Integrating Data Literacy into Library and Information Science (LIS) Curriculum

By LHorton 2 | January 16, 2020

IASSIST’s Africa Regional Secretary Ms. Winny Nekesa Akullo and Prof. Constant Obura-Okello report on a data workshop at Makerere University, Kampala.

If you’re looking to orginise a similar regional or national data event, the IASSIST 2020 Event Sponsorship Proposals call is open until 26 January 2020.

IASSIST’s Membership Committee’s event sponsorship program recently sponsored a one day workshop on Integrating Data Literacy into Library and Information Science (LIS) Curriculum. The workshop aimed at bringing academicians in the field of library and information science to discuss how data literacy can be integrated in the LIS curriculum so as to have trained library professionals who are able to provide data literacy skills to their patrons.

Attendees at the Integrating Data Literacy into Library and Information Science (LIS) Curriculum.

The workshop was hosted by the East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS), Makerere University. The workshop attracted over 15 participants from different academic institutions that included; Makerere University, Kabale University, YMCA Comprehensive Institute and Kyambogo University.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Winny Nekesa Akullo, the IASSIST Event Liaison Coordinator and IASSIST Africa Regional Secretary, Ms.Sylivia Namujjuzi, a Lecturer at EASLIS, and Prof. Constant Obura-Okello the Dean of East African School of Library and Information.

Prof Obura in his opening remarks, welcomed the participants and gave a brief overview about EASLIS and its programmes. He appreciated IASSIST for the continued support rendered to data literacy initiatives in the Library and Information Profession in Uganda. In addition he acknowledged that the workshop was timely considering the curriculum review process that the university is undertaking.

The workshop focused on how EASLIS can integrate data literacy into its curriculum. A presentation was made on making data meaningful and how to use data in telling stories especially related to the SDGs. In addition, the different aspects of data literacy that can be integrated in the LIS Curriculum like research data management, data management infrastructure, data security, data science among others. During sessions, participants were also assigned group work focusing on how their institutions can integrate data literacy in their LIS Curriculum.

One of the groups in a group discussion session.

Two groups were formed each made a presentation about the views discussed in their groups. One group shared that the institution has a course unit on library operations which focuses on general data, however, it’s important to find out which kind of data to address and to which kind of users. The group proposed to have the data literacy skills incorporated in this course unit. The second group was of the view to have data literacy as a stand-alone course unit to enable deeper understanding of its aspects and avoid duplication of data training. In addition to also look at the data protection and privacy policy Act 2019. Dr. Joyce Bukirwa, the head of department of Information Science, proposed that since the institutions don’t have experts to train the students in data literacy. Lecturers can start training the students in data analysis and presentation skills using MS Excel.

Lecturers also need to gain training in data literacy in addition to partnering/collaborating with institutions already offering it.

Prof. Obura-Okello, Dean of East African School of Library and Information, Makerere University giving opening remarks.

At the end of the workshop, participants were presented with certificates by Dr.George. W.Kiyingi, the former Dean of EASLIS.

In conclusion the participants acknowledged that data literacy is very significant for all courses in the LIS Cirriculum and Uganda and Africa needs to embrace it in order to have data literate library professionals. The participants were encouraged to work together and champion the inclusion of data literacy in the LIS curriculum in their institutions.

Right to Left – Dr. Joyce Bukirwa, Prof. Obura-Okello and Dr. George W. Kiyingi.