Apologies for the delay in getting this post published, think I may have finally caught up on my sleep now!

Day 2 of LILAC 2010 began with a lovely hotel breakfast followed by a dash (due to the appalling weather!) over to the Strand hotel. The first session of the day was the second keynote of the conference, Dr Karen Fisher from University of Washington. Karen spoke about her research into lay information mediaries (LIMs):

those who seek information in a non-professional or lay capacity on behalf or because of others, without necessarily being asked to do so, or engaging in follow-up

The people they are looking for information for are referred to as the muse. Karen’s research has shown that LIMs are heavy users of libraries, and although they are usually information literate, they may not be socially information literate (i.e. knowing how to define people’s needs, explaining these needs, and translating them to help the user). Something for libraries and librarians to consider is that the person we assume is the end user (i.e. the person asking the question), is not necessarily – we may be speaking to a LIM who is seeking for information (knowingly or unknowingly) for a muse. More research into this is needed, and an interesting discussion followed, including a key question I feel from my own experience – are the two mutually exclusive? I know I act as an LIM and always have done (before I was a librarian) for certain peers and family members on topics such as technology and finance, but in other aspects of life the relationship may well be opposite – I know very little about DIY or cooking sadly! You can read more information about Karen’s research on the IBEC website, and read a more detailed account of the keynote courtesy of Sarah Faye Cohen (AKA The Sheck).

Following a brief break where I checked out some of the excellent posters, it was time for more parallel sessions – 4 consecutive sessions! I chose to attend:

  • Geoff Walton’s presentation about Staffordshire University’s Assignment Survival Kit – key points taken from this session was that information literacy is bound by context – different subjects and students have very differing needs for all aspects of information literacy, including assignment planning;
  • Georgina Hardy and Caroline Long’s presentation about PebblePad e-portfolio system – picked up a lot of ideas of how information literacy could be supported through PebblePad, which we have at my place of work but don’t currently utilise for information literacy support, lots to take away from this;
  • Anthony Holderied’s presentation about active learning using interactive technologies – included pedagogic background into the advantages of active learning, as well as examples of their own research using interactive technologies such as “clickers” and interactive whiteboards, both of which demonstrated improvement in certain aspects of learning, but Anthony felt needed more research to establish how much of this was due to it being something different and therefore more interesting anyway;
  • Andrew Walsh‘s presentation on QR codes (presentation and audio available) – I’ve already blogged about potential uses of QR codes in libraries but had no idea that most of these had been experimented with already at University of Huddersfield! Andrew’s findings were mixed; they dotted QR codes around the library and some codes had been scanned multiple times, others very little or not at all. Some students were very unsure about QR codes and were concerned it would cost them, but I was really pleased to hear that anecdotal evidence of asking people as they entered/exited the library showed that a greater percentage recognised QR codes and knew what they were by the end of their testing period. They’re hoping to focus their efforts now on providing QR codes to mobile friendly web based material on handouts.

Then it was time for a well-earned break and a buffet lunch where I had an interesting discussion with a Canadian librarian currently on sabbatical. It was very interesting to find out more about the differences in their job roles from in the UK, particularly regarding the focus on research for tenure in addition to their usual job responsibilities. A common theme from chatting to Canada and USA delegates though were that they were all intrigued by the CILIP Chartership process as they have no equivalent.

After lunch there was a one hour block before the afternoon break – this was a choice of either a workshop or Pecha Kucha. I chose to go to the Pecha Kucha as I hadn’t experienced it before and was keen to see what it was like. Each presenter had just 20 slides, with 20 seconds allowed for each slide. It meant a lot of presentations in a relatively short amount of time, but I have to confess it wasn’t to my personal liking. Due to the nature of the presentations, most had scripted their talk (understandably!) but it made for a very unnatural presentation. There was no time for any questions, and I tend to prefer a more interactive presentation style. There was too many different topics for me too – I think I’m more of a reflective learner and therefore need more time to take in what people are telling me about! A lot of people seemed to really like the fast-paced nature of it, but I think in future I’d rather go to a workshop focusing on just one element. I love the fact that there was a choice (in future I’d probaby opt out of the Pecha Kucha unless there were some particularly appealling presentations), although I did feel for those running a workshop as I think many people attended the Pecha Kucha, like me, to see what it was like.

After another quick break, there were two more parallel sessions but I have to confess I was flagging a little by this point, and when I discovered I was a little too late for my first session I decided instead to have a nosy round the exhibition stands, and then nipped back to my hotel for a quick shower and change in time for the evening’s dinner at Dromoland Castle, which was fabulous! I spent a wonderful evening with fantastic company, and enjoyed exploring the castle after dinner too. I was glad to see my bed at the end of the night though, although had to pack ready to check out the following morning so it was another late one – not as late as some though, who I heard were up until all hours in their hotel bars! ๐Ÿ™‚

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