ANCIL at IFLA in Finland

Back in August I was ran a workshop at the IFLA Satellite Meeting in Tampere ( with Maria Bell from LSE and Katy Wrathall from York St John University. Our workshop described our current project at LSE to investigate how we support undergraduate students in terms of ANCIL.

We have interviewed staff across LSE to find out how joined up our provision is, with services such as Teaching and Learning, Careers and Language Centre and with what is embedded into academic programmes We also carried out focus groups with students to find out what they want from the Library in terms of learning support. The workshop gave people a chance to try mapping their own provision in their institution. Our presentation is on Slideshare at:

The IFLA conference was a great opportunity to meet librarians from all around the world, including Scandinavia, United States, South Africa, Uganda, Namibia, Australia, Singapore and others. . Keynotes for the conference were given by Kirsti Lonka who is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki who spoke about designing engaging learning environments for the future and the value of physical spaces (and libraries) to support learning (see my previous post). The second keynote was from Carol Kuhlthau, who is Professor of Information Science at Rutgers University and has written widely in the field of information seeking behaviour.

Highlights of the conference included a valuable session on seemless delivery of learning support services from Vicki McDonald at Queensland University of Technology, who spoke about joining up information literacy with academic skills. Courtney Bruch and Carroll Wilkinson from the US spoke about organisational culture, change agency and emotional intelligence: research findings for fostering librarian ownership of IL Programs. They have also written a book on this subject. Sharon Favaro from Seton Hall University, New Jersey spoke about teaching IL to first year students through knowledge management tools and there were lots of overlaps in her findings and our work at LSE. I also attended an excellent session from Portsmouth University about developing an information literacy framework for library staff to enable them to better support students.

Tampere was a fabulous city on the banks of two lakes, with a rich industrial heritage and many former factories and mills. Known as the Manchester of Finland, it was great to have an evening reception in the town hall and see some of the city on an afternoon tour. We also had a chance to visit the ‘Moomin Museum’ for those of you old enough to remember the strange hippo like creatures created by Tove Jansson.

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Rethinking information literacy

This weekend we finally finished the book of this title which is being published late this year by Facet. Emma and I have been working hard but we are particularly grateful to the 11 contributors who have written a chapter on the ANCIL strands. Emma has also written a chapter in addition! Many thanks to: Sarah Pavey, Moira Bent, Clare McCluskey, Isla Kuhn, Libby Tilley, Andy Priestner, Lyn Parker, Helen Webster, Geoff Walton and Jamie Cleland. Special thanks to Katy Wrathall who has also written the Afterward. What an achievement and work will start work soon on planning the launch party! As if this is not enough Emma and I are speaking at CILIP on Thursday at the executive briefing on information literacy.

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To Dublin with the new curriculum

I’ve just returned from Trinity College Dublin, where I presented at the CONUL Information Literacy Seminar on 14th June 2012. I was speaking about the Arcadia research to develop the new curriculum, strategies for implementation and the subsequent work that we are doing at LSE to survey undergraduate provision for information literacy. My presentation is on Slideshare now. I had a fabulous warm welcome from the CONUL Information Literacy Group. I also really enjoyed a few days in Dublin and catching up with some friends.

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Update on ANCIL at LSE

I returned to work fired up after the AldinHE and Lilac conferences and got stuck into trying to create a simple questionnaire for LSE staff based on the ANCIL strands. It was aimed at staff who might not have time to meet up for am interview. However the questions don’t translate very well into survey format as one in particular looked like a hugely off putting long list.

So building on the handouts we created for the conferences, I have tried to describe each strand of the curriculum concisely to find out if teachers feel they cover aspects in their own teaching either formally or informally, if they refer students elsewhere and if it is embedded in their curriculum or as a standalone session.

This week I also had the opportunity to take this to a forum of departmental tutors responsible for undergraduate students in each academic department at LSE. The forum is chaired by our Dean of Undergraduate Studies who I also had a chance to interview. She seemed to recognise the value of a curriculum such as ANCIL while stressing it must be embedded in the discipline to be meaningful to students! She also suggested immediately that we should be more ambitious saying this went beyond skills and was linked to how education needs to change in light of new technologies. Some of what she said reminded me of Lord Puttnam’s keynote at LILAC about us needing a digital pedagogy not to digitise the old pedagogy.

So what next? More interviews with staff next week and some student focus groups I hope! We have also had questionnaire returned from most of the liaison librarians at LSE now, which is highlighting some interesting issues about the teaching and support they provide. I am now getting very excited and have also circulated the survey to our graduate teaching assistants at LSE! Watch this space.

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Four seasons pizza

Yet another food metaphor for information literacy

We’ve been fairly quiet recently – paradoxically, it’s because there’s a lot going on in world of ANCIL! First up, Jane and Katy have been doing an audit of information literacy provision for undergraduates at LSE, using ANCIL to map current provision across the institution. The project is ongoing, and the researchers will be presenting their findings at the IFLA Satellite meeting in August 2012.

