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Presentation at ECIL 2016: Assessing spanish-speaking university students’ info-competencies

Our presentation at #ECIL2016 in Prague: ‘Assessing spanish-speaking university students’ info-competencies with iSkills, SAILS, and an in-house instrument: Challenges and benefits’ was a success! Coauthors: Jesus Lau (presented at the conference), Juan D. Machin-Mastromatteo, Alberto Gárate, and A. Cecilia Tagliapietra-Ovies. #CETYS and its information culture are very fortunate, as it has been in the European Conference on Information Literacy for the fourth year in a row.

Articles for the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL 2013)

ECIL 2013

The first European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) took place on 22-25 October 2013, in Istambul, Turkey. I proposed two papers for this conference and I had the opportunity to get both accepted. This was an important milestone in my career to have two papers selected for the same conference, among the quite impressive sample from Iberoamerican works, Alejandro Uribe Tirado counted 23 contributions, in a conference with an European focus. Athough I could not attend the conference, both these papers were presented by my coauthors and they got published by Springer in the conference proceedings ‘Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice’. In the following paragraphs you will find the information of both articles and some bullet points about them.


1. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Lau, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Participatory action research and information literacy: Revising an old new hope for research and practice. Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 48-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03919-0_5

  • Slides available!
  • Open access version
  • Tracks and rebuilds a research agenda integrating information literacy with participative methodologies (E.g. action research).
  • It deals with some topics that are also dealt with on my own PhD research, although on a meta level
  • Develops and presents a questionnaire for worldwide experts that is being answered at this moment. You can still answer this questionnaire and share it with your colleagues!
  • It studies the future contributions of this perspectives for the advance of information literacy
  • Sheila Webber wrote a nice post about this research on her blog, thanks!

2. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills:  A Mutual Shaping Perspective for Information Literacy Research and PracticeWorldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 380-385. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03919-0_50

  • Slides available!
  • Open access version
  • It’s part of my PhD research, it integrates social media in a learning experience, discovering the role of information literacy in such integration.
  • The research and methodological framework ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ is presented.
  • It advances a conceptual, epistemological and methodological understanding that is important for online learning activities.
  • This particular article discusses the conceptual idea of mututal shaping in this research

International Colloquium on Alternative Models of Learning and Access


On September 19, 2013, CETYS Universidad hosted the International Colloquium ‘Higher Education: Alternative Models of Learning and Access’ and I had the opportunity of moderating its second panel ‘How to successfully swim in learning new schemes Info – skills, MOOCs, ICT and other technologies’. I dedicated some words of introduction to this interesting topic from my perspective as a librarian and as an academic and I also presented the panel’s speakers: Alison Hicks and Jesús Lau.

I wanted to share with you some of my notes of introduction to this session:

  • Although my background is in Library and Information Science, I have been interested in technology and education since I graduated from my bachelor studies on Librarianship, as you may see if you read this blog. I have not been able to study or use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), although they are perhaps one of the most important conceptual and technological innovations regarding alternative models of education.
  • MOOCs are massive, imagine having hundreds or thousand of students; they are open, as they follow the philosophy of openness; and they are online, after all they are courses, online courses.
  • MOOCs are quite interesting as an alternative model, as they may provide universal access to the university, which might have lost its way regarding its uni prefix.
  • I see that MOOCs have plenty of opportunities and challenges for those teaching them and learning from them, some of them have to do with the competences individuals must develop to deal with them, to develop a strong discipline when it comes to study and for managing one’s own time.
  • Information and digital literacies play a very important role when dealing with MOOCs as well as processes of academic certification and rigor, which acquire a new and perhaps more demanding dimension because MOOCs differ a great deal from classic courses.
  • I believe MOOCs must be oriented and grounded on research and problem solving assignments, and that takes a very special academic to lead them. A special type of course needs special teachers and special students and they can be taught special competences for dealing with them. Training would involve various university departments, such as research, the academia, and the university libraries.
  • It is interesting to point out the importance of the focus of this panel, where we have two librarians as guest speakers, Jesús Lau and Alison Hicks, as well as myself, the Learning and Information Development Librarian of CETYS Universidad, having the honor of introducing the topic in discussion and our distinguished guests. I believe that this configuration of speakers is quite a statement from CETYS’ part, because it means that libraries and librarians must be integrated as part of the engine of educational innovations. One clear path to follow is through information and digital literacies but we must question and enhance libraries’ role in breaking educational ground.

