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Strengths and weaknesses of the Information Technology curriculum in Library and Information Science graduate programs


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This research highlights the status of the information technology (IT) skills and competencies being taught at LIS schools in the United States. Results list specific IT topics that the library schools are teaching and the ones that are missing from the curriculum. Based on a literature review these skills are then juxtaposed with the expectations of the employers as well as the graduates of these programs. This research was conducted in multiple steps, starting from extensive literature review, secondary data collection regarding courses from top LIS schools' websites, identifying and creating an IT competency list, content analysis on the course names and descriptions in relation to IT competencies and recommendations for further improvement. In conclusion, some potential courses consisting of the lacking IT skills are proposed as a recommendation.
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Journal of Librarianship and
Information Science
45(3) 219 –231
© The Author(s) 2012
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DOI: 10.1177/0961000612448206
Technology competency is not an option, it is critical for all
librarians and staff.
(Core Technology Competencies for Librarians and Library
Staff: A LITA Guide, Thompson, 2009)
Growth of technology has had a significant impact on the
way libraries function, on the education of librarians, on the
skills and competency expectations of library employers,
and on the curriculum in library schools. In this paper, we
present findings from a study that explored the status of
information technology (IT) and information and commu-
nication technologies (ICT) skills and competencies as
observed from a content analysis of curriculum available
on the websites of the top 25 Library and Information
Science (LIS) schools in the United States.
Rubin claims in Foundations of Library and Information
Science (2004: 79) that:
the scope and rapidity of change within our profession has
never been as great as it is now and the growth of electronic
information technologies has challenged [the role of libraries]
and resulted in considerable instability and uncertainty among
Thompson (2009) in the Library and Information
Technology Association (LITA) handbook provides an
overview of the changes in libraries related to technology
in the last five decades and explains the current situation
as being different from the past because of the following
• the pace of changes in technology;
• the breadth of technological tools that are involved
in the job of a librarian;
• the depth of technical knowledge expected of librar-
ians in the 21st century.
Strengths and weaknesses of the
Information Technology curriculum
in Library and Information Science
graduate programs
Vandana Singh
University of Tennessee, USA
Bharat Mehra
University of Tennessee, USA
This research highlights the status of the information technology (IT) skills and competencies being taught at LIS schools in the United
States. Results list specific IT topics that the library schools are teaching and the ones that are missing from the curriculum. Based on
a literature review these skills are then juxtaposed with the expectations of the employers as well as the graduates of these programs.
This research was conducted in multiple steps, starting from extensive literature review, secondary data collection regarding courses
from top LIS schools’ websites, identifying and creating an IT competency list, content analysis on the course names and descriptions
in relation to IT competencies and recommendations for further improvement. In conclusion, some potential courses consisting of
the lacking IT skills are proposed as a recommendation.
Information technology, librarianship, LIS curriculum, LIS education, software
Corresponding author:
Vandana Singh, University of Tennessee, 1345 Circle Park Drive, 449
Communications Building, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
0010.1177/0961000612448206Singh and MehraJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
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220 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 45(3)
In the same handbook the author further writes that the
librarian’s job has become more challenging and requires
librarians to be IT experts. Now librarians are expected to
be aware of a wide variety of tools, proficient at trouble-
shooting, able to create content using IT, and able to change
rapidly with the technological environment of their users.
Many librarians are finding that their IT departments are no
longer able to handle all of the demands stemming from the
many different types of technology now available in the
area of library sciences. Therefore, librarians are increas-
ingly expected to provide some level of technology support
for themselves. Libraries have traditionally played a key
role in providing access to information and disseminating it
across a community. That role has now extended to include
facilitating access to innovative technologies (Thompson,
Bosque and Lampert (2009) echo a similar sentiment,
writing that the current changing scenario of library sci-
ence was initiated in the 1980s and that familiarity with
tools and technology has emerged as an essential skill for
jobseekers. They further add that this most recent era has
raised interesting issues as the role of librarians continues
to intersect and converge with the roles of information
technologists, computer scientists, and commercial infor-
mation providers. Looking forward at the same situation
with a perspective on training, Jones (1988: 224) empha-
sizes the importance of training incoming librarians, con-
cluding that: ‘Librarianship has been, and will remain for
some time, in the throes of professional insecurity and
identity confusion, all exacerbated by the heavy thrust of
Literature review
In this section we present a literature review divided into
four sub-sections. The first sub-section provides an insight
into what professional organizations expect from the gradu-
ates of LIS programs. The second sub-section describes the
changing expectations of the employers of graduates of LIS
programs; it also presents a review of changing job descrip-
tions. The next two sub-sections present studies that look at
LIS curricula from the perspective of current students and
LIS educators. This comprehensive literature review pro-
vides an understanding of the same issue from different
Professional organizations’ guidelines
In 2009 LITA published a LITA Guide for Core Technology
Competencies for Librarians and Library Staff distinguish-
ing between the skills needed by all librarians and the skills
needed by librarians working in the ‘systems department’
(Thompson, 2009). The author cites the rapid changes in
technology as the cause of the imminent need of identifying
the relevant skills needed by librarians. When librarians
become more sophisticated in their technology use, their
support needs change as well. Technically skilled personnel
look for advanced technical support from systems librari-
ans, and hence systems librarians need to keep their skills
updated with the latest and most complex technologies. In
this article we look at the role that library schools are play-
ing in providing this set of growing technical skills.
The core values of the International Federation of
Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) do not spe-
cifically mention IT, although the agency provides an
oblique reference in its aim to ‘promote high standards of
provision and delivery of library and information services’
(IFLA, 2009). The possible reason for this conspicuous
absence can be attributed to IFLA’s identity as a leading
international body representing the interests of library and
information services and their users throughout the world,
including those geographic and cultural environments
where IT may not be significantly integral to the provision
of library and information services as experienced in the
western world.
