Tag Archives: Google

Week 6: Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.

Cilip, Information Literacy Definition, Source: http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/advocacy/information-literacy/pages/definition.aspx [Accessed 17/2/2013]

It is one of the key areas of work for the Liaison team. It’s not just a skill for getting through university which is then discarded at graduation. Information Literacy is a lifelong skill for academic, work and everyday life. It starts (or should start) well before a student gets to university and should continue throughout our lives.

Some examples of lifelong IL would include

  • using your your IL skills to assess online offers e.g. are you being ripped off by an online scam? Is the offer too good to be true?
  • A student about to go on a workplacement researching their employer, finding out their journey to the placement and assessing the work culture required e.g. what clothing is suitable for a work placement in an office rather than in a factory
  • Making sure you’ve used copyright free images or lyrics on a party invitation or on your blog
  • Referencing web resources clearly in a project report for your employer
  • Not falling for an internet hoax

The lifelong importance of Information Literacy is shown via Barack Obama’s Presidential Decree

Information Literacy Theory

There are lots of theories on Information Theory which allow us to benchmark our services against other institutions. These are some of the most well known:

SCONUL Seven Pillars

CILIP Definition

American Library Association (ALA) Information Literacy Standards

ACRL Competency standards ACRL is the Association of College and Research Libraries division of the ALA

Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework(ANZILL)

Six Frames for Information Literacy Education

I have put some articles and useful links in the 23things Diigo Group, you can view them here.

Methods of Information Literacy Delivery


Information Literacy is a large area and can be delivered in a variety of ways. For example on YouTube, face to face or online via Moodle.

These are some good examples:

Our new Moodle Area




Cardiff University Information Literacy Resource Bank (I have used some of this in the Moodle area)

Further Reading

This week’s things look at Search Engines Beyond Google  and also Memrise which is a type of Information Literacy tool.

Don’t forget to look at the Cool Extra thing this week – lots of interesting things that Google can do!


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Thing 14: Search Engines – going beyond Google

Search engines market share

Market share of Search Engines Feb 12 – Jan 13. Source: StatOwl

When you search for things the chances are you use google (80 % of us do) but there are other search engines.  .Your  laptop possibly defaults to searching via Bing! Should you try another search engine?

This week  take a look at some other search engines, and blog on which ones you prefer, and what you would use in future

There are lots of different search engines out there, but the main rivals to Google are


Yahoo: http://uk.yahoo.com/

Ask (was Ask Jeeves) http://uk.ask.com/

Try running the same search across each of these and see how results compare.

University of Berkley has a  search engine comparison guide which also includes the Exalead search engine.
SearchEngineLand has useful guides to using Google, Bing and Yahoo

You can see some very extensive lists of other search engines from the SearchEngineList and from internet guru Phil Bradley

Other search tools enable you to focus on specific types of data or on particular subjects. These allow you to cut out some of the less relevant or less academic results. Here are a few for you to consider – don’t forget to blog about ones for other subjects so as to share with other participants.

Wolfram Alpha Not a general search engine – rather a ‘computational search engine’ so great for finding statistics, mathematical equations, data, musical chords etc. You can check their subject examples for a suprisingly wide range of topics

Scirus for scientific information including journal articles, researcher information etc

TechXtra for engineering, mathematics and computing

Zanran for Statistics

Google Scholar  for scholarly papers.

Open Access Repositories
Repositories can contain full text access to pre-print versions of journal articles, theses, working papers etc. Much research is freely available, although sometimes there will be time delayed embargoes. This can mean that you will find different versions for example you may find the authors finished word document rather than the actual typeset and published article. Visit the Royal Holloway Repository here.

Many of the hits you find via Google Scholar are mined from open access repositories. You can also search repositories via Opendoar a world wide repository listing and directory. An alternative is Oaister which is now part of WorldCat. You can also go directly to a University’s homepage and search to see if they have a repository. This can be  useful if you’re looking for a thesis from another country or are looking for further information on a project associated with the university in question.

Meta Search engines and comparing search results from different search engines

You can compare the different number and type of results you’ve found between different search engines and Meta Search Engines allow you to do this easily. You may want to think about whether the quality of results vary and if different search engines offer different types of materials e.g. images or data? Can we ever search everything via a single search box? How much stuff is not included in search engines? This is something we are always telling students – search engines only cover a small part of the web.

Meta Search Engines

Meta Search Engines search across several search engines so that you don’t have to repeat your search in each one.

http://www.metacrawler.com/  searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers

www.dogpile.com Dogpile seems similar as it searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers. The design is quite cute with dog images though! You can search the UK version and compare results
 http://www.zuula.com/ Zuula searches several different engines in addition to google, bing and yahoo. You can see results by each provider in results tabs at the top of the screen. You’ll see very wide variation between the different sets of results – you may also discover some odd results
Thing 14 Compare search engines

Try searching for your name in Zuula. How do the results compare? Why do you think that is? Is Google still your favourite search engine? Try running your search in one of the engines directly, and then compare the number of results you find running the same search using one of the meta engines – do you get the same number of results or not?

Adapted from the 23things City post on Google.

