CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2012

Carnegie Conference Centre welcomed a record 135 delegates to the #CILIPSAG12 event last week and still we had a waiting list to see and hear a varied programme of speakers!

The ‘literacies’ theme proved to be incredibly popular with our members as did each of the keynote presentations from Hannah Gore, Biddy Fisher and Dughall McCormick.

The parallel sessions were equally popular with Gordon Hunt crying out for more chairs to seat those who had turned up to hear Jennifer Jones discuss social media. The packed session meant that some of us (including me) had to be turned away.

During the course of the day delegates were encouraged to tweet their thoughts, impressions and photos and many did. Richard Hawkins of CILIP kindly created a twitter archive for us which you can view here. (just click ‘archive’ at the bottom to view. Thank you Richard!

Once again, our event was well supported by a range of exhibitors, for which we’re very grateful. There were prizes won too in an afternoon draw including champagne, chocolates and an e-reader.

CILIP CEO Annie Mauger hosted a #shoutabout table over lunch which gave school librarians an opportunity to discuss the sector landscape in Scotland in advance of the lobby taking place at the Scottish Parliament on 27th October.
Feedback is still to be analysed but it looks like most delegates enjoyed a useful and productive day where they were able to encounter and discuss new ideas, engage with suppliers and network with colleagues.


Grampian Information Conference

I travelled to Aberdeen’s Hutton Institute recently to attend the Grampian Information Annual Conference: Information: skills for learning, work and life.
The event was well attended with around 50 delegates turning up for the afternoon event.
The Team had put together a superb programme looking at information literacy initiatives in schools, universities and the workplace. So much was packed into a few hours it was hard to believe this was only a half day event. It even included parallel tours in between the presentations and I was able to enjoy a visit to The Reading Bus where I learnt more about this important initiative and also picked up a copy of their ‘Recipes for Loons and Quines’ (carrot and lentil recipe tried and tested by me last weekend – scrumptious!)
Delegates learned a little bit about SLIC’s initiative to bring the Scottish Information Literacy Framework information into its website and how we are working with John Crawford and Christine Irving to get this up and running as soon as possible and to extend its function to a Scottish community of practice using the model developed by the Scottish Government.  Christine Irving has blogged a  more detailed account of the event
Well done to all the GI team!

The age of new media

Scotland’s Festival of Politics, now in its sixth year, took place at the Parliament Building in Edinburgh last week running alongside other Fringe and Festival events. Last year I had attended to hear the recently retired John Prescott, look back on his career. Since then he has developed a whole new Twitter persona and has taken to tweeting  in a BIG way and is as prominent in the media as ever. This year’s  theme was renewing politics in the age of new media and there was much to interest and excite information professionals.

Scottish Parliament venue for the Festival of Politics

‘Has Twitter changed the world?’ was the specific question posed by the event. I wanted to garner tips and hints on how CILIP in Scotland/SLIC can better use new communication media to enrich the member environment.  And there were plenty of pointers on offer.

The story of how Kirk Torrance  and ICT guru  Ewan McIntosh   used social media tools to help take the SNP into Government for a second term is a case in point and a bluprint for others to follow.

However the highlight of the debate for me was listening to Dr Andy Williamson, the Hansard Society’s Director of Digital Democracy,   expound the importance of information literacy in creating a politically aware society, the key  role of libraries in encouraging information literacy and helping individuals to develop the tools for effective digital engagement.  Sadly, Dr Williamson is leaving his post soon .

The debate itself was inconclusive – but there are plenty of sites to help you make up your mind. Meanwhile I’m off to examine more closely event amplification using social media to enhance participation and debate around our conferences and seminars.

Future gazing in Liverpool with JISC

Last week I travelled to Liverpool to represent CILIPS and SLIC at the annual JISC Conference.  JISC11 was held at the BT Convention Centre adjacent to the Albert Dock on the waterfront and was attended by around 600 people, although not many of those were from Scotland. This perhaps reflecting pressures on training budgets (for the first time JISC  charged for attendance at their annual conference) and staffing arrangements.  The event offered 29 sessions presented by 10 speakers.

‘Financial challenges – digital opportunities’ addressed  delivering services during a period of challenging financial circumstances for institutions and for JISC itself which has been the subject of an independent review commissioned by HEFCE.  Professor Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Bristol University, used his keynote address to highlight the importance of the use of technology by the sector to encourage student applications, predicting that within ten years there would be more students studying in their own home towns and local education institutions to save on costs.