On the other hand, the American Library Association
Council (2009) identifies ‘Technological Knowledge and
Skills’ as part of ALA’s Core Competencies of Librarianship
to be possessed by all persons graduating from an ALA-
accredited Masters program in Library and Information
Studies, in addition to the specialized knowledge that
librarians working in school, academic, public, special, and
governmental libraries, and in other contexts need. These
include (p.3):
• Information, communication, assistive, and related
technologies as they affect the resources, service
delivery, and uses of libraries and other information
• The application of information, communication,
assistive, and related technology and tools consistent
with professional ethics and prevailing service
norms and applications.
• The methods of assessing and evaluating the specifi-
cations, efficacy, and cost efficiency of technology-
based products and services.
• The principles and techniques necessary to identify
and analyze emerging technologies and innovations
in order to recognize and implement relevant tech-
nological improvements.
One of the ALA competencies states, for example, that a
newly graduated student from an accredited program should
demonstrate ‘a comprehension of current information and
communication technologies, and other related technolo-
gies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and
other types of information providing entities’ and ‘profi-
ciency in the use of standard information and communica-
tion technology and tools consistent with prevailing service
norms and professional applications’ (ALA, 2005: 2).
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Singh and Mehra 221
Similarly, the LITA (a division of the ALA) provides a
broad, practice-oriented perspective as reflected in its
vision: ‘As the center of expertise about information
technology, the LITA leads in exploring and enabling
new technologies to empower libraries. LITA members
use the promise of technology to deliver dynamic library
collections and services’ (ALA Council, 2011: para. 2).
Further, LITA’s function statement is focused on the
planning, development, design, application, and integra-
tion of technologies within the library and information
environment. Its focus is also on the impact of emerging
technologies on library service and on the effect of auto-
mated technologies on people. Its major focus is on inter-
disciplinary issues and emerging technologies. LITA:
disseminates information, provides educational opportunities
for learning about information technologies and forums for the
discussion of common concerns, monitors new technologies
with potential applications in information science, encourages
and fosters research, promotes the development of technical
standards, and examines the effects of library systems and
networks. (ALA Council, 2011: para 4)
The educational guidelines of the American Society for
Information Science and Technology (ASIST) include IT
as one of six general areas which Information Science pro-
grams would be most likely to include in their curricula; the
focus is specifically on the design, evaluation, and imple-
mentation of technologies relevant to information pro-
cesses. The following particular categories of IT are
included (ASIST, 2002):
• information systems: software, hardware, retrieval;
• telecommunication and networking;
• information architecture and infrastructure;
• programming for information processes.
Houghton-Jan (2007) outlines the competencies needed
by librarians and provides information on creating a tech-
nology training program for working librarians. In this
paper we focus on programs in LIS and how they are pre-
paring students to take jobs which require technological
competencies. We measure the responsiveness of ALA-
accredited LIS programs in the United States with an objec-
tive of providing recommendations for competencies that
are not being taught in these programs.
Expectations of the employers: Changing job
In this section we present the studies that have given us an
insight into the changing perceptions of employers based
on the changes in job descriptions. Numerous studies of
library-related job skills have found that IT skills are con-
sidered very important by employers. Keenan et al. (2006:
34) discuss how:
Technological change (for example a high incidence of
requirements for Web design and maintenance, and E-resources)
has profoundly influenced the LIS field of employment, as have
the behavioral characteristics and Interpersonal skills (such as
flexibility, creativity, and negotiation and communication skills)
required to operate in an increasingly technological and
changing environment.
Some other examples of studies that have looked at chang-
ing job descriptions as a result of changes in technology are
Xu and Chen’s (1999) exploration of evolving skills for
systems librarians, Adkins and Esser’s (2004) analysis of
employers’ technology needs for children’s librarians, and
Kwasik’s (2002) job advertisement analysis of serials
librarians’ qualifications. Nearly all of these publications
highlight the emphasis on changing technology. Some
recent articles also address the introduction of new job
titles—such as digital librarian, web services librarian,
electronic resources librarian, metadata librarian, and
emerging technology librarian—in the workplace, thus
reflecting a new focus on information roles meshed with
new technologies (Bosque and Lampert, 2009).
Tennant (1998: 102) emphasizes that the skills of learning,
flexibility, and risk taking are crucial for new librarians
because they will help them pick up new talents that are identi-
fied as ‘skills for the new millennium’ along with expertise in
things like database technology, programming, and web devel-
opment that are ‘essential’ for digital librarians. Tennant is
concerned primarily with technological agility in his discus-
sion of digital librarians. He cites a need for fresh candidates to
possess a
capacity to learn constantly and quickly. I cannot make this
point strongly enough. It does not matter what they know now.
Can they assess a new technology and what it may do (or not
do) for your library? Can they stay up-to-date? Can they learn
a new technology without formal training? If they can’t, they
will find it difficult to do the job.
Similar to Tennant, Nofsinger (1999: 9) emphasizes ‘ref-
erence skills and subject knowledge, communication and
interpersonal abilities, technological skills and knowledge,
analytic and critical thinking skills, supervisory and mana-
gerial skills, and commitment to user services’. Bosque and
Lampert resonate with the same idea, writing that:
technology expectations of employers require new graduates
to be able to learn quickly on the job, be willing to experiment
by taking on new duties, and meet expectations with technical
assignments that may not be part of an official job description.
(Bosque and Lampert, 2009: 280)
In the LITA handbook Thompson (2009) says that the
rapid pace of change in technology and library services has
made it difficult for employers to determine exactly what
technology skills the various types of librarians should
know, much less to actually ensure that they know them.
