Online Forums/Hearings

Summer 2014

In Summer 2014, the task force held two open online hearings so that ACRL members and others could share their perspective on the revised draft (draft 2 released June 17, 2014) of the Framework:

We also held an in person hearing at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas (Saturday, June 28, 10:30 am – 11:30 am).

Contribute your written feedback on the revised draft Framework by 5pm Central on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Spring 2014

In Spring 2014, the task force held two open online forums so that ACRL members and others could share their perspective on the initial draft of the framework (draft 1, part 1 released February 20, 2014; draft 1, part 2 released April 4, 1014). The forums were held:

Fall 2013

In fall 2013, the task force held three online open forums to talk about the composition of the group, the direction it is taking in revising the standards, and, most importantly, for participants to share their input, reactions, and questions. This was an opportunity to influence the future of these important standards and positively impact information literacy instruction on your campus. The forums were held:

Q&A from the fall 2013 forums

Format and Description of the Revised Information Literacy Competencies
Transitional Period
Literature Review Supporting Revisions
Vocabulary & Definitions
Faculty Collaboration

Format and Description of the Revised Information Literacy Competencies

Q1: If I understand correctly, you are proposing a new approach with a different format, right? With the threshold concepts, dispositions related to it, knowledge practices also related, and metaliteracy objectives, perhaps, then examples of assignments related to these replacing the standard, performance indicator, outcome, and objective format of the current standards. Is that an accurate summation of what your draft will look like?

A: Yes, we are proposing a new framework, perhaps calling it a Framework for Information Literacy Competencies.  The name conveys the idea of being more open-ended, allowing local institutions to adapt the information literacy competencies in terms of the framework. Each institution represents a unique situation (perhaps numerous situations, given different programs, majors, etc.) What works for one situation won’t for others. The framework we are developing will indicate the critical understandings needed to be information literate. Librarians will have flexibility to select and reach the goals appropriate for their students. The examples and scenarios we will provide are designed to jump start the generation of ideas.

With our interest in the threshold concepts there is going to be less focus on skills, per se. We are trying to make the framework more encompassing rather than small individual skills.  We’ve been thinking about another term that substitutes for “skills” that really relates to abilities, currently we are using the term ‘knowledge practices’.

Just as the current standards act as our framework,  what we need to do is realize that there will be a lot of local work going on at local institutions. What we are trying to produce is an open-ended framework.  We are also proposing an online sandbox, to facilitate the sharing of ideas and success stories (though hearing about what didn’t work would help us all, also).

Q2: How many threshold concepts or standards do you plan to create?

A: The group that has been using the Delphi process currently has 9. We don’t think we will have more than 10-12. We’ve noticed that there are some gaps in the current 9 concepts, information ethics being one. We really want to think about data curation or information curation that was recommended by the previous task force. We therefore expect that we will be adding several important concepts to those identified through the Delphi process, though not very many.

Transitional Period

Q3: Will the task force be addressing ways to transition from the current information literacy standards to the new framework? For example, my college uses the information literacy standards as learning outcomes for college programs.  How will these learning outcomes need to be changed?

A: We recognize this is a reality because a lot of the current work that has been going on with current standards will need to continue so we think there may be a period of time where there will be parallel kinds of projects and for some institutions some aspects of the current standards certainly will continue to be very important, valuable, and useful.  We’re trying to provide a framework for the future so there will probably be a period of time where some institutions will be using some for some purposes but perhaps when they have another opportunity to do a re-accreditation or some new curriculum project that the new framework might come into play at that point.

In our discussions with the executive board there is going to be a real emphasis on instruction and awareness on how to use these revised competencies.   The executive board recognizes that there will need to be more information and more sharing amongst its members.  We have discussed webinars, preconference opportunities and a variety of different ways to help educate and raise awareness of the new framework.

Q4: Will the final report include some type of mapping to the original standards for institutions who are using the standards currently?

A: We’re examining how well a mapping process might work and how feasible it is for this task force to complete.

Literature Review

Q5: Are there further Threshold Concepts sources you have consulted besides the two listed references?  Will your literature review be available so we can more fully understand the ideas this new framework will be based on? What other research are you considering as you redesign?

A: We can refer you to a website that will have the threshold concepts literature we’ve been looking at and we’ll also be including a bibliography in our eventual document.

