Information ecology and the ACRL IL revisions

At the webinar on the ACRL IL revisions today, there were some questions about the use of “ecosystem.” Here are a few quotes I already had (from a new literacies paper), though going back to them I see that they use “ecology” instead. And I’m not sure they’re precisely clarifying! Also, check out Wikipedia.

Here’s Ito et al. (2010), Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media:

We use the term “new media” to describe a media ecology where more traditional media such as books, television, and radio are intersecting with digital media, specifically interactive media and media for social communication (Jenkins 2006) (p. 10).

And later:

We use the metaphor of ecology to emphasize the characteristics of an overall technical, social, cultural, and place-based system, in which the components are not decomposable or separable. The everyday practices of youth, existing structural conditions, infrastructures of place, and technologies are all dynamically interrelated; the meanings, uses, functions, flows, and interconnections in young people’s daily lives located in particular settings are also situated within young people’s wider media ecologies. (p. 37)

Here’s “ecology” used for literacy more broadly:

Ecology seems to be a useful and appropriate way of talking about literacy at the moment, and of bringing together its different strands. Using the term changes the whole endeavour of trying to understand the nature of reading and writing. Rather than isolating literacy activities from everything else in order to understand them, an ecological approach aims to understand how literacy is embedded in other human activity, its embeddedness in social life and in thought, and its position in history, in language and learning.

Anyone need a LIS research project?

I’ve been looking at this article:

Finlay, C., Sugimoto, C., Li, D., & Russell, T. (2012). LIS dissertation titles and abstracts (1930 – 2009): Where have all the librar* gone ? The Library Quarterly, 82(1), 29–46.

Also this critique of the article:

Hunsucker, R. L. (2012). Library and Information Science doctoral research appears to be showing less and less Interest in library topics, and concern among practitioners may be justified. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 7(3), 86–89. doi:10.1086/662945. Retrieved from

Finlay et al. find a decline in research into library practice (Hunsucker offers some caveats).

A couple of thoughts:

  1. Practitioner research is more important than ever.
  2. They only looked at LIS dissertations (via a database called MPACT). I’m aware of a number of librarians who have done Ph.D.s in education – and even more librarians who’ve taken an M.Ed. Someone should look at this. What are they (we) researching? What are they (we) finding in education programs that they’re not finding in LIS programs?

What this blog is for

This is me thinking out loud about why on earth I want to blog when I’m so busy. I had a previous blog (ca. 2009-2011), but in retrospect I didn’t know what it was for besides trying out blogging. I posted erratically and eventually took it down.

Basically, it boils down to this: I like the idea of social scholarship BUT I worry about the time suck.

So this time round, my blog is for:

  • research blogging, through the lens of a would-be practitioner researcher; probably means thinking out loud and putting half-baked ideas out in public.
  • talking about information literacy and library instruction – this is both my work and my broad area of research
  • talking about what I’m working on anyway for the Ph.D – I don’t have time to go (too far) off on tangents. Right now I’m deep into a lit review for my comprehensive exam that requires me to situate IL instruction in the field of curriculum studies.

Reminder to self: This blog is not for talking about family (except maybe when my son gives me the student perspective on IL in the university classroom – kind of deflating), fun stuff from the internet (like pit bulls in a photo booth), books (unless research related), music, Rob Ford, politics more generally, the weather (it’s snowing again)….

I will probably still post erratically.