International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science

International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science

International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science

International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science

Synopsis

The International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science was published to widespread acclaim in 1996, and has become the major reference work in the field. This eagerly awaited new edition has been fully revised and updated to take full account of the many and radical changes which have taken place since the Encyclopedia was originally conceived. With nearly 600 entries, written by a global team of over 150 contributors, the subject matter ranges from mobile library services provided by camel and donkey transport to search engines, portals and the World Wide Web. The new edition retains the successful structure of the first with an alphabetical organization providing the basic framework of a coherent collection of connected entries. Conceptual entries explore and explicate all the major issues, theories and activities in information and library science, such as the economics of information and information management. A wholly new entry on information systems, and enhanced entries on the information professions and the information society, are key features of this new edition. Topical entries deal with more specific subjects, such as collections management and information services for ethnic minorities. New or completely revised entries include a group of entries on information law, and a collection of entries on the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Excerpt

Librarianship is as old as libraries themselves, and they can be traced amid the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Information science is one of the new stars in the academic firmament; its basic concepts have only reached their semi-centenary, and its name is more recent than that. These two disciplines, the ancient and the modern, have been yoked together, not always comfortably, in the names of academic departments, degree courses and even professorial chairs. The link is not wholly artificial. In some important respects, the discipline of information science grew out of the practice of librarianship, while the theories that information scientists, and their close colleagues in cognitive science and the sociology of knowledge, have developed are now underpinning our conceptual understanding of how information is garnered, ordered and delivered, a process that lies at the heart of the librarian's work. As a consequence, librarianship can be argued to have become a subfield of a broader discipline to whose development it made a major contribution; this line of argument suggests that information science, with its strong theoretical base and conceptual framework, now overarches the entire domain. There are, of course, other views. Among both academics and practitioners there are proponents of the idea that information systems, or information management, or informatics or, to some extent, knowledge management offer a distinctive conceptual foundation to the discipline. We have sought to give full and objective exposure to these claims in this revised edition.

The International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (IEILS) takes a broad sweep across this domain. In planning and designing it, and now in revising it for a second edition, we have taken information itself as the basic unit of the currency in which we are trading. IEILS seeks to expound the theory of information, how it is collected, stored, processed and retrieved, and how it is communicated to those who seek it. Much of this work still takes place in or through libraries and is undertaken by men and women whose professional designation is 'librarian'. Consequently, the management and organization of libraries, and the skills and techniques of librarianship, form a significant part of the book. It is, however, fundamental to our understanding of the field, and to the design of this book, to recognize that libraries and librarianship are only one part of the information world. In the few years that have passed since we planned the first edition, that has become even more apparent.

At the most mundane level, not all information is sought from, or provided by, librarians and libraries. In the developed world, a multiplicity of agencies, from voluntary organizations to government departments, have the provision of information as part of their mission; in less developed countries oral transmission remains the dominant mode.Other collecting and disseminating institutions - museums and archives, for example-share some (but by no means all) of the characteristics of libraries. Information is disseminated by broadcasters and by publishers; dissemination is facilitated by sophisticated telecommunications systems at one end of the scale, and by the age-old human skill of speech at the other. These agencies and agents use an almost bewildering variety of media and formats to attain their end: hand-written documents, printed books, sound recording, photography and digitized data storage

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