Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Formal Education in Work with Continuing Resources: Do Barriers Really Exist?

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Formal Education in Work with Continuing Resources: Do Barriers Really Exist?

Article excerpt

This paper identifies perceived impediments to increased continuing resources content in library and information science (LIS) curriculum through a review of the literature. It then reports on research conducted to identify the current level of instruction in continuing resources in ALA-accredited LIS education in the U.S. A content analysis of their online course catalog descriptions, syllabi, course schedules, course requirements, and degree requirements reveals an increase in the continuing resources content available to LIS students. Quantitative analysis of data reveals no significant correlation between LIS educators' research or teaching interests or the number of credit hours required for an MLS and the number of continuing resources courses offered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the impact of the results of this study on the perceived impediments to continuing resources education and recommendations for further study.

Keywords: Serials, periodicals, continuing resources, education, content analysis, library science

The advent of electronic resources, particularly e-journals and electronic indexes, has turned a spotlight on serials and broadened its definition. For example, the 2003 edition of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science contains a single entry devoted to work with serials. In early 2008, the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science contained thirty-six entries with the word serials as part of the title, six with the word periodicals, and one with the words continuing resource. The 2002 revision to the Anglo American Cataloging Rules, second edition, officially introduced the term "continuing resource" as the broadest term with which to describe resources that are "issued over time with no predetermined conclusion. Continuing resources include serials and ongoing integrating resources" (Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR, 2002, Appendix D, p. 2). The adoption of a broader term and the increased attention to the topic in discipline-focused publications is evidence of its increased importance.

Clearly, librarians recognize the impact of these changes on their work and the effects they have on library patrons' ability to access information. It is incumbent upon library and information science (LIS) educators to prepare future generations of librarians, no matter what their specialty, for work with continuing resources. This is nothing new. In 1975, Weber noted that "to expect a person to cope with the convoluted reality in the serials world without ever having even heard the word 'serials' mentioned in library school courses is cruel, unprofessional, wasteful, and foolish" (p.79). In 1987 Soper noted that "since serials make up a major part of many libraries' collections [and budgets], to treat them as something unusual and out of the ordinary run of library activities is completely wrong" (p. 177).

There exist among serials librarians two ideas about LIS education that have persisted over thirty years. The first is that there is a "need to improve education in the area of serials" (Clack, 1986, p. 181) as part of the master's degree in LIS (Bierbaum, 1996; Carter, 1993; Clayton, 1993; Golian, 1996; Hanson & Linkins, 1982; Upham, 1989). The second is that those who administer and teach in master's programs do not consider serials important since historically very few programs have included a separate course devoted entirely to work with serials (Clack, 1986; Clayton, 1993; Hanson & Linkins, 1982; Upham, 1989). These notions have endured in spite of the dramatic changes that have occurred in libraries and LIS education during the same time period, mainly as a result of advances in communications technology. Given the increasing numbers of serialized library materials (i.e. Web pages, electronic journals, electronic indexes, abstracts, and aggregations) and the persistence of the idea that there should be a greater focus on work with continuing resource in LIS education, this study was undertaken in order to determine whether such a focus exists in LIS education and, if so, to what extent, and to explore some of the factors that might have influenced its introduction. …

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