The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and The Right Information, the Scottish Information Literacy Community of Practice hosted a Digital and Information Literacy Symposium examining the relevance of digital and information literacy in relation to health, education, housing, employability and welfare reform. The central theme was how we ensure equality of access to information across the country and reduce the gap between the information rich and information poor.
Information Literacy in Impoverished Circumstances: Insights from information Behaviour Research
Dr Steven Buchanan, Head of Information Science (iLab) Research Group & Director of PG Teaching, University of Strathclyde
Steven described the research iLab is conducting in a range of groups including:
- Information seeking behaviours of Young mothers
- Information behaviours of disadvantaged and disengaged adolescents
However, Steven pointed out that iLab research suggests that we need to review how public libraries meet the information needs of people in disadvantaged and disengaged circumstances, and develop core literacy skills. An action-oriented interdisciplinary approach (bringing together academia and practitioners) should support this work.
Information Literacy in the Health Sector
Annette Thain, Manager Knowledge Services, NHS Education for Scotland
Annette took us through a wide range of resources in the NHSScotland Knowledge Network that support health literacy. Health literacy was defined as people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate the health and social care systems. These resources include:
- A knowledge manager employed to deliver training in health literacy
- Search tips
- Actionable knowledge products and evidence summaries
- Knowledge management toolbox
- Iriss' advice on personal learning networks
- Knowledge into action cycle. This replaces the previous information literacy cycle
- Knowledge into action toolkit
- Training resources including Webex and eLearning. Annette also recommended #tecscot as a resource to improve digital skills
Clinical librarian and outreach librarian roles involve carrying out information sourcing on behalf of health professionals. Generally the librarian is part of the clinical team and must work quickly and accurately to find relevant research evidence and other information so that care and treatment can be decided on. This is an expanding role in the health information professional workforce and research has shown that clinical/health librarians do make a difference to the quality of care be enabling health care staff to:
- Be effective and safe practitioners
- Work as part of a multidisciplinary team
- Help patients and the public gain the skills and ability to find, understand and apply health information as and when required to do so
It was interesting to hear results of NHS Education for Scotland research which showed 75% of health staff surveyed would ask Google before asking colleagues. One final tip which I’ll be checking out was how to bookmark tweets you like by linking your Twitter account to your Diigo account.
Digitally Agile National Principles
Liz Green, Senior Development Officer, YouthLink Scotland
Liz explained the work of the Digitally Agile Community Learning and Development Project. This focused on the 3 phases of the Digitally Agile National Principles - a national framework of guiding principles for the use of digital technology and social media in community learning and development.
The 9 principles have been designed to be used and adapted by anyone who feels that focus and clarity is needed in digital technology and social media learning. The principles are of particular importance to those working in organisations and services from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors . Those working in this area work with some of the most disadvantaged groups in society. The principles are easily related to everyday practical teaching and can help those disadvantaged groups increase their digital literacy and improve their lives.
It was also interesting to hear of the other work YouthLink Scotland is involved with. This includes:
- The Digital Youth Network - a network for practitioners who are using digital tools and online spaces in their work with young people
- 5Rights - takes the existing rights of children and young people (under 18) and articulates them for the digital world
- LGBT Youth Scotland which now offers an anonymous live chat service around a range of topics i.e. sexting
- #notwithoutme project - engaging and building young people's digital literacy
Digital Learning & Cultural Practice
Dr Cristina Costa, Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning, University of Strathclyde
New networking cultures are emerging as more and more people engage digitally. Working and communicating digitally is changing some of the fundamental ways people connect, interact, share, and work. A new networking culture appears to be evolving as a result. It is increasing vital that new forms of engagement are put in to practice in all areas of working life and at home. The world is a very competitive place to live and work and it is therefore important to keep up to date with developments and advancements in terms of collaboration, personal and professional development. The technology has to become more than a tool, it must become an enabler, a concept and a mind-set. The aim being to allow us to become knowledgeable in digital literacies in order to becoming knowledge able and apply new skills in our everyday lives. Aiming to have the confidence to create, evaluate, analyse and apply these new skills.
Cristina then described the digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland in 4 quadrants, highlighting its relevance to each:
- Develop Skills – Educators, Skills and Confidence
- Improve Access – Learners, Access
- Empower – Leaders, Drive Innovation
- Enhance – Curriculum and Assessment
Cristina developed this by then explaining the importance of critical digital literacy. By applying these skills we can recognise the Internet as a place to access knowledge networks. The skills also allow us to use free online tools like Wikipedia - but take them at face value. Users also need to be aware that employers may now routinely Google for information about applicants to find out more about them. This is one reason why we should all be aware of our digital identity (persona) and what we say online.
One key message we took away from this session was to try and mirror users’ online behaviours when providing information online. So if they're used to searching trip advisor – try and present information in a similar format.
Basic Digital Skills & Information Literacy
Beth Murphy, One Digital Project Officer, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
Beth gave a very clear and interesting presentation on the work SCVO is doing to tackle inequality by equipping individuals with basic digital skills. SCVO’s One Digital initiative was also highlighted.
Having the skills to apply our knowledge of digital skills in every aspect of daily life, particularly in the workplace we must be able to find, evaluate, use and manage information that is valued by employers. We must be confident when working online and be able to know which information we can trust to ensure that it is fit for purpose. Once we have source our information and selected the appropriate material we must be able to keep up to date with any further developments. We must think about our digital presence – be safe and ensure that we bear in mind that anyone can put information on the web , emphasising the importance of selecting appropriate material or evidence to help support decision making.
Beth then focused on the Basic Digital Skills Framework - a really valuable resource which can be used by individuals and organisations to help people to assess and develop their digital skills. Another resource worth checking out is Doteveryone. Created by Martha Lane Fox to understand and address the moral and social challenges the Internet presents, in order to help make life fairer and simpler for everyone in the UK. Beth finished by outlining SCVO’s future plans which include:
- Digital Champion development
- Digital Participation Charter Fund (applications for funding are open until 12th January 2017)
- A call to action urging other charity leaders in Scotland to embrace the digital agenda within the next year
- More training and resources
- Senior leadership development
Meet The Hackers
Gerry Grant and Adam Rapley, Ethical Hacking Consultants, Scottish Business Resilience Centre
The best session I’ve ever attended on cyber security - Gerry and Adam’s entertaining reality check on cyber security had many attendees vowing they were going to update passwords and be more aware about protecting their data. The Scottish Business Resilience Centre offers business services including security assessments, footprinting (finding someone's digital footprint) and training on cyber security. There is more information on this in SBRC’s resources. They presented many tips to help us secure our data – some of which we hadn’t considered before:
- Always back up your data
- Never click a link on an email unless you know who it’s from and what it is. Mouseover the sender to reveal the email address it came from.
- System updates matter - always take the upgrade when prompted
- Use strong alpha-numeric passwords and include symbols. A space also counts as symbol – though very few people use it
- Use different password for different accounts
- Or use passphrases instead of a passwords. These are harder for hackers to find and may be easier for you to remember. An example of creating and remembering a good passphrase
- Also consider password managers such as Lastpass and 1password
- Use two factor authentication when offered – e.g. Google accounts
- Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts
- Be aware that social media accounts are totally public by default, and can include personal details such as your location unless you make them private (or at least turn location off)
- Be wary when using free public wifi. You could be connecting to a fake wifi network hackers have set up to intercept your data. Make sure the URL of the wifi network starts with https. Turn off wifi and click on forget network when you’re finished using it
- Use wigle.net to find wifi networks
Paul Gray and Morag Higgison