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Posts tagged ‘information literacy’

Dr. Alison J. Head

Dr. Alison J. Head

Purdue University Libraries has been selected as the academic library system to host Project Information Literacy’s new Visiting Research Scholar program during the 2017-18 academic year.

The Project Information Literacy (PIL) program will provide Purdue Libraries faculty researchers with access to a research consultant in the form of expert information literacy researcher Alison Head, the founder and executive director of PIL. Throughout the academic year, Head—who is also a senior researcher at the metaLAB at Harvard—will mentor Purdue Libraries researchers on their scholarly research projects, both large and small, through the PIL’s Visiting Research Scholar program.

“We are thrilled Purdue Libraries has been selected as the 2017-18 home of Project Information Literacy’s Visiting Research Scholar program,” noted Libraries Dean James L. Mullins. “The PIL program will give our faculty members a unique opportunity to work with a pre-eminent leader in information literacy research, and we anticipate the PIL program will further develop their research skills. We look forward to working with Dr. Head in her mentoring role this coming year in the Libraries,” he added.

As the selected library organization for the Visiting Research Scholar program this academic year, Purdue Libraries will benefit from having access to two research methods webinars, as well as 15-20 one-on-one research consultations, via video, with Purdue Libraries researchers conducted by Head. She will also travel to Purdue University and deliver a campus-wide keynote presentation during her on-site visit as part of the program.

“Purdue Libraries has a vibrant community of information literacy researchers working on a range of groundbreaking research projects. That’s why I selected Purdue Libraries as the host institution this year. In addition, information literacy is clearly a top priority for the entire Purdue University campus,” she said.

About PIL and the Visiting Research Scholar Program

According to Head, the PIL Visiting Research Scholar program began with a pilot phase in 2016-17 at the University of Nebraska Library.

“The program’s sole purpose has been for PIL to provide a year of research consultations, so that librarians may be become more qualified and improved information literacy researchers,” Head explained.

Since 2008, Head and her team of PIL researchers have interviewed and surveyed over 13,000 undergraduates at more than 60 U.S. four-year public and private universities and colleges and two-year community colleges. PIL has published nine open-access research reports as part of the ongoing study.

In a 2016 Inside Higher Education column, Barbara Fister called PIL: “hands-down the most important long-term, multi-institutional research project ever launched on how students use information for school and beyond.”

Articles about PIL’s work have also appeared in The Atlantic Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, Inside Higher Education, Library Journal, and The Seattle Times.

Head also led the 2007 exploratory information literacy study, a forerunner to PIL, at Saint Mary’s College of California, where she taught as the Disney Visiting Professor in New Media for 10 years.

Head earned her Ph.D. in information science, as well as her MLS and BA degrees, from U.C. Berkeley. She was awarded the inaugural S. T. Lee Lectureship in Library Leadership and Innovation at Harvard Library for 2017-19. In addition, she has been a Research Fellow and a Faculty Associate and at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, as well as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, where she studied human-computer interaction.

Learn more about PIL at www.projectinfolit.org.

Hal Kirkwood, Purdue University Libraries

Hal Kirkwood

Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Hal Kirkwood has thrown his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate for the international Special Libraries Association (SLA). If elected, he will serve a three-year term: the first year as president-elect, the second as president, and the third year as past-president. Kirkwood’s only opponent, Kevin Adams, is an information specialist at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Professor Kirkwood said one of the reasons he is running for the top office at the SLA is because he values professional associations for the resources and the connections they provide. In the brief Q&A below, Professor Kirkwood talks a bit more about his candidacy.

Q. How did you come to be an SLA presidential candidate?

A. I have held numerous roles at the chapter and division levels of SLA, as well as having served as a director on the Board of Directors from 2012–14. I’ve consistently been an involved and dedicated member of the association. The SLA Nominating Committee seeks and selects members for the open positions on the Board of Directors. They determine who has the right experience and vision for the presidential role.

Q.Why are you running for the office of president for the SLA and when is the election?

A. I am running for president of SLA because I believe in the purpose and value of a professional association. I believe that it can provide services and resources that can promote the overall profession and to aid in the personal and professional development of its members. I believe there is tremendous value in physically meeting with colleagues at conference to share ideas, best practices, failures, and to connect on a more personal level than anyone can in a social media saturated world. Campaigning for the election takes place during the Annual Conference from June 17–20, as well as online after the conference. The election takes place from September 7–21.

Q. How do you think that serving as an officer in the SLA will inform and benefit your work in Purdue Libraries? If elected, what kinds of responsibilities will you have as president of the SLA?

A. Serving as an officer, and specifically president, will inform and benefit Purdue by increasing my leadership experience, by helping me develop a broader view of the profession, and by increasing the exposure of the Purdue Libraries to a broad audience of information professionals, especially non-academics, worldwide.

If elected, my responsibilities will include overseeing and directing, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, the governance of the association. In collaboration with the executive director, the president represents the SLA worldwide within the information profession. The person serving as the president also gives direction to the formulation and leadership to the achievement of the association’s philosophy, mission, and strategy, and to its objectives and goals, as well as ensures the association is making consistent and timely progress toward the fulfillment of the SLA strategic plan.

Q. What is the role of the SLA in the overall library field? How do you hope to influence or contribute to its role, services/resources, mission/purpose in the library field?

A. There are two major associations that represent information professionals: the American Library Association and the Special Libraries Association. SLA is a truly international and interdisciplinary organization representing information professionals in academic, corporate, government, intergovernmental, and other areas often not fully represented by ALA. I hope to influence its role, services, and mission by seeking creative solutions, developing unique collaborations, and listening to the members to fulfill their expectations and needs.

Kirkwood serves as a Purdue Libraries’ liaison for the following areas at Purdue: consumer sciences; entrepreneurship, hospitality and tourism management, management information systems, operations management, quantitative methods, and social entrepreneurship. He also teaches courses in information strategies for management, international business and competitive intelligence, and information literacy. For more information, see his faculty page at www.lib.purdue.edu/people/kirkwood.

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue Libraries

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue Libraries

Purdue University Libraries Assistant Professor and Business Information Specialist Ilana Stonebraker has been recognized by the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) for her article “Toward informed leadership: Teaching students to make better decisions using information.” The piece, published in November in the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, is recognized as one of the “Top Twenty Articles of 2016” by LIRT in its June 2017 newsletter.

In March, Stonebraker was also recognized as a Library Journal 2017 “Mover and Shaker.”

In the Q & A piece below, Stonebraker provides some insight into the noted article, which the LIRT article selection committee described as a top-twenty article because of “its originality, strength of evidence, and applicability.”

Q. What was the impetus for your article “Toward informed leadership: Teaching students to make better decisions using information”?

Ilana: I became interested in decision management after teaching with a problem-based learning pedagogy. Many of the phenomenon I describe in the paper are things I have observed in my students’ behaviors. It seemed to me that more information did not make students any better at making decisions, so I started looking for other literatures that could help me help make my students better decision-makers. I found decision management and evidence-based management, and I saw how they addressed a gap in information-literacy literature. I tried to start to address that gap with this paper.

Q. What are your assertions regarding instruction and the tools librarians provide to help undergraduate researchers in the piece?

Ilana: My goal in this article was twofold. First, I wanted to assert and support my main claim, which is that decontextualized information-literacy knowledge training that overly focuses on information access makes students worse decision-makers, not better ones. I then focused on practices coming out of decision management and decision science that could help us teach students decision-making skills. My main practices focused on decision awareness, process creation, and decision practice, drawing on my own experience, and also how we might assess decision management differently than we do traditional information literacy.

Q. What are some examples, from your own teaching, that support your assertions/arguments in the article?

Ilana: One activity I discuss in the article involves decision awareness. Decision awareness is a metacognitive approach in which students examine how they make decisions and what biases that might enter their decision-making processes. I usually assign this activity before Spring Break; students read a Harvard Business Review article called, “Before You Make That Big Decision.”

