ECIL 2015: Estonian adventures

Jane in TallinnTwo weeks ago I attended the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL2015); the third I was fortunate enough to attend. Held in Tallinn the capital of Estonia, which is a beautiful medieval city on the Baltic coast.

The theme of the conference was Information Literacy in the Green Society and back last year when this was announced I was a little unsure what it meant. In fact few papers I attended addressed green issues directly, but what I took away was that information literacy is central to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and IL is all part of building sustainable, democratic societies, where people have access to information and the critical abilities to know what to do with it.

I had a busy schedule, presenting three papers at the conference. The first was about the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy programme at LSE, now in its third year, so the focus of the paper was on sustainability and the impact of this programme on our undergraduate students, following the extensive evaluation we carried out in the summer of 2015. My slides are available on Slideshare and I co-authored this paper with my colleague from LSE, Maria Bell.

My second paper was inspired by attending a series of papers at last year’s ECIL on European research into the copyright literacy knowledge of library and related professionals. Following this I got involved in the second phase of this multi-national study of copyright literacy, coordinating the UK version of this survey with Chris Morrison, from the University of Kent. We presented our findings from over 600 UK librarians in an interactive, ‘Play your Cards Right’ style session to compare the data with other countries. Again these slides are on SlideShare. You can also find out more from the new website we’ve launched as a home for UK Copyright Literacy activities.

My final paper focused on recent work of the CILIP Information Literacy Group, and I delivered this with fellow ILG Committee member, Geoff Walton, from Northumbria University. UK Information Literacy Advocacy: reaching out beyond the tower, explored the advocacy work ILG have embarked on in the last year to build up links with organisations outside the library sector and to promote information literacy to groups such as Trade Unions, businesses, schools and public libraries. I also spoke about the work we’ve done with TeenTech to launch a Research and Information Literacy award.

Congratulations to Sonja Špiranec and Serap Kurbanoğlu, the founders of ECIL for another fantastic conference and for making me feel part of a global network of information literacy. I returned inspired and energized and would urge others from the UK to try to get to this conference next year, not least because it will be in another beautiful European city, Prague.

The start of the academic year

Copyright the card gameIt’s been a hectic few weeks, with term starting a week earlier at LSE, to take into account of the new academic year structure, and the inclusion of a reading week in Week 6 of term. Start of the term means new academic staff induction events, an Open House in LTI, Welcome Week for our new students, where we promote Learning and Development opportunities from across the school and the launch of the third year of the SADL Programme (it’s not a project anymore!).

I’ve also been busy running more Copyright the Card game sessions, for colleagues in IMT last month and then for around 40 Cambridge librarians last week. I surprised myself that the game could work with so many people and in just under 2 hours. That is what a cup of coffee does for me! It also proved that no one can resist a copyright fortune cookie as a prize!

Today I gave only my second ever webinar, for EIFL, on the topic of digital literacy. I had around 50 people tune in from around the world and the recording should be on their website soon. It was a great experience and an opportunity to share some of the work we’re doing with people around the world. On that note, I’m currently in the process of preparing 3 presentations for the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL 2015) which takes place in just under 2 weeks in Tallinn, Estonia. I will be presenting a paper on the impact of the SADL Project, written jointly with my colleague Maria Bell. I’ll also be presenting on the UK Copyright Literacy Survey data with Chris Morrison from University of Kent and presenting with Geoff Walton from Northumbria University on the advocacy work the Information Literacy group have been doing outside the HE library sector, including work on TeenTech. This is the third ECIL and then third I have attended so I am looking forward to catching up with colleagues from Europe and beyond.

Last week I attended an event at the Digital Catapult on Euston Road, organised by CREATe (the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow) on the subject of orphan works. It covered the IPO’s Orphan Works Licensing Scheme, the EU Directive and how different institutions are handling orphan works. It was great to meet up with members of CREATe, who are behind the website It was a week of copyright for me, as the UUK-Copyright working group had a meeting at the CLA.

And of course last week, there was some fuss about me being appointed an Honorary Fellow of CILIP. So all in all it’s been a pretty good start to the new academic year.

Information literacy in the UK, in Vienna

I’m presenting tomorrow in the University of Vienna at the Austrian Library conference on the topic of information literacy in the UK. I’ll be speaking about the work that the CILIP Information Literacy group are currently undertaking to get information literacy recognised outside higher education and the library sector. The group are funding 3 research projects that specifically explore IL in other sectors; a digital champions project in Newcastle public library, a study to explore the value of IL in the workplace and a project to explore the role of school libraries in developing young people’s political awareness. I’ll also be talking about the TeenTech Research and Information Literacy award which is being launched this month.

Closer to home, a key way of getting a wider understanding of what information literacy is and why it matters has been through working with students as partners at LSE, on the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project. I will say a little about this project and you might ask why we call it digital literacy? Well terminology does matter and while I might understand it as information literacy, I’ve found the term digital literacy has had far more resonance with academic staff and with students. So I will conclude with a brief talk about definitions, frameworks and some further reading. It’s great to be in Vienna this week, the weather is sunny and warm and the cakes are divine!

SADL up! developing digital literacy in LSE undergraduates 

Vienna: Heldenplatz by Duroy.George licensed under Creative Commons

Vienna: Heldenplatz by Duroy.George licensed under Creative Commons

For the past 2 years I have been managing the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project working with a relatively small group of LSE undergraduates to develop their digital literacy, for staff to learn from students about their needs and capabilities and to try to develop a peer support network for students. Last week we published the evaluation and impact study from the project. It is a hugely exciting time as we are now gearing up to open the programme across LSE to all undergraduates however we are still envisioning this as a peer support network so places will be limited to 50 students and we will be working much harder to provide them with the means to support their peers, for example by running digital literacy surgeries. We are also teaming up with a project for LSE Economics students to encourage them to use tablets and mobiles for note taking. Senior Ambassadors from SADL will provide support for this cohort. There is still a lot to do before term starts but I hope to be able to open the applications later today. Publicity will start from the week of the 21st September which is Welcome Week at LSE. We have recruited students to be on the Learning and Development Stand in the library foyer to promote SADL to their peers.