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222 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 45(3)
Expectations of library students/new
In recent years students as well as new librarians have voiced
concerns about their lack of preparedness for jobs. They
expect to learn the required technical competencies in their
graduate programs but realize when they are searching for
jobs or are working at their first jobs that they have to learn a
lot of new skills while working (Holt, 2005). Hall-Ellis
(2006: 46) writes that employers and students alike now
expect that: ‘graduate library education will include the mas-
tery of technical competencies supported through the incor-
poration of computer-dependent technologies into the
teaching and learning environment’. Based on findings from
a survey of 33 experts in 20 countries, Feret and Marcinek
(2005) found that IT skills were the most important charac-
teristics in both the librarians of 2005 and the predicted
librarians of 2015, followed closely by communication and
training skills. These results matched those of a previous sur-
vey done by the same authors in 1999.
Bosque and Lampert (2009) did a study to understand
the preparedness of new practitioners and students for their
job environments in today’s library and reported that: ‘new
employees perceive that they are not prepared with the
technical skills their employers expect once they start work’
(p. 274). New librarians are leaving library school feeling
unprepared to tackle the technical needs of their new work-
places; however, they also realize that they could not per-
form the duties of librarianship without LIS education.
Furthermore, the authors report that new librarians are
responsible for a wide variety of jobs requiring technical
expertise that might not have been part of their original job
descriptions. The expectations for new librarians are that
they need to be able to adapt, evaluate, and embrace new
technologies but must also be knowledgeable about more
specialized tools. The authors state that employers and
employees recognize this gap and would like it to be
smaller. They conclude by calling upon library schools,
saying that: ‘new librarians perceive some of this gap as
coming from their education, and it may be in the best inter-
est of library schools to take a look at the expectations of
employers and ensure their education is addressing these
needs’ (p. 284).
Newhouse and Spisak (2004) describe their respond-
ents’ desire for a more practical training in library educa-
tion, saying that all of their respondents wanted less theory
and more practicality from their education. An article in the
Student Library Journal by Fortney (2009) concludes that:
More LIS programs should have a technology literacy
component as part of their requirements and integrate
information technologies into the infrastructure of their
programs. Given today’s technological landscape, they are
doing their students and the profession a disservice by not
doing so. Programs still need to have some requirement that
gives their students technological adaptability and comfort
with change so that they are able to be useful professionals in
today's information environment.
Tenopir (2002: 12) reports that core curricula in library
schools are built around information resources, information
management, information access, information systems, and
technology, research, and information policy but are mainly
focused on the first three categories.
Expectations from Library and Information
Science educators
Gorman (2004), the ALA President from 2005–2006, went
so far as to declare that there is a ‘crisis in LIS education’.
A number of research studies and commentaries have also
been written regarding the success of current LIS programs
in producing sufficiently skilled librarians for the current
demand. A majority of these studies demand some kind of
change in the current curricula of LIS schools. For exam-
ple, Myburgh’s (2003: 214) work suggests a shift in educa-
tion from ‘a document management perspective to an
information management perspective’. Tammaro (2007)
studies curricula, competencies, and emerging roles for
new technologically driven positions such as digital librar-
ians. Holt (2005: 522) asserts that library education must
change because we are not preparing our students for the
job market. She states that: ‘[e]ither the hiring libraries
change the standards for their candidates, or the library
schools include work experience as one of the standards for
applicants. Either lower the door or raise the floor’. This
opinion is regarding the overall experience with MLS pro-
grams; some others have looked at specializations and have
evaluated the performance of library schools. Fessler
(2007) reports that a review of the course catalogs of ALA-
accredited programs reveals that they did not match the
competencies required by listings at the Fairfax County
Public Library, Fessler’s home institution. Fessler writes
that (p. 143): ‘while all library schools had courses or topi-
cal coverage for competencies required before the advent
of the Internet, most did not address the needs emerging for
libraries to integrate technological advances and respond to
economic and social changes’ like copyright in digital
resources, thus demonstrating that in one specific case
library schools were not able to meet the needs of employ-
Markey (2004) surveyed online course descriptions of
54 ALA-accredited LIS programs and found that 21 schools
had required courses in IT and that IT was the sixth most
popular subject area (out of 11) for required courses to
cover. The author writes that the number and variety of IT
course offerings has continued to increase since an earlier
study in 2001. While IT appeared to be ‘the driving force
behind the development and enhancement of ILS programs’
(Markey, 2004: 319) this was no longer the case seven
years ago in 2004. In another analysis of courses taught,
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Singh and Mehra 223
Fortney (2009) writes that schools vary widely in what
skills are taught and whether they are taught in required
courses or electives.
The Association for Library and Information Science
Education (ALISE, 2005) has examined LIS curricula and
cited general trends within graduate LIS programs.
‘Collaboration’ and ‘effective use of technology in the cur-
riculum’ are two of these important trends. Perry (2004: 28)
concludes that there is ‘a troubling gap between the prom-
ise and the reality of innovative instructional and learning
practices in much of higher education in areas relating to
technology and information’.
Neal (2009) holds a more positive impression of the level
to which library schools are preparing their graduates to
work with technology in a chapter in the LITA guide. Neal
posits that: ‘it is undeniable that the need for basic technol-
ogy competencies will pervade all twenty-first-century LIS
jobs’ (p. 41). Many recent library school graduates already
have more advanced technology skills than veteran librari-
ans, and library schools seem to be recognizing that: ‘tech-
nology competency is not just a preferred skill set for new
librarians to possess; it is a required skill set’ (p. 51).
Bosque and Lamperts’s (2006) study also shows that the
professors at library schools are well aware of changing
needs and are making their students aware of the same:
‘Overall responses indicate that professors are letting their
students know that technology is important to the profes-
sion’ (p. 271). Callison and Tilley (2001) found evidence of
technology topics being inserted across graduate programs’
general course offerings and write that they see an increased
number of technology-related elective courses with key-
words such as informatics, networking telecommunica-
tions, and computer-mediated communication.
To summarize, in this literature review we explored dif-
ferent professional organizations and their expectations for
teaching IT competencies to students in graduate programs.
