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Benchmarking Strategic Engagement with Information Literacy
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  1. Benchmarking Strategic Engagement with Information Literacy Professor Sheila Corrall s.m.corrall@sheffield.ac.uk

  2. Presentation outline • Concepts and definitions • Aims and objectives • Methods and limitations • Results: headlines, specifics • Findings: sharp contrasts, striking features • Areas for further research LILAC 2007

  3. Concepts and definitions Benchmarking ‘the search for best practices that lead to superior performance’ (Camp, 1989) ‘the process of identifying and learning from best practices in other organisations’ (Oakland & Tanner, 2001) LILAC 2007

  4. Concepts and definitions ‘Strategic thinking means to take the long-term view and to see the big picture… Understanding the strategy concept, the levels of strategy, and strategy formulation versus implementation is an important start toward strategic thinking…’ (Daft, 1988) LILAC 2007

  5. Aim • To investigate levels of strategic engagement with information literacy in UK higher education Objectives • To locate examples of institutional practices • To characterise general patterns of activity • To develop indicators of strategic engagement • To identify areas for further research LILAC 2007

  6. Research design Methods • Website survey (114 institutions) • Systematic browsing and keyword searching • Iterative process of data gathering • Coding, categorisation and descriptive statistics Limitations • Restricted to publicly available information • Collected as snapshots at specific times • Searches thorough, but not exhaustive LILAC 2007

  7. Results: Headlines • Evidence found at 75 sites (66%) • in institutional documents at 51 sites (45%) • in library etc documents at 49 sites (43%) • in standalone documents at 15 sites* (20%) • ‘Information literacy’ used in c50% cases (approx two-thirds for standalone documents) *Includes 8 institutions committed to producing documents LILAC 2007

  8. LIS mission/objectives (23) LIS strategies/plans (31) Information/KM strategies (21) Learning and teaching strategies (16) Graduate attributes (5) Student skillsets (20) Skills policies/guidelines (5) + research training programmes IL strategies (5) + 5 planned/in progress IL policies (3) + 1 planned/in progress IL frameworks (7) + 2 planned/in progress + projects/initiatives networks/groups logos/branding Results: Specifics LILAC 2007

  9. Findings: Sharp contrasts • Penetration – number and extent of references within documents and across different strategies • Positioning – location of documents on websites and prominence of statements within documents • Precision – specificity of aims/objectives/goals, from general policy/principles to specific targets eg Explore integration of information skills in curriculum cf Embed IL in 100% taught course curriculum by 2008 LILAC 2007

  10. Findings: Striking features • 20 cases where references found at institutional level, but not reflected in library documentation • Confusion for students over relative importance of skills with differing lists on different web pages • Statements of graduate attributes providing big opportunities for promotion of IL at highest levels • Only 2 cases where connections made between information literacy/skills and RCUK statement LILAC 2007

  11. Domains of engagement Core business, eg research learning and teaching graduate attributes/skills PDP/employability Support functions, eg human resources information/library Measures of engagement Penetration number of documents linkage of strategies extent of coverage Positioning level of statements order of points Precision specificity of goals Strategic benchmarking LILAC 2007

  12. Areas for further research • In-depth investigation in particular institutions, drawing on evidence not in the public domain (documentary and non-documentary sources) • Comparative studies among groups of similar or different institutions (eg via benchmarking clubs) • More exploration of strategic engagement with information literacy/skills in different sectors LILAC 2007