Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IL RLO Share wiki

In order to keep the momentum going from the LILAC symposium discussions I've set up a wiki at http://ilrloshare.wetpaint.com to host:
  • the discussion write-up
  • discussion threads on all topics discussed at LILAC
  • IL RLO intitiatives/project links
  • IL RLO events
  • del.icio.us links relating to IL RLOs and sharing of learning material

If you're interested in any of the above or any aspect of IL RLOs please follow the link and click on the Apply to be a Writer button.

LILAC in Cardiff

A weekend off and Rachel and I were on our way to Cardiff to LILAC 2009.

This is an annual conference devoted to all things information literate and I was running a symposium, along with Nicola Siminson of Jorum and Rebecca Mogg from Cardiff University, on setting up an IL RLO community of practice (CoP).

This was my third time at LILAC, so it was great to catch up with so many familiar faces again. It was a really packed conference with loads of interesting parallel sessions. The symposium was due to take place on the morning of the last day and when I found out the running order I was a bit disappointed to have to wait until the last day (not least because it meant I couldn't stay out late the night before!). However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant that I got to sit through other sessions that focused on RLOs and get a sense of what people were talking about in these sessions.

I think what interested me the most about so many of the papers was that, to some extent, I'd seen it all before. There were so many projects, large and small, up and down the country that seem to still be focusing on creating so much content from scratch, rather than searching for existing appropriate content and re-purposing. More than once I found myself busily writing notes and then giving up half way through as I thought "...but...didn't so and so do a similar thing last year? But better? For less money? And in less time?".

This is fine as long as the IL community and wider library community are happy to accept that so much duplication of effort is still going on. If library managers are happy to set their librarians off on projects to create IL learning material without first seeing what else has been done, re-using what they can and embedding and re-branding to suit their context then that's great.

Except, I'm not sure that this is the case. I would argue that most librarians would love to go to a single point of access site with a set of links to high-quality IL material along with explicit indications of permission for re-use. I would also argue that these same librarians would like that learning material to have been created in easy to adapt formats with some information about how easy it should be to edit.

One of the most inspiring (if that's not too strong a word) papers was from Katy Wrathall on the SMILE project, in which the project team actually re-purposed existing material to create a module of IL resources on a Moodle site. I've yet to read the project report all the way through but I'm sure that some important lessons can be learned from this project.

We ran our symposium on the morning of April 1st (!) and had a healthy turn out of about thirty attendees. The group discussions gave us some very interesting talking points and it was just a shame that we didn't have longer for the open discussion. All the attendees indicated that they would like to see a continuation of the discussion and the organising of a CoP to support sharing of IL RLOs.

After the session we promised that we would keep in touch with the attendees and so I've now set up an IL RLO Share wiki. Anyone interested in joining our fledgling CoP should follow the wiki link and click on the Apply to be a Writer button. More information on the wiki to follow.

By the way, Rachel and I also managed a few runs in Cardiff, round the lovely Bute Park.