We found that ALA, ASIST, and LITA—all organizations
based in North America—have very specific IT competen-
cies expected from the graduates of ALA-accredited pro-
grams. We also found that in international organizations such
as IFLA and CIP the emphasis is not so clearly on technology
competencies but on the underlying concepts of Library and
Information Sciences, which in current times employ tech-
nology. We also found that employers increasingly expect
students to be skilled in technology and able to adapt and
evaluate new technologies quickly, that there are more jobs
with IT competencies as a requirement, and that there are
new technology jobs being created for libraries. As a reactive
response to employers, students also expect to learn more IT
competencies in their schools and are voicing their percep-
tions of the gap that exists between the curriculum and the
real world. Looking at the research on LIS educators, we
found that they are quite aware of the issues and are calling
for changes in core curricula for LIS to include IT competen-
cies. Overall, we found that there is an expectation of IT
knowledge by the professional organizations, a demand for
learning IT competencies from employers and students, and
an awareness of the gap in the curriculum and job market
among educators. Based on these studies we want to evaluate
the current status of IT competency education in LIS schools
and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current cur-
ricula of LIS schools. This exploratory study examines the
status of IT skills and competencies as observed from a con-
tent analysis of the curricula of the top 25 LIS schools in the
United States.
The main research questions in this study are:
1. What are the technology competency areas that LIS
schools are teaching?
2. What are the technology competency areas that are
expected of LIS graduates that LIS schools are not
3. What areas of information technology education in
the top 25 LIS schools can be strengthened and
Research methods
Step 1
To answer these questions we selected a sample of the top
25 ALA-accredited Library and Information Science
Masters degree programs in the United States. These
schools were selected from the US News & World Report
Top LIS School rankings for 2010. This list has the top 25
schools with rankings for each school. Some rankings are
shared by schools, however, meaning there are more than
25 schools in the list; thus, we selected the first 25 schools
that occur in this list.
Data were collected about the courses that these 25
library schools offer for their ALA-accredited Masters pro-
gram in Library and Information Science. Some might
object to the practice of ranking schools or to US News &
World Report’s methodology in particular, but in this study
this list is being used as an indicator of good LIS schools.
We believe that the level of LIS education they provide,
technological and otherwise, should be average or better.
Also, since other schools consider these rankings signifi-
cant, it is expected that the curricula of these other schools
will replicate these practices; hence this list of schools is
being used in this research.
Step 2
A list of the courses offered in each program was created,
and the course number, course name, course description,
and course syllabus from the school’s website were col-
lected. The course list that was created did not distinguish
between core and elective courses because very few univer-
sities had technology courses as core courses. The majority
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224 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 45(3)
of the universities address technological competencies in
electives and special topics courses. Also, all the courses
that were on the website were listed; these included special
topics courses. However, the frequency of the course offer-
ings was not considered; if a course was taught even once
and was listed online, then it was included in the list.
Step 3
All these data were analyzed to categorize the courses into
IT courses and non-IT courses. The data collection and
analysis were done by a coder and a supervisor. The coder
and the supervisor had weekly meetings in which they dis-
cussed the list and the coding of the courses as mentioned
in Step 5. Taking the list from Markey (2004) as a baseline,
the coder and the supervisor created a broad keywords list
for identifying IT courses. The categories from the referred
study include library automation, technical services, data-
base management, system design, and general surveys of
information technologies. Since this list was created in
2004, we added a few more categories to represent more IT
topics being covered in LIS schools. The additional key-
words were web design, networking, computers, program-
ming, informatics, and human-computer interaction. These
additions were made from the personal experience of the
author, who has been teaching IT-related courses for almost
10 years across three different ALA-accredited LIS schools
in the US. Based on these categories all the courses were
coded into IT and non-IT courses. If the titles and descrip-
tions did not include these specific categories but were
technology-related courses, they were included in the cate-
gory called ‘general survey of information technologies’.
Using this coding scheme, we labeled 208 courses as IT
courses in the complete dataset.
Step 4
Next, the technological competencies that are addressed in
these 208 courses across the 25 schools were identified by
reviewing curricula standards/competency lists for IT
instruction within the Information Science field provided by
several organizations, libraries, and agencies. Most of the
standards that are provided in the lists from professional
organizations are at a higher level because their intention is
to serve as a guideline to be realized through multiple courses
in a program. For the purpose of this study we wanted to use
a competency/skills list that was at the right level of granu-
larity, which in this case is the competency level because
individual courses address competencies and skills. After a
careful review the WebJunction Competency Index for the
Library Field (2009) was chosen in this study because of
its comprehensive and descriptive attention to the area of
information technology. The competencies for the index
were compiled using input from a wide spectrum of library
practitioners, leaders, and other library organizations. After
communicating with Webjunction we discovered that the
index was developed to reflect and supplement the stand-
ards of ALA and professional standards presented by ASIST
and LITA. Based on a comparative review of other such
lists, this index was found to be very detailed, comprehen-
sive, and at the right level of granularity for this study. This
WebJunction Competency Index is available at http://www.
024497&name=DLFE-16500008.pdf. This index covers
all areas of competencies for librarians including library
management, personal and interpersonal, public services,
technical services, core technology, and systems and IT,
with core and systems and IT being the two types of tech-
nology-related competency areas. The core has six compe-
tency areas required for all librarians irrespective of their
area of specialization; from the systems and IT section of
the list we included all 12 competency areas. The last com-
petency area for systems and IT is administration of soft-
ware applications; this competency area consists of multiple
proficiencies which are very distinct in nature, including,
for example, database, e-publishing, and photo-editing.
Because this competency was too general to evaluate
against competencies for specific skills, we took each of
these proficiency areas as a separate competency area.
Through this process we generated a list of 28 competency
areas from the WebJunction list of competencies listed on
pages 42–64 of the WebJunction Comptency Index. We
chose these competency areas as our unit of analysis over
the skills list for each of the standards because the course
descriptions that we analyzed present informaiton at the
competency level.
