The Department of Media, Culture and Creative Industries at City is home to an international centre of excellence, committed to the development of library and information science (LIS) as an academic discipline and vocational practice.
Library and Information Science is concerned with the processes and activities of keeping the record of humankind.
City offers an MSc programme in Information Science and an MSc/MA in Library Science. Both courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) as a qualification for entry into the profession. We also offer an MPhil /PhD in Library and Information Science.
Library and Information Science is concerned with the processes and activities of keeping the record of humankind.
CityLIS, provides a home for the Centre for Information Science and for our library programmes and research. Our activities build on a longstanding tradition of excellence in teaching and research within the field of library and information science. This has its origins in the work of Jason Farradane who established the first Centre for Information Science at City in 1961.
Our research examines the historical and contemporary processes of documentation, so that we can understand the factors shaping our evolving information society.
We embrace and encourage a symbiotic exchange of knowledge between research and practice. Our work explores and extends the boundaries of library and information science, demonstrating its relevance to new audiences, and to those outside the academy.
We welcome students from all backgrounds, who have an interest in entering, or progressing within, the information professions.
Our teaching emphasises both traditional and digital media, engagement with digital scholarship, and outreach. We benefit enormously from our London location, with ready access to a wealth of collections, exhibitions and colleagues, which inspires innovation and creative thinking.
Library and Information Science (LIS) is a long-standing academic discipline, with its own set of theories, perspectives and methods. It studies all aspects of the creation, organisation, management, communication and use of recorded information in documents of all kinds, including new forms of digital and immersive documents.
It underlies a variety of practices such as information management, librarianship, data management, and archiving and records management, educating professionals for work in those areas, and carrying out research to improve practice.
While the roots of LIS are in bibliography, the efforts over several centuries to make published information organised and accessible, modern LIS grew from the documentation movement of the mid-twentieth century, which sought to use new technologies to make specialised knowledge better accessible.
It is a broad subject, with its interests sometimes distinguished as, on the one hand, information in all its aspects and manifestations, information in specific domains and contexts, and technology applications ('information science') and on the other as collection management, information literacy development, and services to communities and culture ('Library Science').
However, the overlaps in interest are so great that it is best to think of a single discipline.
LIS overlaps with a number of other disciplines and professions, including computing and information systems, media and publishing, digital humanities and e-science, and cultural heritage studies. Activities in these overlap areas is one of the most exciting aspects of modern LIS.
At CityLIS we follow the approach to LIS pioneered here at City, University of London, with a balance between system-centred and user-centred perspectives, a focus on the digital environment without forgetting the humanistic origins of the discipline, and the continuing importance of physical documents, and an emphasis on ethical issues.
Our academic perspective is strongly influenced by Luciano Floridi's Philosophy of Information, applied to the information communication chain in the rapidly changing information environment.
Our teaching focuses on the handling of new kinds of documents, collections and information spaces now emerging, and on the new literacies, skills, and Library/Information services which these require.
We aim to be an internationally leading centre for imaginative research, scholarship and teaching in library and information science, providing professionally orientated education and impactful research based on academic excellence, and taking full advantage of our Central London location
This aligns with the University's 2026 vision (Vision and Strategy 2026): to be a leading global university committed to academic excellence, focused on business and professions and located in the heart of London
We emphasise the synergy of research, scholarship, teaching, and public engagement, so that activities will often overlap.
CityLIS necessarily operates as a small and niche area, aligning our strategy with the four strategic priorities of the University's Vision and Strategy 2026 document:
Maintain quality trajectory ('better')
CityLIS will continue to improve research quality, student experience, and vocational relevance:
- by maintaining a synergy between research, scholarship and teaching
- in teaching, focusing on our established PG courses and on develop CPD options
- in research and scholarship, continually develop and refocus the LIS disciplines, particularly through cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work
Achieve growth ('bigger')
Although we remain a relatively small department, CityLIS aims for careful, sustainable growth by:
- sustainably increasing the numbers of a small core academic team
- supplementing the core team with an increasing number of visiting and guest lecturers, research fellows, and PhD students who teach
- seeking funding for research and student support, but encouraging self-funding PhD and MSc students, and supporting excellence in the individual research of staff and fellows
- expanding recruitment to our Masters courses by encouraging applications from those with educational and occupational backgrounds not commonly associated with entry into the library/information professions
Leverage partnership working
Because of our small size and inter- and multi-disciplinary nature, CityLIS relies on partnership working for both research and teaching: within London, within the UK and internationally. We will:
- seek collaboration inside the university, particularly by cross-School working
- seek collaboration outside the university: by partnerships with other London academic institutions, especially within the University of London, particularly for module sharing; with other UK LIS departments; and internationally
- work closely with professional bodies, especially our accrediting body CILIP, with City Livery Companies, especially the Stationers’ Company, and with recruitment agencies specialising in the LIS sector
Living the values
Alongside our focus on academic excellence, professional relevance and societal impact, CityLIS emphasises personal and departmental values. We aim to be:
- ethical in all our activities
- open and transparent in our dealings within and beyond the department
- inclusive in recruitment of staff, students and collaborators; we will not seek to act as 'professional gatekeepers' in student recruitment, but will welcome all with an interest in studying our discipline.
