Scottish Government Library blog

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LILAC Conference. 25th – 26th April 2019, Nottingham

Morag Higgison and Paul Gray attended days 2 and 3 of this year’s varied, fun and informative LILAC conference.  Although the conference felt largely FE/HE focused to us, as a UK government library we’re all too aware of the need to develop information literacy skills in the workplace too.  We also enjoyed the spacious (if hilly) venue at the University of Nottingham:

University of Nottingham campus

University of Nottingham campus

In this post I’ll summarise some ideas on how we could put what we learned into practice in the Scottish Government Library, as well as mentioning other things I found particularly interesting.  But first, here are some useful conference links:

Thursday: Day 2

LILAC19 welcome

LILAC19 welcome

There were a quite a few things we took from Ruth Carlyle’s insightful keynote ‘health literacy: information for life’ that we could adapt for use in the Scottish Government.  One is to consider Nutbeam’s 3 types of health literacy (functional, interactive and critical) when we teach information literacy skills.

Ruth also advocated the use of ‘teach-back’ and ‘chunk and check’ (giving small chunks of information then checking understanding) in health information settings to ensure the patient has understood correctly.  These are techniques we’ll adapt and use in our social media and searching skills training sessions.

Like the health sector, the government sector can also be very jargon, acronym and initials heavy.  We do try to use plain English in our work, but we’ll check and see if we can improve on this.

The reuse of Open Access materials is something we often discuss in our Library.  The information literacy and open access panel discussion helped shed some light on this area.  The online documentary Paywall: the business of scholarship discusses how much money publishers make out of research.  The panel suggested copyright should be different for publishing than for movies.  At the moment the approach is the same.

With free (or cheaper) access to research more people would benefit from sharing quality information.  And academics are happy to share their work.  However, only 7% of Open Access materials have a reuse licence.  Plus in research, copyright on a work generally starts with the author but by the time it’s published most rights have been handed over to the publisher.

So there is a need for copyright education for authors to help them retain rights to their work.  Also for researchers to publish where they want, but it’s hard to break the tradition of publishing in peer reviewed journals for the reputation and kudos that brings.

Information literacy: necessary but not sufficient for 21st century learning from Darryl Toerien was a fascinating insight into FOSIL – an inquiry based learning cycle and framework for schools.  At its heart is the understanding information literacy needs to be taught from primary school to prepare pupils for university and life in general.  Of course in Scotland we now have a national strategy for school libraries.  But as the FOSIL inquiry based learning cycle and framework documents can be reused under Creative Commons it’s worth us sharing it here.

Friday: Day 3


Auditorium. Courtesy of LILAC with Creative Commons attribution

Stepping into the unknown by Lorna Smith and Anne Archer from Newcastle University Library was an interesting summary of how they transferred a face-to-face information skills workshop into a more meaningful, holistic online learning experience for students.  The online self-assessment is via an Information Skills Checker which measures the results from 12 statements on a Likert scale asked at the start and end.  Responses are anonymous (and subjective) with feedback given in results to say if students need to refresh any skills they scored low on.  Feedback has been positive with 89% of students appreciating learning at their own pace and 64% appreciating being able to revisit difficult concepts.

This is something our Library will consider adapting for use across the Scottish Government.

Allison Littlejohn gave the final conference keynote on the growing popularity of the MOOC in HE – the (un)intended consequence of innovation in HE.  A fascinating take that MOOCs are being driven by those who have no interest in them.  They are often seen more as a revenue stream.  Also MOOCS are usually linear and so have high drop out rates.  Students need to find their way through a MOOC.  We expect students to follow predefined pathways rather than finding their own.  However, Allison explains there are self regulated and non-self regulated learners.  They go through a MOOC differently.  Allison cited Kiron as a good example of a MOOC.  Kiron enables access to higher education for refugees.

Online learning tends to just replicate classroom learning, but courses need to reflect the workplace structure and how it can be applied.  Authentic learning activities motivate learners and context is important to ensure literacy is learned as an embedded practice.  These are things we should consider for our Library’s very own 10 Things MOOC.

As our Library has our own Fighting Fake News presentation it was interesting to see Jessica Long and Jennifer Hicks’ presentation on Fake News for the Masses and the Miami University LibGuide on evaluating news sources.  From the resources covered a few were new to us.  Of note are the Trump Twitter Archive and the tip to use a reverse image search (e.g. TinEye) to authenticate images.

The conference closing panel discussion stressed we should focus on the why rather than the how of information literacy.  It was noted this should include how to search for grey literature.

Paul Gray
June 22, 2019

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CILIPS Conference 2017 – Strategies for Success. 5th-6th June 2017, Dundee

I attended the conference on 6th June and helped to facilitate a workshop on fake news and alternative facts – the challenge for information professionals.  Here are some useful summaries of the conference plus my notes from the day:

Welcome from the President
Liz McGettigan @lizmcgettigan
A very positive address from the CILIPS President encourages the conference to shout louder about what we do, to work smarter and work together to show what a strong library network can do.