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Thing 12: Google Drive


This week’s theme is ‘Office 2.0’ and we’re kicking off with Google’s attempt to replicate traditional office programmes: Google Drive (formerly Google Docs).

Google Drive offers versions of typical Office programs: Word documents, Presentations (see the posts on Prezi and Slideshare for other ways to create a presentation), Form builders, Drawing tools and Spreadsheets. DriveoptionsThey can’t do quite as many things as the programs we’re all used to, but are an easy, web-based way of working on documents – and you can download them easily as .doc files (Microsoft Word) or PDF files, among others. You can organise your files into folders, and they’re easy to manage and delete (especially if you’re used to the Google interface).

Many of us have to work on documents with colleagues, and the Google Drive allows this very easily. It’s useful if you work from a number of machines, and can’t remote desktop, as it saves you having to carry a USB stick and hope that the computer you’re using has the correct software to access your file: Google Drive documents are standard, as they are web-based.

One of the main purposes of Google Drive s to allow multiple people to edit the same document, spreadsheet or presentation without creating duplicate copies. Documents can either be uploaded from your PC or created from scratch within Google Drive and the fact that everyone can access the file in one place means that it is much simpler to edit and update. This can be very useful for researchers who are collaborating on a project; for example, and for this 23 Things programme the team used Google Docs to store and share post content and schedule.

This is quite useful for researchers who are working with colleagues in different countries, or librarians in different offices. The University of Sheffield have rolled out a number of Google services instead of their own internal email and other (expensive) collaborative tools, and have referred to themselves as “The University of Google”.

Accessing Google Drive is quite straightforward:

  • simply login with the same username and password that you would use to access your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you can quickly set one up by clicking here and completing the online form.
  • Once you have logged in to Google Drive, click ‘Create’ and choose what kind of document you would like to create – such as a spreadsheet, word-processing document or a presentation.
  • Create your document and it will save automatically, or you can force a save by pressing Ctrl+s.
  • Now you are ready to share your document, either with a colleague or even with another 23 Things participant if you wish! Click on the ‘Share’ button in the top right-hand corner of the screen.


  • Change the ‘Who has access’ section from ‘Private’ to ‘Anyone with the link’ or ‘Anyone on the web’ IF you want to make the document completely public. If you’d like people to be able to edit, click ‘Can view’ and change to ‘Can edit’. This allows anyone with the link to edit the document. Click ‘Save’.


  • In the ‘Add People’ box, enter the email address of the person with whom you would like to share the document and decide whether you will allow them to edit the document or just to view it. Click ‘Share’ and this person will now receive an email with a direct link to your document.


Compare this with last week’s Evernote and other file-sharing tools. Do you think it would be useful in your work at all?

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Week 2: Social Networking

What is social networking?

Social networking links organisations and or individuals who have a shared interest. There are as many different social networking sites as there are social groups. Some social networks connected to specific topics include: Mumsnet, Confetti, RavelryGoodreads and The Student Room. Other Social Networks include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, instagram and LinkedIn  to name a few and these are larger, linking people not just by interest but by many different connections. They often interlink, connecting people from existing networks. For example I get notified whenever a facebook or twitter friend joins Instagram.
Many social networks allow you to browse so if you don’t want to sign up you can still see much of what is going on if the material is public.
Why is Social Networking important?
Why should library staff and libraries engage with Social Networking?
Marketing  –  you can promote events, services, workshops

Updating – let people know any changes to services,  database downtime, opening hours
Information – very immediate you can see what is happening before it hits the main news even if you don’t have an account and ask for help or information from other users when you do have an account.
How are libraries using social networking?
We will cover Twitter and Pinterest later but the following are examples of library use of other networks (no login required)
Google Plus
The terms Social Media and Social Networking are sometimes used interchangably but they are slightly different things:
Social media is a terms for the tools and platforms people use to publish, converse and share content online. The tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, and sites to share photos and bookmarks.
Social networking sites are online places where users can create a profile for themselves, and then socialise with others using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums and messaging.

Often when the traditional media talk about social media they mean social networks.

[Source: A-Z of social media  http://socialmedia.wikispaces.com/A-Z+of+social+media ]



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Thing 4: Reflect on your own social networking experience

Here are few questions to think about but feel free to blog about any aspect of social networking or share any good / bad examples.
What is your experience of social networks?
Do you use any?
How do you engage with them?
Can you see a professional value to them?
Do you have any thoughts on any of the networks above?

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Thing 3: Google Reader and RSS feeds

Google Reader Screen

What is Google Reader and what are RSS feeds?

  • Use Google Reader to keep up with websites that have frequent updates, e.g. blogs.
  • Google Reader uses stuff called RSS feeds – found on loads of websites.
  • If you see this symbol, you can add the site to your feed reader:  RSS Symbol

Why bother?

  • Efficiency: you only have to check one place
  • Remember sites of interest to you
  • Basically, you’re personalising the internet

Other possible uses of RSS in libraries

  • Create an RSS feed for new additions to the catalogue
  • Use feeds from publishers for new editions
  • Create an RSS feed for events and news posted on the library website

Thing 3:
Set up Google Reader and follow some blogs

  • Add some feeds, trying both these methods:
    • Subscribe button
    • Go to a blog & click the orange RSS button. 

Full instructions here.


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