In the meantime I am heading to Vienna for the Austrian library conference (Österreichischer Bibliothekartag 2015). I’ll be speaking about information and digital literacy in the UK and highlighting SADL as a successful student partnership project. I definitely feel we are at the start of what I know is going to be an exciting but challenging year. I have so many questions flying around, such as what if too many students apply? What if none do? Have we over promised? How to cope with students from so many different disciplines? But based on the experiences of the last two years SADL is really making a difference and providing LSE students with digital literacies the feel help them in their studies, their future careers and their personal lives, and these are things they wouldn’t have got from elsewhere. It’s been tremendously powerful for the staff involved in SADL who feel more connected with LSE undergraduates and understand more about their research behaviour and use of social media.  So before the horse bolts from the stable, I’m taking a deep breath and off to sample the delights of Vienna.

Copyright Literacy on the 1709 Blog

Spiderman and the skeletonFor those in the copyright and IP field you are probably familiar with the 1709 Blog. 1709 is the year the first copyright act came into force in the UK and the blog has a series of contributors, and a great source of copyright stories. Chris has written a post on our Copyright Literacy work on this blog which went live yesterday, and due to some Twitter error I’ve been unable to tweet a link to the post, so I am adding it to my blog and tweeting the link from there. I will not be foiled by technology!

Don’t just copy: copy it right!

Don't just copy: copy it right! In a few weeks time LSE will be rolling out a fleet on new MFDs (multi-functional devices) that allow printing, photocopying and scanning and I have been advising the project team on copyright issues. As part of this project my lovely colleagues in the IMT Comms team, Jessica and Niamh have helped me develop a range of new publicity materials to promote copyright education across the School including posters, postcards and fortune cookies! Yes seriously we have fortune cookies with helpful reminders about copyright inside them!

This MFD project coincides with the copyright education ‘mission’ I’ve launched with Chris Morrison from the University of Kent. I’ve previously reported on our survey of copyright literacy among UK librarians and related professionals but we really are on a mission, which will involve a presentation and a full paper at ECIL 2015 in Tallinn in October. Last week we wrote a blog post on why copyright is a fundamental part of digital and information literacy which was published on the CILIP blog.  If you’ve not read it yet then please do and let me know what you think. I have never understood why copyright is perceived as being dry, boring and all about telling people what they can’t do. Chris and I are trying to change people’s perceptions about copyright and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to understand copyright and licensing and see this knowledge as empowering – and a really important part of being information literate.

We worked together earlier this year to develop a new game-based approach to copyright education which has been transforming my copyright training sessions. I’ve never had so much interest in my copyright training workshops and in just under 2 months will have had almost 50 people from LSE attend the revamped games based sessions! Tomorrow afternoon there is another opportunity for LSE staff to play Copyright the Card Game as part of an IMT Tech Talk. I’ve adapted some of the scenarios hopefully to make them more relevant for my colleagues in IT for tomorrow’s session and of course they will get fortune cookies.

I also have new guides to Copyright for LSE staff ready this weekend I’ve been updating my copyright webpages. I’m also really pleased with my new strapline for the publicity material – don’t just copy – copy it right!

Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement

Pumpkin Patch Kid

Pumpkin Patch Kid by richard evea licensed under Creative Commons from:

Earlier this week I attended the Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services. I have to confess to being a little skeptical that it was my ‘cup of tea’ but Chris Morrison, had suggested we submit a paper here, based on the Copyright Literacy Survey results.  I just decided to go for the day, so I only had a taste of what the conference was about, but I really enjoyed it. I also felt that it tied in a lot with work I’m doing at LSE to measure the impact of not just copyright training, but wider digital literacy programmes. I am currently trying to finalise the evaluation and impact study of the SADL Programme for LSE undergraduates. As well as traditional metrics and a survey, this year we collected a lot of data through interviews with our student ambassadors, Senior Ambassadors and with staff involved in the programme.

The conference emphasised the need to be able to demonstrate (in a measurable way) how you are making an impact, whether it’s teaching digital literacy or copyright, or your services. I can see myself following up many of the papers afterwards and browsing through the programme I spotted many papers on days I wasn’t at the conference that I would have loved to attend that focused on the tricky aspect of how you measure impact when it’s about learning.

This was the first time to talk publicly about the Copyright Literacy Survey, so exciting for Chris and I. We had over 600 librarians and related professionals complete the survey in the UK and we’ve found some really interesting comparisons with those in different sectors (academic, public, schools etc.) and with the other four countries that have supplied data so far (France, Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey). Our slides are on Slideshare.

Some of the most interesting findings were contained in the qualitative data, which focused on what librarians want to know about copyright during their professional qualifications and for CPD. I’ve included our slides below, but I am fascinated about the ‘fear’ that copyright can bring about (amongst usually competent professionals!) and the way that we need to teach copyright in a positive way. I used the analogy that it was like feeding vegetables to children and the need to embed copyright in teaching, as I’ve tried to do in the TiDA programme. The LSE IMT Comms team have also suggested that we produced copyright fortune cookies to tie in with our launch of the new scanner / photocopiers at LSE. So little messages reminding you of copy ‘rights and wrongs’ hidden inside the cookie. I love it!