Good practice in information-handling training

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 06 October 2010 17:08

Information-handling training takes place across many institutions, and in many guises. However, as highlighted in RIN’s Mind the Skills Gap report, such training is often ad hoc and frequently suffer from low visibility in the broad context of researcher development.

Promoting good practice

There is value therefore in identifying instances of good practice. Setting out such examples in a clear and accessible way would help to raise the profile of this agenda, particularly with researchers; and could serve as a basis of subsequent advocacy work. The Working Group on Information Handling has made the highlighting of good practice one of its key tasks during the course of 2010, and a preliminary list of 13 examples from several institutions in the UK has been drawn up, attached below. This is a first step: the intention is to see this list grow and diversify, not least so that it also includes areas such as training in data management and curation.

Ways also have to be found of disseminating these examples, so that they can be better exploited. At present, they have been incorporated into Vitae’s Database of Practice (whose template has been used for structuring the examples). This is a good start, but arguably there are many more resources, such as Jorum, where such information can usefully be posted; the Working Group is reflecting on what these resources might be, how to make use of them, and how they might be more effectively linked. During 2011, the Group will also be following two strands:

  • the formulation of a set of agreed criteria to help trainers define and set out good practice;
  • the possible development of a simple taxonomy to structure the way that relevant competencies, knowledge and skills are described. 

In addition, RIN has teamed up with the UK Council for Graduate Education to run a workshop on good practice in information literacy for academic research. This will be held on 14 March 2011 at the University of Warwick.

Good practice and the Researcher Development Framework

The setting out of good practice also provides a timely opportunity to illustrate Vitae’s new Researcher Development Framework, launched in September 2010. As described elsewhere on this site, the RDF recognises the importance of information literacy as a factor in researcher development; the document below maps our initial list of 13 examples against the relevant elements of the RDF (and also, for reference, against SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Information Literacy). We hope that this is a useful way of charting practice on the ground against the aspirations expressed in the RDF.

For further information, or to suggest ways in which good practice can be charted and highlighted, please contact .

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