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- W(h)ither Information Science?/!1
- Julian Warner2
- Library and information studies (LIS) is giving signs of being in crisis as a discipline. To date, institutional transformations have tended to be perceived in local terms but can be more convincingly regarded as products of a quasi-global crisis, mediated by local developments. Such a crisis demands explanation, particularly in view of the diffusion of the information society concept. One explanation is found in the historical development of LIS since 1945 and the concurrent growth of other disciplines with interests in information. The spread of modern information technologies in use and of intermediary functions has also weakened the exclusivity of LIS's claim to its established domains. A failure of communication with educational funders, which can be connected to theoretical impoverishment within LIS, is detected. Continuing possibilities for an expansive LIS, fully situated in relation to contiguous disciplines, still exist.
Suggestive, if not compelling, indications of a worldwide, or, more strictly, Anglo-American and English language, crisis in library and information studies (LIS) can be found [1, 2].3 A number of LIS departments seem either to be retreating to, or inertly remaining in, established domains or being absorbed into other collectivities (for instance, management or communication studies) and losing their distinctive identity. Informal communication, particularly discussions with col- [...]
- I would like to acknowledge the insights and encouragement obtained from discussions with Michael Buckland, Elisabeth Davenport, and Cherul Knott Malone.
- Lecturer, The Queen's University of Belfast, School of Management and Economics, University Road,Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom BT7 1NN. Telephone +44-28-9024-5133; Fax +44-28-9033-5156; Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Forms of educational and library organization in other geopolitical regions, for instance, Mediterranean Europe and the former Soviet Union, have been different. There are geopolitical contrasts within the Anglo-American and English language regions, and the crisis also offers opportunities. The absence of a comprehensive account of the current situation suggest a theoretical paucity rather than a theoretical conflict within LIS.
[Library Quarterly, vol. 71, no, 2, pp. 243-255] © 2001 by the University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0024-2519/2001/7102-0007$02.00
- The above is the first page 243 @ http://www.jstor.org/pss/4309508
- Lesk, Michael (2005). Digital Searching to Digital Reading. Presentation at LITA session at American Library Association conference, Chicago, 2005. [^]
- Gorman, Michael (2004). "Google and God's Mind: The problem is, information isn't knowledge." (Commentary) Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2004. [^]
- Warner, Julian (2001). "W(h)ither Information Science?/!" Library Quarterly, vol. 71 no. 2 (April 2001) pp. 243-255. [^]
Michael Gorman is said to have mentioned the assault of information science as one of the problems facing libraries today.  By so doing, he in effect differentiated information science with library science or librarianship of his major. Nevertheless, library and information science (LIS) is heard more and more. Graduate schools of librarianship are changing their name from "l" something to "i" something! Which is supposed to "assault" which, to be fair? For what should or would information science assault librarianship? The more "assault" to librarianship, would the more IS benefit from it? But librarians may be too hypersensitive to their own fault to agree with information scientists who may claim that something of science itself may be wrong indeed! Scientists may not like being closely watched.
What is needed indeed for science to survive? It is science itself. Should it be corrupt, it would collapse. It would survive as far as it is sound indeed, however sound it may sound.