Step 5
All 208 courses and their descriptions were then labeled for
the related comptency from the list of 28 comptencies. Each
course could have more than one competency that it covered,
which was often the case. This coding was discussed in
weekly meetings between the coder and the supervisor, and
any dissension in coding was resolved by discussing the com-
petency and the course description. As a result of labeling we
came up with a frequency distribution of each competency
area, that demonstrates which competency areas are being
covered more versus which were being neglected in the
curricula of the top 25 LIS schools. During this analysis we
identified three competencies that were being covered mul-
tiple times in all schools; looking closely at the standards,
we realized that these standards are expected to be the
knowledge base of students before they entered the LIS
program and that there is currently no need for the curricula
to address the training of these core competencies. These
competencies are the basic use of email, MS-Word, and
MS-Excel. Some LIS schools—for example, GSLIS,
UIUC, and SIS UTK—have an IT profiencey test that
students take on their own before starting classes in the
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Singh and Mehra 225
program, and these competencies are part of that test. After
eliminating these three competencies as part of the knowl-
edge base of the student entering the Information Sciences
programs, we did a more in-depth analysis on the final 25
competency areas, which are comprised of multiple skills
and described in detail in the WebJunction Competency
IT comptency areas
Table 1 lists all of the 25 competency areas that were used
in this research. These 25 competency areas comprise a
wide range of skills starting from core email skills to
advanced database and networking skills. These reinforce
the claims from the LITA guide of the increased expecta-
tions of librarians in today’s work environemnt. It is also
evident from the list of competency areas that it includes
not just techonlogy skills but also technology policies and
the planning and administration of different resources.
IT courses and comptencies taught at
Library and Information Science schools
The 208 courses that were coded as IT courses were then
evaluated against this list of 25 competency areas. In the
coding process we found 448 occurences of these com-
petency areas across all courses. As mentioned earlier,
one course could address multiple competency areas.
The courses were identified by the univeristy where they
were being offered. At the end of this coding process a
list of the IT courses being offered by the top 25 univer-
sities and the competency areas that each course
addressed was created. These results are presented in
Table 2. The number of courses offered in column 2
refers to the overall IT courses taught by the LIS school;
these are not divided by yearly courses or one-off
courses, but are all the courses that the school offers.
This list is sorted by the number of IT courses from
highest to lowest. From this table we can see that the
highest number of IT-related courses are being taught at
the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (25) followed
by the Univeristy of Illinois (17) and Syracuse
University (15). At the University of Michigan - Ann
Arbor, the number of competency areas being addressed
is 18 out of 25; this shows that one of the top-ranking
schools with the highest number of technology courses
is not addressing all of the competency areas from the
index. As seen in the table, the number of competency
areas addressed by the IT courses taught decreases as
we scroll down from the University of Michigan - Ann
Arbor to Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge.
This shows a glaring gap between the skills demanded
by employers and the curriculum taught by universities.
This study focuses on the top 25 schools, and not even
one of the top-ranking schools is teaching everything
the students need to know to be succcessful in their
employment. This forces us to wonder what would be
the level of the skills of the students who are graduating
from schools with lower rankings or no ranking at all?
How can we expect our students to be successful in their
job interviews and work environment when we do not
equip them with the tools that they will need on a daily
Also, Table 2 shows the wide range of competency areas
being addressed in these top 25 schools. Some students are
learning only three of the 25 competency areas seen as
essential in their work environment as regular library staff,
not systems libarians.
The analysis presented in Table 2 was done to gain an
insight into how many competency areas an individual
school is covering in its courses. analysis gave us an under-
standing of the number of courses as well as the compe-
tency areas of IT being covered across the board. After this
analysis, we also wanted to find out what competency areas
are being covered and the competency areas that are being
Table 1. IT competency areas list.
Core Hardware Technology Policies
Core Internet Technolog y Training
Core Operating Systems Web Design and Development
Core Software Applications Administration of Software Applications
Core Web Tools Database Application Proficiency
Digital Resource Technology Electronic Publishing Program Proficiency
E- Resource Management Technology Planning
Enterprise Computing Email Program Proficiency
Hardware Photo-Editing Program Proficiency
Networking and Security Presentation Program Proficiency
Operating and Automation Systems Web Site Design Program Proficiency
Public Access Computing Web-Based Office Application Proficiency
Server Administration
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226 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 45(3)
Table 2. IT competencies taught at LIS schools.
Name of School Number of IT
courses being
Number of IT
being taught
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 25 18
University of Illinois 17 16
University of Syracuse 15 18
University of Indiana - Bloomington 14 17
Drexel University 14 12
University of North Carolina -
Chapel Hill
12 13
University of Pittsburgh 12 12
University of Tennessee 11 16
University of Washington 9 11
University of Maryland 8 8
Simmons University 7 11
Rutgers University 6 5
University of Texas - Austin 6 10
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee 6 8
University of North Texas 6 11
Wayne State University 6 13
Florida State University 6 8
San Jose State University 5 8
University of Wisconsin - Madison 4 5
University of California 4 6
University of South Carolina 4 8
Kent State University 4 7
University of Oklahoma 4 9
University of Alabama 2 4
Louisiana State University - Baton
1 3
Table 3. Mapping of IT standards with number of occurrences
and number of schools.