Then, over Spring Break, they think of a decision they made in a group setting. Then they select one of the biases in the paper and describe, in a short assignment, how their decision was affected by that bias. They come to class and get into groups and discuss their individual decisions. (Given the type of decisions students make over Spring Break, this can be pretty silly.) Then, in large groups, we discuss the types of bias, but also additional questions like, “Was the decision you made a good decision or a bad one? How do you know?”

This conversation can be very interesting because it typically devolves into two camps. Decision science asserts that a decision can be good because the process is good (this leads nicely into process creation), or because the outcome is good (which makes more empirical sense, but is pretty risky).

It’s really interesting to think about how a decision is good or bad, especially from an information-literacy standpoint.

We librarians like to think decisions are only good if they have good process (through clever research skills), but we also want students who can see an outcome from a decision and grow from it. After all, that’s what scientists do.

Q. What do you hope faculty librarians take away from the article?

Ilana: I was pretty nervous that people would read this as an overly critical article of information literacy, so I’m glad people like it and/or are reading it! This paper, ironically, was published on election day, and I think there’s some strong “fake news” implications to it. Sometimes we think people are worse decision-makers because they don’t have access to enough information or enough “quality” research access. But, actually, people become worse decision makers when they have less context and more information. We’ve been saying as a profession for a while–that context is important and this article just reinforced how important it is.

In a society named for the ubiquity of information, it is essential that everyone knows how to use information to continually learn in order to be successful in their professional, personal, and civic lives.” — Clarence Maybee, Assistant Professor of Library Science, Information Literacy Specialist, Purdue University LibrariesClarence Maybee, Information Literacy Specialist at Purdue Libraries

Information literacy is Clarence Maybee’s “thing” at Purdue University Libraries. He is, after all, the Purdue Libraries’ information literacy specialist.

So, it was with much excitement that he recently accepted a faculty position with the Association of College and Research Library’s (ACRL) Information Literacy Immersion Program. The week-long teacher development program is designed for academic librarians who want to enhance their teaching or programming skills related to information literacy. Maybee, who applied for the position in the ACRL’s recent national search for Immersion Program faculty, interviewed for the job at the American Library Association‘s annual Midwinter Meeting in January. He readily accepted the offer last month.

“As a faculty member in the Immersion Program, I will help craft the Immersion curriculum, work with the other Immersion faculty to facilitate the program, and mentor participating librarians in their teaching and programming roles on their campuses,” he explained.

In the Immersion Program, Maybee joins nationally recognized faculty, from college and research libraries around the nation, who lead the program, which provides instruction librarians the opportunity to work intensively for several days on all aspects of information literacy.

Below, Clarence shared a bit more information about his new opportunity with the ACRL and how his work in the Immersion Program will help serve the students and faculty at Purdue University.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your background, e.g., your work in libraries, as a librarian, a faculty member, as well as specifically what interested you in information literacy.

Clarence: I became a librarian in 2005 after completing my MLIS at San Jose State University (SJSU). Under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Somerville, then assistant dean of the library at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), I completed a master’s thesis in which I studied undergraduates’ experiences of information literacy. The research made me aware of how essential it is to understand the experiences of the learners for whom we are designing instruction. I began my career in librarianship in the role of Information Literacy Librarian at Mills College, and I served in a similar role at Colgate University before coming to Purdue.

Based on my research, which reveals that learners use information in more sophisticated ways when learning about course content, I focus my work at Purdue on integrating information literacy into Purdue courses. With colleagues from the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) and Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), I manage the Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation program (IMPACT), which aims to make undergraduate courses more student-centered. In 2015, I received a PhD from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). My dissertation thesis, “Informed learning in the undergraduate classroom: The role of information experiences in shaping outcomes,” received QUT’s Outstanding Thesis Award for its contribution to the discipline and excellence demonstrated in doctoral research practice.

