Library and information science (LIS) (sometimes given as the plural library and information sciences) or as "library and information studies" is a merging of library science and information science. The joint term is associated with schools of library and information science (abbreviated to "SLIS"). In the last part of the 1960s, schools of librarianship, which generally developed from professional training programs (not academic disciplines) to university institutions during the second half of the 20th century, began to add the term "information science" to their names. The first school to do this was at the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. More schools followed during the 1970s and 1980s, and by the 1990s almost all library schools in the USA had added information science to their names. Weaver Press: Although there are exceptions, similar developments have taken place in other parts of the world. In Denmark, for example, the 'Royal School of Librarianship' changed its English name to The Royal School of Library and Information Science in 1997. Exceptions include Tromsø, Norway, where the term documentation science is the preferred name of the field, France, where information science and communication studies form one interdiscipline, and Sweden, where the fields of Archival science, Library science and Museology have been integrated as Archival, Library and Museum studies.
The unique concern of library and information science
"Concern for people becoming informed is not unique to LIS, and thus is insufficient to differentiate LIS from other fields. LIS are a part of a larger enterprise." (Konrad, 2007, p. 655).
"The unique concern of LIS is recognized as: Statement of the core concern of LIS: Humans becoming informed (constructing meaning) via intermediation between inquirers and instrumented records. No other field has this as its concern. " (Konrad, 2007, p. 660)
"Note that the promiscuous term information does not appear in the above statement circumscribing the field's central concerns: The detrimental effects of the ambiguity this term provokes are discussed above (Part III). Furner [Furner 2004, 427] has shown that discourse in the field is improved where specific terms are utilized in place of the i-word for specific senses of that term." (Konrad, 2007, p. 661).
Michael Buckland wrote: "Educational programs in library, information and documentation are concerned with what people know, are not limited to technology, and require wide-ranging expertise. They differ fundamentally and importantly from computer science programs and from the information systems programs found in business schools.".
Bawden and Robinson argue that while Information Science has overlaps with numerous other disciplines with interest in studying communication, it is unique in that it is concerned with all aspects of the communication chain.:6,8 For example Computer Science may be interested in the indexing and retrieval, sociology with user studies, and publishing (business) with dissemination, whereas information science is interested in the study of all of these individual areas and the interactions between them.:6
The organization of information and information resources is one of the fundamental aspects of LIS. :106 and is an example of both LIS's uniqueness and its multidisciplinary origins. Some of the main tools used by LIS toward this end to provide access to the digital resources of modern times (particularly theory relating to indexing and classification) originated in 19th century to assist humanity's effort to make its intellectual output accessible by recording, identifying, and providing bibliographic control of printed knowledge. :105. The origin for some of these tools were even earlier. For example, in the 17th century, during the 'golden age of libraries', publishers and sellers seeking to take advantage of the burgeoning book trade developed descriptive catalogs of their wares for distribution – a practice was adopted and further extrapolated by many libraries of the time to cover areas like philosophy, sciences, linguistics, medicine, etc. :120 In this way, a business concern of publishers – keeping track of and advertising inventory – was developed into a system for organizing and preserving information by the library.
The development of Metadata is another area that exemplifies the aim of LIS to be something more than an mishmash of several disciplines – that uniqueness Bawden and Robinson describe. Pre-Internet classification systems and cataloging systems were mainly concerned with two objectives: 1. to provide rich bibliographic descriptions and relations between information objects and 2. to facilitate sharing of this bibliographic information across library boundaries. :14 The development of the Internet and the information explosion that followed found many communities needing mechanisms for the description, authentication and management of their information. :15 These communities developed taxonomies and controlled vocabularies to describe their knowledge as well as unique information architectures to communicate these classifications and libraries found themselves as liaison or translator between these metadata systems. :15-16 Of course the concerns of cataloging in the Internet era have gone beyond simple bibliographic descriptions. The need for descriptive information about the ownership and copyright of a digital product – a publishing concern – and description for the different formats and accessibility features of a resource – a sociological concern – show the continued development and cross discipline necessity of resource description.:15