Competitive Exams: Introduction to Library Science

Library science (or Library and Information science) is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information. The first school for library science was founded by Melvil Dewey at Columbia University in 1887.

Historically, library science has also included archival science. This includes how information resources are organized to serve the needs of select user groups, how people interact with classification systems and technology, how information is acquired, evaluated and applied by people in and outside of libraries as well as cross-culturally, how people are trained and educated for careers in libraries, the ethics that guide library service and organization, the legal status of libraries and information resources, and the applied science of computer technology used in documentation and records management.

Academic courses in library science typically include collection management, information systems and technology, research methods, cataloging and classification, preservation, reference, statistics and management. Library science is constantly evolving, incorporating new topics like database management, information architecture and knowledge management, among others.

There is no generally agreed-upon distinction between the terms library science, librarianship, and library and information science, and to a certain extent they are interchangeable, perhaps differing most significantly in connotation. The term library and information science (LIS) is most often used; most librarians consider it as only a terminological variation, intended to emphasize the scientific and technical foundations of the subject and its relationship with information science. LIS should not be confused with information theory, the mathematical study of the concept of information. LIS can also be seen as an integration of the two fields library science and information science, which were separate at one point. Library philosophy has been contrasted with library science as the study of the aims and justifications of librarianship as opposed to the development and refinement of techniques

History of Library Science

Library and information science, it may be argued, began with the first effort to organize a collection of information and provide access to that information.

At Ugarit in Syria excavations have revealed a palace library, temple library, and two private libraries which date back to around 1200 BCE, containing diplomatic texts as well as poetry and other literary forms. In the 7th century, King Ashurbanipal of Assyria assembled what is considered the first systematically collected library at Nineveh; previous collections functioned more as passive archives. The legendary Library of Alexandria is perhaps the best known example of an early library, flourishing in the 3rd century BC and possibly inspired by Demetrius Phalereus.

Ancient information retrieval One of the curators of the imperial library in the Han Dynasty is believed to have been the first to establish a library classification system and the first book notation system. At this time the library catalog was written on scrolls of fine silk and stored in silk bags.

19th century Thomas Jefferson, whose library at Monticello consisted of thousands of books, devised a classification system inspired by the Baconian method, which grouped books more or less by subject rather than alphabetically, as it was previously done. Jefferson's collection became the nucleus of the first national collection of the United States when it was transferred to Congress after a fire destroyed the Congressional Library during the War of 1812. The Jefferson collection was the start of what we now know as the Library of Congress.

The first textbook on library science was published 1808 by Martin Schrettinger, followed by books of Johann Georg Seizinger and others.

20th century In the English speaking world the term “library science” seems to have been used for the first time in a book in 1916 in the “Panjab Library Primer” written by Asa Don Dickinson and published by the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. This University was the first in Asia to begin teaching ‘library science’ The “Panjab Library Primer” was the first textbook on library science published in English anywhere in the world. The first textbook in the United States was the “Manual of Library Economy” which was published in 1929. Much later, the term was used in the title of S. R. Ranganathan's The Five Laws of Library Science, published in 1931, and in the title of Lee Pierce Butler's 1933 book, An introduction to library science (University of Chicago Press). Butler's new approach advocated research using quantitative methods and ideas in the social sciences with the aim of using librarianship to address society's information needs. This research agenda went against the more procedure-based approach of “library economy,” which was mostly confined to practical problems in the administration of libraries. While Ranganathan's approach was philosophical it was tied more to the day-to-day business of running a library. A reworking of Raganathan's laws was published in 1995 which removes the constant references to books. Michael Gorman's Five New Laws of Librarianship, incorporate knowledge and information in all their forms, allowing for digital information to be considered.

In more recent years, with the growth of digital technology, the field has been greatly influenced by information science concepts. Although a basic understanding is critical to both library research and practical work (for example in the use of online social networks by libraries), the area of information science has remained largely distinct both in training and in research interests.

Training in librarianship Main article: Education for librarianship Most professional library jobs require a professional post-baccalaureate degree in library science, or one of its equivalent terms, library and information science as a basic credential. In the United States and Canada the certification usually comes from a master's degree granted by an ALA-accredited institution, so even non-scholarly librarians have an originally academic background. In the United Kingdom, however, there have been moves to broaden the entry requirements to professional library posts, such that qualifications in, or experience of, a number of other disciplines have become more acceptable. In Australia, a number of institutions offer degrees accepted by the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association).

Types of library-science professionals

  • Librarian
  • Library catalog Cataloguing Librarian
  • Metadata Metadata Librarian
  • Integrated library system Application Specialist
  • Library collection development Collections Librarian
  • Electronic resource management Electronic Resources Librarian
  • Library instruction Research Instruction Librarian
  • Research Reference Librarian
  • Legal research Law Librarian
  • Prospect researcher
  • Information broker
  • Records management Records manager
  • Archivist
  • Indexer
  • Information architect
  • Curator
  • Teacher-librarian