Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Information Science

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Information Science

Article excerpt

MY ASSIGNED TASK was to comment on the broad topic: "New sciences, technologies, and media-impact on education for librarianship (or libraries)." It may be no surprise that my choice of emphasis from this wide spectrum is "information science/' And rather than attempting to cover the waterfront in a half-hour, I am limiting myself still further, by emphasi2ing some aspects of the "interface" between librarianship and information science, where I believe the action is going to develop in the coming years.

The letters and announcements regarding openings for information science faculty that I see from library schools in the United States and abroad make it clear that the topic, discipline, or interdiscipline, if you will, has come of age in the academic marketplace. The "specifications" for openings vary widely, however, so much so that it is obvious that there are startling differences in the way that "information science" is perceived in different environments. At one end of the spectrum are those who consider "information as a phenomenon worthy of study in its own right"; at the other end are those who want someone capable of teaching the use of the OCLC terminal, for example, as a part of the basic cataloging course. In between are those who wish the prospective faculty member to address computer programming, library automation, systems analysis, statistics, networking, simulation, and/or communications (tele- or otherwise).

The announcements and letters also reveal another dimension- regarding the extent of change in curriculum. On the one hand, are those who, for the first time, are venturing "outside" of librarianship as conventionally denned, and wish only to have a single "survey" course taught in "information science," with the candidate required to "double in brass," so to speak, by teaching one or more of the usual core subjects such as administration, resources, reference, or technical services. Then there are some who wish to have the new faculty member, alone, to teach a set of "information science" courses. Finally there are those who plunged into the field earlier and now wish to add depth and breadth through their new faculty acquisition.

One can classify these curricula as:

(1) Committed to established librarianship-wishing only to exhibit that they are "with it" by having a single item (course) in the catalog as "proof."

(2) Committed to established librarianship-but worried they may be leftbehind, and wishing to "test the water" by an initial commitment to a full faculty slot.

(3) Committed to one or more aspects of information science- desiring to develop greater strength.

(4) Committed to teaching and scholarly research at a fundamental level-examining the basic character of the information transfer (communication) process in libraries and other information exchange environments.

Graduates of the various programs exhibit in skills and knowledge the level of commitment of the schools in which they have received their training, leading to some difficulties when they attempt to find their way in the job marketplace.

It appears useful therefore to attempt to structure, or describe, the programs in terms of "exit competencies" which the various programs may have as objectives for their graduates. These competencies fall into three broad classifications:

(1) Literacy

(2) Operational functionality

(3) Research functionality

(1) Literacy

Three categories are suggested under "literacy": word recognition; taxonomy; and fundamental processes.

(a) Word recognition: this is the minimal level, at which words and terms may be recognized and defined, but not necessarily with a full appreciation of their significance.

(b) Taxonomy: this is the level at which the words and terms are understood with regard to interrelationships among them as well as to established librarianship; at this level the component activities comprising information science may be sensed. …

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