IT Competency Standard No. of occurrences No. of schools
Email Program Proficiency 1 1
Photo-Editing Program
1 1
Core Hardware 2 2
Core Operating Systems 3 3
Core Software Applications 7 4
Advance Hardware 8 4
Presentation Program
5 5
E- Resource Management 6 5
Technolog y Training 7 5
Core Internet 8 7
Enterprise Computing 9 7
Web-Based Office
Application Proficiency
13 9
Technology Policies 15 10
Administration of Software
26 11
Core Web Tools 18 13
Public Access Computing 23 13
Technology Planning 19 14
Server Administration 18 15
Electronic Publishing
Program Proficiency
27 16
Networking and Security 32 16
Digital Resource Technology 34 17
Web Site Design Program
29 18
Web Design and
39 18
Operating and Automation
52 19
Database Application
46 21
Mapping of competency areas: Strengths
and weaknesses of the curriculum
Table 3 presents the results of mapping the information
technology competency areas to the number of classes and
the number of schools. This list is sorted by the number of
schools covering the standards. Table 3 shows that the
results of this mapping are presented in the following four
1. Competency areas offered by fewer than 5 schools;
2. Competency areas offered in 5–10 schools;
3. Competency areas offered in 10–20 schools;
4. Competency areas offered in more than 20 schools.
Weaknesses of the LIS curriculum in top 25
LIS schools
From Table 3 we see that email programs, photo-editing
programs, core hardware, core operating systems, core
software applications, advanced hardware, presentation
programs, e-resource management, and technology training
are taught at fewer than five schools. Some of these compe-
tencies—such as email programs, presentation programs,
core software applications, and perhaps even photo-editing
programs—are not necessarily taught as course objectives,
but students still learn them by taking courses. However,
the other areas—including electronic resource manage-
ment, operating systems, hardware, and technology train-
ing—are very important for students to know, but students
do not learn them by default. The importance of these areas
is seen in the fact that they occur multiple times in the
research articles that were reviewed for this study. The LIS
schools definitely need to pay attention to these areas if
they want to graduate students who are successful in get-
ting desirable jobs. Based on the above categories we see
that three of the core technology areas are being covered in
fewer than five LIS schools. The fact that these competency
areas are in the Core Competency Index means that all
library staff should be skilled in these areas. The technol-
ogy competency areas that are covered in more than five
but fewer than 10 schools are core Internet, enterprise com-
puting, web-based office application proficiency, technol-
ogy policies, administration of software applications, core
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Singh and Mehra 227
web tools, public access computing, technology planning,
and server administration. We believe that all of these areas,
with the exception of server administration, are very impor-
tant for students in today’s job market. Students need to
understand these technology competency areas to be suc-
cessful in getting and then maintaining a job. It is surprising
to see that no school offers all the technological competen-
cies identified in this study.
Strengths of the LIS curriculum in top 25
LIS schools
Table 3 shows that electronic publishing program profi-
ciency, networking and security, digital resource technol-
ogy, website design program proficiency, web design and
development, operating and automation systems, and data-
base application proficiency are the areas that are taught in
more than 15 schools. Table 3 also shows that the highest
numbers of technology courses are offered in the area of
operating and automation systems; a total of 52 instances
are offered in this area, which accounts for a quarter of the
total technology courses offered. This illustrates that library
automation systems have been considered very important
by librarians as well as library educators for decades now.
The area that is covered by the largest number of schools is
databases; out of the top 25 schools, 21 offer at least one
course that covers database application proficiency. Other
than databases and automation systems, all of these tech-
nology competency areas can and should be taught at more
schools. Because these numbers mean that there are almost
10 schools that are not offering these courses, they defi-
nitely should offer these courses to better equip their stu-
In the next few paragraphs we choose five competency
areas and skills adopted from the WebJunction Competency
Index that are not being covered in most of the schools but
are recurring in demand from employers and considered
essential for efficient performance in any librarianship job.
The individual skills in these competency areas are being
presented because, based on the literature reviews and our
research, we believe that they address topics that are of
high importance and should be covered in LIS programs.
These skills are also presented to help universities decide
which topics can be taught in their courses. Out of the com-
petency areas being covered in fewer than 15 schools, we
chose a few that we consider significantly important for the
graduate students in LIS programs to succeed in the work-
place. Next we recommend five courses that should be
taught in all LIS programs. For each of the courses we sug-
gest the main topic and the skills that should be learning
objectives. These courses and specific skills should be seen
as guiding tools for developing single courses focusing on
single areas or more general information technology
courses. The first three competency areas are related to
regular library staff, and the last two are geared toward sys-
tems librarians.
Course title: E-Resource Management
In our analysis (Table 3) we found that only five schools are
offering courses that focus or touch on electronic resource
management, which is such an essential part of work for
After completing a course on e-resource management, stu-
dents should be able to meet the following course objectives:
1. Students should understand the concepts behind
e-resource management systems and maintain an
awareness of available products.
2. Students should be able to select, organize, and
maintain the library’s collection of e-resources.
3. Students should be able to gather, maintain, and
provide reports on the library’s subscriptions and/or
purchases of e-resources, to interpret usage data for
electronic journal and database subscriptions, and
to recommend adjustments to the allocation of
resources or renegotiation of license agreements.
4. Students should be able to evaluate, implement,
configure, and maintain online library resources in
terms of an Open URL service, meta-search tools,
authenticated access options, and restricted access.
Additional topics that a course on e-resource manage-
ment should cover include purchasing issues like content
coverage, usage rights, licenses, and usage statistics; Open
URL linking services like A and I databases and catalogs;
meta-search tools for streamlined access to library
resources; tools for authenticated access to e-resources
appropriate for the parent institution; and services for
restricting access to e-resources like proxy service, single
sign-on, and Shibboleth.
Course title: Core Web Tools
After completing a course on core web tools, students
should be able to meet the following course objectives:
1. Students should be familiar with and be able to
locate web news sources, including blogs, RSS
feeds, and podcasts.
2. Students should be able to use web communication
tools, including instant messaging tools, social net-
working sites, social bookmarking, and web confer-
encing programs for synchronous, online meetings.
3. Students should be familiar with online sharing
mechanisms, including photo-sharing, music-sharing,
video-sharing, file-sharing, and collaboration tools.
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228 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 45(3)
4. Students should demonstrate lifelong web learning
through the identification and use of help menus,
tutorials, support communities, and other informa-
tion sources.
