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.
I’ve just returned from a fantastic week away in Istanbul for the first European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL). The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from over 50 different countries to discuss and debate information literacy, a topic which is close to my heart. I was also involved in a workshop with Nancy Graham and Eleni Zazani from the CoPILOT Committee, a panel discussion about RIDLS and presented a paper with my colleague from LSE Library, Maria Bell on work we are doing with undergraduate students.
This is just a short blog post as I am not long home, but highlights for me were the keynote from Paul Zurkowski, and a chance to meet the man himself. Paul coined the phrase ‘information literacy’ in 1974, so it was great to have a chance to hear from him about how this term has evolved and why it is still so important today. I also enjoyed the keynote from Christine Bruce, one of the greatest researchers in the IL field. I went to some great sessions, met old friends, such as Li Wang from New Zealand and made new friends and contacts in Scandinavia, Czech Republic, Australia, the Middle East, the US and of course Turkey.
The gala dinner was a cruise on the Bosphorous, a truly memorable experience with stunning views, lovely food and wine and some great dancing! And the final wrap up session by Ralph Catts, who I spent several great evenings chatting to, was an excellent ending to the conference. You can read a blog post from Andrew Walsh summarising this and the discussions around information literacy verses media and information literacy as a term. We also found out the conference will be run next year in an equally fantastic location – Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2014. Can I book my place now?
Next week I will be heading to the European Conference on Information Literacy in Istanbul. I’m presenting a paper with my colleague Maria Bell, about work we are doing to embed digital and information literacy into undergraduate teaching at LSE. We’ll be speaking about the work we did last year to survey staff across our institution and the subsequent activities since then. We’ve just put our digital and information literacy framework online so would welcome any comments. We will also say something about the new Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project, which is kicking off later this term when we recruit some undergraduate students.
I’m also presenting a workshop with Nancy Graham and colleagues from the CoPILOT Committee on sharing information literacy resources as open educational resources. Our presentation is already online on Slideshare for this session.
Finally I will be taking part in a panel discussion, run by the RIDLS Coalition on the work this group has been doing in the past year, related to digital and information literacy and data management. So it’s going to be a busy week, but hopefully a lot of fun! Before I jet off, I’m also really pleased to be running a copyright workshop tomorrow for the Manchester New Professionals Network. If you haven’t checked out their website yet, they have a review of Walsh and Coonan’s new book, Only Connect which I managed to get my hands on a few weeks ago when I saw Andy at the Information Literacy Group meeting. Have a good weekend everyone, and hopefully if you are coming to my workshop on copyright tomorrow you will enjoy it. For most of you, I hope your weekend does not involve copyright issues!
I seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of time dealing with copyright issues at the moment. From advising staff and handing out my new guides at LSE, meeting with the Copyright Licensing Agency, to running workshops and giving talks. Last week I was up in Edinburgh presenting at a SCURL event on ‘Managing Copyright’. I’ve just made the slides available from Slideshare.I was speaking about Copyright and E-learning and tried to cover a wide range of issues, but inevitably there were a lot of questions about the new CLA Licence and how we manage scanned readings at LSE. I was also helping Sarah Brear from the CLA answer some questions about the new licence, in particularly the issue of US publishers now being opt-in (rather than opt-out) to the scanning part of the licence, and some problems with the CLA title search – which should be telling you if a title is covered by your licence or not. More coming very soon on both those issues, following a meeting at CLA last week.
I do have to apologise for the lack of posts recently though, what with holidays and then an enormous backlog of emails, I’ve been a little busy. At LSE I am still promoting the new Reading Lists @ LSE system to academic staff, as a new way of presenting this information to students, rather than using Moodle. I’ve also got to get the digital literacy workshops scheduled before the end of the week, which are run for our staff and PhD students. And my new HEA funded project SADL is starting to kick off and we are hoping to recruit students to become digital literacy ambassadors in two departments, once term starts. Next week is orientation, but then term starts properly and that means summer is finally over. The start of Michaelmas Term – the time of year when I hold my breath, dive underwater and hopefully emerge again just before Christmas when things finally start to calm down again!
Earlier this year NUS and a number of IP bodies commissioned some research into student attitudes towards intellectual property. I finally got round to reading it and making some notes, so I thought I would share these on my blog.
The report is available at : http://www.nus.org.uk/PageFiles/12238/IP%20report.pdf
- Most students don’t feel they know enough about IP for their future careers
- Many do not have IP education embedded in their course and education is generally limited in most institutions
- Students feel IP education focuses on plagiarism issues in the main
- IP is covered by most law schools in the UK now, but not by other departments – academics often reluctant to include it in a course. Many engineering departments don’t really cover it in any detail – they may bring in an external speaker if they do.
They conducted an online survey of FE and HE students – got a little over 2000 responses – more women than men. More HE students completed the survey and a wide range of departments were covered.
Most students had some awareness of what IP was – 15% did not. Most understood it to be ownership of rights and copyright. Their understanding was fairly limited and it was mainly about getting recognition for your ideas. There was a clear relationship between students learning and IP and then believing it to be important. Most also thought it would be important for their future career.
Students in subjects such as engineering, law, business and technologies were more confident about using IP than students in arts and humanities.
57% of students had not learnt about IP prior to university. The main topic they had learnt about was plagiarism and then copyright. Most students wanted to learn more about IP. In their current course plagiarism was the main topic covered. There was some variation depending on discipline e.g. confidentiality featured in medicine, design rights in art courses, publishing and IP in media and history courses, open source features in technology courses.
In 40% of cases IP was integrated into the course. Briefings were given in some courses, sometimes it was covered in the course handbook. In 69% of cases it was delivered by their course tutor. 28% of students said they learnt about IP from independent study. 40% aid IP was not assessed in their course.
More than half of students wanted to be taught about IP in the context of their discipline. Most students welcomed additional IP teaching and they would like it early on in their studies.
Lecturers were the most commonly consulted source of advice related to IP issues. However only 52% felt their lecturers were well informed on IP issues and only 18% said they were very well informed.
Students were asked to comments on a range of IP scenarios which indicated their knowledge of IP was fairly limited overall.
77% of students believe IP to be important in their future career. Students on the following courses: Mass communication, law, technologies and engineering students. Most students did not think they knew enough about IP for their career.
Conclusions and recommendations
- Institutions need to focus on more than just plagiarism
- IP needs to be linked to more commercial aspects of the course
- Academic staff need a greater awareness of IP issues and need more support
- Students need resources to support their learning
- Need to raise the awareness and role of the knowledge transfer office
A number of additional studies were recommended, including one to explore coverage of IP in primary and secondary schools, further research on the extent of IP teaching in HE and FE, research to understand the support academics need, a longitudinal study to explore changing student attitudes over time and a study of employer expectations in terms of IP.