Our survey investigating community councillors’ information literacy is now live. If you are a community councillor, please go to https://survey.napier.ac.uk/n/LILDEM.aspx to take the survey. If you’re not a community councillor, please pass on this link to any community councillors you know.
This post was written by Bruce Ryan and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of his colleagues or anyone else.
Beneath all the current brouhaha about Brexit, interesting goings-on in the White House, and struggles between ‘populists’ and the ‘old guard’, it’s fairly clear that there is room for improvement in the ways we do politics. In most democracies, representation is the main model: the people choose representatives who make laws and govern. In a purely representative democracy, citizens would have no part in law-making or government except via elections.
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We’re very pleased that we have successfully finished the Information literacy for democratic engagement (IL-DEM) project. We’re even more pleased that we have just started a follow-up project called LIL-DEM (longitudinal information literacy for democratic engagement). This will also investigate community councillors’ information literacy, but it will sharply focus on the factors that IL-DEM revealed to be relevant to community councillors’ information work. It will also investigate who community councillors work with to find, process and publish information, and any associated training needs. Finally, it will enable us relevant to finish a literature review around information literacy, lifelong learning and (local) democracy.
Data-gathering will start in just over a week – our main tool will be an online survey. So if you are a community councillor, look out for the online link we’ll reveal soon. If you know any community councillors, please tell them about this project.
In the meantime, please download and read…
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Understanding Digital Policy was the title of an unconference I was at this week. (It was at an outpost of the University of Liverpool in central London – hence the title and illustration for this post.)
Although it was billed as covering
- How is policy shaping the uptake and use of Digital Media and Technologies?
- How are Digital Media and Technologies shaping policy making and policy implementation?
it went much further than that, into how will and how should policy be shaped, and what research should be done. This was at least in part due to the organiser, Simeon Yates, leading the the ESRC Ways of Being in a Digital Age team, and so being highly influential on research directions.
You can jump straight to my personal reactions if you want, but here’s how the day progressed. Firstly, we found interesting and/or kindred spirits by writing our own ‘about-me’s, looking at each others’ and deciding who we wanted to work with. Continue reading
I enjoy the weekly briefing from the Scottish Community Alliance – 6 interesting and challenging articles about how we can make our society work better, leavened with the occasional salutary tale, and always a lot of potential learning. This week’s briefing is no exception. Here’s some highlights:
- Andy Wightman talks about challenges for Our Democracy
- How to influence planning policy
- Ideas about zero-waste housing.
While transcribing interviews for the ILDEM project, I was reminded of one of my MSc courseworks, about Scottish Local Authority websites. It wasn’t perfect but I think my conclusions were based on good evidence. They were
There is marked variation in LA website accessibilities, some having very few accessibility features. It seems no Scottish local government website is ‘perfectly’ accessible while a signicant number do not follow a national standard, the Scottish Navigation List. 
The Centre for Social Informatics is currently undertaking a project entitled Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM). Supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, our work investigates levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system.
Specifically Peter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are exploring how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so we’re extending two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research.
Scottish Community Councils (which are analogous to parish councils in England and Wales) are a vital link…
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Until now, I’ve had one Twitter handle for both my research and my personal tweets, namely @myceliumme_CC. This handle was also used to auto-tweet both from this blog and my personal blog. It’s now time to split these streams:
- If you’re interested in my research, please note that @myceliumme_CC is about to become @Bruce_research.
- If you’re interested in what I do away from work, please follow the brand-new @BruceRyan_rants.
There’s nothing to stop you following both!