Inclusion of information literacy in the curriculum through learning communities and action research

The book ‘Pathways into information literacy and communities of practice: Teaching approaches and case studies‘ is now available by Elsevier-Chandos. In it, you will find ‘Chapter 4 – Inclusion of information literacy in the curriculum through learning communities and action research‘, co-written with my dear colleagues Javier Tarango, José Luis Evangelista y Jesús Cortés. The whole book is highly recommended, edited by Dora Sales y María Pinto.

Abstract: This work corresponds to a practical and transversal integration process of information literacy in university curricula, specifically with undergraduate students from the philosophy program of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (Mexico), by developing alternatives to evolve traditional classroom teaching practices toward integrating learning communities and using action research as means of influencing a continuous improvement upon learning processes. This chapter discusses basic concepts from this study and provides the results, which were a product of the data collected from ethnographic processes. This practical experience has demonstrated the feasibility of combining this study’s components for the achievement of active learning, but also for identifying specific elements that inhibit a full implementation.

Open Access version


Announcement: Pathways into information literacy and communities of practice

Pathways Flyer Coming soon! ‘Pathways into information literacy and communities of practice’, by Chandos Publishing, with my chapter ‘Inclusion of information literacy in the curriculum through learning communities and action research’, co-authored with Javier Tarango, José Luis Evangelista and Jesús Cortés

The arrival of information literacy


Jesus Lau and I just published an article where we remember and explore how did information literacy (infolit) get in the Latin American region. You may find it in the second issue of Developing Latin America, available in the journal Information Development, published by Sage. The most important elements in this article are two tables, one of them ranks Latin American countries by their academic production regarding infolit (with data gathered from the AlfinIberoamérica wiki) and the other table highlights the eight infolit declarations that have been made in the region, their date, place and the name of the event or declaration.

Abstract: Paul Zurkowski coined the term Information Literacy in 1974, since then it has evolved into a dynamic research area within library and information science, with many milestones achieved in Europe and the United States, reflected in English-written literature. This issue of Developing Latin America traces an alternative route, exploring the arrival of information literacy to the region and its main developments.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. and Lau, J. (2015). The arrival of information literacy. Information Development, 31(2), 190-193.

Piloting a holistic information culture program


Abstract: This article presents the staff, structure, methods and preliminary results from the pilot of a holistic information literacy program developed in the System of Libraries of CETYS Universidad in Mexico. ‘Information Culture Development’ (ICD) is driven by action research (AR) and the concept of information culture (IC), comprised of information literacy (IL), digital literacy (DL), and research competences. ICD aims at developing these competences and supporting reflection and improvement upon university practices related to curriculum, teaching, and research. ICD’s initiatives and products were divided into four axes: a) curriculum and learning support, b) information and digital literacies development, c) research and scientific communication support, and d) evaluation and communication of results. ICD’s pilot involved workshops and activities framed within an AR perspective and a mixed methods approach. Preliminary results determine the success of activities with academics and students regarding their strengths and weaknesses in IC-related competencies.

Full text at Springer Link

Open Access version (Coming soon!)

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J.D., Beltrán, O. and Lau, J. (2014). Piloting a holistic information culture program: The experience of CETYS Universidad System of Libraries. Information Literacy: Lifelong Learning and Digital Citizenship in the 21st Century; Communications in Computer and Information Science, 492, 350-360.

Thinking outside of literacy

thinking outside

On July 23 2014, I published a commentary in the academic journal Information Development (published by Sage), titled Thinking outside of literacy: Moving beyond traditional information literacy activities. This reflection is framed in the field of information literacy, a dynamic area of practice and research that is typical of Library and Information Science, which contains the competences to access, use and evaluate the information effectively. This field also includes the use of information and communication technologies and participatory media such as social media.

This text offers some suggestions from my practical and research experiences in order to foster a professional reflection upon how we can overcome from these traditional ways of conducting information literacy activities; which are vital for developing an information culture, for university environments as well as for society.