In addition, both Katy and Helen have new posts! Helen is working as a Research Associate in Digital Humanities and Transferable Skills Training at CRASSH, University of Cambridge. Meanwhile, Katy will be starting a new post at York St John in May as Academic Services Team Leader.

And finally, we’re just finishing up preparations for our two big conference appearances in April, at ALDinHE and LILAC. The New Curriculum research is (naturally) grounded in information literacy, but has been deeply influenced and enriched by the work of learning developers. We’re excited to have a chance to present our work to both professions, and to see how far each group will perceive connections and consonances between IL and LD – and then discuss whether we can build on them!

Ahead of the conferences, we’ve revised our 10-strand diagram (affectionately nicknamed “the pizza”) to better reflect the learning journey through information literacy as a continuum that ranges from functional skills through to behaviours and values around information.

The four learning bands radiate outwards from the learner at the centre. Starting with the development of practical skills, they expand through increasingly complex processes – establishing an evolving subject context within which to deploy the skills; high-level cognitive operations including critical evaluation, synthesis, and creating new knowledge – and culminate in the conscious, reflective framework that is key to managing one’s own learning.

So, four learning bands on a pizza-shaped diagram = four seasons pizza, right? In case you aren’t convinced, consider this: when you have pizza it’s a whole meal, created out of a blend of ingredients that complement one another – right down to the salad on top of ours. What could be more holistic? : )

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ANCIL audit at LSE

I’m really excited to report that we have just started a project to carry out an audit at LSE of our learning support provision based on ANCIL. Even more exciting is that Katy Wrathall will be acting as a consultant on the project, using her experiences of auditing at York St Johns and University of Worcester during her Arcadia Fellowship. You can read more about Katy’s earlier work on the Implementing ANCIL wiki, where there are two case studies.

Working with me will be Maria Bell from the Library and my colleague Darren Moon from CLT. Of course we’ll be inviting many others to join us and will start with choosing two academics departments to review the information literacy provision at undergraduate course level. Katy is suggesting we use interviews to collect our data rather than a survey and where we can we hope to get the Academic Support Librarians to help out. The most exciting part is that Maria, Katy and I will be going to the IFLA Satellite meeting on information literacy in August this year, in Finland! We are still at the planning stage, but I will report more as this project gets underway. One thing we are keen to explore is how many of the ten strands of the ANCIL curriculum are embedded into undergraduate programmes, how many are offered as optional courses for students and whether there are any gaps. We have already decided that we will need to break down the strands to enable people to tell us if they really are teaching these competencies, so I will be doing some work on the ANCIL model to make it a little clearer and to unpack each of the strands.

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Blue skies: a new definition of information literacy

Yesterday the full ANCIL team (Jane, Emma, Katy and Helen, with support from John) gave the first in our series of 2012 conference appearances 🙂 We spoke at libraries@cambridge, the annual conference of – you got it – Cambridge libraries. Given that there are over 100 libraries in the University of Cambridge, this is a really useful opportunity to get together for updates, networking and CPD – and it was our chance to introduce the ANCIL research formally to my colleagues at Cambridge.

The session was brilliantly live-blogged by Lemurph – you can read her lively and entertaining write-up on the conference blog. For the first time we included our own (re)definition of information literacy. Previously we’ve focused on explaining the 10-strand model and the underlying characteristics that inform ANCIL, and have pointed to the wonderful UNESCO proclamation on information literacy as our working definition. However, our own definition seemed to go down well – and the principles behind it were picked up enthusiastically by an academic speaker later in the conference!

So please welcome the ANCIL definition of information literacy, which was unveiled, rather symbolically, at a conference entitled ‘Blue skies’:

ANCIL definition of information literacy (2011)

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ANCIL the movie is launched

Just before Christmas Emma, Katy, Helen and I were asked by John to star in a short video to publicise the work we had been doing on the new curriculum. We were all somewhat nervous about being plonked in front of a camera, but we rose to the occassion and the resulting video was launched on You Tube yesterday. John provided the introduction, and hopes to disseminate this video widely, particularly to university Vice-Chancellors. We are all meeting tomorrow evening for dinner, so I am sure we’ll be discussing strategies for spreading the word. Do add any comments or thoughts about the video and please share it widely!

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Ongoing in 2012

A great start to the new year! We’ll be giving workshops about ANCIL at no fewer than four conferences in 2012. You can find me, Jane, Katy and Helen – or some combination of us – speaking at …

libraries@cambridge: “Blue skies: thinking and working in the cloud”

ALDinHE (Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education) “Learning Development in a digital age: emerging literacies and learning spaces”

LILAC (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference)

CILIP CoFHE and UC&R Joint Conference: “Great Expectations: what do students want and how do we deliver?”

We’ll also be giving the next in our series of workshops at Sheffield Hallam University on 24 January. Although the second phase of the project is now complete, it’s still all go …

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2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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