On the Future of Education in Information Science

By Tanackovic, Sanjica Faletar | Information Today, November-December 2018 | Go to article overview

On the Future of Education in Information Science


Tanackovic, Sanjica Faletar, Information Today


The International Symposium on the Future of Education in Information Science (FEIS 2018; feis2018.di.unipi.it) was held at the University of Pisa in Italy from Sept. 10 to 11. It was conducted by the Erasmus+ (ec.europa.eu/ programmes/erasmus-plus) European Information Science Education: Encouraging Mobility and Learning Outcomes Harmonization project (EINFOSE; einfose.ffos.hr). The event addressed differences in entry requirements and learning outcomes that have been causing mobility barriers among European higher education institutions that offer master of arts programs in the information sciences and problems in the recognition of learning outcomes and ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) requirements.

During the Erasmus+ grant period (2016-2018), EINFOSE partners from eight European institutions--University of Barcelona (Spain), University of Boras (Sweden), University of Graz (Austria), Hacettepe University (Turkey), University of Hildesheim (Germany), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), University of Osijek (Croatia), and University of Pisa (Italy)--made substantial contributions to the discussion of the common entry requirements and harmonization of learning outcomes that could mitigate or even eliminate the differences in enrollment procedures at higher education institutions offering programs in information science, contribute to the higher enrollment of students with different educational backgrounds at graduate level programs in information science, and increase student mobility.

Views on LIS Education

Keynote lecturer Leif Kajberg (formerly of the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark) gave an introduction to the topic of the conference. In his presentation, Has-Been Reflections From Backstage: A Still Keen LIS Observer's Look at LIS Education and Europe, he shared his reminiscences on the 2004-2005 project LIS Education in Europe and made some comments on recent issues and developments, including iSchools, new curricular elements and themes, and the increasing concern with "imported" theoreticians (in philosophy, sociology, etc.). He concluded by saying that LIS education in Europe is still a mixed bag, with its miscellany of language contexts (terminology is still a problem), historical distinctiveness, academic cultures, epistemological traditions, and structural intricacies--although there is a long and well-developed tradition of cooperation.

Gary Marchionini (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) presented Information Science Roles in Data Science. He pointed out that information professionals, as people who create, audit, and steward trusted public knowledge repositories, should be grounded in ethics, technology, and information theory. He further emphasized the role of iSchools in teaching about appraisal strategies for, the long-term preservation of, and access to human knowledge; ethics and implications for public good; literacy; and advocacy for open and accessible knowledge and interventions to help people manage the convenience/privacy/freedom trade-offs.

Anna Maria Tammaro (University of Parma), in The Benefits and Challenges of Internationalization of LIS Education: Cooperative Efforts and Joint Courses Experiences in Europe, described her experiences regarding models of accreditation and equivalency of qualifications in developing joint courses and programs. She stated that barriers to the internationalization of LIS education are many; the most important are the language barrier, cultural diversity, "the way we have always done it," bureaucracy, and commitment. …

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