK, largely for the better of the education and cultural and heritage sectors. The new Statutory Instruments were published last Friday by the Intellectual Property Office and rather than go through line by line what they mean (Ben White, the British Library’s Head of IP has done an excellent job of this already on the CILIP website) I thought I’d share some key highlights of the day for me. However the new amendments and guidance is also available from the IPO. It’s going to be important for me to digest these and convey it to staff at LSE over the coming months.
We were welcomed to the event by CILIP’s CEO, Annie Mauger, but our first speaker (headline act?) was Viscount Younger of Leckie, the Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property at Business, Innovation and Skills, and someone I had the pleasure of meeting late last year, to discuss the proposed amendments to the law. (more…)
Transitions from school to higher education is the first strand in A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL). I remember quite clearly when doing the research with Emma, that time and time again when we spoke to our experts it came up as such a crucial element of information literacy, that we had to include it in our curriculum. In the last few months I am really understanding what supporting students make this transition is all about. It’s been particularly highlighted to me through two recent projects – the first is the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project or SADL, where we are working with 20 undergraduate students to understand more about their needs. The second has been a series of workshops for students at City and Islington Sixth Formers that I’ve developed and delivered with my colleague Maria Bell, the Learning Support Services Manager at LSE Library.We had a great write up about this initiative in the CANDI newsletter.
I suspected that students in their firstyear struggle with the transition into higher education, it’s not something that all the orientation and induction programmes we run simply mop up. But what I’m learning is that it’s an ongoing process throughout their time at University. And some are struggling towards the end of their degree – they are struggling with essentially making a shift from a dependent to an independent way of learning. What has struck me through teaching the Sixth formers is that perhaps the transition from A levels to the first year of university is not quite the jump we might expect. Yes, there are issues with spending less time being taught formally and having to manage their workload. But in running some broadly similar workshops with undergraduates and sixth formers I’ve been pretty impressed with the abilities of sixth form students. However, by the time students get to their third year at university I think they are realising they have to up their game. For many of course they may be faced with their first long piece of research, such as a dissertation. But I’ve been finding that our first years are often given extensive reading lists, so finding and evaluating sources is less of a challenge. That said, time management is an important issue and I think first year students need more help in developing their presenting and communicating are skills. We’ve also found during the SADL project that students need support around how much to read, how to read, and how to develop their academic writing and referencing skills. We’ve now completed the workshops for CANDI, but have a few more months with our Ambassadors to find out as much as possible from them. Our workshop resources are all available on the SADL website and we hope to share our resources for sixth formers shortly as open educational resources.
This week I have been teaching people about using Twitter and WordPress. Not in formal classes, but on a one to one basis both inside and outside of work. At work a management lecturer called in to see me to get some advice about using Twitter during the week. She had set up an account but not yet dared to tweet. We had an interesting chat where she showed me some things, including a tool called Buffer, which can allow you to schedule tweets or updates to Facebook at set times. I also persuaded her to take the plunge and she is now tweeting, reassured that some of the people who are following her are not weirdos and with some lists set up to help manage the overload.
Outside of work, I helped the Chair of my local Civic Society get his head around Twitter, which we’ve been using to promote the work on the group (I am the social media rep and Secretary). We also uploaded some photos to the Facebook site, but it’s interesting as I’ve found Twitter to be a far more effective tool for engaging with people in the local community than Facebook.
And then today I helped my aunt set up a website using WordPress for a local charity she volunteers for. We used Skype to have a lesson and I shared my screen with her to give an idea of what she should be seeing on her own screen. It probably took slightly longer than if we had been face to face, but she was really pleased we managed to get the website up and running within a few hours. I also tried out giving a remote tutorial and sharing my screen via Skype for the first time, which was fun! It’s interesting how these tools that I use professionally have so many other applications outside of work. I think this week has been an example of transferring the value of my own information competencies from my professional to personal life, and then back the other way! I’ve also had a week where by teaching someone else, I’ve actually learnt to use some of these tools better myself. My other great find of the week has been Wunderlist an app which was recommended on the Lifehacker site and which I am going to trial for managing all my tasks, in my personal and professional life. I will see how that goes!
Happy New Year, and apologies for the short interruption to my postings. I’ve been enjoying a well earned break, celebrating my birthday and also working pretty hard since the start of term. I have been meaning to blog more and decided that there really was no point doing it unless I had something to say, and now I do!
