Buset and Kvale on increasing information literacy

Information literacy has been a buzzword in the library world for a while now. One thing to increase information literacy has been to produce if I translate it directly from swedish: search guides or search guidelines.

Karen Buset and Sigvor Kvale, from Norweigan University of Science and Technology (NTNU), has produced an e-learning tool similar to search guidelines called VIKO. Maybe a bit broader because it includes also academic writing guidelines. The title of their talk was: “Increasing information literacy at NTNU and St.Olavs hospital – Implementation of an e-learning tool”, presented at the Parallel Session II , Thursday, 14 Sept, 14.00 – 15.30, at the EAHIL conference in Cluj-Napoca 2006.

NTNU in Trondheim is the second largest university in Norway with 20.000 students. In contrary to many other search guidelines NTNU has put a lot of effort in the integration of the guide into the user education at NTNU library. Like distributing promotional material to all branch libraries, demonstration of VIKO to all reference and subject librarians, trying to find key persons at the institutions to get it implemented at variuos programs, help teachers linkt to VIKO from their courses hompages, integrate it at the regulary library training classes and courses at the hospital deparments.

VIKO has improved student papers and the use of VIKO has also increased, said Buset and Kvale. Students and teachers has confirmed that VIKO is useful and meets the users needs and is a product that meets an important demand that can enhance collaboration between library and academic staff.

They have planned an evaluation survey in 2007 and they have also planned an update of VIKO. Will be interesting to see that evaluation. In many swedish research libraries it exists search guides and Else Nygren did an evaluation of them as BIBSAM project 2004: Evaluation of search guidelines [PDF]. The result was depressing. Users preferred trial-and-error instead of help texts. The best search guide in Sweden is the guide produced bu Blekinge Technical University: The big search guide – an interactive course on how to search, assess and treat information.

As a nitpicking librarian I checked that part in VIKO about searching the Internet. As Buset and Kvale said they have tried to write in a manner that won’t make the information out of date that fast. I agree they’ve done it quite good in the Internet search part. Though when calling Scirus a scientific search engine they should compare it with Google Scholar and Window Live Academic. They all have different approaches but call them selves all scientific. But I know search guides must be brief. Though I believe more in interactive search guidelines than text-based, when it comes to search in different interfaces at least.

But why doing all these guidelines at every university? Why don’t cooperate all libraries and make translations and adjustments for local needs instead?

Now I see that all power point presentations has been put up on EAHIL conference web site. Thanks for that!