Information literacy in the workplace: a different phenomenon

In this guest blog, Marc Forster, editor of recent Facet book, Information Literacy in the Workplace, explores how information is experienced in the workplace and the ethical implications for ensuring that students are equipped with the right skills to ensure they are information literate when they enter the workforce.9781783301324

Isn’t information literacy in the workplace just ‘information literacy’?

Information literacy (IL) has been defined (and redefined) and widely written about; why bother to draw attention to how it’s experienced in a ‘workplace’ setting? The answer comes (as it should) from research which has made it clear that we can’t be confident that existing assumptions, definitions of IL and methods of development continue to be relevant and appropriate for the workplace, surely one of the largest and most important contexts in which information is used. IL doesn’t appear to be quite the same phenomenon in the workplace as the more familiar version developed in, and for, the academic world. Young professionals, confronted by a way of dealing with information quite different to the academic, find themselves having to think about their relations to information in new ways: in terms of meaning, value, and purpose. How can librarians, LIS academics and researchers address this problem?

Thinking about information literacy in the workplace

Do we know in what way information experiences in the workplace are significant to professionals themselves, their employers and educators and society at large? Indeed, what is the ‘workplace’ in an increasingly virtual information world? Thinking about, and understanding workplace IL should be a task for librarians and LIS academics, and it is. Our book Information literacy in the Workplace presents some of that thinking, much of it based on research into how individuals, teams and organizations use information to achieve their objectives. Research which has required and developed new approaches in order to investigate the work environment.

We describe, from new perspectives, several aspects of IL’s nature and role in the contemporary information driven workplace, and how academics, librarians and researchers can understand and develop it. Our authors engage in a range of contexts, including IL’s role in assuring competent practice, its value to employers as a return on investment, its translocational nature; and its function as an ethical safeguard in the duty and responsibilities professionals have to clients, students and employers.

Information literacy experience

Several of us have made use of the research methodology phenomenography to find just how individuals experience IL in the workplace. How can library professionals know how, when and why information is used in the workplace? Such knowledge, potentially acquirable through this kind of research, shows librarians how they can more profoundly engage with workplace professionals and their needs and ambitions. Using research evidence from a phenomenographic study of information ‘experiences’, they can more precisely focus their information resource provision; potentially achieving both a superior service and a more cost-efficient one. There is also the possibility of more effective programmes of IL education, tailored as they could be to the information culture of the organisation and the actual range and focus of the information experiences of workers. The continuing call for evidence-based practice in the library and information professions finds an echo in our book.

 Workplace information literacy is collaborative

One of the key aspects of workplace IL which comes strongly to the fore is its co-operative and team-based nature; IL in the real world is often a joint venture. Employees often work in teams and always as part of larger organizations and companies. Information use is often, even if on individual initiative, a means of contributing to the knowledge development, and so capacity to act effectively, of a wider group. In several contexts and chapters we give details of this ‘social’ IL and how it seems to function as the backbone of organizational operations. In fact one of the chapters of our book describes how IL can be made the fundamental basis of a creative and effective organization through its role in ‘Informed Learning’.

Information literacy or death?

IL isn’t just a tool for learning or empowerment but a means through which one can save lives.

Some professions must be aware of and locate, correctly interpret and apply research evidence, research-based professional guidelines and other more local and personal sources of information, in the varying ways that contribute to that fully informed practice that has the best chance of achieving successful outcomes for the patient or client. To be unable to do this invites failure of competence and care. Not to have the necessary information skills is a professional but also ethical failure as information illiteracy means that the most up to date research evidence or other relevant information may not be identified and applied. Without the correct information or best research evidence, inappropriate or out of date practice may be the result; practice which risks the health, social, legal or financial wellbeing, or even life, of the patient or client.

This new way of looking at IL, discussed in chapter 7 of our book, is one which implies that IL in some professions is absolutely essential to professional, even personal, development. Professional education’s awareness of this remains patchy, but this new understanding of IL’s role promises a means of raising its profile.

Developing information literacy in the workplace

How can IL be developed in this key environment; one which is so important to the financial, medical and personal wellbeing of our fellow citizens? If IL in the workplace isn’t identical to its manifestation in the academic sphere then simply teaching database searching and essay/dissertation based methods of using information might well be found to be irrelevant and wrongheaded. Managing the transition to the workplace must involve a recasting of pedagogical practices to better accommodate the transition to work. There is the additional problem of making the world of work aware of the value of IL. We describe in detail how the development of IL amongst a workforce might be facilitated through applying strategies that bring IL to greater prominence in corporate thinking and through promoting a better understanding of the social/contextual dimensions of information use. We look at how academics can address the needs of students who will soon be using information in the professional workplace; and how new methods for formulating evidence-based IL educational interventions and monitoring educational progress can be developed from research data.

The workplace remains a ‘new frontier’ for those who research and think about IL. Our book is a contribution to the ongoing process of research, theory-building and professional understanding. In the modern world of expanding information-based professions, information overload and false news, such work is as important in both the narrowly practical, and the broadest human context, as ever.

