Re-defining and refining Information Literacy and Reference Services in the digital age

I attended “Re-defining and refining Information Literacy and Reference Services in the digital age” at the National Library of Singapore today. The keynote speaker was Dr Ismail Serageldin – the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
He said there are seven pillars of the knowledge revolution:
1. Parsing life and organisation – documents are alive – not dead. Documents on the web are ever-changing whereas a book is “dead” – information does not change
2. Image – images convey more information than is possible in text
3. Humans need machines to access and retrieve information
4. Complexity and chaos
5. Computation and research
6. Convergence and transformation
7. Pluri-disciplinarity and policy

  • The age of big data is here. There are fifteen libraries worth of data per person on earth. 256 exabytes in 2007 was what was online – 1 exabyte a day today. New tools driven by big data will be created and they will come our way.
  • Information Literacy for the future: There will be too much information – the role of libraries will be to mediate, to provide information with speed and accuracy, provide quality information and to provide information ethically.
  • MOOCs are here to stay.
  • He likened libraries to the Apple store concept – staff are knowledgeable – people like to talk to others – people contact is the key difference.
  • Spaces in libraries need to be creative messy, group study, private research quiet spaces and community spaces (exhibits, events, places the community call their own).
  • Starting research from outside the library homepage – analysis of user behaviour from an academic library – Aaron Tay
  • Key points – discovery happens from elsewhere (not your home page).
  • Assume that discovery happens elsewhere and focus on fulfilment.
  • He talked about a tool called proxy bookmarklet which adds the ezyproxy stem to url. Users can search your resources using Google Scholar and then authenticate to get full text using the proxy bookmarklet.
  • Two other tools: wikipedia – Forward to Libraries and Google Scholar – add my library.
  • Promotion of any tool is key even after they added Summon as a discovery layer 50% of users discovered library resources outside of the library web pages.

More to come from this session… this is just a taster.

IFLA World Library and Information Congress
79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
17-23 August 2013, Singapore

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