I include the necessary discussion of the differences between the so-called digital natives and the generations preceding them; both have different challenges when they need to use information and technologies  strategically and especially for purposes beyond communication and entertainment. I also mention the recent challenge that I call the ‘ready-made information culture’, a term inspired in the dark side of social media and the over-simplification of the information that we currently consume. This challenge entails the difficulty to reason and think critically over complex and lengthy information; thus implying loses over their messages and resulting counterproductive for the development of critical thinking in the academic sector. Lastly in this discussion, I categorize in two main areas what I call the traditional way of developing information literacy competences:

a) Resource specific training: are basically software demonstrations, very common in libraries when we train users about the use of a technology or an information resource. Its problem is that it seems difficult to keep it dynamic for students, if it is not possible to add a practical component, such as doing problem based learning.

b) Theoretical teaching of information skills: these appear in some international standards and curricula that do not usually specify how do these competences apply to areas of the human or professional profiles that is to be developed. Their challenge is that the student and even the teacher will not necessarily going to understand how to transfer these competences to academic or life scenarios.

These criticisms do not mean to say that these variations of methods to develop information competences are wrong. Conversely, we the teachers must consider both and seek for a third way that integrates the previous two while we discover how to get beyond. It is important to keep at hand these kinds of reflections about how to develop an information culture in our students (and thus these transfer to society) and above all: to discuss them.

Abstract: A brief reflection on what might be becoming the traditional way of conducting information and digital literacy activities, together with some recommendations in order to move beyond these traditional grounds. This reflection is framed within this age of social media and draws upon information literacy concepts, tools, and experiences.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2014). Thinking outside of literacy: Moving beyond traditional information literacy activities. Information Development, 30 (3), 288-290.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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

Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning

PAR NLW Machin

Past November I published in the journal New Library World my article titled ‘Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning’, today I’m pleased to offer everyone an open access version, courtesy of the publisher of the journal, which allows an author version to be published in a repository, so of course you may find it in E-LIS. You can find the journal article here as well.

This article is very important for me, as it is the first time I present officially the research framework from my PhD research ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS). This research framework is originally intended to study the roles of information literacy, digital literacy, and new literacies in technology mediated (specifically social media) education environments. The abstract of this article is as follows:

This article summarizes the developments, methodological design, and some of the theories framed within a PhD research about the integration of social media in higher education. Its aims are to determine significant issues, challenges and opportunities that emerge when social media are integrated into learning environments in higher education. ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS) is proposed as a research framework to address the aims, objectives, and research questions of this study. It was conceived from a Participatory Action Research perspective. This approach is intended to help discover and reflect upon teaching and learning practices in a technologically mediated educational setting. Furthermore, the concept of affinity spaces is discussed, together with its distinction from the concept of communities of practice. The data collection methods planned to conduct the study are: diagnostic questionnaire, blog, social learners’ input and reports, a second questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The theory of affinity spaces offers a powerful way of thinking about teaching and learning processes mediated by different technologies. The heuristics that will focus the data collection and analysis are: a) on the function of content, and b) on the function of participants’ interactions with the content and/or with one another. DORIS is proposed as a powerful way to organize learning interventions through the structure of information literacy skills. It is grounded on action research and on constructivist, blended, and problem based learning. Researchers, librarians or educators can adapt this model for teaching, learning and researching about and with social media or for other technologically mediated learning environments, or could be adapted for information literacy programs.

Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2012). Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning. New Library World, 113(11), 571-585.

Course ‘Managing and running information and digital literacy projects for libraries and archives’ (2nd edition)

From December 10 to 14, between 11:00 and 15:00. (Mexico time) I will be delivering the second edition of the online course ‘Managing and running information and digital literacy projects for libraries and archives’ (in Spanish, sorry, but you may hire me for an English version!), through the online training system of Información Científica Internacional (ICI).

This course is excellent for library and archives professionals whom wish to know more about the topic or whoever wants to develop a literacy initiative but doesn’t know where to start. It is also good for those who have worked with literacy and wish to revise and improve their projects. During the course we will be following a methodology which will take us step-by-step throughout the design of a literacy project, considering the structure, pedagogies, resources, among many others.

You can check out the promotional slides, which include results and impressions from participants of the first edition of the course (in Spanish only for now, sorry again!)

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!! 😀