Welcome to the Scottish Information Literacy Project

Welcome everyone to the Scottish Information Literacy Project and weblog we are delighted with the help we received from the invaluable Warren Smith in IT in setting it up. Things are reasonably good at the moment as we are currently funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Many Thanks to this body for keeping the show on the road. However although we are funded until the end of September 2009, now is not too soon to be thinking about finding future funding. 

We have recently been doing our first piece of consultancy, some subcontracting work for Becta. This has proved to be very informative and it shows that Becta is becoming aware of information literacy or digital literacy as they prefer to call it.  There is also growing interest in the early years/parental involvement agenda, the role of information in these areas and media literacy which is something we are interested in having previously had contacts with Ofcom Scotland. It was also flagged up strongly when I visited Washington in October last year to meet US experts on information literacy. However I feel that, while LIS research is using educational findings, I do not think that, on the whole, the converse is true. I attended a discussion last month on a pre print about digital natives and although information literacy was discussed in the text there were no references to LIS journals or research.

Christine and I are currently scurrying about meeting employers’ organisations, the STUC, the Employability & Skills Division of the Lifelong Learning Directorate and Skills Development Scotland who are interested in the role of IL in careers guidance.  There is no doubt at all that the skills agenda is going to play a big part in the future of IL development and it is essential that it should be seen as a discrete skill and not just buried  under umbrella terms like ‘problem solving’ and ‘soft skills’. A recurring problem for us is that we have no policy formulated by our professional body (CILIP) to show them.  An issue for the Policy Forum?

I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) which has a strong interest in vocational education and skills development.  We recently had a meeting with the RSA Outreach Officer who has agreeed to promote IL awareness among IL members.


Best wishes


John Crawford


Project Director


Digital Literacy in an e-world: The 8th Annual E-Books Conference

On Thursday 30th October 2008 we were one of five speakers at the E-Books Conference at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. The Lighthouse is an amazing building and I took the opportunity to take the lift to the sixth floor to see the roof top view of Glasgow which must be amazing at night time so will need to do a return visit.

We had been asked to do a presentation about the work of the project and wanted to incorporate the conference theme so decided to call our presentation The Scottish Information Literacy Project “From ICT to Digital Literacy the importance of information literacy” (see project website events page for link to presentation) linking the start of the project with the Drumchapel Project (John Crawford) and recent consultancy work on Digital Literacy.

presenting at the 8th e-book event on Digital Literacy at the Lighthouse, Glasgow

presenting - e-book / Digital Literacy event

Other speakers included Paul Riley (The Welsh E-Books Consortium), like Scotland, Wales is a good size for collaboration on a national basis and Paul described some of their collaborative developments. Talking to him afterwards he expressed interest in the framework and the possiblity of Wales doing something similar. Hopefully they will be able to pursue this and as we will be in Cardiff for the 2009 LILAC Conference we can check on any progress.

John Coll gave an overview of the Business Information Services at the National Library of Scotland (Scotbis), whilst most enquiries are made electronically their resources are predominately print although they do collect both print and electronic publications / editions and offer clients / customers the option of accessing information sources in person (free of charge) or sending paper copies for a fee. I spoke to John at lunch time about the work the project is involved in within the workplace and also the forthcoming SIN (Scottish Information Network) meeting on Blogging which unfortuantely had to be postponned due to lack of numbers.

After lunch Sarah Fahmy (JISC) talked about JISC Collections for Schools and Jim Henderson (LTS) talked about the Online Reference Resources offered by Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) in partnership with JISC through GLOW (a national digital network for schools which will provide tools to underpin Curriculum for Excellence learning and teaching approaches). It was really good to see the material that will be available to schools and also to see schools now benefiting from JISC collections.

The last speaker was Duncan Chapell from Glasgow School of Art – InfosmART: using the Web to Deliver Information Skills to Arts Researchers. One of the highlights of Duncan’s presentation was the use of the project National Framework to inform the development of their information literacy programme. The other was their / his use of images (Visual Literacy) both within InfosmART and his presentation as Art students use of visual images is not surprisingly very high. It made me remember the old adage a picture tells a thousand words.

All in all the day seemed to be a success both event and project wise. Interestingly their seemed to be more mention of information literacy rather than digital literacy.

Photo courtesay of Jill Evans (SCURL)

Using gaming to incorporate Information Literacy with Maths

Article on integrating games and Web 2.0 tools into IL instruction

“Gaming and learning: Winning information literacy” by Marsha Spiegelman and Richard Glass in C&RL News, October 2008 Vol. 69, No. 9

This ties in with my last post on using gaming and learning. This time it is with HE students in the US and of particular interest is the integration of IL within Maths and students enjoying using Maths logic to search databases. Examples of IL and Maths are thin on the ground.

Agan it is a collaborative piece of work which I think is important linking people / professions and IL / academic subjects to produce inovative learning. This is reiterated by the writers in the last sentence of the article
“Successful projects like ours require that you leave the confines of your library walls. Approach like-minded colleagues, attend cross-disciplinary conferences, and turn on your inner gamer to make productive collaboration happen.”

This is something we try to do within the Scottish Information Literacy Project.

Although this is set within HE, the thrust of the concept could be equally applied within other sectors.

Scottish Learning Festival

Attended the Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow. The event is about learning and teaching and gives me the opportunity to meet up with contacts within Scottish education and make new ones. Also see the latest developments in education, to swap and discuss ideas. The Curriculum for Excellence and GLOW were the main focus with practical advice and ideas about effective use of ICT in classrooms to improve the quality of learning and teaching along with discussions and presentations about the draft learning experinces and outcomes.

There were some really innovative ideas like the transition project at Mussleburgh Grammar School (Ollie Bray) and Stoneyhill Primary School (Seonaid McGillvray) which used the computer game ‘Guitar Hero’ as a basis for enriched assessment for enriched enquiry learning. The pupils start on the project in P7 and form a Rock Band which they take on the road. They have to plan their road trip, find out information on the country they are going to, look at timetables to work out how to get there. The pupils work is assessed by the teacher and by pupil peer assessment. Transition documents accompany the pupils who take their work with them to continue working on it in S1 at secondary school. Amongst other things they create a card to promote their Rock Band. Once the project is finished a copy is sent back to the pupils primary school teacher.

During the presentation I couldn’t help thinking that the skills they were talking about are information literacy skills but there was no mention of information literacy and no mention of the school librarian / learning resource co-ordinator contributing to this project. Missed opportunity.

The project was part of the presentation about Enriched assessment for enriched enquiry: inter/cross-disciplinary studies to develop skills and attributes for learning, life and work in the UK, Queensland and New Zealand.

Will do another post when I have time about the other presentations / discussions I attended.