Library science

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Library science (often termed library studies or - now dominating - Library and information science[1]) is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information. The first American school for library science was founded by Melvil Dewey at Columbia University in 1887.[2] The first textbook on the subject was German (Schrettinger, 1808-1829).[3]

Historically, library science has also included archival science.[4] This includes how information resources are organized to serve the needs of select user groups, how people interact with classification systems and technology, how information is acquired, evaluated and applied by people in and outside of libraries as well as cross-culturally, how people are trained and educated for careers in libraries, the ethics that guide library service and organization, the legal status of libraries and information resources, and the applied science of computer technology used in documentation and records management.

There is no generally agreed-upon distinction between the terms library science, librarianship, and library and information science, and to a certain extent they are interchangeable, perhaps differing most significantly in connotation. The term library and information science (LIS) is most often used; most librarians consider it as only a terminological variation, intended to emphasize the scientific and technical foundations of the subject and its relationship with information science. LIS should not be confused with information theory, the mathematical study of the concept of information. LIS can also be seen as an integration of the two fields library science and information science, which were separate at one point. Library philosophy has been contrasted with library science as the study of the aims and justifications of librarianship as opposed to the development and refinement of techniques.[5]

History

19th century

Thomas Jefferson, whose library at Monticello consisted of thousands of books, devised a classification system inspired by the Baconian method, which grouped books more or less by subject rather than alphabetically, as it was previously done. Jefferson's collection became the nucleus of the first national collection of the United States when it was transferred to Congress after a fire destroyed the Congressional Library during the War of 1812. The Jefferson collection was the start of what we now know as the Library of Congress.

The first textbook on library science was published 1808 by Martin Schrettinger,[6] followed by books of Johann Georg Seizinger and others. The first American school of librarianship opened January 1st 1887 and was termed School of Library Economy. The term library economy was used for library science in USA until 1942.[7]

20th century

In the English speaking world the term "library science" seems to have been used for the first time in a book in 1916 in the "Panjab Library Primer [8]" written by Asa Don Dickinson and published by the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. This university was the first in Asia to begin teaching 'library science'. The "Panjab Library Primer" was the first textbook on library science published in English anywhere in the world. The first textbook in the United States was the "Manual of Library Economy" which was published in 1929.

Later, the term was used in the title of S. R. Ranganathan's The Five Laws of Library Science, published in 1931, and in the title of Lee Pierce Butler's 1933 book, An introduction to library science (University of Chicago Press).

Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (August 9, 1892, Sirkali, Tamil Nadu – September 27, 1972, Bangalore) was a mathematician and librarian from India. His most notable contributions to the field were his five laws of library science and the development of the first major analytico-synthetic classification system, the colon classification.[cn] He is considered to be the father of library science, documentation, and information science in India and is widely known throughout the rest of the world for his fundamental thinking in the field.

Butler's new approach advocated research using quantitative methods and ideas in the social sciences with the aim of using librarianship to address society's information needs. This research agenda went against the more procedure-based approach of "library economy," which was mostly confined to practical problems in the administration of libraries. While Ranganathan's approach was philosophical it was tied more to the day-to-day business of running a library. A reworking of Raganathan's laws was published in 1995 which removes the constant references to books. Michael Gorman's Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century, features his 8 principles necessary by library professionals and incorporate knowledge and information in all their forms, allowing for digital information to be considered.

In more recent years, with the growth of digital technology, the field has been greatly influenced by information science concepts. Although a basic understanding is critical to both library research and practical work, the area of information science has remained largely distinct both in training and in research interests.

Education and training

Academic courses in library science include collection management, information systems and technology, research methods, cataloging and classification, preservation, reference, statistics and management. Library science is constantly evolving, incorporating new topics like database management, information architecture and knowledge management, among others.

Most professional library jobs require a professional post-baccalaureate degree in library science, or one of its equivalent terms, library and information science as a basic credential. In the United States and Canada the certification usually comes from a master's degree granted by an ALA-accredited institution, so even non-scholarly librarians have an originally academic background. In the United Kingdom, however, there have been moves to broaden the entry requirements to professional library posts, such that qualifications in, or experience of, a number of other disciplines have become more acceptable. In Australia, a number of institutions offer degrees accepted by the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association).

Employment outlook and opportunities

According to U.S. News & World Report, library and information science ranked as one of the "Best Careers of 2008."[9] The median annual salary for 2007 was reported as $51,400 USD in the United States,[10] with additional salary breakdowns available by metropolitan area, with San Francisco coming in the highest with an average salary of $64,400 and Portland, Oregon the lowest at $47,700.[10] This is up from the median salaries in 2006 as $49,060 reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase can basically be attributed to keeping pace with inflation. A $49,060 salary in 2006 was adjusted to $50,457.33,[11] and while data is not yet posted for 2008, adding the same rate of inflationary increase for 2008 (1.028%) one could project an inflationary salary adjustment as $51,894.46 for the 2008 fiscal year.[12] In December 2009, the BLS projected growth for the field at "8 percent between 2008 and 2018", which is "as fast as the average for all occupations". Furthermore, the BLS states, "Workers in this occupation tend to be older than workers in the rest of the economy. As a result, there may be more workers retiring from this occupation than other occupations. However, relatively large numbers of graduates from MLS programs may cause competition in some areas and for some jobs."[12]

Librarians in different types of libraries

Public

The study of librarianship for public libraries covers issues such as cataloging; collection development for a diverse community; information literacy; readers' advisory; community standards; public services-focused librarianship; serving a diverse community of adults, children, and teens; intellectual freedom; censorship; and legal and budgeting issues. The public library as a commons or public sphere based on the work of Jürgen Habermas has become a central metaphor in the 21st century.[13]

School

The study of school librarianship covers library services for children in schools through secondary school. In some regions, the local government may have stricter standards for the education and certification of school librarians (who are often considered a special case of teacher), than for other librarians, and the educational program will include those local criteria. School librarianship may also include issues of intellectual freedom, pedagogy, and how to build a cooperative curriculum with the teaching staff.

