Digital Literacy – inspiration from Cardiff

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By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society: for example, the skills to use digital tools to undertake academic research, writing and critical thinking; as part of personal development planning; and as a way of showcasing achievements.

JISC

A couple of weeks ago I headed to LSE for one of their NetworkED seminars entitled “Putting digital and information literacies into practice.” It was delivered by  Cathie Jackson, Janet Finlay and Joe Nichols from Cardiff University about their Digidol Project. It was one of those presentations where you come away inspired to do lots of things and also wondering where to begin.

Cardiff have a solid background in Information Literacy (IL), it has been part of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy since the early part of this century with a view to it being fully embedded. They explained that they have had a good top down buy in to IL and in turn this is helping with Digital Literacy. Cathie made a few excellent points about embedding IL (something close to my heart):

  • Has to be embedded this is the only  way it makes sense in academic context. It has to be entirely embedded and Not preserve of library but library provides support so academics can deliver IL.
  • Subject Librarians worked with academic staff on a course by course level.
  • Not too precise – what is comfortable for discipline.

She also mentioned the excellent Cardiff Information Literacy Resource bank which I myself have used and which academics can pull things from to use in their teaching. The items are deisgned so anybody anywhere could reuse them – worth pointing academics in our own institutions towards this resource.

Whilst IL is embedded in at least 66% of Cardiff’s courses DL is not massively widespread and embedded. Cardiff are bringing it all together, building on the strong IL foundation and blending  digital literacies, academic literacies, information literacies  together in the education strategy.
They have strong support from management. For example the Chief Operating Officer uses digital media incl blogs. This managerial involvement is seen as key to getting digital literacy on to the agenda. They are also involved in the central staff development programme.
One of the areas they have indentified as being an is issue is the communication gap between service providers and staff and students.
Taking Beetham and Sharpe’s  2009  model they have added another layer at the bottom for Awareness :
Cardiff found IL was stopping at skills and there was a need to look at how to apply it for example to produce a presentation. Different literacies mapped on to the pyramid from Beetham and Sharpe.
They came up with core tasks – building blocks for practices. I.e. find, manage, manipulate, producing, share.
They also identified practices – e.g. Giving presentation, Managing online presence, writing an essay
They also thought of the highest level and what do you want to see from a graduate  in other words what you want to see at end of course.
They looked at different models including the SCONUL digital literacy lens and now have set of 5 core tasks and examples at higher levels. This has been critiqued by their subject librarians. One key point is that DL (and all literacies) flow round triangle, students don’t reach top and finish.
There are some pertinent points:
  • Difficult to talk about practices and attributes – core tasks tend to be combined.
  • Practices need to be disciplinary based I.e. science versus arts
  • Some disciplines expect a read paper.
  • Tools are changing every week – using concept mapping including external tools and how they match the core tasks but also important to understand what people do I.e. tasks maps back to services this allows new technologies to be mapped back.
It is all about conversation – need to talk to staff and students about what they use and get other services involved. Conversations can happen on social media which led on to thinking about what opportunities might social media provide?
They asked students “What do you think you would benefit from?”
Answer:
“how could they use social media promote themselves”
So the answers to questions might not be what you expect but provide great opportunities for developing new areas of training. This echoed the skills gap they had observed. Service providers (including the library) might have tools to solve the problems and tasks of the staff and students but often the two don’t match up.
This is where developing learning literacies helps to enable the staff and students.
Connecting with other areas of the institution such as careers to bridge these gaps works well.
Putting digital and information in practice
Strategically driven
  • Building on establishes iniatives
  • Detailed in university strategies and action plans
  • Key gatekeepers and decision makers
Contextualised
  • Learning literacies development framework
  • Promoting ac ownership
  • Task and practice focused
Scalable and sustainable
  • Linking services to practices – knowledge hub
  • Initiating and maintaining conversations
  • Building communities of interest
This is a link to the Prezi.

Week 4: Organisation AKA Helen tries to get everybody to love Evernote as much as she does #RHUL23

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Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

This week’s 23 things is on Evernote Organisation. Which has given me the chance to talk about my favourite thing Evernote.

I’m not a naturally organised person but Evernote has helped me no end. This is the post I did for 23 things RHUL on Evernote to give some background about what it is.

There is far more to it than just a notebook. I asked Twitter for examples of innovative uses and the following replies came back:

Not being a knitter I have no real idea what Lynne means but it sounds good! I also use it for recipes. This notebook contains them. What is absolutely brilliant about this is that you can search by ingredient. You might have chicken to use up, search your recipes and all the recipes with chicken are there. Brilliant.