Additional topics that a course on core web tools should
cover include micro-blogs like Twitter; RSS feed readers
like Google Reader and Bloglines; instant messaging tools
like Meebo, Trillian, and Skype; social networking sites like
MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning, and Second Life;
social bookmarking tools like Delicious and Diigo; photo-
sharing tools like Flickr and ShutterFly; music-sharing tools
like, Pandora, and iTunes; video-sharing tools like
YouTube; collaboration tools like Google Docs, Zoho,
wikis, LibraryThing, and Slideshare; and information
sources to stay informed about new technologies and social
Course title: Public Access Computing
After completing a course on public access computing, stu-
dents should be able to meet the following course objectives:
1. Students should be able to determine the need for
public access computers, wireless access, and pro-
grams, as well as to select, install, and configure
appropriate networking and peripheral hardware
and operating systems and software applications.
2. Students should be able to maintain and update pub-
lic computer hardware, operating systems, security,
applications, and software licenses to ensure cur-
rency, as well as to keep current of advances in tools
and applications of benefit to users.
3. Students should understand the nature of security
threats to a public access system, as well as to select,
install, and configure appropriate computer security
4. Students should establish and publish acceptable
use policies, as well as select, install, and configure
restrictions on access, bandwidth, and content, such
as filters.
Additional topics that a course on public access computing
should cover include public versus non-public computers and
networks; reservation, time, and print management systems;
ADA recommendations for physical and electronic equip-
ment; the pros and cons of open-source versus proprietary
software in terms of meeting user needs; filtering issues in
relation to the e-rate and LSTA funds; and issues related to
access to social networking sites and programs.
Course title: Technology Policies
After completing a course on technology policies, students
should be able to meet the following course objectives:
1. Students should be able to establish network usage
policies that balance convenience and usability with
security concerns and the wise stewardship of
2. Students should be able to effectively explain
underlying library technology policies and proce-
dures in nontechnical language.
3. Students should be able to continuously evaluate
the need for new or revised policies and procedures
relative to changing technologies, as well as to seek
staff and stakeholder feedback during policies and
procedures development.
4. Students should be able to develop, review, and
maintain technology procedure manuals.
Additional topics that a course on technology policies
should cover include policies on privacy, intellectual free-
dom, and filtering as they relate to technology access and
use; and plans for disaster preparedness and recovery for
library technology.
Course title: Advanced Hardware
After completing a course on advanced hardware, students
should be able to meet the following course objectives:
1. Students should understand in detail the functions
of computer hardware, as well as be able to install
and configure a variety of computer components.
2. Students should understand hardware performance
and the impact of individual components on perfor-
3. Students should be able to isolate, identify, and
articulate problems with hardware, as well as to
perform advanced troubleshooting methodologies
for computer hardware and peripherals.
4. Students should be able to connect, support users’
access to, and troubleshoot problems with printers
and scanners.
Additional topics that a course on advanced hardware
should cover include the internal components and peripher-
als of computer hardware like external storage drives;
effective and efficient ways to obtain technical support; and
driver properties and networking for printers and scanners.
Discussion and conclusion
The results of this article present the strengths and weak-
nesses of the current IT curriculum in LIS schools. The rec-
ommendations of courses give a game plan or guidelines
for the types of courses that different schools can teach. In
the results, we were able to see very clearly that the strong-
est areas of technological competencies for LIS graduates
are database management systems and automation systems.
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Singh and Mehra 229
The schools that have these courses need not necessarily
offer more advanced courses in these areas, but should tar-
get the areas where their curriculum is lacking. We found
the same thing as Markey (2004: 326): most IT courses are
offered as electives rather than requirements and cover
multiple technology competency areas such as ‘library
automation, technical services, database management, sys-
tem design, and general surveys of information technolo-
gies’. Also, we agree that the offerings in IT-related areas
are increasing, but because of the constant increase in
demand for IT skills, we believe that LIS schools need to
offer more courses and keep increasing the IT competency
areas they are teaching. Our results are in agreement with
those from various studies mentioned in the literature
review that report the dissatisfaction that the students
(Bosque and Lampert, 2009; Feret and Marcinedk, 2005;
Hall-Ellis, 2006) and employers (Adkins and Esser, 2004;
Kwasik, 2002; Thompson, 2009; Xu and Chen, 1999) feel
due to a large gap in the LIS schools’ curriculum. We also
agree with the research on educators (Fessler, 2007; Holt,
2005; Myburgh, 2003) who claim that we are doing a dis-
service to our students by not teaching enough IT compe-
tencies in the courses that we offer. In order to address
concerns we proposed some ideas for courses with detailed
descriptions of the skills to be covered in each. We highly
recommend that one core course at all the LIS schools
should be a technology course and cover basics of IT com-
petencies. We strongly urge all of the schools to implement
this in order to comply with the requirements of the profes-
sional organizations of our field as well as to enable our
students to be successful in the workforce. It is our duty to
provide them with the competencies and skills that will be
useful in their jobs and will improve the quality of services
provided by libraries.
In this study we did not discriminate among the course
offerings on the basis of core courses or electives, and there-
fore one limitation of this research is that a student might
obtain a degree from one institution but still not have the
necessary IT skills. In addition, because we looked at only
online course descriptions and not the entire syllabi (includ-
ing lecture topics and readings), we might have misjudged
some of the areas being covered by certain courses if the
descriptions were not comprehensive enough.
The research presented in this article is novel, and the
findings draw immediate attention to several levels of
urgency. First, IT is a functionality that is here to stay, and
LIS professions need to further consolidate, represent, inte-
grate, and market themselves in terms of IT values, con-
structs, and practices in order to stay relevant and competitive
(Mehra et al., 2010a; Rubin, 2010). This will shape external
perceptions (including those of the public) and realities in
American society more effectively as compared to the past
where LIS has been viewed as disconnected and unrelated to
IT, leaving the profession behind others (e.g. computer sci-
ence, computer engineering, and business and organizational
information systems management) in generating community
outcomes and in sharing resources, recognition, prestige, and
power (Dillon and Norris, 2005; Mehra and Sandusky, 2009).
