ERIC Identifier: ED308884
Publication Date: 1989-09-00
Author: Eisenberg, Michael B.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Trends in Library and Information Science: 1989. ERIC Digest.
This digest is based on TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE,
by Michael B. Eisenberg, Carolyn K. Trombly, and Lindsay D. Ruth.
In order to identify and document the pervasive trends in the field of
library and information science, an elaborate content review of the professional
literature was performed. Literature examined included journals, conference
proceedings, ERIC RIE documents, annuals and yearbooks, and dissertations. The
purpose of this digest is to highlight the significant trends observed in this
content review process.
TRENDS IN THE LIBRARY AND INFORMATION PROFESSIONS
important emerging roles and responsibilities for information professionals.
Two themes related to the expanding roles of information professionals are
(a) the need for librarians to take a proactive approach to some of their
traditional activities, and (b) the possibilities for information professionals
to take on new roles, which are often stimulated by emerging information
technologies. Librarians are encouraged to reinterpret "traditional" library
skills, to explore new ways of putting those skills to work, and to promote
themselves to administration. Models for "electronic libraries" show librarians
taking responsibility for the provision and management of information that comes
not from traditional collections, but from databases.
The status and image of librarians remains a major concern across the library
In spite of emerging new roles, all types of librarians are still concerned
with image. Aspects of this include librarians' image of themselves, their image
in society, and their image among users. There is continuing concern about the
status of librarians in relation to that of information managers, information
scientists, and other professionals under the "information" umbrella.
Establishing a unified identity, within such a varied profession, is a major
concern, as is creating a positive image that accurately reflects the skills and
responsibilities of library and information professionals.
Professional education programs are being challenged to balance the need to
provide training in specific areas while also developing comprehensive,
coordinated programs covering all areas of information science.
Questions facing professional education in library and information science
include: What is information science? How can seasoned practitioners maintain
currency and extend their competencies? What prerequisites should exist for
those entering the field? What do prospective employers expect from graduates of
various programs? What should schools teach to prepare their graduates for
productive employment, both now and in the future? (Cooper & Lunin, 1988).
Educators must meet specific job market needs, but they also feel a
responsibility to provide students with an introduction to a broad information
world. Changes in library and information science programs reflect attempts to
achieve both goals.
Libraries of all types are incorporating planning processes into their
The library field as a whole shows a strong interest in planning. Numerous
conference workshops and articles in the literature address planning. This
includes planning for specific services as well as planning for long range
organizational development (strategic planning). A strategic plan provides a
foundation for making choices about future library directions (McClure, Owen,
Zweizig, Lynch, & Van House, 1987). Repeated themes in the literature
include the need to plan for change, to anticipate future needs and
restrictions, and to take a proactive stance toward environmental factors.
INFORMATION POWER, the new guidelines for school library media programs, is
already having a major impact on the field.
The major development in 1988 in terms of standards was the publication of
the new school library media guidelines, INFORMATION POWER (AASL & AECT,
1988). This document presents an active, forward-looking role for library media
programs based on the library media specialist functioning as information
specialist, teacher, and instructional consultant. Discussions of the guidelines
are just beginning to appear in the literature; however, the document has
already been presented to educators at all levels.
TRENDS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Technology has an impact
on the presentation of information and related information services.
Technology influences change in the structure and format of information
resources. Traditional formats for government publications, library catalogs,
thesauri, microforms, bibliographic sources, and even monographs are being
challenged by computer-based alternatives. Computer-based information resources
are still in a state of infancy. Attention is just beginning to be placed on
full-text information sources, computer databases that combine multi-media
formats, and computer-based hypermedia information stores that combine text,
sound, graphics, and moving pictures and are interconnected through multiple
points of access for a great degree of user interaction. There is also increased
reliance on automated systems for library services and operations such as
acquisitions, networking and interlibrary loan, serials control, catalogs, and
Advances in technology result in major, highly visible changes in library and
As CD-ROM and other hardware and software systems appear and are applied in
various environments (from schools to corporations), the focus in the literature
goes beyond the technologies themselves to a consideration of the impact of
various technologies. Every type of library and information setting is affected
by technology. Discussions in the literature address the need to reinvent the
library in the information age, scholars' management of information, the impact
of technology on scholarship, and the implementation of technological change. A
major issue in higher education is the relationship between the library and the
computer center in providing information services on campus. Another is the
impact of technology on curriculum and resource management in colleges. In other
settings (archives, school library media centers, public libraries, and
information services in business and government), services and management are
similarly influenced by technological change.
New research efforts in information systems include (a) integrating various
formats and structures in a single system, (b) developing sophisticated user
interfaces, and (c) the application of artificial intelligence to information
In an opinion paper, Sparck Jones (1988) identified these three trends in
information management and systems development. Integrated formats and
structures refers to systems that include a variety of media (text, pictures,
graphics) and document types (reports, papers, tables, charts, letters, user
comments). Developments in user interfaces include increased workstation
capabilities, multitasking, linked operations, flexibility and convenience,
multiple windows, pull-down menus, and hypermedia. Artificial intelligence
applications are going beyond the interpretation of natural language queries or
text, to systems that expertly interpret information from a context of broad
knowledge bases in fundamental areas.
CD-ROM has emerged as a major technology for providing access to a range of
information systems, such as bibliographic retrieval systems, databases, library
catalogs, and full-text systems.
Optical disk technology in the form of CD-ROM is clearly the technology of
the present. The literature is filled with discussions of new CD-ROM products,
the application of CD-ROM in new situations, and research and development to
expand CD-ROM capabilities (Lunin & Schipma, 1988). Current CD-ROM products
include bibliographic databases, online catalogs, and full-text reference
sources. Research and development efforts involve interchangeable architectures,
multi-user access through networking and other means, and transparent access
across software systems. CD-ROM is viable and being applied in all types of
libraries, in business and government situations, and across subject areas.
American Association of School
Librarians, & Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1988). INFORMATION POWER: GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA PROGRAMS. Chicago: American Library Association.
Cooper, Marianne, & Lunin, Lois F. (1988, September). Introduction and overview. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE, 39(5), 308-309.
Eisenberg, Michael B., Trombly, Carolyn K., & Ruth, Lindsay D. (1988). TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. ED number pending.
Garrison, Guy. (1988, September). Challenges to information science education. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE, 39(5), 362-366.
Lewis, David W. (1988, July). Inventing the electronic university. COLLEGE AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES, 49(4), 291-304.
Lunin, Lois F., & Schipma, Peter B. (Eds.). (1988, January). Perspectives on...CD-ROM for information storage and retrieval. Special section of JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE, 39(1), 30-63.
Lynch, M.J. (1987). LIBRARIES IN AN INFORMATION SOCIETY: A STATISTICAL SUMMARY. Chicago: American Library Association.
McClure, Charles R., Owen, Amy, Zweizig, Douglas L., Lynch, Mary Jo, & Van House, Nancy A. (1987). PLANNING AND ROLE SETTING FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES: A MANUAL OF OPTIONS AND PROCEDURES. Chicago: American Library Association.
Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U. S. Department of Education. (1988). ISSUES IN LIBRARY RESEARCH: PROPOSALS FOR THE 1990S. VOL. 2: RETHINKING THE LIBRARY IN THE INFORMATION AGE. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. ED number pending.
Sparck Jones, Karen. (1988). Fashionable trends and feasible strategies in information management. INFORMATION PROCESSING AND MANAGEMENT, 24(6), 703-711.
Stevens, Norman D. (1988, Spring). Our image in the 1980s. LIBRARY TRENDS, 36(4), 825-851.