Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reflections on #WILU2010 Re:design

On Friday I returned from attending my second WILU conference. It was a well-hosted event and I thank the organizers for the experience.

When I introduced my own talk at WILU, I stressed that my opinions tend to be strongly stated but they are not necessarily strongly held. I want to repeat this disclaimer as I share some of the reflections of what I've learned from the three-day conference.

I tend to divide work in Information Literacy (IL) into two broad camps. The first camp spends their efforts directing students to use library websites, research guides and indexes for approved sources to meet their research needs. The second camp opts to instead teach students how to recognize sources that they might find and how they might fit these into their own research work.

It's my perception that most of our profession's IL work falls in the first camp and most of the sessions that are in the program of WILU 2010 fell in this category.

And, if you know me at all, its shouldn't surprise you that I place myself in that other camp.

All my favourite WILU talks have all come from this second perspective: Rochelle Mazar's Making Coursework Matter, Joel Burkholder's The Information Seeking Habits of Students: Are They Really That Bad?, and John Willinsky's keynote address come to mind. And my favourite talk from WILU 2010 also is from this perspective: Joel Burkholder's (again!) Sources as Social Acts: Using Genre Theory to Transform Information Literacy Instruction.

For myself, the perspective that IL should not preoccupy itself with indexes that only academic libraries can afford, allows librarians to fully pursue the end goals of the Open Access movement and of supporting lifelong learning in our students, without contradiction.

More reflections later. I think about the notion of 'scaling'...


Lisa said...

you go girl... it's funny, I also have two camps in mind. Those who educate servants of the state (i.e. "prepare our students for their role in the knowledge economy") and those who see IL as a fundamental aspect of citizenry and participative democracy. Wonder if your two camps and my two camps map onto each other?

Mita said...

I'd say its quite likely that we both are mapping the same territory.

I'm re-reading my post now, and it doesn't quite express what I was hoping to say. So I'd like to add these two points to strengthen my case:

1. students can perform a high quality of research without using the links offered by a library's website and to suggest that this is not possible or likely is disingenuous

2. at MPOW our statistics suggest that more users are accessing library-licensed material from search engines and directly from journal websites than from library-licensed indexes. While I'm not sure about the numbers at this stage, we are definitely trending in this direction. IL should reflect this