Q. How do you think taking part in the Immersion program will help you in your position as an information literacy specialist at Purdue Libraries? How do you think it will help students and faculty at Purdue?

Clarence: Great new ideas come from diverse minds sharing and discussing the possibilities. The Immersion Program Faculty is comprised of nationally known information literacy experts. A cornerstone of the Immersion Program is bringing together academic librarian participants from across the U.S. and beyond. No doubt, the learning experiences generated by this group will give me insights and new perspectives to bring back with me to my work at Purdue.

Q. Tell me something that people may be surprised to learn about you…

Clarence: I used to be a poet in San Francisco.

Q. What do you know about yourself and/or your work now that you wish you would have known when you first started your career?

Clarence: Understanding learning theory better has really advanced my own teaching, as well as helped me in my work with librarians and other instructors.

Read more about information literacy at Purdue University Libraries at www.lib.purdue.edu/infolit, and learn more about the ACRL Immersion Program at www.ala.org/acrl/immersion.

 Purdue University Libraries Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy Sharon Weiner

“The best ways to teach information literacy are in the context of a course or some other learning activity. If you do it in isolation, it becomes very skills-oriented. But if students are learning about something, and the instructor has the opportunity to insert better ways of finding information or evaluating information in that learning activity, it’s more likely to stay with the student and become a habit.” — Sharon Weiner

Purdue University Libraries Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy Sharon Weiner is featured in an article in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” this week.

The Q&A “special report” with Weiner, “How One College Put Information Literacy Into Its Curriculum,” discusses Purdue University’s efforts to bring information literacy into the classroom through its IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) program.

The article is available through the Purdue University Libraries’ subscription to “The Chronicle of Higher Education” and to those who have Premium-level subscriptions to the publication.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University Libraries will celebrate Information Literacy Month during the month of October with a variety of educational and awareness initiatives and a culminating Information Literacy Symposium on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Purdue University featuring Dr. Mary Somerville, University Librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver.

Purdue University Libraries is committed to leading the way in learning and information literacy through a variety of cutting-edge initiatives, including the newly expanded IMPACT program, which helps transform Purdue’s core curriculum to support learners in today’s information-rich environment and enhance student information literacy by advancing educational practice and research.

About Information Literacy

 Information Literacy is a survival skill in the Information Age, according to the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report (1989).

 Instead of drowning in the abundance of information that floods their lives, information literate people know how to find, evaluate, and use information effectively to solve a particular problem or make a decision–whether the information they select comes from a computer, a book, a government agency, a film, or any number of other possible resources.

Libraries, which provide a significant public access point to such information and usually at no cost, must play a key role in preparing people for the demands of today’s information society…

From American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report (1989)

About the 5th Annual Information Literacy Symposium – Oct. 29

In celebration of Information Literacy Month, Purdue University Libraries present: The 5th Information Literacy Research Symposium by Dr. Mary Somerville, University Librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver – “Toward Informed Learning in Professional Practice” on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Purdue University West Lafayette Campus,  318 Stewart Center.

During the morning presentation, eminent library leader and researcher Dr. Mary Somerville will discuss her research on informed learning.  She will explain how it builds on her experiences as a practitioner/ researcher/leader.  She will reflect on her colleagues’ engagement with informed learning and the implications of informed learning for academic curriculum design.  She will invite questions and comments from the audience members as educators, including a discussion of opportunities to take the ideas presented forward.

The afternoon will consist of a workshop to design an instructional activity or a cross-disciplinary project based on informed learning theory/principles.


9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.                  Registration

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.                     Presentation

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.                       Lunch (Purdue Memorial Union Anniversary Drawing Room)

1 pm. – 3 p.m.                         Workshop



Sharon Weiner, PhD, W. Booker Chair for Information Literacy, Purdue University Libraries, 765-496-3128, sweiner@purdue.edu

Related Web sites:

Purdue University Libraries/Learning and Information Literacy www.lib.purdue.edu/infolit

National Forum on Information Literacy – www.infolit.org