Samanatha Halford takes it further and tags ones in cookbooks:

Or there is the fact you can create a blog post and share it to WordPress:

There is also a facility called Evernote clearly which strips away websites so you can see it clearer which has real educational advantages for people with some additional needs. Here is this blog’s home page:

Melon the librarian

This is a video about Evernote Clearly which shows a bit more about what it does:

Reskilling for Research Data Management : a Workshop for Academic Librarians

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Research Bar

Last Tuesday I went down to UWE in Bristol for a day all about Research Data Management (RDM) and academic librarians. It was a really interesting day on something which I personally hadn’t thought much about but luckily lots of other people have! To be fair one of the points made was that the majority of institutions feel we are working with other areas over and above RDM but it provides a real opportunity for librarians, especially those working in liaison roles.

One theme that did run through is that librarians are not necessarily the people leading on this (i.e. writing policy etc) but they can be instrumental in success and education of researchers because of the cross departmental nature of liaison work.

So first of all … what is Research Data and why are we thinking about it?

Research data is the data created when research is undertaken.

It is basically the next big area to be looked at in terms of research – how is it curated, how can it be accessed etc

The UWE day came out of a JISC project: Managing Research Data: a pilot study in Health and Life Sciences

The Presentations from the day are available here.

One presentation interested me greatly. Using the RLUK Reskilling for Report and mapping the gaps. It looked at the gaps librarians have in their skills and how to fill them. The gaps were identified as:

1. Ability to advise on preserving research outputs (49% essential in 2–‐5 years; 10% now)
2.Knowledge to advise on data management and curation, including ingest, discovery, access, dissemination, preservation, and portability (48% essential in 2–‐5 years; 16% now)
3.Knowledge to support researchers in complying with the various mandates of funders, including open access requirements (40% essential in 2–‐5 years; 16% now)
4.Knowledge to advise on potential data manipulation tools used in the discipline/ subject (34% essential in 2–‐5 years; 7% now)
5.Knowledge to advise on data mining (33% essential in 2–‐5 years; 3% now)
6.Knowledge to advocate, and advise on, the use of metadata (29% essential in 2–‐5 years; 10% now)
7.Ability to advise on the preservation of project records (24% essential in 2–‐5 years; 3% now )
8.Knowledge of sources of research funding to assist researchers to identify potential funders (21% essential in 2–‐5 years; 8% now)
9.Skills to develop metadata schema, and advise on discipline/subject standards and practices, for individual research projects (16% essential in 2–‐5 years; 2% now)

The list fills me with a bit of dread but I can see how useful it is and also how important it is for future proofing the role of liaison librarians.

Luckily the afternoon introduced some tools to educate staff on Research Data Management.

First up were the RDMRose team: http://rdmrose.group.shef.ac.uk/  According to their site they say:

Week 2: Social Networking #RHUL23

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I’m catching up with 23things myself. I have blogged in the past about social networking so don’t really want to repeat myself but I think Social Networking is important for libraries and librarians both for promotion and for networking. Personally my key professional network is Twitter.

When I started work on 23things RHUL I asked for tips from other people who had run it in the past – this request went out via Twitter and the responses came thick and fast. Some from participants of 23things as well as people who had run it. But this isn’t the least of the reasons to interact professionally with Twitter.

Why should you be on Twitter?

Learn about library – Find out what influential people in the library world are thinking and doing.

Networking – start conversations and get to know your peers.

Keeping up to date – often Twitter is the first place people find out about major news events. It is also very useful if you commute or have to travel at all as this post I did illustrates.

Sharing – not just funny pictures of cute animals or you tube videos of dogs chasing deer but ideas, information and opinions (be careful on the opinions bit though. Tweets have a long lifespan).

Get answers – if you are stuck with something ask Twitter and often the answer will appear. There are a lot of clever people on Twitter.

Entertainment – Twitter is full of jokes, funny videos and quick wit. Follow celebrities, especially comedians and you will laugh a lot.

Compliment / Complain – had great service?  Tweet about it and let others know when a brand does well. Had bad service? Same applies. Also most companies take Twitter seriously so they will respond to complaints as they are public.

 

 

23 things at Royal Holloway – is go! #RHUL23

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The week before Christmas we launched Royal Holloway’s 23 things programme (RHUL23). For those who don’t know -  23 Things is an online learning programme designed to introduce library staff at Royal Holloway to new media and technologies (more information is on the About page of the 23things blog)

 

I am a bit nervous about it – I know how brilliant it can be as a concept and I really want this to work as well as it did at City but as with anything you can’t tell until it is well underway how it is going.

 

I have to thank Emma Cragg, Laura Wilkinson and Rowena Macrae-Gibson for their advice and encouragement in getting this started – all their tips from their own experience was invaluable. I can only hope this goes as well as their iterations.

 

The first week concerned blogging and RSS feeds. I used to think blogging was an indulgent frippery, all navel gazing and self-importance but have found that it has become a more and more essential part of my working life. Sometime things can be a bit introspective but I have also found the use of reflection as a learning tool has helped me a lot.