- CityLIS will emphasise open practice and communication to as wide an audience as possible. We aim to operate 'onlife', with a seamless mix of analogue and digital, physical and virtual. This will be achieved by means including:
- inviting anyone interested to our 'after hours' seminars, and to 'taster' lectures
- extensive use of social media, particularly Twitter and blogs
- use of open repositories, particularly City Research Online and the Humanities Commons, to make the outputs of staff and students, including taught Masters students, widely available
- use of news media, as well as professional media and academic outlets
- Teaching will be focused on our two complementary Masters courses, in Information Science and in Library Science, though we will seek opportunities to contribute to other courses, and to make our teaching activities and materials available for CPD purposes.
- Research will be focused in our three broad project areas: Philosophy and Ethics of Information; Documents and Documentation; and Information Literacies, Behaviour and Understanding.
- Scholarship will be reflected by CityLIS staff authoring the leading textbooks of the discipline, editing major journals and book series, and taking the lead in new forms of open scholarship for the subject.
- CityLIS activities will align where possible with related national, European and international initiatives and priorities.
We will measure the success of our strategy by six principle metrics:
- position in the QS worldwide university rankings, with a current aim of being the top 40 universities worldwide in the 'Library and Information Management' category
- AQRM and REF scores [with a current aim of a mean AQRM of over 3.5 (scale 1-4) for CityLIS staff]
- recruitment to Masters courses [with a current, School derived target (19/20) of 35 students entering each year]
- teaching quality metrics [with a current aim of a mean satisfaction score of over 4 (scale 1-5) for all CityLIS teaching activity]
- continued accreditation of our courses by CILIP, and validation by the University's PPR
- esteem factors for CityLIS staff, including panel and committee membership, authorship and editorship, publication metrics, participation in joint initiatives, and keynote presentations.
This document will be reviewed annually.
Latest Edition: February 2019
Both courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) as a qualification for entry into the profession.
The courses are ideal for anyone wishing to progress their career in library or information work, and for those interested in updating their knowledge and experience of modern information communication.
The criteria for accreditation of all UK LIS programmes can be found in CILIP’s Professional Knowledge Skills Base scheme (PKSB).
We also offer an MPhil/PhD programme.
Library and Information Science at City
We are known for our inclusive environment, inspirational teaching, academic standards, strong connection with the professional sector, and the high employability of our students.
Our courses offer a unique, professional focus on the fundamental principles of library and information science, from the earliest communication systems to contemporary digital information technologies and practice.
All our students receive a thorough grounding in the key areas of knowledge organisation, information storage and retrieval, information literacy, and information behaviour. Library and information science considers the processes of information communication, and as such it has relevance to every subject.
General theories and concepts can be customised for individual interests through assignment focus, choice of dissertation topic, and via the Independent Study module. The courses are closely related, and share a number of modules.
Recognising the importance of transversal skills, all our students are required to maintain a professional blog, and to connect with classmates, colleagues and wider networks via social media platforms such as Twitter. We believe that communication must reach beyond the classroom.
We organise a mix of events throughout the academic year, from our informal ‘AfterHours’ seminar series, and social occasions, to more formal extracurricular lectures and visits.
Course content is organised into modules. Each module is worth 15 credits, and requires, approximately, 150 hours of study. Modules are delivered as a series of 10 weekly, face-to-face, sessions during either the autumn or spring terms.
Contact time for each module is around 30 hours, with the remaining 120 hours being allotted to self-study and assignments. Please note, we do not offer a distance-learning mode.
Both the Library Science and Information Science courses comprise eight taught modules, (seven compulsory, one elective) plus a 60 credit research project (dissertation).
Each course may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students take four modules per term, completing the course in 12 months, whilst part-time students take two modules per term, completing the course over 28 months.
CityLIS benefits from its teaching staff, all of who are experienced in education, research and practice. All our staff are research active, and class materials draw from cutting edge ideas and publications.
We regularly invite guest lecturers and speakers, leaders in the field, who provide a broader context for research, professional practice and outreach.
Our students also engage with the many outstanding collections to be found within the wider University of London, and in London itself, including those of Senate House Library, and the British Library. CityLIS students also benefit from the wealth of related professional and research events that take place throughout London.
Library Science vs Information Science
CityLIS interprets the discipline of library and information science as a spectrum comprising the processes of the information communication chain.
These include: creation, dissemination, collection, management, organisation, indexing, design, preservation, understanding, measurement and use of information, as influenced by technology, politics, economics and social trends. The different courses emphasise different aspects of the communication chain.
Library Science focuses on knowledge, skills and activities related to collections, both physical and digital, taking into account information resources, audiences, communities, services and impact.
Information Science has an emphasis on subject specific resources, and the legal and technological solutions that enable storage, organisation and access. In recent years, the subject related focus has expanded from text and image based resources, to include data sets, data analysis and meaning, and research data management.
Neither subject, however, is entirely independent of the other, and this is reflected in course content.
Library and information science overlaps with a variety of other disciplines, including publishing, digital humanities, computer science, human computer interface design (UX), data science, psychology, linguistics, media studies, and communication studies.
Both CityLIS courses incorporate philosophy and ethics, as they relate to informational processes, in all modules.
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The Centre for Information Science provides a focus for research and scholarship within the field of library and information science.
Research in library and information science at City, University of London has been given the highest rating in the Higher Education Funding Council's research assessment exercises since 1996, with 77% of our work rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent REF2104.
All of our staff members are research active, and engaged with open practice and digital scholarship.
We have a vibrant cohort of research students, spanning our broad range of interests including history and philosophy of LIS, document theory, digital and information ethics, information management, knowledge organisation, the information society, information behaviour, impact and evaluation.