In Search of New Identity for LIS Discipline, with Some References to Iran

By Fadaie, Gholamreza | Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, Annual 2008 | Go to article overview
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In Search of New Identity for LIS Discipline, with Some References to Iran


Fadaie, Gholamreza, Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology


Introduction

Nowadays the library and information sciences (LIS) have reached to its highest degree of attention and I think it is mostly due to the electronic development. By electronic development which is presented through internet and intranet activities one may consider that it is the librarianship which has got its real place. But one may argue that technology and especially information technology has affected on many disciplines and subjects. It is much better to say that this discipline has got the best benefit from technology development due to its nature that is information, documents, books, and knowledge. Nevertheless changes have been made by technology do not change the nature of any discipline. Every discipline and field of study must have its theoretical or philosophical foundation first, and then it can certainly be more manifested and used by technology.

Librarianship and then information science, although are very important and widely used every where and in any time suffers from a theoretical basis in comparison with other disciplines. Few people such as Patrick Wilson opened the horizon of philosophical tendency in LIS (Hjorland, 2005, p. 5). Belkin, Ingewerson, Ellis, Ervin and others try to search some cognitive foundations for LIS through information seeking (Budd, 2001, pp. 256-257). They are all against positivist scholars in this domain. Bakhtin, too by describing information seeking looks at LIS from communication and phenomenology point of view. These days there are a lot of debates and controversial discussion among the rhetoricians who try to find a valuable basis for them. They try to find a basis for library sciences as well for information studies (Ebrami, 1379/1999, pp. 22, 17).

Although LIS discipline is considered as interdisciplinary area there must be some concrete definition for it as well.

Questions Facing Library and Information Science

This article is tying to answer some questions as follows: Is librarian the best designation for the specialists in this domain? Are famous librarians or information specialists satisfied with the lack or uncompleted definition for the subject? Are there any theoretical shortcomings for this field? Does this discipline challenge with other subject specialists such as computer men, information specialists, specialists in communication and so on? Is it possible to change the name or define to a better definition befitting the functions of the librarians? Is the Information specialist the best partner for the librarian in this age? As I had mentioned earlier librarianship, especially in Iran, suffers from a number of problems which may be classified as follows:

Name and Naming

Name and designations are very important for people in their lives. By choosing the appropriate name good communication takes place. Therefore more attention should be paid in designating abstract terms for subjects and disciplines. Librarianship as a discipline may suffer from such mis-designation especially in some nations. By this designation some think that the task of librarian is only to keep the books and other materials and /or lend them to the users. Some problems that may arise from designation are that the concept of librarianship derives from the library as a surrounded place.

Lack of Clear Identity

Some professions are self-defining; in some others the job occupiers may define them. The librarianship may be not so at least at first glance. They call him librarian not because what he does such as farmers, and he is not like lawyers either who are engaged with laws. But s / he is famous because of the place he works in. The definitions for librarian although is clear, in explaining the ability of the librarian is silent (Christ, 1986 /1365).

Many people think that the librarian is a book keeper and its aim is to preserve the books in a place called library or at most to lend the materials when asked for.

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