Minting the Obverse: Library and Information Studies as a One-Sided Coin




Library and Information Studies, Liberal Arts, Basic Research, Education


A synthesis of the work of Michael Buckland reveals the critique that, for too long, LIS has been a one-sided coin. Growing out of professional education, LIS has traditionally nurtured only its applied, practical and empirical side. Challenging this imbalance, emerging research in LIS points to the development of the basic, liberal arts and conceptual side of the discipline. Indeed, the advent of JCLIS reflects this trend. An interest in basic LIS is welcome for a number of reasons: By clarifying key concepts, it will lead to improved practice; by contributing more widely to human knowledge it will fulfill the obligations of being an academic research department; and by exploring information issues which are becoming relevant to all members of society, it will realize a greater purpose. This paper surveys the extent to which the basic side of LIS has emerged, examining the content of the top LIS journals and the curricula of the top LIS institutions. The findings point to an inchoate reverse, but one with numerous challenges that remain beyond the horizon. This paper serves as an invitation to researchers and educators to consider how they can further contribute to minting the basic side of the coin of LIS.

Author Biography

Tim Gorichanaz, Drexel University

PhD Student in Information Studies, College of Computing & Informatics