LILAC 2015

I’ll be involved in 2 presentations this week at the LILAC 2015 conference in sunny Newcastle:

FRIDAY MORNING: What is workplace information literacy? A comparison of views from the chalkface and the workplace
Charles Inskip, University College London,

This presentation discusses a mapping of information literacy (IL) concepts drawn from the library and information professional literature (CILIP, 2014; SCONUL, 2011) to graduate employability profiles drawn from higher education (QAA, 2014; Rees et al, 2006) and careers services (NCS, 2012; Prospects, 2014) in terms of their reference to information/digital literacies. The purpose of the mapping is to identify patterns of description in the UK around information literacies and further enable comparisons between professions and careers in terms of their IL needs. The CILIP (2014) and SCONUL (2011) frameworks are widely used in higher education by library and information professionals to develop and deliver information literacy interventions. The employability profiles and benchmark statements are widely used, alongside professional accreditation criteria and other frameworks, in good practice education to inform curriculum development.

The careers services job profiles are designed to assist job seekers identify suitable jobs and careers. There is a perceived lack of uptake of the IL concept by employers, which is arguably exacerbated by a semantic gap between the higher education views of IL and those within the workplace. The analysis explores this gap between stakeholder views, comparing them to definitions of workplace information literacy drawn from the academic literature. The discussion of the analysis identifies key areas where library and information professionals may contribute to better communication between these stakeholders, thus enabling a more positive transition for those moving into the workplace.


CILIP (2014) Professional knowledge and skills base. Available online at accessed 31 Dec 2014.

NCS (2012) Job profiles. Available online at accessed 31 Dec 2014.

Prospects (2014) Types of jobs. Available online at accessed 31 Dec 2014.

QAA (2014) The UK Quality Code for Higher Education: subject benchmark statements. Available online at accessed 31 Dec 2014.

Rees, C., Forbes, P. & Kubler, B. (2006) Student employability profiles: a guide for higher education practitioners. Available online at

SCONUL (2011) The SCONUL seven pillars of information literacy: core model for Higher Education. Available online at accessed 31 Dec 2014.


THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Making IL relevant in employment settings
Stéphane Goldstein, Research Information Network,
Charlie Inskip, University College London,
Jane Secker, London School of Economics and Political Science,
Geoff Walton, Northumbria University,

There is a growing body of scholarly literature on the place of information use and handling in employment settings. But rarely is this explicitly recognised by employers as information literacy (IL), and there is correspondingly little evidence on the impact of IL on the workplace. This timely symposium seeks to examine how IL – however it is expressed or defined – is perceived and understood by industry and businesses. It will contribute to the debate about the merits of persuading organisations with an interest in employment and employability to recognise the competences and know-how associated with IL as an important factor in their skills and professional development agendas, and how best to do this.

During 2014, a report was issued [1] which examines the relevance of IL as a transferable attribute for individuals as they move from higher education to professional employment. This presented and analysed views from key stakeholders at the interface between higher education and employment: careers services, professional and accreditation bodies, employers and representative or specialist bodies relating to employment and skills. The report was complemented by an annotated bibliography [2] that addressed a set of related questions: (i) how should IL be described within workplace settings; (ii) what are the priority/key information skills and abilities related to the effective use of information in the workplace; and (iii) whether there is any evidence of the value and/or impact of IL in the workplace.

This work will help to progress the dialogue between organisations at the interface between higher education and employment, and to consider how they might:

  • benefit from a further exploration of the relevance of IL to their policies and practices;
  • better understand and recognise how IL relates to the particular context and requirements of different professional settings, and how it might contribute to career progression;
  • consider how the professional development infrastructure might be better aligned with IL;
  • reflect on what role information professionals might play to help to foster this dialogue.


The symposium provides an opportunity to reflect on possible outcomes of this ongoing work. It will consider the following questions:

  • What are the merits and usefulness of progressing a dialogue with stakeholders at the interface between higher education and employment?
  • How might the concept of IL in the workplace be explained in a language that relates to the needs and priorities of these stakeholders?
  • What might be done (strategies, approaches…) to generate interest among these stakeholders in the relevance and application of IL to employment contexts; and what are the barriers to doing so?
  • What role can be played by the CILIP Information Literacy Group, InformAll and other interested parties in moving this agenda forward?


The symposium has a practical purpose, in contributing to define ways in which interest in IL might be developed in sectors, beyond the library world, where it has not been readily recognised as a defined set of attributes. Delegates should come with ideas and questions and be willing to participate in a lively debate about the way forward. The session will consist of a 10-minute introduction from the panel of presenters. Delegates will then be invited to cluster in small groups in the meeting room to consider the above questions question for up to 5 minutes each, and on that basis, to present views for discussion to the entire audience. The panel of presenters will be at hand to facilitate the discussion and to record emerging ideas and conclusions.


Goldstein, S., (2014) Transferring information know-how: Information literacy at the interface between higher education and employment. InformAll –

Williams, D., Cooper, K and Wavell, C. (2014) Information Literacy in the Workplace: an annotated bibliography. Robert Gordon University Institute for Management, Governance & Society (IMaGeS) in association with InformAll –


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