Find out more about Information Literacy in the Workplace on the Facet website

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New book sets out a manifesto to make reading for everyone

Facet Publishing have announced the release of Reading by Right: Successful strategies to ensure every child can read to succeed.

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Literacy has been recognized as a human right for over 50 years in several international declarations and initiatives. Every child has a right to read and parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, booksellers, campaigners and policy makers have a social responsibility to ensure that they are able to exercise that right.

Joy Court’s new book, Reading by Right, reveals the strategies that are proving effective in overcoming barriers to reading from birth to teens. The book looks at practices and projects from around the globe and highlights the common principles and drivers that have generated success. The book sets out a manifesto to make reading for everyone including the pledges, “Everyone is a reader – regardless of their background or what others might think or say”, “Everyone should have access to content to read to borrow, buy or keep” and “Everyone benefits from the social and creative opportunities tied to reading”.

Joy said,

“Because I am so passionate about the vital necessity of every child being able to read, I have become increasingly concerned about those children who either cannot or will not read: the reluctant, the disengaged, the struggling, the hard-to- reach. So when Facet approached me about editing another book for them, it was these children and young people that came to mind”.

The book features an illustrated foreword by former UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and contains a collection of chapters from international experts covering aspects of overcoming reading difficulties or reading reluctance in children and young people.

Joy Court is Chair of the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals Working Party. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the English Association and a Trustee and National Council member of UKLA. She is Reviews Editor for The School Librarian and author of Read to Succeed (Facet, 2011).

 Contributors:

Chris Riddell, UK Children’s Laureate 2015-2017

Rose Brock, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Sam Houston State University, USA

Alison Brumwell, freelance education and literacy consultant, Leeds, UK

Wendy Cooling, Head of children’s section, BookTrust

Prue Goodwin, freelance lecturer in literacy and children’s books

Mervi Heikkilä, Director of Libraries in Seinäjoki, Finland

Jake Hope, reading development and children’s book consultant

Teri S. Lesesne, Professor, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University, USA

Yeojoo Lim, adjunct faculty member, Hansung University, South Korea

Ginny Lunn, CEO, Beanstalk

Hilary Mason, education consultant, trainer and writer

Amy McKay, school librarian, Corby, Northamptonshire, UK

Alexandra Strick, specialist in the field of children’s books and disability/diversity

Sara Tuisku, Finnish-language, culture and communication professional

 

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The ‘why-to’ as well as the ‘how-to’ textbook for archivists

 Facet Publishing have announced the release of the second edition of Laura 9781783302062A Millar’s Archives: Principles and practices

Originally published in 2010, the second edition of the Waldo Gifford Leland Award-winning textbook, Archives: Principles and practices, has been extensively revised to address the impact of digital technologies on records and archives.

Written in clear language with lively examples, the book introduces core archival concepts, explains best-practice approaches and discusses the central activities that archivists need to understand to ensure the documentary materials in their charge are cared for as effectively as possible.

Author, Laura A Millar said,

Archivists search, sometimes in vain, for a balance between abstract theory and traditional practice, both of which can become increasingly arcane or impractical over time. My book seeks to strike a balance between principles and practices. It is as much a ‘why-to’ book as a ‘how-to’ book.

Part of the Principles and Practice in Records Management and Archives series, this book will be essential reading for archival practitioners, archival studies students and professors, librarians, museum curators, local authorities, small governments, public libraries, community museums, corporations, associations and other agencies with archival responsibility.

Laura A. Millar is an independent consultant in the fields of records, archives and information management, publishing and education. She has taught records, archives and information management courses in universities and colleges in Canada and internationally and is the author of dozens of books and articles on a range of topics. In 2010, the first edition of Archives: Principles and practices was awarded the prestigious Waldo Gifford Leland Award from the Society of American Archivists in recognition of its ‘superior excellence and usefulness in the fields of archival history, theory, or practice.’

More information about the book: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=302062

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In this post-truth world, can we still rely on archives to tell the truth?

Facet Publishing have announced the release of The Silence of the Archive by David Thomas, Simon Fowler and Valerie Johnson

 In recent years big data initiatives, not to mention Hollywood, the video game industry and countless other popular media, have reinforced and even glamorized the public image of the archive as the ultimate repository of facts and the hope of future generations for uncovering ‘what actually happened’. Chambers Cat 2.02.qxdThe reality is, however, that for all sorts of reasons the record may not have been preserved or survived in the archive. In fact, the record may never have even existed – its creation being as imagined as is its contents. And even if it does exist, it may be silent on the salient facts, or it may obfuscate, mislead or flat out lie.

The Silence of the Archive, written by three expert and knowledgeable archivists, with a foreword by Anne J. Gilliland, draws attention to the many limitations of archives and the inevitability of their having parameters.

Co-author David Thomas said,

In The Silence of the Archive, we explore the question of whether archives are all that they seem. Are there silences, omissions and falsehoods which undermine their truth claims? Are their holdings, as some of us were taught, the unselfconscious products of administrative processes, or are they the products of powers relations? Is there a democratic deficit in archives?

