Monday, January 14, 2013

First Journal Club discussion Thurs 17th Jan at 8pm UK time!

The first Information Literacy online Journal Club is on Thursday January 17th 2013. The live discussion will start at 8pm UK time (which is 3pm US Eastern Time, see http://tinyurl.com/avadgw3 for times elesewhere) and end at 9.15pm. We will be discussing the 2011 revision of the SCONUL 7 Pillars model of information literacy, available here: http://tinyurl.com/bxdp5sy. The 7 Pillars diagram is reproduced on the right (under a Creative Commons license). This is the UK's chief framework for information literacy in Higher/Further Education, and the first edition came out in 1999.

The Journal Club discussion will take place in the comments beneath this introductory blog post. You can start adding comments now if you want.
The live discussion hosted by Niamh Tumelty and me (Sheila Webber) will be between 8pm and 9.15pm on 17th January. As facilitators, we will be aiming keep the discussion going and introduce the questions through the session. In the next few months we will probably be trying a few different channels for this online journal club (e.g. possibly a Twitter discussion) so we will be grateful if people are willing to stay for a bit after 9.15 to tell us how/whether the blog comment format worked.

Of course people can also contribute to the discussion by commenting (on the topic or the format for discussion) after the 17th January. Alternatively (or additionally!) you can write your reflections on your own blog now or later. Just make sure to tag it ILread and give us the link) or comment on Twitter using #ILread. These are the questions we thought of, to stimulate discussion. Do add further ideas for topics and questions as comments, below.

- How do you think the SCONUL model compares with other models or information literacy standards (e.g. ACRL)?

- Have you used the SCONUL 7 Pillars in practice? If so, how and what are your thoughts about it? for example:
- - Do you mostly just use the basic headings and diagram, or the longer explanations?
- - Are there pillar(s) that you find more difficult to address (or that learners find more difficult to understand)?
- - How do academics take to the model?

- What do you think of the various lenses that are already available for this model (e.g. the Research lens and digital literacy lens) and are there ones that have not yet been written but you think should be?

66 comments:

  1. Looking forward to starting the blog comment discussion here at 8pm UK time ;-)
    When you arrive, please introduce yourself in a blog comment. If you are having trouble commenting please email me sheila_a_e_webber@yahoo.co.uk
    I'm Sheila Webber, I teach in the Information School at Sheffield University and I am facilitating the discussion with Niamh

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    1. I'm Niamh, I work at the English Faculty Library in Cambridge and recently completed a dissertation on information literacy at the transition to university. Looking forward to the discussion!

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  2. Hello and welcome to the first journal club discussion. We will probably be experimenting with different live channels for the discussion, and this month it is commenting on a blog post. We'll see how that works. Remember to press reload-page every now and again to see new comments.
    We thought we would start by saying whether we'dused the SCONUL 7 Pillars in practice?
    So do type in a comment about that, and/or introduce yourself.

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  3. I've used the 7 Pillars quite a lot with students. One thing I do at the start of a module is introduce the pillars fairly briefly, then get students to individually identify strengths and weaknesses in the pillars (plus think of a time when they think they were information literate) and then discuss this with a small group. At the end they produce either a little ppt or a blog post. That way it starts them thinking about infolit, and the discussion with other students helps them to start to clarify what they understand and what they don't, what infolit means to them etc. Also it is very useful to me to help me know more about where they need more help and where they can help each other.

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  4. I used the 7 Pillars model as a basis for some research into information literacy as part of my MSc. I love the 'lens' idea, which could make the model more relevant in a range of contexts, for example as a goal for school students to attain or for librarians developing courses for students at all levels.

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  5. Hello, I'm Moira from Newcastle. I know that some people think seven is too many pillars and that there should be fewer. What do you think? If you use the model at all have you adapted it to only use some of the pillars?

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    1. Hi Moira, delighted you could join us! It's a good question, there's overlap in all sections but especially at the Identify/Scope/Plan pillars. I found it particularly difficult to come up with ways to assess the Identify elements, but then as Liz Jolly said recently if we're only measuring what's easily measurable we're probably missing important aspects that are harder to put a finger on. There is a distinction between Identify and the other pillars, it's just tricky to get your head around at first.

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    2. In some ways I think "Identify" is most important - if they don't explore what they really need and what they know about it already, then the rest of it can be a disaster. But it is difficult to teach - you need time to help people who can't disentangle the underlying need e.g. from the exact words they were given for an assignment

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    3. I absolutely agree - and if you leave it out it takes away an important part of the forming their research question.

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  6. Hello Moira, great to have one of the people who masterminded the revision! I use all the pillars as I think they are all important. Although (for example) scope and plan overlap a bit, I think that it is the stages BEFORE people Gather that are often skipped over, and breaking it down into stages is useful (what is there, that might be useful and - once you have thought of a place to browse or search - what is a good way of getting the best out of it?)

