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Library and information science

Library and information science (LIS) is the study of issues related to libraries. This includes academic studies (most often surveys) about how library resources are used and how people interact with library systems. These studies tend to be specific to certain libraries at certain times. The organization of knowledge for efficient retrieval of relevant information is also a major research goal of LIS. Basic topics in library science include the acquisition, classification and preservation of library materials. In a more present-day view, a fervent outgrowth of LIS is information architecture. LIS should not be confused with information theory, the mathematical study of the concept of information.

Library science is distinct from librarianship, which is the practical services rendered by librarians in their day-to-day attempt to meet the needs of library patrons. Librarianship tends not to create new knowledge, nor to strive to advance any field or discipline. Librarians only rarely engage in library science, and then usually outside their jobs as librarians. But the study of library science is part of the requisite training of librarians.

The term library and information science should not be broken into these separate pieces. Library and information science is a hybrid academic field that grew from library schools' fight for survival in the electronic age. The politics of academia, issues of status and prestige, issues of perceived obsolescence and other forces created these programs. Programs in library and information science are interdisciplinary, overlapping with the fields of systems' analysis, computer science, statistics and various parts of the social sciences.

The field of library and information science is not defined by its output of information specialists, but by the "information specialists" who remain in academia teaching and doing research, by its literature, its journals and all the other ways in which an academic discipline is defined, the study of which, by the way, falls within the scope of library and information science!

Important LIS institutions and resources:

Some current LIS issues: See also:

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