The book, part of the Principles and Practice in Records Management and Archives series, will make compelling reading for professional archivists, records managers and records creators, postgraduate and undergraduate students of history, archives, librarianship and information studies, as well as academics and other users of archives.

About the authors:

David Thomas is a Visiting Professor at the University of Northumbria. Previously, he worked at The National Archives where he was Director of Technology and was responsible for digital preservation and for providing access to digital material.

Simon Fowler is an Associate Teaching Fellow at the University of Dundee where he teaches a course on military archives. Previously he worked at The National Archives for nearly thirty years.

Dr Valerie Johnson is Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives. She has worked as an archivist and a historian in the academic, corporate and public sectors.

Contributors:

Anne J Gilliland is Professor, Department of Information Studies, Director, Center for Information as Evidence, University of California, USA.

​The series editor: Geoffrey Yeo is honorary researcher in archives and records management at University College London (UCL), London.

About the book:

The Silence of the Archive | May 2017 | 224pp
Paperback: 9781783301553 | Hardback: 9781783301560 | eBook: 9781783301577

Exercise your thinking skills to handle enquiries in any context

Facet Publishing have announced the release of the seventh edition of Tim Buckley Owen’s Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time.Chambers Cat 2.02.qxd

 When people want to satisfy their immediate curiosity they’re much more likely to use a search engine on their mobile device than ask their librarian. But while the days of personal intervention in this kind of enquiry are inevitably numbered, the professional skills that underpin them are not. This book uses technology as the enabler of the thought processes that information professionals need to engage in when answering enquiries, and makes the case that new technology, far from making them irrelevant, raises the skill stakes for all.

 Now in its seventh edition, the book is fully updated to cover new skills, such as employing critical thinking to manipulate, categorise and prioritise raw search results; using strategic reading and abstracting techniques to identify and summarise the essential information the enquirer needs from the retrieved documents; drawing on established story-telling practice to present research results effectively and working to the POWER model: plan, organise, write, edit, review.

Tim Buckley Owen said, “I’m delighted that generations of information professionals continue to find this book useful, amid the seismic changes that have taken place in library and information services since the first edition published in 1996. A lot of that must be because the book has never been technology-led. We now use the same tools as our users – so our job is to use those tools much more efficiently.”

Tim Buckley Owen BA DipLib MCLIP is an independent writer and trainer with over 40 years’ experience of information work – at Westminster Central Reference Library, the City Business Library, and as Principal Information Officer at the London Research Centre. He has also held strategic media and communications posts at CILIP, the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council and the Library & Information Commission.

Find out more about the book here: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=301935

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Copyright, privacy, makerspaces & more! – a preview of the CILIP Cymru Wales Conference

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The CILIP Cyrmu Wales Conference 2017 in Llandudno is three weeks away but places can only be booked until Thursday 4th May. Our pick of the sessions are below along with some useful resources from us to help you prepare for what is sure to be a memorable event.

More information about the programme can be found on the conference website

Here’s our pick of the sessions:

Keynote: Copyright Education and Librarians: understanding privileges and rights

Dr Jane Secker, co-author of Copyright and E-learning is presenting this keynote speech.

Useful resource

Jane’s recent blogpost: Copyright and e-learning: 6 tips for practitioners

Keynote: Protecting the privacy of library users

Paul Pedley, author of Practical Copyright for Library and Information Professionals, is presenting the other keynote on the last day of the conference.

Useful resource

Paul’s recent blogpost: The 2014 changes to copyright law were welcome, but there’s still unfinished business to attend to

Session: How we made a makerspace- and how you can too! 

Allie Cingi, Library Manager at Awen Cultural Trust  and Rob Jones, Library Assistant st Pencoed Library present this session on makerspaces; innovative DIY studios known as makerspaces where people can build, invent, share, and learn.

Useful resource

Ellyssa Kroski’s blog on 5 maker ideas for your library, taken from her book, The Makerspace Librarian’s Handbook

Session: Marketing to thrive and survive

In this session, Sian Nielson and Giles Lloyd-Brown explore how they’ve strengthened outreach and engagegement with students and disparate teams at Swansea University’s libraries.

Useful resource

A series of videos that Phil Bradley made to support his book Social Media for Creative Libraries

Session: Supporting evidence informed decision making for public health practice and policy

This session is presented by Katrina Hall, Team Lead, Knowledge Management, Observatory Evidence Service, Public Health Wales.

Useful resource

Sample chapter from Denise Koufogiannakis and Alison Brettle’s book Being Evidence Based in Library and Information Practice

Session: Planning for Disasters or Literally Firefighting?

In this session, Mark Ludlam, Learning Resources Manager at Gower College Swansea describes the experiences and lessons learned from the fire destroyed the college’s library service at the Tyoch Campus last year.

Useful resource

Sample chapter on emergency planning from Alison Cullingford’s The Special Collections Handbook.

Remember, bookings are only available until Thursday 4th May so book your place today!

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