ECIL is one of the most significant international conferences for both researchers and practitioners in the field of information literacy (IL). This years’ conference was held in St. Malo and the main theme was IL in the workplace (Sep. 18-22). Christina and Marco presented an interview-based study on the information literacy needs of PhD students, whilst Mona’s and Liza’s contribution was based on the development, implementation and assessment of CLEO, the online course for the BSc thesis.
Amongst the most important topics presented at the conference were the relationships between employability and IL in the current post-industrial work market, and the challenge of “fake news” as indeed tragic consequences of poor IL. Relatively new areas for both library instructions practice and IL theory—namely copyright literacy and research data literacy—were also extensively discussed. In particular on this latest topic, many presentations from different countries were based on the initial findings from a large-scale survey on the research data literacy of both junior and senior researchers. The survey has been designed by a research group led by Gobinda Chowdhury (Northumbria University) and Serap Kurbanoğlu (Hacettepe University), it is still open and all its findings are merely preliminary. The results until now seem to differ little across countries: researchers – in particular junior ones – tend to upload research data mainly when formally requested, and they share data to an even lesser extent, often with suspicion. As Sweden was missing amongst the countries already contributing to the study, we were invited to collaborate with the study providing data from Chalmers, which was an offer we could hardly refuse.
Mona and Christina attended also an interesting workshop titled Before You Teach! Assessment Basics: Why, What, & How, led by Esther Grassian (UCLA). This former literacy librarian advocates rubric based assessment as a way to help the instructor develop and improve his or her teaching and to demonstrate what students have learned in a typical one-shot IL session.
Finally, for those who like the Star Trek series (and remember the old one with captain Kirk and Mr. Spock), it could be interesting to know that the Borg Cube was crucial in the keynote speech by Andrew Withworth (University of Manchester). The Cube was presented as a metaphor for the role of the identity and the authority in the discourse of IL in the workplace. The Borgs are in fact creatures who cross the universe, trying to annihilate all the technological and social differences existing between the many citizens of the Federation. Withworth’s thought-provoking speech reminded all of us involved in IL about the importance of including difference and democracy in the discourses on scholarly publishing (as for instance in the Open Access discourse), on copyright (as in the case of other alternative licences such as the Creative Commons ones) and on research data (as in the idea of Open Data).
As customary for ECIL the proceedings will be soon published by Springer. In the meantime, the book of abstracts can be found here.
/ Marco, Mona, Christina and Liza