Strategically, when the recommendations of the Review have been implemented, JISC is going to look quite different.  Already, in Scotland, we know that the JISC Regional Support Centre, North and East is to close, although cross Scotland coverage won’t change. So it will be interesting to monitor the progress of the working groups being led by Malcolm Reid, JISC Executive Secretary and Professor David Baker, Deputy Chair of JISC, as they enter into consultations with JISC staff and members on the Review recommendations.


Liverpool Lambananas come in many varieties

Apart from the general updating and keeping abreast of technology in education, for SLIC and CILIPS three topics were of particular relevance:

1)       Event amplification – a term coined by Lorcan Dempsey.   With  over 250 on line users in ‘virtual attendance’ or ‘dropping in’ remotely to live streamlined sessions, conversations or social media sites, JISC itself was extending its reach and attempting to overcome some of the difficulties its members have in making time to travel to and attend the conference. A most useful session explored  event amplification and its potential to widen participation by exploiting networked technologies to do so through live streaming video, slides on Slideshare and ‘back channel’ discussions on Twitter.

2)       Digital Literacy – the ability to locate, organise, understand, evaluate and analyse information using digital technology. As JISC points out, with   90% of new jobs  requiring excellent digital skills, improving digital literacy is an essential component of developing employable individuals who can make best use of digital opportunities.  Using the findings of the Supporting Learners in a Digital Age (SLIDA) JISC funded project, this session explored how institutions can better develop the digital literacies of their community. It’s well worth an exploration of the virtual goody bag on this topic.

3)      Rethinking libraries – innovation in a time of limited resources explored how libraries can remodel services to deliver more efficiently. Following on from the recent RIN report on ‘Challenges for academic libraries in difficult times’ this was a timely and useful discussion from JISC who have a strong record in supporting libraries and their services. It was heartening  to learn that  as well as working with colleges and universities to embed core digital skills into the curriculum JISC is   proposing a new programme of work to support organisational strategies and approaches for improving digital literacies for all staff and learners.

Much of the material from the Conference including streamed videos  has been made available by JISC and it’s well worth taking some time to explore this.

Well done to all for a fascinating and engaging day in the home of the lambananas!

Information literacy – context is all

CILIP in Scotland kicked off the 2011 Continuing Professional Development Programme last month with an event on information literacy held at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

‘Information literacy – what’s in it for you?’ sold out very quickly and  delegates were attracted to the event by a mix of presentations and interactive workshops.  Ably chaired by Christine Irving, who formerly headed up the Scottish Information Literacy Framework Project at Glasgow Caledonian University, the morning sessions featured a range of high quality speakers addressing the topic of information literacy across the sectors. Dr Mark Hepworth of Loughborough University did a brilliant job of  explaining why we all need to be information literate by contextualising information literacy  as a skill for citizenship (empowerment, participation, informed decision making, democracy and building social capital) and locating it as a ‘culture’ rather than a skillset .  He was followed by Alison McAllister from North Ayrshire Council who explored the importance of information literacy in schools with the roll out of the Curriculum for Excellence. Michelle Drumm and Ian Watson from IRISS picked up on the theme of context again as they explored information literacy in the workplace.  All the presentations are available to view here.

The afternoon sessions gave delegates an opportunity to engage with these ideas in an interactive way by playing the information literacy game with Lesley Thomson and Jenny Foreman of the Scottish Government and trying out the award winning PADDI app designed by Dundee College and the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North and East, part of the AccessApps suite of software.

What did delegates think of the event overall?

‘A perfectly balanced programme’


Information literacy in Scotland – join the CoP!

An earlier posting to this blog highlighted information literacy skills to support students as a key training need for library staff within further education.  This was identified through the JISC ETNA survey. But in fact information and digital literacy skills are increasingly being recognised as essential to employability across all sectors in the context of the Scottish Government’s skills strategy. Lesley Thomson and Jenny Foreman are colleagues of SLIC who work tirelessly from within the Scottish Government to promote information literacy to the Scottish library community.  They recently launched a community of practice to support this purpose.  ‘Creating an information literate Scotland’ has almost 60 members already and aims to  help cultivate the skills of finding, assessing, interpreting and synthesising information by providing a forum where ideas can be shared and discussed. Recently the Scottish Government library team also made available their information literacy and social media course materials on a new blog so that everyone can share in their use.  Currently Lesley and Jenny are assisting CILIPS with the planning and delivery of a practical CPD event based around promotion of information literacy within organisations. Contact them if you’re interested in getting involved in the community of practice.

And don’t forget our own CILIPS resources on information literacy elwehere on SLAINTE!