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  7. One thing I like about the model is that as you start with the diagram and the one-word names of the pillars in a sense you can create your own lens - by getting the students to think about that aspect of information literacy in relation to the particular task or course. For example, we have a new BSc Informatics started and my colleague and I are embedding development of infolit into a first year "Research in Informatics" module and even without the "research lens" (which is a bit too detailed for 1st year undergraduates) we can relate the 7 Pillars to the stages in the mini research projects they will be doing.

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  8. Hi I'm Jane Secker from LSE, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor and Editor of the Journal of Information Literacy. Very topical discussion as Moira and I were at the UK Council for Graduate Education talking about information and digital literacy. Having lens on the SCONUL 7 pillars for research and for digital literacy was very handy to show the participants today. I think it helps people see the relevance to them, as the language is more familiar to them. It should all help those outside the library community recognise the importance of IL.

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    1. Thanks for joining us Jane! Can you say a bit more about today? Heard vaguely that something was on but too hectic at the moment to see what!

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    2. Interesting! Are the Council going to follow up in any way?

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    3. Well Moira and I were asked to talk because we are both part of the RIDLs coalition which is led by RIN (http://www.researchinfonet.org/infolit/ridls/) so it was a chance to show people the Vitae booklet we collaborated with Vitae to produce. It was a shame more people didn't come along today, but it did show the importance of talking to non-librarians about digital literacy and information literacy. Moira might want to comment further..... but quite a bit of discussion on managing research and research data in the other sessions.

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    4. Are they putting the presentations online?

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    5. I did start to think today that there might be scope for a data lens. We did bring data into the research lens but listening to the discussion today indicated that a lens with a more explicit data focus might also be helpful. What do you think Jane? I'd be interested to ask someone working with data who is outside the library profession whether they would like to develop one.

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    6. Yes I think a data lens is a good idea. And yes Sheila I think they will put their presentations. We will let you know. The event had a hashtag although not much tweeting #dfhei13

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    7. In terms of the lens, it could also fit in with the project that Andrew Cox here at Sheffield is leading? "RDMRose is a JISC funded project to produce taught and continuing professional development (CPD) learning materials in Research Data Management (RDM) tailored for Information professionals." http://rdmrose.blogspot.co.uk/

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  9. I'm wondering what people from outside the UK thought of the model, especially if you're using a different framework already?

    PS Any lurkers out there? Say hello even if you don't have specific comments/questions yet!

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  10. Hi guys - I'm in Ireland working in a medical library so as Niamh mentioned earlier I like the idea of lenses - particularly the possibility of one for a corporate/professional environment where you are usually dealing with Information Literacy in the context of a professional information need (e..g treating a patient) rather than a research context.

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    1. Hi Michelle, welcome! Have you had a chance at all to think about what this kind of lens might look like compared to any of the others? I'd be really interested in hearing more, and it occurs to me that the health profession might also be interested in a lens showing the information skills/needs of patients trying to research particular illnesses in order to help them more.

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    2. That does sound useful. There's an exercise I do called "Information Literacy in our future careers" where the students produce posters in teams, illustrating how infolit could be useful in their future work - some of them use the 7 Pillars and pick out the pillars they think will be most useful e.g. for being a human resources manager or managing a shopping mall, or being in a headhunting agency ... it's interesting that they do identify different pillars as being more important, depending on the job

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    3. @Niamh, a patients' lens would probably look different to a health professionals' lens?

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    4. Yes, I meant that it would be interesting in addition to one describing the perspective of health workers themselves, sorry for being unclear!

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    5. That sounds like a great exercise Sheila - something that would be useful for all students as well, and it links in well with the ANCIL 10th strand - the social dimension of information - preparing students for the workplace and to be lifelong learners.

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    6. Really nice idea there Sheila - I can see how it might vary - in the patient care context I would say evaluate might be perceived by staff as being more important.

      Niamh, yes I have thought of doing this (only since reading the article - thanks for the inspiration!) so may give it some more thought and put something together!

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    7. Great, I'll look forward to reading it :)

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  11. One of the things I was thinking about with the lenses concept is that they allow people to use their own vocabulary to understand the underlying concepts. The "research" lens to match some of the terminology from the Researcher Development Framework. I think it would be interesting to see lenses with a very specific focus, so for example, a lens specifically for Sheila's first year group could just select elements relevant to them or could add in other attributes which may not be fully described.

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    1. Yes I agree Moira, terminology is really important, to help people understand a concept such as information literacy in their own context. However, lots of professions clearly have developed their own frameworks and models, so we need to make sure the lenses we develop can be mapped to other professional standards.

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  12. Yes Moira - this is what I was thinking - having a lens that was specific to the health and patient care context, expressed in terms of clinical concepts and terms which are relevant to users. I think it could work really well.