Keynote One – The Road to Copyright Literacy: a journey towards library empowerment
Dr. Jane Secker @jsecker
Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London
Chris Morrison @cbowiemorrison
Copyright and Licensing Compliance Officer, University of Kent
Jane and Chris’ entertaining session on copyright literacy.  Copyright can sometimes seem to be one of the more daunting types of enquiry our Library receives.

I really enjoyed their use of Mentimeter to poll the audience on how copyright made them feel.  Top answer?  “Confused”!  Their simple message in response to the poll – libraries have to deal with copyright, we just need to deal with it and not to be afraid of it.  We need copyright literacy.  Without copyright literacy copyright issues go unsaid, advice tends to err on the side of caution which reduces the amount of information in the public domain.  Therefore the cost of accessing information can increase.

We also need to bridge the gaps between activists and practitioners, creators and consumers, rights holders and lawyers and libraries.  Copyright literacy requires:

  • Education not training – and rethinking copyright education for librarians
  • Balance between content and approach
  • Becoming comfortable with not always giving a simple yes or no answer

Following the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property (2011) the UK enacted a range of copyright reforms in 2014 that were intended to provide libraries, educational establishments and cultural institutions with greater freedoms. Jane and Chris also recommended the following resources:

Scotland welcomes refugees – the role of the library in resettlement and inclusion
Dr. Konstantina Martzoukou @Dinamartz
Post Graduate Programme Leader, Robert Gordon University – iSchool
Konstantina’s key message was we must rethink our approach to immigration in light of recent attacks, and then discussed the findings of New Scots: Integrating Refugees in Scotland’s Communities 2014 – 2017 Final Report. (2017).
These were:

  • How can public libraries help Syrian refugees (esp. women) access services
  • Refugees perceptions of what Scottish police and GPs do are different to their experiences
  • Older refugees didn’t use technology and relied on interpersonal skills
  • Refugees had health needs so families required support to develop health literacy skills
  • Refugees wanted to learn English quickly

Linked Data: opening Scotland’s library content to the world
Dr. Diane Pennington, University of Strathclyde @infogamerist
Diane explained what’s sometimes referred to as Web 3.0 is the semantic web, then described the importance of Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs) in increasing our ability to find information.

The Scottish Government is encouraging the use of open data with the Open Data Strategy (2015) and Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: A Digital Strategy for Scotland (2017) which talks about how we need to use open data to be world leader in digital technologies.

Libraries have a big role here.  Libraries need to implement open data to help people find resources, and librarians need to make more creative and efficient metadata and cataloguing data.  However, Diane’s survey of Scotland’s libraries staff’s understanding of open data revealed most had a vague understanding and thought licensing restrictions could be a barrier.

Towards an information literacy strategy for Scotland
Dr. John Crawford
John gave an instructive overview of progress towards an information literacy strategy for Scotland.  Citing Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation (Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2014) and a meeting with Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs) with a focus on digital literacy.  John explained information, political and health literacies are also important and backed this up with examples of work in Scotland including refugees, older people, political engagement and health.

John explained what our information literacy community of practice in Scotland is doing to advance this work, including securing funding from the CILIP Information Group to survey information literacy skills in secondary school pupils. Information Skills for a 21st Century Scotland is an online community of practice which is open to everyone both within and outside the information profession, primarily in Scotland but also elsewhere. It is for anyone who is interested in information literacy and associated skills and competencies.

Hosted by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), Information Skills for a 21st Century Scotland also includes the Scottish Information Literacy Framework, information about the Scottish Information Literacy Project (formerly based at Glasgow Caledonian University 2004 – 2010) and a valuable archive of material, including the Project blog, built up over several years.

John referred to two key articles in the special issue of Library Trends in 2011 which informed the decision to create the Scottish Information Literacy Project (see above).  John stressed there is still a need to evaluate the impact of the community’s work, though progress has been made with the publication of Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: A Digital Strategy for Scotland (Scottish Government, 2017).

Fake news and alternative facts – The challenge for information professionals
Jenny Foreman, Head Librarian, Scottish Government @jennyforeman
and The Information Literacy Community of Practice
Jenny presented an overview of online fake news then explored the response to fake news from the largest websites such as Google and Facebook before focusing on the response from library organisations.  This led into group discussions to explore the views and responses to fake news amongst those present.  An updated version of this presentation includes a summary of the discussions and you can read the full findings from the discussions here.

Fake News Workshop

Fake News Workshop

Keynote 2 – Securing the future: where next for our community in 2018 and beyond?
Nick Poole, Chief Executive, CILIP @NickPoole1
Nick wrapped up the conference by stating we’re a very broad profession and embedded in many organisations.  We have skills organisations will need in the coming years with a predicted increase in number of knowledge management jobs.  Though noted only 15% of English library and information science (LIS) staff are members of CILIP.

CILIP is aiming to put LIS staff at the heart of democratic society and encouraged the conference to be more inclusive when working with other information professionals.  Rather than Internet restrictions we need to create an information literate society to create a democratic society.  CILIPS will continue to work with Wikipedia and other partners.

Nick concluded by recommending the 10th anniversary issue of the Journal of Information Literacy and highlighted the following current campaigns and strategies:

Jenny Foreman, Paul Gray and Morag Higgison
July 4, 2017