Future Skills and Future RolesJanuary 14, 2013
As a professional discipline, it’s vital that Information Studies syllabi are in touch with practice. I’m really thrilled, therefore, to be attending my first ever Umbrella conference, and delivering a paper in its stream on “Future Skills and Future Roles.”
I’m looking forward to seeing the other papers that have been accepted in this stream (and, before then, to the uklibchat session at Library Camp London on ‘Design Your Own Library and Information Qualification‘). For now, here’s the abstract of my paper, which will be published in the proceedings (Facet, 2013):
Taking up the theme of ‘standards and qualifications that society can trust,’ this paper explores the role of practitioners in the education of the next generation of information professionals.
After a brief review of alternative models of praxis in LIS qualifications, including the old Library Association exams and the US model of library schools based alongside university libraries, the impact of communities of practice on career entrants is explored. The extent to which information professionals are involved in the MA LIS is highlighted; the roles they play as guest lecturers, sessional lecturers and external examiners; and the influence they exert as employers of newly qualified librarians.
Finally, this paper argues that when we talk about ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘links between research and practice,’ information should flow in both directions: from academe to practitioners and vice versa. It is asserted that the aim should be a virtuous circle of professional education that evolves to meet current and future information service needs. In this model, practitioners identify research issues; academics conduct research (ideally collaboratively with colleagues in practice); research-led teaching at Masters level encourages new professionals to focus on real-world issues in the application of their research skills; new professionals become research-engaged practitioners who identify research issues; and repeat ad infinitum.
With new international cataloguing code Resource Description and Acccess (RDA) being implemented, a brief case study from UK cataloguing is presented, and ways in which practitioners and academics are working together to create new knowledge are demonstrated.
At the conference itself, I’ll present a shorter version, highlighting how practitioners are and can be involved in the delivery and evolution of the MA LIS.