Library Science

 
 Editor
Blanca Rodríguez Bravo mbrodb@unileon.es
Incorporated contributions
Díaz Nafría (20/07/09)
B. Rodríguez (06/2009)
 Usage domain
information management
 Type
discipline
 French
sciences des bibliothèques, bibliothéconomie
 German Bibliotheks-, Dokumentations- wissenschaft
 
Branch of the information sciences devoted to the theoretical and technical knowledge concerning organization and administration of libraries. It deals with the managing of collections and information resources, and the provision of user access.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the term "information" was frequently linked to Special Librarianship in the English speaking world. In the 1960s and after a period in which this activity was associated to Documentation,  it converged with what was labelled as →Information Science (which in some Latin-American countries has been translated into “Ciencia de la Información”, with a sense close to the English usage). According to Capurro and Hjørland (2003), this was motivated by: (i) the growing interest in computer applications, (ii) the influence of Shannon’s theory, and (iii) the current information processing paradigm in cognitive sciences.

Considering Library Science as academic discipline related to librarians and documentalists, two clear trends have been distinguished: the general approach, mainly focused on public libraries with emphasis in general education and significantly detached from the knowledge it serves; and the specialised approach, aimed at specific knowledge domains. However, although this second approach was relatively dominant until the 1970s, thereafter it lost its leading position as education tended to become more general and oriented towards psychology, subjective idealism and methodological individualism. But simultaneously, an intermediate approach emerged which could be branded as a neutral specialisation (even formal or abstract), the domain-analytic approach, related to hermeneutics, semiotics and social constructivism (Capurro & Hjørland 2003). 

According to Griffith’s definition (1980), “Information Science is concerned with the generation, collection, organisation, interpretation, storage, retrieval, dissemination, transformation and use of information, with particular emphasis on the applications of modern technologies in these areas”. The objective of its disciplinary framework is “to create and structure a body of scientific, technological and system knowledge related to information transfer”. Thus –despite the problematic or contingent linkage to used tools made by Griffith– it can be stated that we are dealing with a science which contains elements being theoretical (except for its specific application) and applied (aimed at services and products).

Regarding the conceptualisation of information carried out in this field, it can be stated that special focus is put on two confronted meanings: 1) the information as an object in documents and 2) its radical subjectivisation, i.e. information as everything “that can be informative to someone”.

 
References
  • CAPURRO, R. & HJORLAND, B. (2003). The Concept of Information. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Ed. B. Cronin, 37(8), 343-411. [Draft version available online] <http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html> [Accessed: 12/11/2009].
  • GRIFFITH, B. C. (Ed.) (1980). Key papers in information science. New York: Knowledge Industry Publications.
  • MARTÍNEZ DE SOUSA, J. (1993). Diccionario de bibliología y ciencias afines. Madrid: Fundación Sánchez Ruipérez.
  • RODRÍGUEZ BRAVO, B. (2002). El documento: entre la tradición y la renovación. Gijón: Trea.
Entries
New entry. Before doing a new entry, please, copy this line and the following ones and paste them at the column bottom. Next fill out the fields: 'name', 'date' and 'text', and delete this upper blue paragraph.
Name (date)
 
[entry text]

Incorporated entries
Blanca Rodríguez Bravo (26/06/2009)
 
[It was directly incorporated in the article column by the editor and author of the entry, afterwards integrated with the othe entry of ]


J.M. Díaz Nafría (20/07/2009)
 
[It provides a vision in which the domain in English and Spanish speaking countries is contrasted]
 
At the beginning of the 20th century, the term ‘information’ was frequently linked to Special Librarianship in the English speaking world. After a period in which this activity had been associated to Documentation, in the 1960s it came to converge with what was labelled as →Information Science (which in some Latin-American countries has been translated into “Ciencia de la Información”, with a sense close to the English usage). According to Capurro and Hjørland (2003), this was motivated by the growing interest in computer applications, the influence of Shannon’s theory and the current information processing paradigm in cognitive sciences.

In the academic disciplines concerning librarians and documentalists, two clear trends have been distinguished in Library Science: the general approach, –to some extent- aimed at public libraries, emphasising general education and significantly divorced from the knowledge it serves, and the specialised approach, aimed at specific subjects. However, although this second approach was relatively dominant until the 1970s, thereafter it lost its dominant position as education tended to become more general and oriented towards psychology, subjective idealism and methodological individualism. But simultaneously, an intermediate approach emerged which could be branded as a neutral specialisation (even formal or abstract), the domain-analytic approach, related to hermeneutics, semiotics and social constructivism (Capurro & Hjørland 2003). 

According to Griffith’s definition (1980), “Information Science is concerned with the generation, collection, organisation, interpretation, storage, retrieval, dissemination, transformation and use of information, with particular emphasis on the applications of modern technologies in these areas”. The objective of its disciplinary framework is “to create and structure a body of scientific, technological and system knowledge related to information transfer”. That is to say, –despite the problematic or contingent link Griffith makes with respect to the used tools– one can say that we are dealing with a science which contains elements that are theoretical (except for its specific application) and applied (aimed at services and products). 

Regarding the conceptualisation of information that is carried out in this field, it could be said that special focus is put on two opposing meanings: 1) the information as an object in documents and 2) its radical subjectivisation, i.e. information as everything “that can be informative to someone”.

References
  • Capurro, R. & Hjørland, B. (2003). The Concept of Information. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Ed. B. Cronin, 37(8), 343-411. [Draft version available online] <http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html> [Accessed: 12/11/2009].
  • Griffith, B. C. (Ed.) (1980). Key papers in information science. New York: Knowledge Industry Publications.
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