Academic

The study of academic librarianship covers library services for colleges and universities. Issues of special importance to the field may include copyright; technology, digital libraries, and digital repositories; academic freedom; open access to scholarly works; as well as specialized knowledge of subject areas important to the institution and the relevant reference works.

Some academic librarians are considered faculty, and hold similar academic ranks as professors, while others are not. In either case, the minimal qualification is a Master's degree in Library Studies or Library Science, and, in some cases, a Master's degree in another field.

Archives

The study of archives includes the training of archivists, librarians specially trained to maintain and build archives of records intended for historical preservation. Special issues include physical preservation of materials and mass deacidification; specialist catalogs; solo work; access; and appraisal. Many archivists are also trained historians specializing in the period covered by the archive.

Special

Special librarians include almost any other form of librarianship, including those who serve in medical libraries (and hospitals or medical schools), corporations, news agencies, government organizations, or other special collections. The issues at these libraries will be specific to the industries they inhabit, but may include solo work; corporate financing; specialized collection development; and extensive self-promotion to potential patrons.

Preservation

Preservation librarians most often work in academic libraries. Their focus is on the management of preservation activities that seek to maintain access to content within books, manuscripts, archival materials, and other library resources. Examples of activities managed by preservation librarians include binding, conservation, digital and analog reformatting, digital preservation, and environmental monitoring.

Theory and practice

Many practicing librarians do not contribute to LIS scholarship, but focus on daily operations within their own libraries or library systems. Other practicing librarians, particularly in academic libraries, do perform original scholarly LIS research and contribute to the academic end of the field.

On this basis, it has sometimes been proposed that LIS is distinct from librarianship, in a way analogous to the difference between medicine and doctoring. In this view, librarianship, the application of library science, would comprise the practical services rendered by librarians in their day-to-day attempts to meet the needs of library patrons. [cn]

Whether or not individual professional librarians contribute to scholarly research and publication, many are involved with and contribute to the advancement of the profession and of library science and information science through local, state, regional, national and international library or information organizations.

Other uses of these terms do not make the distinction and treat them as synonyms. [cn]

Powell's widely used introductory textbook does not make a formal distinction, but its bibliography uses the word librarianship as the heading for articles about the library profession.

Library science is very closely related to issues of knowledge organization, however the latter is a broader term which covers how knowledge is represented and stored (computer science/linguistics), how it might be automatically processed (artificial intelligence), and how it is organized outside the library in global systems such as the internet. In addition, library science typically refers to a specific community engaged in managing holdings as they are found in university and government libraries, while knowledge organization in general refers to this and also to other communities (such as publishers) and other systems (such as the Internet). The Library system is thus one socio-technical structure for knowledge organization.[14]

Technical handbooks and guides

References

  1. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) used the term "Library economy" for class 19 in its first edition from 1876. In the second edition (and all subsequent editions) it was moved to class 20. The term "Library economy" was used until (and including) 14. edition (1942). From the 15. edition (1951) class 20 was termed Library Science, which was used until (and including) 17th edition (1965) when it was replaced by "Library and Information Sciences" (LIS) from 18th ed. (1971) and forward.
  2. OCLC/org
  3. Schrettinger, Martin (1808-1829). Versuch eines vollständigen Lehrbuchs der Bibliothek-Wissenschaft. Oder, Anleitung zur vollkommenen Geschäftsführung eines Bibliothekars. In wissenschaftlicher Form abgefasst. München. (2 bind).Google books: Bd 1: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.cu08321752 ; Bd 2: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.cu08321760
  4. Harris, Michael H. History of Libraries in the Western World. 4th ed. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow, 1995. 3 - "The distinction between a library and an archive is relatively modern"
  5. Cossette, Andre Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2009. Print.
  6. Martin Schrettinger (1803): Versuch eines volltsändigen Lehrbuches der Bibliothek-Wissenschaft. Munich
  7. As already stated Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)used the term "Library economy" from 1876 and to 1942; hereafter the term Library Science was used until 1965.
  8. Panjab Library Primer full text http://www.archive.org/details/punjablibrarypri00dickuoft
  9. Best Careers. U.S. News & World Report USnews.com
  10. 10.0 10.1 Librarian: Executive Summary - US News and World Report
  11. BLS Inflation Calculator, BLS.gov
  12. 12.0 12.1 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
  13. McCook, Kathleen de la Peña. Introduction to Public Librarianship,p. 65. Neal-Schuman, 2011
  14. R. Hoetzlein. The Organization of Human Knowledge: Systems for Interdisciplinary Research. 2007. Available at Rchoetzlein.com


See also

External links

History


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