You can take a look at the whole session, which was recorded. I also prepared a Spanish/English bibliography on MOOCs, higher education and skills for this Colloquium.

An approximation to the new competencies of the librarian, presentation in Chapingo (Mexico)

I received a very kind invitation from a Mexican colleague to participate with a conference in the 3rd National Encounter and 1st International of Librarians in the Autonomous University of Chapingo (Mexico). On the October 4th and via Skype, I made my intervention titled “An approximation to the new competencies of the librarian”, which was some kind of summary of the keynote I delivered for the 3rd Conversation with librarians, bibliophiles and archivists. At the same time, this is part of some research I am conducting in parallel to my main research on the integration and mutual shaping of social media, higher education and information literacy.

With these working documents, I attempt to research on the new competencies and new roles that us librarians and related professionals are developing and fulfilling in the last few decades. We can take a work such as this in order to:

  • Reflect upon our practices
  • Rethink our roles
  • To seek diverse and novel offers of professional and lifelong training
  • To develop these new competencies and roles
  • and finally innovate on library services

I have uploaded the slides with their audio incorporated and the full text article (in Spanish).

DORIS at Library 2.012

I will be presenting my doctoral research on the (free) Worldwide Virtual Conference Library 2.012. The presentation name is “Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills (DORIS): Contributions for Information Literacy Programs”. This research in a nutshell is about the integration of social media into higher education and the discovery of the roles that information, digital and new literacies play in such integration. This presentation focuses on the contributions that my research can provide to information literacy programs. You may find information about my session and the schedule of the conference according to your timezone.

I offer you the slides, the link to the recording of my session, as well as the audio file. Cheers!

Present at the IV Latinamerican Encounter of Librarians, Archivists and Museologists (EBAM)

I arrived at Buenos Aires, where I will present my PhD research for the first time in Spanish at the IV Latinamerican encounter of librarians, archivists and museologists (EBAM). My presentation was called (translated) “Doing online relearning through information skills (DORIS): Contributions for social research, information literacy programs and pedagogies”. This was an excellent opportunity of presenting my research in Spanish for the first time with my return to Latin America. Very nice to do this in a regional conference that gathered professionals from these three related fields.

In the presentation, I reflected upon the origin of this research: a) as an extension of the emerging topic from my master thesis about the use of social media for ‘serious’ purposes and b) as a return or combination with my previous research interest: information literacy.

I offer this research as a contribution to the understanding about the use of technology for higher education. Moreover, provide pedagogical contributions for information professionals wishing to expand upon them, because we librarians and related professionals are not prepared for this role in our typical curricula. It is important to highlight that in order to develop a good information literacy program and to continue following our new role of teachers or instructors, we need to: 1) a sound structure to develop such programs and 2) to develop pedagogic skills.

The slides and the full text are in the Spanish version of the blog, in Spanish, of course.

And here is a picture with Mafalda!! 😀

DORIS at Learning 2.0

I will be presenting my doctoral research on the (free) Worldwide Virtual Conference Learning 2.0. The presentation name is ” Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills (DORIS): Using social media in higher education”. This research in a nutshell is about the integration of social media into higher education and the discovery of the roles that information, digital and new literacies play in such integration. This presentation focuses on the contributions that my research can provide to pedagogies involving the use of technology, specifically social media. You may find information about my session here.

I give you the slides, the link to the recording of my session, as well as the audio file.

3rd Conversation with librarians, bibliophiles and archivists

I participated, with great honor and pleasure, on the 3rd Conversation with librarians, bibliophiles and archivists, which was organized by Doknos in the National Library of Ecuador. There, I presented the keynote conference titled Libraries and Librarians 2.0: Concepts, categorization of their competencies, comments and ideas. You can check the Spanish version of the post to check out the full keynote (in Spanish).




ECDL 2009

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Hello again!

