Everything Old Is New Again: The Evolution of Library and Information Science Education from LIS to iField

By Bonnici, Laurie J; Subramaniam, Manimegalai M et al. | Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Everything Old Is New Again: The Evolution of Library and Information Science Education from LIS to iField


Bonnici, Laurie J, Subramaniam, Manimegalai M, Burnett, Kathleen, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science


This article reports the results of research to determine whether the iSchools project, an undertaking of twenty-two institutional caucus members, represents a deliberate split from the discipline of LIS as previously constructed, a conflict in approach to traditional LIS education, or an ingestion of traditional disciplinary content into a new iField. A variety of data sources were analyzed employing the concepts from Abbott's (2001) Chaos of Disciplines for patterns of fractal distinction, fractal distinction in time, fractal differentiation and mechanism. A qualitative emergent research design employing inductive reasoning was used. As viewed through the theoretical lens of the Chaos of Disciplines, LIS has disciplinary breadth (interstitial), is self-replicating in method (fractally distinct), and has progressed through a method of rediscovery (fractal distinction in time). The majority of the schools that have embraced the iSchool movement exhibit the fractal cycle mechanism in their philosophical stance, but the mechanism of progression from LIS to iField is an inverted fractal cycle, moving from specific to broad over time.

Keywords: iSchools, disciplinary identity, LIS education, emergent research design

The disciplinary identity of LIS has been contested since its origins in 19th century librarianship training programs (Burnett & Bonnici, 2006). Inter-professional and interdepartmental competition, jurisdictional disputes - first between library science and information science, and more recently between LIS and computer science over the emergence of information technology as a discipline - have problematized the establishment of a lasting disciplinary identity.

Over the past few decades, shifts in the professional marketplace, globalization, and a rapidly changing technological landscape have further complicated the disciplinary identity formation process. A caucus of 22 iSchools, 14 of which are also members of the ALISE and offer master's degree programs accredited by the ALA has held conferences annually since September 2005 (see ASIS&T Bul- letin, April/May 2006 for reports on this conference). The caucus announced the intention to establish a new iField (iSchools Caucus, n.d.), with the explicit goal of coming to grips with the "elusive identity [that] poses a challenge for the I-School movement" (King, 2006). The iSchools Caucus created the term iField to capture this elusive identity, and defined it as:

an academic field of study and a professional career field that deals with all the issues, opportunities, and challenges we face in our emerging Information Age. . . . The iField addresses this fundamental issue: how do we harness that incredible flow of information for the betterment of society, rather than get swamped by it? (iSchools Caucus, n.d.)

The iField is characterized on the iSchools Caucus' website as "unique," "at the heart of everything," and society's "key to success" (iSchools Caucus, n.d.). These claims make it clear that the caucus perceives the iField as distinct from the contemporary construction of the discipline of LIS. Will the caucus split from LIS entirely to create a new field? Will it attempt to convince the majority group to recognize its minority position as a viable subfield within LIS? Or, will the caucus ingest the prevailing majority position within the new iField? To answer these questions, the researchers adopted the theoretical framework developed by Abbott (2001) and applied in The Chaos of Disciplines to the analysis of the discipline of sociology during a similar period of change. Course names and descriptions, new faculty position announcements, postings to the Jesse listserv, content from iSchools website, and abstracts and papers from the 2006 and 2008 annual iSchools conferences were analyzed for patterns of interstitial character, fractal distinctions, and fractal distinctions over time. The results were compared to Abbott's analysis of the field of sociology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Everything Old Is New Again: The Evolution of Library and Information Science Education from LIS to iField
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.