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    1. That's great to hear Michelle. The model is there for anyone to adapt and I'd be keen to see other people start to produce context specific lenses. Originally I hoped we could host them on the SCONUL website but since its been redesigned that may be more difficult. We can gather them all on the IL website though, the more the merrier!

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    2. @Moira do you think the IL website http://www.informationliteracy.org.uk/information-literacy-definitions/sconul-seven-pillars-of-information-literacy/ is going to be the main gathering place for info and publications about the 7 Pillars in future?

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    3. Hi Sheila. It will be temporarily I think,as there are a few issues with the new SCONUL website and there are decisions to be made about how the IL work will be administered in the new framework. I'd like to think that once things settle down that all the info could be gathered together with the models back on the SCONUL site, but we can use the IL site in the meantime

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  13. I'm Paul from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in the US. It's the middle of the day here, so I'm half paying attention and half working on other things at my desk. We use the ACRL standards, but frankly I think the 7 Pillars are easier for non-librarians to understand.

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    1. Welcome Paul! Do you use ACRL to guide your information literacy instruction? I mean, do you tell students about teh standards themselves?

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    2. I find students pretty resistant to information literacy. some think it's beneath them, some think it doesn't apply. I translate ACRL into plain English for them and try to get across why it matters, rather than going into the standards themselves

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  14. Hi I'm Sarah,one of the academic librarians at Worcester. I do like the revision - I must admit this event is a timely reminder to think about how I could explore it with students in class.My initial thoughts are how difficult it can be to address the 'opposite ends' i.e. planning and manage/present,even evaluation. This is where I would love more input from other support service colleagues,getting a bit more expertise from those who cover more study skills,but more than that just additional opportunities and time to cover more than where/how to search.Apologies for typos and grammar,smartphone!

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    1. Hi Sarah! Yes, it's hard when we don't even see the end product of the research most of the time. I've thought that if librarians could work with the supervisors here they could probably address all aspects between them.

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    2. I think Sarah is talking about working with learning developers, learning technologists, IT staff, as well as academic colleagues as well. The joined up approach to student support really is the holy grail for me!

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    3. Hello Sarah! We were saying above, it does take time to teach/learn those aspects. I will give a plug here for a recent article from my colleagues:
      McKinney, P., and Sen, B. 2012. Reflection for learning: understanding the value of reflective writing for information literacy development. Journal of Information Literacy, 6(2), http://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/ LLC-V6-I2-2012-5
      It's how students have to do a reflective report structured on the 7 Pillars as part of an assignment where the main part is a business intelligence report on a company. I was thinking how even when you don't get so much opportunity to (so to speak) teach those aspects in advance, if you can get people to reflect on what they've done in relation to each pillar, and help them identify what they could do better next time, that is also useful.

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    4. @Jane yes, I understood that, just thinking specifically about the way the supervisory system is set up here rather than as a general statement. I know Helen was looking at how a broader approach might work in this context though, don't think I saw any conclusion from that and whether it was feasible.

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    5. At LILAC last year I said that I think librarians shouldn't necessarily be the folks involved in developing information literate students. I think academic staff, supervisors, other support staff should all be doing it and our role is to inform and facilitate (and teach as well as and when appropriate) I spend a lot of time at Newcastle running Information for Learning courses with academic staff to challenge them to think about how to embed IL concepts into their curriculum.
      I know some librarians disagree with this suggestion, maybe worried we are talking ourselves out of a job, but IL is so big I think there's plenty of scope for all of us.

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    6. I guess my point is that we as ''support" staff don't have access to the research inputs, but supervisors do.

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    7. (Inputs should say outputs, sorry!)

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    8. I think the work on educating colleagues about information literacy is vital. I also do this and teach on our Postgraduate teaching certificate. It's vital new staff recognise that this is part of their role to teach IL in the context of their discipline, but that other colleagues can help them (and are only too willing to!)

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    9. You got it Jane! Learnt a lot from Katy's research ;-)

      Moira,I think that is a great approach. Academic staff training and teaching is something we don't do nearly enough of and I think this has a negative impact on research and student learning. If staff don't appear info literate in front of students yet seem to get by,why would students listen to us?

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    10. Hi Sarah - very good point, but as we discussed earlier the way you operate when you are an expert in your field is very different to how an undergraduate uses information. Experts in general probably don't go out looking for new information - they have networks that can push information to them. And they have the ability to be discerning and filter out the irrelevant or down right wrong!

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    11. I know it's a bit late ;-)

      Good point,but my experiences tell me there are staff who stick to the same old reading lists and research,because they don't engage with online research tools - some won't,some can't. I know some departments rely on one colleague to undertake searching for them,they won't do it yet students are expected to. They may well be able to filter good and bad/irrelevant info,but a lot have a lot of catching up to do in terms of locating info in the first pkace.The demand is there for educating staff but we need a bit of a shift to make it happen in my institution.