Well this week is proving interesting. What with planning for the second SADL workshop, taking place next week and repeated the week after, planning for a presentation at the M25 event on Information Literacy taking place at the British Library next week and planning for the first of three sessions I’m teaching with Maria Bell, for A Level students from City and Islington College, I’m as busy as ever. Today we also had the first of the 2014 NetworkED seminars, and it was great to meet Sylvester Arnab, from the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University. He spoke about Games, Learning and Beyond and we should have a recording up on our website in a few days time.
Last Friday and this Tuesday Ellen Wilkinson, Arun Karnad and I ran our first workshop for the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project. Four students came to the first workshop, and 15 came to the second, so there was quite a different vibe in the two sessions. We’ve got 20 student ambassadors in total, from the Departments of Social Policy and Statistics. You can find out about them on our Ambassadors webpage. However, it was really exciting to meet them for the first time and hear first hand what skills they thought were important for their studies and the role of digital literacies. We concentrated on how they find information, and introduced them to the SADL blog and the project overall. We also asked them to think about the aspects of social media that annoy them! There’s a short blog post about the first workshop now online.
I also visited the University of Kent last week to give a talk about digital and information literacy based on ANCIL. I ran a short workshops for staff after the presentation where they had a chance to start thinking about how the support they deliver can be mapped according to ANCIL. My slides from the talk are available on Slideshare. Unsurprisingly the SADL project also attracted some interest and I enjoyed chatting to staff there about common interests and activities.
This week I’ve done two talks with the theme of librarians as researchers including a lecture at the Department of Information Studies at Aberystwyth University and a workshop at Cambridge University Library. One of the key problems in doing research is finding the time. The day job really does get in the way and cloud the brain when trying to get some clarity of thought. But I guess that is an occupational hazard of being a practitioner researcher – you wear two hats, have twice as much to do but twice as much fun! No time to be bored. Missing my train today has allowed me to grab some time in the day to stop and reflect for a moment which is what I think I meant on Tuesday when I urged would be researchers to modify their attitude to time. I didn’t mean sit up half the night working as I’ve been known to do. But grab time when you can in the day and make the most of long (or short) train journeys for some thinking space!
There is a great write up from Tuesday’s workshop by Georgina Cronin. Our slides are really similar to those from January this year when Emma and I spoke at York St John. But I think I’m even more convinced than earlier of the huge benefits of being a practitioner researcher. Surely the desire to keep on learning has to be a good thing and the benefits of doing this should be more widely acknowledged in so called service departments. My slides from the lecture in Aber are also on slideshare.
I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Italy, visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum. History was my first degree and I never tire of visiting places of great historical significance. Being able to walk on the Roman streets of Pompeii and to see houses, shops and vivid paintings at Herculaneum was amazing and moving.
I’ve been thinking a lot about history recently. I was struck by the quote that was written at the Harbiye Military Museum in Istanbul while attending the ECIL conference a few weeks ago. It was a quote from Ataturk, which read something like ‘A Nation that doesn’t remember it’s history is doomed to obscurity.’ I’ve been trying to track down the quote, but I guess the translation from Turkish makes it difficult to find.But for me, history is vital. It tells us where we have come from, the progress we have made and inspires us to strive for the future.
This week I’ve been busy finishing my editorial for the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Information Literacy, which also has a historical theme. As we approach the 40 year anniversary of the coining of the phrase ‘information literacy’ I have been reflecting on the origins of the term. Zurkowski’s definition of information literacy is still relevant today, but the problems he faced getting recognition for its importance remain.
At LSE this term, recognition for the value of information literacy took a few small steps forward. We have some small scale pilots to embed aspects of digital and information literacy in undergraduate courses. And just today we launched the recruitment campaign for the SADL project, to find 20 undergraduate students to be Digital Literacy Ambassadors. We’ve had fantastic support from our Students’ Union Education Officer, Rosie, who blogged about the launch today. For too long librarians have been waving the flag for information literacy as a lone voice, but collaboration with academic staff, with other learning support colleagues and with students is surely the way forward? This was a topic of the presentation I gave with my colleague Maria Bell at ECIL, and we’ve made our slides available on SlideShare.