Walsh, Andrew and Johnson, Zoe (2014) Information Literacy and Drama Academics. In: European Conference on Information Literacy, 20-23 October 2014, Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Unpublished)

The information practices of academics supporting the teaching of theatre and drama subjects were investigated at a UK university. Using semi-structured interviews to gather data, all the academics within the relevant university department discussed issues around their information literacy behaviours. These twelve academics were recorded discussing issues such as how they search for information, make notes, organise information both for their own research and their teaching, which included filtering information into appropriate forms for undergraduates. The academics included technical specialists, who may have worked in theatre for many years before returning to academia, as well as more traditional theoretical academics with international experience.
They were given a general definition of information literacy before being interviewed to give an overview of how librarians may see information literacy, but the interviews were wide ranging and only loosely structured to extract the information that the interviewees saw as most relevant. The definition they were given was:
“The ability to identify, assess, retrieve, evaluate, adapt, organise and communicate information within an iterative context of review and reflection.” JISC iSkills.
The interviews resulted in 16 hours and 32 minutes of recorded data which was transcribed and analysed using a grounded theory approach. Codes emerged over several iterations that described areas that interviewees saw as important. These were grouped into wider areas, such as “searching”, “reading”, “organising”, “note taking”, “types of information”, “links between experience and practice”, “acting versus technical theatre”, and more.
The theoretical background of the researchers has much in sympathy with the experiential or relational approaches of Information Literacy, and as such this paper explores the richness of information literacy behaviour in drama academics. Variation and context dependent behaviours are explored and described.
This paper concentrates on a discrete number of themes identified during the analysis. That is, how the academics interviewed search for information, extract that information for teaching and research, and organise it for future use. Patterns of behaviour emerged from these interviews, which are presented here. They will be used by the researchers to inform their own teaching practice and provision of library services within their university. Similar behaviours are expected to be exhibited by other groups of subject specialists, especially within the creative industries, and some transferable information from the analysis of these interviews is expected to be of use in other institutional and subject contexts.

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