Jorum Blog

Building a library for Information & Digital Literacy Skills

Posted by Siobhán Burke on 26th November 2013

Today, Jorum launches its long-awaited Information and Digital Literacy Skills Collection. This follows the successful creation earlier this year of a collection for Research Data Management (RDM) resources as a result of our involvement in the Jisc-funded DaMSSI-ABC project and demonstrates again how Jorum responds to the needs of its users. The new collection will improve discovery and usage of these resources, which we hope will encourage more sharing and re-use within the sector.

Information Literacy

Why did we create the collection?

It was obvious from feedback received from the Jorum community that the existing classifications for Further and Higher Education, based on LearnDirect and JACS respectively, were not a good fit for Information Literacy (IL) Skills. Until now, the only suitable home for these resources has been in the Education collection, but this is both incorrect and diminishes their discoverability. In the early stages of creating the RDM collection, it became obvious that something similar was needed for these resources too.

How did we create it?

Using the new metadata fields and their respective terms, created for the RDM collection as a starting point, I sent a survey to the Jisc IL-OER mailing list. The survey contained the new RDM options and asked whether they were suitable or not for IL. There was also a free text option to allow suggestions for additional fields and/or terms.

Most responses agreed that the field types were sensible choices. But adjustments to the terms were needed, for example, the audience for information literacy resources is potentially much more diverse than that for RDM. It was easy to accommodate these additions. But the major difference concerned the skills the resources aimed to teach. For these, it was clear that the basis ought to be the SCONUL 7 Pillars of Information Literacy. I examined the different sections of the 7 pillars and used each section to create one skill set, which largely summarized that section of the lens. With the exception of the Manage section, which I split in two because I felt that Bibliography and Reference Management and Plagiarism, Copyright & IPR were not only very large concepts in themselves, but also involved teaching quite different skills. The reason for keeping the options limited in number is the need to keep the Jorum deposit as light for users as possible. Otherwise it would have been easy to create many more skill types. That resulted in a list of 8 skills for IL but what about Digital Literacy?

How did Digital Literacy get included?

Thanks go to Jane Secker and Nancy Graham, members of Project Co-PILOT and the Delila project and responsible for creating the IL-OER list. They were willing to provide feedback on the IL suggestions I produced. It was at this stage that the question was asked about Jorum’s provision for Digital Literacy (DL) Skills. Indeed as with RDM and IL before, there wasn't an obvious pathway to these resources, so were still reliant on using Education as a home, or possibly Computer Sciences/Information Technology as the likeliest options available via the existing subject classifications.

There were two possible solutions: create a separate collection for DL Skills or merge the two together. Despite delaying the launch of the IL collection, I chose the latter because there was obviously going to be a strong overlap in content and also because the DL collection might not have resources in sufficient numbers to warrant its own collection. Decision made, and with advice from Jane and Nancy, it was clear that all the new fields and terms would meet the needs for DL resources, except for the Skills terms. Using the SCONUL 7 Pillars of Digital Literacy Lens, I appreciated how strong the overlap truly was. I was also able to see some clear differences. I made some alterations to my original list of 8 and added 3 new ones, including one for Accessibility, which although not mentioned specifically in the IL Lens, is an important element for both IL and DL. The final list was complete - now to build it.

The Build and Going Live!

Jorum’s Repository Application Developer, Anja Le Blanc created the structure within our DSpace repository and added the new fields and terms to the deposit process. After restarting and re-indexing Jorum's server, the collection appeared alongside our existing collections as well as being ready to receive new resources. Before launch, I wanted to have content available in the new collection. So resources from well known sources are now available which include resources from projects such as Delila and SMILE. If you know of any existing resources in Jorum that would fit more naturally in the new collection, please contact us at and we can seamlessly move these across.

The collection is also ready to receive any new resources you may have so start sharing! You can follow our guide for sharing to help you through the process.

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