The previous task force did an extremely in-depth literature review and they spent a great deal of a year looking at a number of different models.  We, there are two of us on this task force that were on the previous one, looked at the 7 pillars of information literacy, which many of us are fans of, but there are some other ideas that are coming out.  So again, there is a variety of expertise on this task force, but what we did not want to do was redo all of the research that the previous group spent so much time doing.

Vocabulary & Definitions

Q6: Are you seeking a new or expanded definition of Information Literacy?

A: We are not seeking a new definition of information literacy, per se. The current standards were developed a number of years ago and don’t adequately reflect what we, our students, and everyone is working with now. As part of our document we will provide a provisional definition in the introduction or philosophical overview.

Q7: Are you replacing library jargon with learning theory jargon, e.g. metaliteracy and threshold concepts?

A: There is relatively little jargon of any type in the framework. Threshold concepts is a term and idea that has gained traction in a number of disciplines. The notion of “meta-” anything is familiar in the academy and among most educated readers. There are other terms like “dispositions” and “the affective domain” that we use. We have to have a working vocabulary to have this framework. A brief glossary in the final document will help.


Q8: Will the final version include assignment ideas?

A: We want to try to do that just to get some examples of how threshold concepts might work in practice along with key components of metaliteracy. We’ve talked about the idea of an online sandbox where people who are using certain elements of the information literacy competencies and have found ways that work really well could put up that information.  It’s just an idea exchange area to go beyond what we’re able to do in the document that we produce.

Q9:  Will you provide a more detailed and realistic assignment from start to finish with a real search topic?

A: We have talked about creating implementation scenarios to suggest how threshold concepts might work between faculty and librarian in a collaborative assignment design process and what a sample assignment resulting from that might look like.  What we showed you earlier in the presentation is perhaps just a part of that (slide 24). This could be embedded in an actual implementation scenario. One that is not up on the slides but is another threshold concept we’ve been working with is ‘format as process.’  That is, what makes a book a book and a newspaper article a newspaper article doesn’t correlate with how one accesses it (print/digital) but with the process that went into creating it. Understanding this principle helps students navigate the information they find online and evaluate it according to the process underlying its creation rather than by a set of memorized, inconsistent, constantly changing characteristics and so we’ve worked up the dispositions, the knowledge practices, the related metaliteracy learning objectives and then possible assessments or assignments.  Something that might be possible: assign students to identify several different applicable information sources that arise from different creation processes and communicate the unique values of each.  Something like that could be used within a session, but also then in collaboration with the instructor within the course assignment.  So we’re certainly thinking about different models.  Some might be something very quickly done in class, for example, provide students with references for items created in different ways, they identify how the sources were created and the implications.  Along with things that would require more collaboration or maybe require a credit bearing course, but certainly not all would.  So we’re really trying to hit a lot of different bases.

Faculty Collaboration

Q10: If threshold concepts can only be taught within the framework of a course, this seems like a very exclusive model and narrows the definition of success. How might the revised standards encourage faculty to collaborate with librarians? What is the role of the librarian in all of this?

A: We don’t mean for this to only be in the framework of a course.  We really want this to be usable in a variety of situations.  What we’ve been talking about, though, is that if there are ways of moving away from the one shot and we know that is not always possible, but if we engage faculty members to understand that it can’t all be covered in 50 minutes, then that will be beneficial. If we can engage non-library faculty in the conversation and have them see real benefits to their students in their discipline based on what they’re learning we think it can ease the way and perhaps lead to more collaboration.  And there might be other ways too, other than in-person instruction to help accomplish some of these goals.  We recognize that every situation has its own unique attributes.

The role of the librarian is still central but if we continue to try to do all of it ourselves  it is not going to work.  So we need to get others on board.  People have been complaining about the one shot sessions for years and years and obviously there are times where that is all that is available, but we would also like to encourage possibilities for moving beyond that.

Q11: If one of the primary goals of the revision is to encourage collaboration with faculty members, why weren’t more faculty members included in the committee membership?   Are any non-librarians included in the taskforce to get a broader perspective?

A: There are several non-librarians or former librarians who now serve in other capacities.  We have Ellie A. Fogarty, Vice President of the Middle-States Commission.  We have Allan Gyorke who is the chief academic technology officer at the University of Miami and Jordan Horowitz who is with the foundation the Institute for Evidence Based Change in San Francisco and of course many people know Joan Lippincott who is with CNI who is a librarian and Bill Roberson at the University at Albany who is the director for the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership.  We were attempting to be very collaborative with having people outside librarianship help us think this through.