We’re pleased that our submission on the results of IL-DEM project made to information: interactions and impact (I3) has been accepted. Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Social Informatics will be strongly represented at this conference, which takes place in Aberdeen in June.
Our i3 presentation will cover a range of findings including the means by which community councillors learn about their roles, and how they discover and share information about local issues. These results derive from our investigations based on SCONUL’s 7-pillars model of information literacy (PDF).
We have reported practical aspects of our results in our Stakeholder Report for the IL-DEM project. At I3 we look forward to reporting the results in an academic context. We also plan to extend the I3 presentation as a full journal article for submission to the Journal of Library and Information Science.
We’ve also learnt that our abstract on our use of Activity Theory as a data-analysis tool has been accepted for the 2017 European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL). This conference takes place in St Malo, France in September. It is also our intention to develop this second conference paper into a more substantial output. We’ll blog details of this in due course.
IL-DEM data collection is in full swing! We’ve interviewed 18 community councillors and are about halfway through transcribing the interviews. (We’re gathering data by other means too for this project, but we’ll talk about them in later blog posts.)
We haven’t yet begun to code and analyse the interview data rigorously, but for now here are some cherry-picked highlights of the ‘story so far’. Most participants have recognised that they have information-training needs of some kind – one even referred to the Pyramid hierarchy of skills – so here we focus on training.
(Originally posted on Professor Hazel Hall’s website on 2 December 2016)
The Centre for Social Informatics is currently undertaking a project entitled Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM). Supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, our work investigates levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system.
Specifically Peter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are exploring how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so we’re extending two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research.
The IL-DEM project is designed to answer three research questions which Bruce set out in his post on 23 October. This post is our chance to start exploring the first question:
What are the current practices of Community Councillors in exploiting information channels for engaging citizens in the democratic process?
Work on the IL-DEM project is now underway. Hazel has introduced the project already, but here I hope to explain what we’ll actually be doing. We’ll start from the belief that information literacy – the ability to source, process, store and pass on information – is a key part of community councillors’ duties.
This stems from the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973,
In addition to any other purpose which a community council may pursue, the general purpose of a community council shall be to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area, and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which these authorities are responsible, and to take such action in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable.