Library and Information Science
What is Library and Information Science?
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.