I’m lucky to be right now in Corfu, Greece where I’m attending with my fellow DILL colleagues the 13th European Conference in Digital Libraries. More or less as part of the third semester of the DILL master and thanks to our Professore Vittore Casarosa we have been attending this wonderful, high profile conference in the field of Digital Libraries. As you may or may not have seen, I’m tweeting about the conference, but to complete my own coverage on it I decided to post some things in the blog. So, in this post I will present an outline of what was the first day of conference (09-28-09). Enjoy.

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Keynote: Digital Libraries as Phenotypes for Digital Societies

by Gary Marchionini

This 13th edition of the European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL) started with “a bang”, with a very interesting keynote by Gary Machionini, titled Digital Libraries as Phenotypes for Digital Societies. Marchionini started with the statement that Digital Libraries gives us a lens on what we are becoming in the digital age, he then defined some characteristics of the digital societies, such as the following ones:

They are determined by topic or interest of individuals or communities, rather than by the geography, because ICTs bridges people regardless of their location. Of course, digital societies are dependant on technologies and electronic infrastructure. They are driven by weak ties, this can be seen in social networks such as facebook where one “collects” contacts or friends that you don’t actually have to know personally, the acquaintance process is very different than in the “real world society”. Individuals in this digital society are also extremely diverse, if the location makes little difference, people interacting in a network come from different places and that makes them different, different culture, religion, behavior, etc. Digital societies grow fast, we can say they are viral, but at the same time they can lose members at the same speed, they are not so sustainable, as the fidelity of the members it’s different from person to person. These societies of course are based on our “real world society” and interact with traditional institutions.

Next, Professor Marchionini defined the Phenotype of Libraries:

  • They are social organisms.
  • Have foundational and policies that reflects their institutional genetics.
  • The influence of the environment affects their collections and services.
  • They reflect the social organizations that support them.

Digital Libraries are active workspaces, it’s not enough to set up collections multimedia streams, systems exhibit behavior, this means there’s a memory on them, they are dynamic and interactive, these interactions are kept as a general history (like a website history on an Internet browser), and users interactions should be considered part of a Digital Library collection, these interactions are made by their annotations, comments, news feeds, tags, crowd sourcing, and as a collection, these contributions must be managed.

Key challenges

  • Content and context: selection management.
  • Preservation: What’s worth preserving? What context to include? Who decides? Who pays? How much? Storage models: replication (copy) migration (change of format, impractical), emulation. Storage policies (authority, cost) Storage challenges: space vs price vs reliability.
  • The new Alexandria: distributed content and stakeholder, self organizing content, human-machine hybrid, new kinds of trust management.
  • Managing participation and services: a symbiotic human-machine relation
  • Content Genetics: born digital documents, hybrids from traditional libraries.

DL Collection models Born digital variants:

  • Curated by expertise (Perseus)
  • Curated by expertise opportunity (Open Video)
  • User contributed without curation (ibiblio)
  • User contributed with community curation (wikipedia, youtube)
  • Computed (citeseer, technorati, google?)

Picture 011judamasmas’ comment: this was a really amazing presentation, I liked it a lot. I also think is important to take into account that the users of the library could create valuable content and that this same content can be part of our actual collections. I think we have some lessons to learn and some features to import from the worlds of open access and social networks, because our way of building collections may not be very attractive by itself and funding is getting more an more difficult, just to cite two reasons.

After Professor Marchionini finished his keynote presentation, we went for a coffee break in this really nice and beautiful Hotel Corfu Palace. After the break it was decision time, because they were two sessions in parallel: one on interaction and the other one in knowledge organization, I decided to go to the interaction session. You can find information on the other one in the tweets of my colleague Andrea in twitter (aubreymcfato) or in his blog questoblognonesiste.

Session 2A: Interaction

Hear it: Enhancing Rapid Document Browsing with Sound Cues

by Parisa Eslambochilar, George Buchanan and Fernando Loizides

It is interesting that the presented started stressing the point that in Digital Libraries interfaces are silent, like in “real world libraries”, but has it to be like this?

Document readers have attempted to help users locate new or unknown information and there has been success with providing visual target cues.

Some of their findings:

Audio seems to permit faster movement and higher zoom levels, it could be improved by better timing the cues, allowing for delays.

