InfoFest 2017

See the Storify at

On Thursday 4 May, Professionals from across the region gathered at the University of Kent’s Templeman Library in Canterbury. Discussion focused on how Educators and Librarians are natural allies in developing information literacy skills and tackling fake news in an age of filter bubbles.


Swedish School Librarian Emma Johansen (@KSeenaa) kick-started the conference via Skype and answered questions from the audience on her experience administrating Sweden’s official Twitter account (@Sweden). The Twitter account is transferred to a new volunteer each week and Emma was the administrator on 20 February 2017 when US President Donald Trump spoke publicly of a fictitious terror incident; declaring “look what happened last night in Sweden.”  The account was deluged with notifications and Emma responded by checking the credibility of Trump’s sources before non-apologetically disputing the claim:

She described the incident as “mind-blowing” after receiving a torrent of both supportive and abusive tweets. Emma has since received thanks from the Swedish Institute and government. Emma can be found on Twitter, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth and Plurk @Keenaa.  She is not on Facebook, describing their user agreement as “absolutely horrid”.

More information on the Curators of Sweden Twitter account at

Another Swedish initiative was The Swedish Number- the initiative allowed individuals from across the globe to phone a Swede to “talk about anything”.

Breakout Sessions (click titles for slides)

Information Literacy in Schools, Jane Knott

The talk was about Jane’s experience of embedding Information Literacy into the curriculum at Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford.

  • A study from 2011  by Cambridge University’s exam board was referred to which concluded that undergraduate students hadn’t been prepared with the necessary study and research skills to succeed at University
  • There have been moves to embed Information Literacy into the curriculum across the board in Wales and Scotland. However, the opposite is the case in England where Ofsted have left it to the individual schools and librarians to embed Information Literacy ad hoc.
  • There are opportunities to embed Information Literacy in local history and individual projects at secondary school levels. Once students reach sixth form they start to reference and look at different sources, such as a journals and magazines, rather than just books and Internet.
  • Jane talked about her involvement with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This is an extended piece of work which is equivalent to half an A Level, it is available of you are studying at a school which offers AQA and Edexcel qualifications.
    • You study one topic in depth
    • You have an individual tutor
    • You attend training in academic practices, e.g. research, referencing, writing
    • You produce wither a 5,000 word report or a ‘product/object’ + a 1,000 word report
  • Jane became a EPQ tutor, and has found this to be an excellent way of getting students into the library and embedding information skills
  • The EPQ seems to be a useful thing to do, it has been used to good effect in UCAS statements and students have found it prepares them for the transition to University.

Ideas Café – encouraging wider student reading, Andy Prue

  • The idea for the Ideas Café came about initially with one of the lecturers from the Business School. The lecturer found that students only read the prescribed reading, and never read around their subject
  • They came up with the Ideas Café as a way of encouraging extracurricular reading
  • The group meets twice a month, the first meeting focuses on reading around a suggested topic. In the second meeting a student will give a presentation , which is followed by a discussion
  • The idea has grown, and they are planning to run similar groups at other campuses, such as Drill Hall

 Information literacy frameworks in Higher Education, Dr Charles Inskip

This session provided an overview of definitions, frameworks, models and theories. Digital Literacy is a focus of the QAA and is expected to inform University course briefs and assessment criteria in the near future. The group were divided into teams to develop a lesson plan based around an allocated information literacy standard (ACRL, ANCIL, ALA, SCONUL). This practical activity demonstrated that all models have got something we can apply to teach information literacy through interventions.

Charles is a member of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG) that aims to give a voice to information literacy through research funding, publication of an OA journal, awards and carrying out practice-based research.

Accessibility is Good for You, Ben Watson, University of Kent

The group were introduced to a range of assistive software tools used at the University of Kent to enable an inclusive learning experience for all students. These tools can be used on portable devices such as smart phones and tablets. They are listed and linked at

Your Digital Footprint and Managing an Appropriate Online Identity- Fragkiskos Filippaios, Kent Business School

Following a hearty lunch, delegates reconvened to the lecture theatre for a fascinating talk on the benefits and pitfalls of an online social media presence. Fragkiskos provided an overview of social media popularity, explaining that it’s growth is largely due to the proliferation of smart mobile devices.

Positive side:

  • Building new relationships, maintaining existing ones and exploting social capital to it’s full extent.
  • Contributes to career advancement through networking, knowledge sharing and promotion of job openings.
  • Platform to promote organisational performance

Negative side:

  • Many companies check applicant social media accounts as part of the selection process. Important to be aware of privacy settings, especially on Facebook where incriminating content is more likely to be present (i.e. drunken nights out!). 7/10 American companies are thought to have rejected candidates due to the content of their online profile.
  • “Choose your friends wisely”- easy to forget who is privy to your personal content.

Advised strategies:

  • Build your own online brand, showcasing your skills and expertise
  • Follow group discussions and participate in the professional community
  • Become a thought leader, start and actively maintain topical blogs.
  • Remove damaging/ diluting content
  • Use privacy settings and be selective when accepting/ adding friends (Facebook)
  • Build a positive practice and plan for the future

Slide show here

Panel Discussion

Panal members: Tom Roper (NHS), Dr Charles Inslip (UCL), Philippa Rose (CILIP & Kings School) and Fragkoskis Fillippaios (University of Kent).

Following an insightful day of discussions, delegates had a cornucopia of questions for the panel of experts on the topic of fake news and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wale’s new ‘evidence-based journalism’ news channel Wikitribune.

Some quotes from the discussion can be viewed below and on the Storify:

“Fake news dates back to the 18th century” – Dr Charles Inslip

“As librarians we have a fantastic opportunity to review our role and impact in society” – Dr Charles Inslip

“We need to resist the idea of Facebook as a news channel.” – Tom Roper

“Academics make news, journalists write it” – Dr Charles Inslip

It’s about making readers aware of the choices they can make – all

“Scepticism is a healthy outlook”  – Dr Charles Inslip

One thing that the panel members would like to see happen that would make a difference in a post-truth world:

“Training of the trainer, because we have a responsibility too” -Fragkoskis Fillippaios

“Making Information Literacy seen as important in all educational establishments”– Philippa Rose

“Put it on the curriculum!” – – Dr Charles Inslip

“We need more librarians” – Tom Roper

Finally, congratulations to Simon, our lucky winner of new Facet publication Information Literacy in the Workplace.

Thanks to all that came along, we look forward to seeing you at InfoFest 2018.


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