Google and Beyond: What Sources are Students Really Using?

By Don MacMillan (University of Calgary)

Abstract

This was an interesting presentation about an IL evaluation project at the University of Calgary. They wanted to see what bibliographic search engines (free or fee) that students were actually using by their 3rd or 4th year. The project had some interesting and even surprising results

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The Faculty Angle: What our Faculty Think about the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards

By Shelley Gullikson (Mount Allison University)

Abstract

An interesting session in which Gullikson describes a survey she’s done to determine how important faculty members rank the various ACRL IL outcomes. She also talks about the disciplinary differences in the rankings and the recent emergence of discipline-based standards.
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WIL-U Rename Me? …. Maybe Not

Inspired by the idea of exploring a new meaning for the WILU acronym, most recently put forward at WILU 2005 at the University of Guelph, York University Libraries developed the idea of running a name change competition involving a high level of delegate participation at this year’s conference. We received widespread endorsement from other WILU co-chairs (2001-2008) for this idea.

The goal was to find a name that reflects our current environment in which we talk about the broad goal of information literacy rather than the narrower concept of library instruction.

WILU 2007 delegates were invited to submit entries for a new conference name, which reflected the conference goals and mission, while still using the same WILU acronym. Submissions were accepted by e-mail in advance of the conference or directly at the conference itself. Collaborative and individual entries were welcome.

A judging panel, comprising representation from the last two WILU hosts (Acadia University and the University of Guelph), the present host (York University) and next year’s host (UBC Okanagan) reviewed the substantial number of entries received.

While the panel was inspired by the creativity and ideas submitted by delegates, they soon realized that delegates had been assigned an impossible task. Using the existing acronym it proved too challenging to come up with an alternative viable conference name, which reflected the conference goals in a superior way to the current acronym. The judges favourites read more like conference tag lines or slogans, and it was felt that they didn’t sound enough like a conference name. So the judging panel decided that they couldn’t endorse any of the names selected, and informed delegates of the decision not to hold a vote on entries received at the closing plenary session.

The upside was that the judges and delegates alike were given many a chuckle by the humourous entries suggested. Here are some of them for you to enjoy:

  • Workers of Information Literacy – Unite!
  • Windsor is, like, Uber!
  • Wanton Inebriated Librarians Undress
  • We’re Information Literate, Understand?
  • Wild Information Literacy Urges
  • Workshop on Libido Utilization

The judging panel would like to recommend that in future years the potential for a new name and acronym might be explored, though they also acknowledge the widespread recognition the current conference acronym has.

– Sophie Bury

Workshop: Information Literacy in Institutional Assessment

The presenters from LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, NY did a wonderful job with this workshop. They were invited to present at WILU after one of the organizers heard them speak at a library assessment conference. The presenters were Francine Egger-Sider, Charles Keyes, Cecilia Macheski, and Alexandra Rojas.

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Opening Keynote: Thinking vs. Knowing: Where Does Information Come in?

by Rick Salutin

A pretty typical Salutin talk, rambling, discursive, lots of digressions but interesting and engaging. Salutin starts by telling us he’s going to talk to us a student, teacher, reader, writer and a parent, he’s going to talk about teaching and writing, information, knowledge and understanding. He notes that he learns as much from teaching as being taught, something his teaching mentors told him would happen. You learn the most from magic moments with the profs, more than from their books. He spent a lot of time in libraries as a student and has recently rediscovered libraries and librarians with his young son. He wonders if books are a way to escape from people, because they are who we truly learn from via discussion. People come to librarians for help, as suplicants for a session of “laying on of the hands.”

His great teacher Harold Innes strongly emphasized the oral tradition and practically founded media studies. Of the oral vs. the written, Innes greatly preferred the oral tradition. Written tradition has a bias towards information and facts while the oral can find truth via back and forth, round & round in an exchange that can get quite deep. The oral dialectic is the best way to discover new information and is the best and only way to truly explore the deepest ideas. But, of course, it’s not the best way to disseminate those ideas. Plato’s Dialogue though poorly written gave some intimation of the complexity of discussion, books are a pale shadow of dynamic, vital interaction. The Talmud also gives some idea of the vitality of oral tradition.

What’s happened to the oral tradition? Has it gone away? It truly remains in two modern institutions: teaching and therapy, both of which are irreducible, which much happen live and in person (although Salutin surmises that there must be some forms of online therapy out there to gowith attempts at online and correspondance education). Salutin has taught all his life, since he was a teenager. He’s done a half course at UToronto for 30+ years; teaching is part of what it means to be fully human, we all do it in our lives especially with our kids. The oral tradition has no definitive model for this human interaction, it can’t be formalized. He had Conrad Black in one of his recent class session and was impressed with Black’s presence, the way he made a kind of presence in society real for his students in a way that contradicts all that lesson plan/methodology stuff. No one knows what we want from education, we only discover that in open ended moments of human interaction.

On the content side, the print tradition, kids can read the same book a hundred times (or watch the same movie). Perhaps we should take their example and instead of always trying to read something new we should just select the best texts and go over them repeatedly, gaining new understanding each time. We’re not good at knowing, we’re a lot better at thinking/pondering. Hannah Arendt said, “we mistake the urge to think for the urge to know.” We should just continue to use our minds.

What kind of an institution should a university be? Should it be in the service of social wealth and power or should it be a source of criticism, thought and outside the power structure? Marcuse: the “power of negative thinking” can be a positive force. Fighting against bad things is a positive action.

It’s worth noting that many of the speakers for the rest of the conference mentioned Salutin’s oral/print tradition dichotomy and it’s implications for instruction.

Posted by John Dupuis

FOUND: WINDBREAKER

A black nylon windbreaker with a grey stripe (size large) was found in 106.

Contact the Schulich info desk at (416) 736-2100 x 44602 8am-4pm EDT if it is yours.

A visual archive of WILU on Flickr

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Over a hundred great photos of WILU have been uploaded to the new WILU group on the photosharing website Flickr. You may have noticed some designatedphotographers floating snapping pictures at the breaks, lunches, social events and sessions. We are hoping these photos capture some of the lively mood and bright faces of the conference over the last few days. This is a public photo sharing group. We encourage you to upload your photos and add them to this Flickr group (you will first need a free Flickr account). The more the better! Also feel free to leave comments.