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Library and information science

The neutrality of this article is disputed.

Library and information science (LIS) is the study of issues related to libraries. This includes academic studies (most often surveys) about how library resources are used and how people interact with library systems. These studies tend to be specific to certain libraries at certain times. The organization of knowledge for efficient retrieval of relevant information is also a major research goal of LIS. Basic topics in LIS include the acquisition, cataloging, classification, and preservation of library materials. In a more present-day view, a fervent outgrowth of LIS is information architecture. LIS should not be confused with information theory, the mathematical study of the concept of information.

LIS is distinct from librarianship, which is the practical services rendered by librarians in their day-to-day attempt to meet the needs of library patrons. Librarianship tends not to create new LIS knowledge, nor to strive to advance any field or discipline. Librarians only rarely engage in LIS research, and then usually outside their jobs as librarians. But the study of LIS is part of the requisite training of librarians. This difference between LIS and librarianship creates tension between academics and practitioners in that the academicians stress original research and the publishing of that research while the people hiring librarians want someone who can run a library efficiently. The balance of theory and practice differs from one educational institution to the next.

The term library and information science should not be broken into these separate pieces. LIS is a hybrid academic field that grew from library schools' fight for survival in the electronic age. The politics of academia, issues of status and prestige, issues of perceived obsolescence and other forces created these programs. Programs in LIS are interdisciplinary, overlapping with the fields of computer science, various social sciences, statistics, and systems' analysis.

The field of LIS is not defined by its output of information specialists (usually librarians), but by the "information specialists" who remain in academia teaching and doing research, by its literature, its journals and all the other ways in which an academic discipline is defined, the study of which, by the way, falls within the scope of LIS.

Important LIS institutions and resources:

Some current LIS issues:

See also

External links

  • Library and Information Science News:
  • Education Schools and Library Schools: A Comparison of Their Perceptions by Academia
  • ASC Online: Mentoring weblog for LIS students
  • - Directory of library links organized by US states.
  • ERIC Digests on Libraries. Annotated list with links to public domain ERIC Digests dealing with library science and libraries.
  • Information Science Today - online library and information science resources.

Last updated: 02-18-2005 18:01:08
Last updated: 03-05-2005 19:56:30