 

I’ve blogged before about professional versus personal in social media and RSS Feeds both posts say much of what I would say now in reflection on week one of RHUL23 – blogging saved my sanity two years ago after major surgery and gave me a different perspective on blogs. Couple that with the fact this blogging has helped me find an outlet for my film reviews as well as interact with my profession and I really feel a place for blogging.

 

Professionally I also think that blogging is an important tool which helps maximise the library’s reach to our users as shown in my work on the Cass Library Blog - it works because it is part of a set of tools, including Twitter and Facebook (and Libguides). There is no point in only having one of these outlets in isolation – you might miss a whole swathe of your users but I shall blog about that next week when we do Social Networking …

 

This is the Prezi introducing the programme:

 

http://prezi.com/7f3ok_bctm8h/23-things-rhul-rhul23/

 

 

Developing supportive spaces for researcher communities #researchspaces

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The Vitae day on spaces for researchers was a really interesting event. The morning was spent hearing about the Hive at Sussex. This is a dedicated researcher space and one of the things it helped me understand is that it isn’t so much the space itself but what you do with it and the people involved in it. The Hive is swipe card access (swipe card access seems to be very important for these researcher spaces as it gives control and exclusivity) but otherwise is a fairly simple space with sofas, computers and laptop spaces. On the surface it doesn’t seem like anything special but the community that has built up around it, in no small part due the partnership with Sage, seems like a vital part of the researcher’s experience.

Sussex is working in partnership with Sage (who apparently want to adopt more universities …). Sussex get funding for things like the Hive Scholars and Sage in return get the opportunity for feedback from researchers far richer than anything they could get from surveys and other traditional research methods.

The Hive scholars are three researcher’s who receive a bursary for 6 hours work a week. They all work on things to promote the hive, utilising social media to great effect. Something they said echoed with what we did at Cass – using a variety of methods that interlink to get maximum liaison opportunities. The scholars reported how the Hive enriched the research community by providing a hub which allowed informal social events as well as more formal events to take place. These events then meant people who may have been doing similar research in different departments met and exchanged ideas. It is easy for researchers to be silo-ed but the library is a centre for all of them and therefore a sensible place for these hubs to be located.

A couple of great ideas they had were Shut up and write! (re

 

searchers meet in a cafe, have a chat then concentrate for a set period of time and then have another break) and advice written on the glass walls by more experienced researchers for new ones at the welcome event including “Read A lot”.

2012-12-13 12.55.572012-12-13 12.56.15

 

In the afternoon session we had a talk by Dawn Duke, Researcher Training and Development Officer, about the SPLASH area at Surrey and writing boot camps they set up to encourage researchers. One was a full on boot camp with people telling people off for not working and things, this was for full time Phd students because they identified a big problem with procrastination and that it usually had a cause. The bootcamp helped people identify causes, suppo

Finally we heard from Fiona Colligan, Warwick Research Exchange about how Warwick has introduced somethin

g akin to online dating for researchers called Research Match this built on similar set ups to the

Hive but has broken into some groups which didn’t interact so much with the physical space for examrt each other and break through the procrastination problem in spaces that suited them so if they needed quiet that was available but if they wanted to collaborate that was available. Surrey also identified a few issues about completion so they organised a retreat for part-time and distance students. This was more relaxed than the bootcamp. One thing the library did was source a collection of thesis so students who may not have seen a UK thesis before were able to see what this was. Two senior academics also stayed at the retreat for the whole weekend (students stayed on site for the weekend).

ple people in the hard sciences who have their own networks in labs etc but they have signed up to research match in large numbers. This sort of innovation really seems to come out of physical spaces.

By the end of the day I really felt encouraged to think beyond physical spaces for ideas that the library can be central to in the support of the researchers but also confirmed that a physical space dedicated to researchers, ideally controlled by swipe card, is a worthwhile idea but needs to be part of something bigger in terms of collaboration and student involvement. A room with a sofa and computers labelled “researcher’s space” isn’t enough.

I have stroyfied some of the tweets from the day below:

  1. Vitae_SE_Hub
    Hearing about the Sussex Hive, Surrey’s SPLASH and

    the Warwick Research Exchange. #researchspace

  2. sussexreshive
    The hive scholars are presenting at the ‘developing supportive spaces for research communities’ event in the library today #researchspace
  3. sussexreshive
    Looking forward to sharing our experiences as scholars and hearing about how other libraries support researchers #researchspace
  4. melon_h
    Really interesting to here from Joanna Ball about collaboration with SAGE over the Hive #researchspace
  5. sussexreshive
    Now hearing from Patrick Brindle from SAGE about how they benefit from their relationship with the Hive. #researchspace
  6. sussexreshive
    Patrick brindle: open access could potentially change everything for publishers #researchspace
  7. melon_h
    Patrick Brindle from Sage now talking about what the Hive does for SAGE #researchspace
  8. robwannerton
    Really interesting analogy of 92 Election on where information is being drawn from to make decisions in publishing #researchspace
  9. sussexreshive
    Patrick Brindle: a more meaningful relationship with researchers through the hive that gives better insight than surveys #researchspace
  10. melon_h
    value of Hive means that Sage don’t rely on polls and get deeper relationship and understanding with library and researchers #researchspace
  11. melon_h
    Really interesting hearing the hive scholars discussing the importance of networking as part of he Hive #researchspace
  12. joanna_ball
    Welcome event in @sussexreshive : five things I wish I’d known in my first year as a doctoral student #researchspace
  13. joanna_ball
    Hive Scholars: Shut up and Write events provide opportunity for researchers at all levels to share experiences. #researchspace
  14. BrindlePatrick
    Really like Sussex Hive #researchspace idea of ‘Shut Up and Write!’ sessions for @phd students overcoming writer’s block.
  15. sussexreshive
    Took participants on tours over lunch, people seem inspired by hive as both space and community #researchspace
  16. sussexreshive
    Now hearing from SPLASH at university of surrey – they offer intensive writing courses for researchers #researchspace
  17. sussexreshive
    SPLASH publication boot camp – 1 week from notes to first draft with ‘drill sergeants’ stopping procrastination and advising #researchspace
  18. sussexreshive
    This meant that researchers could talk through problems as thy arose. Supporting creative process of writing #researchspace
  19. sussexreshive
    This is inspiring, I want to go to a publication boot camp! #researchspace
  20. sussexreshive
    SPLASH at Surrey also ran a thesis writing retreat over a weekend aimed at part timers struggling to complete #researchspace
  21. sussexreshive
    They made a collection of 75 theses available at the retreat to give people a better idea of completion – this is so useful #researchspace
  22. sussexreshive
    The retreat gave the feeling of being ‘locked up’, short 15 min training sessions, one on one advice and a social function #researchspace
  23. sussexreshive
    Procrastination is never just procrastination – underlying cause #researchspace
  24. sussexreshive
    There were 900 research led events in the research exchange at Warwick in 2011-2012 !!! #researchspace
  25. sussexreshive
    How can a space facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration amongst researchers? #researchspace
  26. sussexreshive
    Warwick run an online ‘research match’ service matching research interests for collaboration. Amazing. #researchspace
  27. sussexreshive
    This has allowed new research networks and collaborations to emerge #researchspace
  28. BrindlePatrick
    RT @sussexreshive: Warwick run an online ‘research match’ service matching research interests for collaboration. Amazing. #researchspace
  29. pretty_curious
    Effective use of PGR ambassadors also works well to create community and peer support #researchspace
  30. pretty_curious
    But possibly you need some dedicated space to provide focus for events and study space that appeals to researchers #researchspace
  31. sussexreshive
    Great day, loads to think about and lots of ideas for future events and collaborations #researchspace

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947)

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When most people think of Ealing Studios they think of the comedies – Whisky Galore!, Passport to Pimilico and so on. Very few would think of Film Noir but that the best description of It Always Rains on Sunday (dir. Robert Hamer, 1947). It features a woman, Rose Sandigate, (Googie Withers) who helps her former lover, Tommy Swann (John McCallum)  who has escaped from prison, thus jeopardising her family life because of her sexual desires and a fair amount of shadowy shots. So far so noir but this is British Noir. It isn’t about glamour. Set in and around Bethnal Green, much of the action takes place in Petticoat Lane and gives a realist snapshot of post-war Britain, cheese rations and blackout material included. It Always Rains on Sunday

The action all takes place on one Sunday (which as the title suggests is a rainy one) and begins with a normal family waking up and going about their business, with a fair amount of bickering. Little do they know that the matriarch’s past is about to come back to shatter their peace. At the start it appears that there are several disjointed storylines – the escaped convict, the unhappily married woman, her step-daughters’ love lives, the local criminal networks and the unfaithful band leader. Hamer takes these storylines and weaves them into a story that although complex is brilliantly executed and brings to the fore Jack Warner as Detective Sergeant Fothergill who is occupied trying to find Tommy Swann and also one by one arresting the gang of crooks. Largely through their own incompetence.

The film culminates with a very good chase sequence which acts like a needle, sewing up all the loose ends until the film comes to a bleak and real ending, much more akin to the Kitchen Sink dramas of the late fifties and sixties than the Ealing comedies we know.

There are several recognisable Ealing comedy moments including the neighbour disturbing Rose whilst she smuggles Tommy into her house to discuss the meat they are each having for Sunday lunch or the fact the central gang of crooks have bungled a warehouse raid and ended up with a truck load of Roller Skates.

This surprising film deserves to takes its place next to the finest post-war British films.

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