6 Questions About Library and Information Science

LIS, disciplines, and learning innovation.

July 18, 2018

Some of us are having a conversation about learning innovation as an emergent academic discipline. See:

There are some things about the scholarship of learning innovation that may relate to the discipline of library and information science (LIS). Maybe. I don't know. I have questions:

Q1: My understanding is that LIS is an applied discipline. That is that academic librarians trained in LIS bridge theoretical frameworks and empirical findings from the discipline with hands-on efforts to improve the academic libraries and institutions in which they work. (If they go in to academia). Is this correct?

Q2: How does it work at institutions with LIS schools in terms of the integration of scholarship, teaching, and practice? Do LIS faculty work simultaneously as scholars, teachers, and library professionals?  How do these answers change for academic librarians working at institutions that do not have a school of library and information science?

Q3: Can you help me understand how training and socialization works in bringing people into the LIS discipline? Some of the academic librarians that I know have degrees such as a Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) degrees.  Others have an MLIS (or similar LIS) masters degree, but also a PhD in a traditional academic discipline (such as English Literature).  I see that LIS schools also offer a PhD in Information Science.  Are there normative paths into the LIS discipline?

Q4:  A basic question is what do LIS folks call yourselves?  Are you an “academic librarian” or a “library and information scientist” or an “information scientist” or something else?  Is there a debate within the LIS community around a discipline or a profession?

Q5: Where does the study of library and information science intersect with the scholarship of organizational change?  How much is LIS research about creating the academic library of the future?

Q6:  To what degree does the LIS discipline, and academic librarians in general, view their roles as leading organizational change at the academic library and institutional level?  Does this organizational change focus extend to areas outside of the academic library, such as student learning and costs etc?

What else should I be asking?

Thank you in advance…..


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