Future works:

Evaluate anticipatory cue timing, reconsider performance with improved cue, compare against tactic cues.

judamasmas’ comment: We can think that this could be a good multidisciplinary work because it could involve librarians (digitals or no!), experts in sound media (recording, storing and playing), and even psychologists.

Creating Visualizations for Digital Document Indexing

by Jeniffer Pearson, George Buchanan and Harold Thimbleby


Combine elements of digital and print indexing search, understand the properties of search in digital documents

They created a new interface, the digital index viewer: builds traditional index from digital document, with number of occurrences on which pages for different words.

Different presentations of the digital index viewer:

  • Color Tag Clouds: red indicate many occurrences (as it represent hot temperature) and blue indicate few occurrences of the term (as it represent cold temperature)
  • Tag clouds: the bigger the more occurrences
  • Graph: the bigger the more occurrences

User performance on speed of search: traditional index < color tag cloud < graph

judamasmas’ comment: They took the indexes, a very traditional idea that’s present from a long time ago in printed books, and applied them to digital documents, it is interesting that it is an application that generates an index on a digital document and takes some elements we see in web 2.0 like the tag clouds to add more depth to it and to make it more visual.

Document Word Clouds: Visualising Web Documents as Tag Clouds to Aid Users in Relevance Decisions

by Thomas Gottron

Term importance not visible for users, users scan documents on the web, if they are attractive, the user decides to read it or not. Transfer tag cloud idea to important words in documents.

Term importance is calculated by a formula which deals with term frequency, document frequency and corpus size.

Prototype system turn web documents in clouds to help relevance decisions and it’s independent of the query.

judamasmas’ comment: So, one problem with the information overload we have (it’s only getting worse and worse!) is that we struggle with the problem of what item to read first, or what to download. For example google ranks results in its own special way, I’m not saying it’s bad or wrong, it could be good for one occasion, but totally wrong for other ones. This work proposes a system that harvests important terms present in a digital document to help the reader view what is it about in a tag cloud fashion. Also an interesting use of Web 2.0 widgets for visual aid.

Picture 025Special Session on Services

Annotation Search: The FAST Way

by Nicola Ferro

Mix content of annotation with metadata, to add richness to improve search, including author of the annotation, language, types (image, text)

judamasmas’ comment: annotation has been a very antique technique that some readers and scholars have used to go back to the books or documents they have studied for a quick look at the parts they like and where they made some notes (funny thing is that my librarian side tells me not to annotate any book for preservation reasons), it is, indeed really good if we can have good annotation tools in digital documents, first because it doesn’t change the aspect actual document and also because we can have a workflow cycle of contributors or fellow researching studying the same documents that we are, creating a series of comments that we can retrieve by type, author, date and so on.

wikiSearch: From Access to Use

by Elaine Toms, Lori McCay-Peet and Tayze Mackenzie

Design an interface for search, to maximize visibility, minimize search time, not overload user’s working memory, provide structured dispaying, provide only relevant information, putting user’s preferred items on interface

Characteristics: Ease, speed, efficiency, navigation, task focus and organization.

Google-like interface was preferred because the new wikisearch was so new, google seemed more simple.


Was lab rat research, very restricted tabs and access to web in general, built tool eliminated labyrinths of pages selected, better integrate with browser and work task.

IX Congress ISKO Spanish Chapter

For me it was a real pleasure to have participated in the IX Congress ISKO Spanish Chapter: New perspectives for the diffusion of knowledge and organization, where I took my paper entitled Program for Information Competencies Development of the Pedro Grases Library: Present and Future. This is the last paper containing the experience I integrated about information literacy in the Pedro Grases Library of the Metropolitan University of Venezuela, so this marks a before and after in my career, I want to develop further research on Information Literacy, though perhaps some other topics will arise, product of the master course I’m studying.

Fortunately I found economic accommodation within the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in the Colegio Mayor Galileo Galilei.

It was very nice to be in Valencia for a few days, and finally know Spain, its splendid weather, noise, only comparable to that of Caracas, to see the “fallas” in the streets and see and know special people in Congress, such as Emilia Currás, Blanca Rodríguez Bravo, Tomas Baiget, Jesús Tramullas, Rosa San Segundo, among others, most important figures and heavily cited in the Spanish literature about Information Science. I share with you the slides of my presentation .

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