A Survey of Undergraduate Support at LSE (ANCIL)



Learning Technology & Innovation and Library have reviewed information and digital literacy skills support for undergraduate students to inform their own provision in this area. The work builds on research conducted at University of Cambridge as part of the Arcadia Project, to develop A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL).  ANCIL defines information literacy broadly covering a range of information and digital literacy skills as well as academic literacies (study skills), critical thinking and research skills.

Information Literacy is defined by UNESCO as empowering “people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations.” (UNESCO 2005 Alexandria Proclamation)

Digital literacy has been defined as the
“the ‘savvyness’ that allows young people to participate meaningfully and safely as digital technology becomes ever more pervasive in society.” (FutureLab 2010 Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum)


Aims of the project


The project aims to highlight the importance of supporting a wide range of literacies in undergraduate education at LSE and to build on good practice that already exists, for example in the LSE100 course.  With this in mind, the team are reviewing the current provision for undergraduate students at LSE against the new curriculum for information literacy (ANCIL curriculum) highlighting both optional and compulsory learning and development opportunities that exist.




The project is being led by Dr Jane Secker and Darren Moon from LTI and Maria Bell from LSE Library. An external consultant, Katy Wrathall assisted with the research design. She has experience of undertaking audits at several universities and was most recently an Arcadia Fellow at the University of Cambridge.


Data was primarily collected using interviews. However a survey was also distributed to staff and teachers at LSE in Summer Term 2012. Students were consulted using focus groups in this same periods.


Findings and recommendations


Initial findings were published in a report in November 2012 and circulated to those who participated in the study. Eight recommendations were made in the project report including:


    1. LSE develop an information and digital literacy strategy


    1. The strategy or framework makes the roles and responsibilities for information literacy provision explicit to also ensure there is a clear documented referral policy for students.


    1. A staff development programme is launched to support LSE staff to ensure they understand the importance of these literacies and how to embed them into their undergraduate programmes.


    1. A network of information and digital literacy champions is established across LSE to support the strategy and staff development programme.


    1. A study to understand the needs of students entering higher education which could be undertaken with Widening Participation team.


    1. Two pilots with academic departments are undertaken in 2012/13 to embed information and digital literacy into undergraduate programmes and to evaluate the impact and implications of this work in terms of benefits to students, time in the curriculum and staffing.


    1. The role of Academic Support Librarians in delivering information literacy support will be reviewed to ensure consistency and the Library will develop a portfolio of training offered to all undergraduate programmes.


    1. Communication between central support services and academic departments will be reviewed to explore further possibilities to join up student support either in standalone or embedded courses.


Find out more / get involved


If you would like to find out more or are interested in getting involved in this ongoing project please get in touch with the project team by emailing j.secker@lse.ac.uk.

Useful Links


A New Curriculum for Information Literacy: http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com


Implementing ANCIL wiki: http://implementingancil.pbworks.com