Monday, April 7, 2014

Next blog-post journal club: 14 April on draft ACRL framework #acrlilrevisions #ilread

Our next Journal Club blog-post discussion will be on 14 April 2014 at 8pm UK time (3pm US Eastern time), on the draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education which will update the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (commonly called the ACRL information literacy standards). The first draft document contains the Introduction and Three Threshold Concepts plus a Glossary and Bibliography. A second draft document contains two additional threshold concepts. There has already been a consultation process, including open webinars, and the drafts are open for comment until April 15. Therefore we thought we would organise a discussion which is (just!) before this deadline in case it prompts anyone to make some comments.
Whilst the primary target for these standards are people in North America, the ACRL standards have been very influential elsewhere. Go to the following page for more information and links to the two documents and information on how to contribute to the consultation. http://acrl.ala.org/ilstandards/?page_id=133
If you want to learn more about "threshold concepts" you might want to read this:
Hofer A, Brunetti K, Townsend L. (2013) A Threshold Concepts Approach to the Standards Revision. Communications in information literacy. 7(2), 108-113. http://edin.ac/1hhaaVi

How does this discussion work? As usual, the idea is that people aim to read something of the item before the discussion . Then just come along at 8pm UK time on the 14th, and join in the discussion, through posting comments to this blog post. Of course lurkers are also welcome, but it will nice if you join in ;-) You can see how this works by looking at previous discussions (just scroll down the blog for previous posts).

18 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the discussion starting shortly. Just a reminder of the usual tips

    - Refresh the page often, to see the latest conversations

    - Use the "reply" link to reply to a particular comment, or use the "post a comment" box to start a new idea or question.

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  2. I thought I'd post in the 5 "Threshold concepts" that the draft framework proposes. There were 3 in the first part of the draft and 2 in the second part. They are (all direct quotation):

    Scholarship is a Conversation
    Scholarship is a conversation refers to the idea of sustained discourse within a community of scholars or thinkers, with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of competing perspectives and interpretations.

    Research as Inquiry
    Research as Inquiry refers to an understanding that research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex questions whose answers develop new questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

    Format as Process
    Format as Process refers to understanding that the processes of developing information resources originate from different needs, motivations, values, conventions, and practices, and result in different formats, but the underlying questions about value of the information and its potential use are more significant than the physical packaging of the information source.

    Authority is Constructed and Contextual
    Authority of information resources depends upon their origins, the information need, and the context in which those information resources were created and will be used. Experienced researchers understand that the level of information quality needed for a particular purpose varies, will use various types of evaluative criteria to match that purpose, and will trust the authority of that information with an attitude of informed skepticism, remaining open to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought.

    Searching is Strategic
    Experts use an overall strategic approach in designing searches, considering and selecting a system to search, and reviewing search results. They understand that searching and locating information involves defining an information need; knowing the universe of possible tools, collections, and repositories that may be useful in locating information; using appropriate search vocabularies and protocols to design specific search strategies or questions for using systems, databases, and other organized collections of knowledge; and refining and adjusting search strategies during the process of investigating the research topic.

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  3. Do you think you could make those "concepts" the framework for your infolit teaching? (e.g. instead of using the current ACRL or the SCONUL 7 Pillars)

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  4. I particularly like 'Authority is Constructed and Contextual'. This seems to fit with moves away from the traditional teaching of the mechanics of online searching for example and towards criticality of thinking. I'm speaking about my (fairly limited ) experience of teaching research skills to 6th formers at LILAC this month and mention the ACRL in passing so thanks for posting this. Ian H @IJH_1

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    1. Yes, I think that is an important message, rather than e.g. saying "Wikipedia is always bad, journals are always good).

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    2. I like "Authority is Constructed and Contextual," but it seems heavily focused on how needed information matches a particular need: "Experienced researchers understand that the level of information quality needed for a particular purpose varies," "It is contextual in that the information need may help determine the level of authority required," and "The experienced researcher knows how to seek authoritative voices, but also recognizes that unlikely voices can be authoritative, depending on need." While an important element of this concept, I'd like to see more emphasis on how authority is actually constructed. The description seems to take this process for granted.

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    3. Good point. Format as Process is similar: "the underlying questions about value of the information and its potential use are more significant than the physical packaging of the information source." Ian H @IJH_1

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    4. (pause for some rereading) yes, I think I see what you mean. In fact I wonder whether there is an issue with the word "authority" - it is probably being used as a portmanteau word to cover validity, reliability, accuracy, relevance even, not just "authority".

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    5. I do not have huge issue with the word "authority." Currency, accuracy, validity, and so on can contribute to a work's potential authority. It may require some rethinking, but I can live with it.

      But I have a huge problem with "format" in Format as Process. Is it the monolithic definition of library tradition (e.g. book, journal, magazine, newspaper)? Or is it a specific type of message with a specific purpose (e.g. an IMRAD paper, an editorial, a spam email)? The draft seems to suggest both: "tweets to magazines to scholarly articles." That's just confusing.

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    6. The format and authority ones intersect, I think - I would have said with the spam email you might be applying understanding of how emails can be produced and distributed (including things like account hacking) and who had authored it (to judge the authority) and then referring back to your need (which mostly would be not to read spam emails, except if you happened to be a spam emailer or doing some kind of research into spam email).

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  5. I find it difficult to imagine putting the threshold concepts into action - at least in terms of a 50 minute one-shot library orientation!

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    1. Welcome Ilene! As I understood it, I think they were hoping that the concepts would enable librarians to get into conversation with faculty to perhaps help persuade them they needed more time for information literacy with their students? Are you sceptical about that (I see that one of the questions ACRL ask in the consultation is how one sees the framework being used to "generate conversations with other campus stakeholders"

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    2. I'm not certain how faculty will respond to the proposed standards. What do you all think? Is it going to be easier to have the conversation than it was with the current standards? (Those who are great at negotiating for more sessions have already been bringing that off with the current standards )

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  6. What about this? I know they use the word "ethical" at least once in the draft documents, but I wonder if there should be more emphasis on the moral, legal, ethical uses of information (even if morals, laws, and ethics are a social constructs. There are consequences for the misuse of information! (grin))

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    1. I think if "Authority is Constructed and Contextual" described how an individual constructs his or her authority, ethical use of information could be emphasized. By focusing on the search for external authorities that's more difficult to describe.

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    2. Good point. I'm wondering whether "using information has consequences" might even be one of my possible Threshold Concepts - realising that using someone else's information, repurposing it, passing information on, publishing etc. can all have some kind of impact (in the most extreme cases, resulting in physical harm to others)

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    3. The Hofer, Brunetti & Townsend article linked in the main post suggests "Information as a Commodity" as an example of a possible threshold concept. I was surprised that this (or something similar) didn't get into the draft, as it explicitly concerns itself with the legal, moral and ethical dimensions of using information, and seemed like a really useful way of approaching the subject.

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  7. Thanks to Joel, Ilene and Anonymous for their contributions! If anyone wants to add comments now that the real time interaction is over, this blog will be unmoderated til Tuesday morning (UK time) and after that comments will be moderated again, so there will be a short delay before they are published.

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