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  15. Just to say hello to anyone joining the discussion now - we still have 20 minutes to go live, and do add comments afterwards as well! If you scroll up you will see that a number of threads have been discussed already.

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  16. It's gone 9pm now, feel free to keep discussing the topic but I's like to throw in a question about the format and how you found it. Good? Bad? Any suggestions for a better approach?

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    1. Bit tricky following lots of threads! I also had to eat my dinner part way through as I was so hungry! But lively discussion and lots of great discussions.

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    2. Thinking of it vs. Twitter, with Twitter it is easier to see new things, but I preferred this format in that you could have longer posts and at least some of the discussion was in threads (rather than all interleaved).

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    3. I see what you mean about the threads - it's clearer when you have responses tagged onto the related comment but you still need to jump around a bit. I like that it's open to anyone to join in though rather than being proprietary, that there are no artificial limits to length of response and that people can follow it without needing to sign up to anything.

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    4. Oops, I was slightly scuppered by the sign in to comment as my WordPress login apparently wasn't valid. Ap Took do long my comment has ended up in a random place - apologies. I do like the fact that we can have longer comments and can see the threads. May need to use laptop, rather than phone next time.

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    5. Sounds like we may need to highlight what people will need to do to sign in, beforehand

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  17. Just to add to the threads going on above - any favourite articles/ resources about the 7 Pillars that people would like to promote (promoting things you have created is also ok!)

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    1. Also any volunteers to host discussions about particular articles/resources? Ideally things that are openly accessible online for widest possible participation.

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  18. It's coming up to 9.15pm now - thank you all for joining in and making the discussion so interesting, lots of new lenses to be developed by the sounds of things. I've got to go shortly, but if you're just reading this now (or tomorrow, or thereafter) please do keep the conversation going and we'll dip in to respond when we can!

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  19. Thanks to everyone who joined in the discussion live, and we look forward to some further comments after the event. We will announce next month's article her and also in a main blog post.

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  20. Hi, I'm Lynne, academic librarian at UCL. Sorry to be joining in so late. I've found 7 pillars are useful for me to think how to frame sessions, but don't tend to include them in delivery of sessions, although found Sheila's suggestion of using them as a discussion point interesting and will think about using that in future sessions. My problem is lack of student contact, very limited sessions, in which we have too much to cover. This is why I think we should look at more collaboration across support staff & academic staff as we are never going to get the student time. Unfortunately I know it's not a deptl priority, but we work on it year by year.

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    1. Hi Lynne, thanks for joining us! That discussion activity could work really well as a way to get them thinking about all the differ areas, maybe with handouts that say where to go next to develop them further?

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  21. I just wanted to say thanks for initiating this discussion. It's great to hear positive comments about the 7ps and how they're being used - its a bit like watching your child go out into the world and grow up! I hope folks carry on the discussion and feel able to add constructive criticism of the model as well. It was never meant to be a static model but to change and grow and develop over time and that means we need critical feedback and ideas. Many thanks Sheila and Niamh for starting the conversation.

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    1. Thanks to you and Ruth for all the work on it, plenty of food for thought.

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  22. My name's Alison and although I'm British, I'm currently working in the US as an instruction librarian. I couldn't make it on Thursday but really enjoyed reading all these comments, and hope to participate in future. Quick question: I've never worked as a librarian in the UK and all the groups/acronyms are throwing me off... How is SCONUL related to CILIP- and then there is RIN and VITAE?! I know LILAC and ANCIL, but I'm getting really confused about how everything else fits together... After reading this I plan to look more in depth at 7 pillars as I'm not a big ACRL fan and avoid using their standards when possible. (my work is mostly with language students and our goals tend to be different) Thanks for organising!

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    1. Hello! Glad you dropped by ;-)
      SCONUL is the Society for College National and University libraries - all the UK academic libraries belong to it (the nearest equivalent in the US would be ACRL). Until recently it had a working group on Information Literacy, that developed the 7 Pillars model. The website is http://www.sconul.ac.uk/ - the Pillars documents are listed in the "Publications" section but they are reorganising the website and there isn't an IL section yet.
      The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) is the personal membership organisation, it was formed by merging the Library association (ALA equivalent) and the Institute of Information Scientists (was a bit like ASIST). CILIP has an IL special interest group, that runs LILAC.
      RIN is the Research Information Network, that was set up by another acronym ;-) to support researchers' use of information - due to funding issues it has changed a bit but still has an infolit focus: http://www.researchinfonet.org/
      Finally Vitae is an organisation in the UK set up to support the development of student and other academic researchers (so it isn't specifically to do with libraries): http://www.vitae.ac.uk/

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