Second, there has been limited research of IT representations
in the LIS curriculum beyond isolated, anecdotal, or case-
study-like analyses that reveal underlying trends, patterns,
and content implementations across the varied LIS educa-
tional programs (Johnston and Webber, 2004). Third, under-
standing these IT representations in LIS education is vital for
our survival; it will help us to acknowledge and recognize
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, gaps, and threats, as
well as to take action, grow, and extend our impacts in the
local, regional, national, and global arenas (Mehra et al.,
2010b). Fourth, if we do not assimilate IT content, capacities,
capabilities, and critical analysis in LIS education and prac-
tice, we will be doing a terrible disservice to our students and
preventing them from staying competitive and relevant, and
developing as true leaders in the global information society
(Leckie et al., 2010). Fifth, the research findings in this arti-
cle provide an overarching yet detailed analysis of IT in the
LIS curriculum that includes a mapping of IT topic areas and
possibilities for different LIS schools and programs to iden-
tify and share curriculum development, best practices, and
policy implementation matters (Wiegand, 2003). Sixth, the
research methodology of the content analysis of LIS schools’
websites is one that can be replicated in other contexts of
research on varied disciplinary trends in other domains of
knowledge as well as documentation of IT patterns in other
parts of the world (Neuendorf, 2001). Lastly, the focus and
use of LIS program website content analysis research draws
attention to the importance of representing accurate, updated,
and complete information about our programs and curricula
online since the Internet will continue to have a pervading
and encompassing impact on our knowledge, experiences,
networking, and skill-opportunities. If LIS programs believe
that they can get by with inadequate and limited representa-
tions online, it is important for them to realize that they are
making a grave mistake.
In future research we would like to study detailed course
outlines, textbooks and suggested readings, core versus
elective courses, and the frequency with which elective
courses are offered, because all of these factors are impor-
tant to form a comprehensive picture of IT competencies in
LIS school curricula.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency
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Author biographies
Dr Vandana Singh is an Assistant Professor in the School of
Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her
research interest areas are open source software, computer-supported
cooperative work, human computer interaction, online communities
and information systems. Dr Singh received her PhD from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds two Masters
degrees, one in Computer Science from the University of Chicago
and the other in Knowledge Management Systems from Wageningen
University, the Netherlands. Dr Singh has received multiple research
grants from federal agencies, including the National Science
Foundation, IMLS and USGS and her work has been published and
presented in national and international conferences and journals.
Dr Bharat Mehra is Associate Professor in the School of Information
Sciences at the University of Tennessee. His research explores
diversity and intercultural issues in Library and Information
Science and furthers social justice and social equity to meet the
needs of minority and underserved populations. Dr Mehra primar-
ily teaches courses on information organization, public library
management, collection development, resources and services for
adults, diversity services in libraries, and grant development for
information professionals. He is the principal investigator of the
$567,660 grant entitled ‘Information Technology Rural Librarian
Master’s Scholarship Program’ recently awarded by the Institute of
Museum and Library Services’ Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian
Program. Homepage:
at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on February 26, 2015lis.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Respondents having experience of less than 1 years are 4 (2.74%). Singh and Mehra (2012), graduates from library science degree programmes should know to install and configure networking and the ability to install and update computer hardware, operating system, applications, and software licenses to keep abreast in advances in tools and applications. In addition, they should be able to trace and articulate problems with hardware, perform advanced troubleshooting. ...
... LIS graduates should have understanding of the different types of security threats to an information system. They should be able to opt out appropriate security measures such as restrictions on access, bandwidth, and content (Singh and Mehra, 2012). In the present study, respondents rated the difficulty of security of an information system to be high. ...
... This has led to library professionals to gain new skills related to providing access and managing digital collection. Singh and Mehra (2012) concluded that e-resource management is a critical work profile for library professionals. Graduates and postgraduates from library science degree programmes should possess the ability to evaluate, configure and maintain e-resources in terms of an Open URL service, authenticated access options, and restricted access (include proxy service, single sign-on, and Shibboleth). ...
The present study aims is to analyze the difficulties faced in performing the job duties by academic digital library professionals working in university libraries of Delhi (India). The survey method was adopted in the present study. The study is based on a questionnaire containing 34 job duties performed in academic digital libraries, classified into four categories, i.e. IT system management, information organization, user services, and collection management. The respondents were 146 library professionals working in university libraries in Delhi (India). The study found that professionals rated the difficulty of job duties such as network management and operation; hardware installation & upgradation; software selection and license management; library website development; database management; troubleshooting; accessing open-source software; working on content management softwares; handling digital preservation practices; initiating and managing digitization projects; providing access to eResources; maintaining an e-learning system; creating an institutional repository and budget planning and allocation as 'high.' 'Very high' difficulty rated job duties were handling library back-end servers, system analysis, and design and working on e-resource management software. The study may help library schools review the curriculum according to the difficulties faced by academic library professionals in the job market. In addition, findings will be helpful to review the curriculum updates which should be incorporated in library schools of India.
... For library science educators, a variety of subjects and courses related to information technology have been extensively integrated and implemented in library science curriculum over the past decade. Some technology topics have consistently dominated curriculum in library science (Singh & Mehra, 2013), and other technology competencies required by employers in the library science domain were also incorporated (Mathews & Purdue, 2009). With the recent emerging technology demands and needs, library science educators seek to meet as well as anticipate up-to-date technology skills and competencies for library professionals. ...
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The 21st century school has demanded the increasing use of technology integration. This study investigates technology practices and competencies of school librarians. An online survey targeting current school librarians working in Kentucky, USA was conducted through the email listserv for Kentucky Library Media Specialists (KYLMS). The survey data were analyzed and interpreted on the basis of, and in relation to, a cross-mapping of the following two criteria via the seven technology areas by the National Center for Education Statistics: (1) 2010 ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians, and (2) knowledge and skills specifications for school media librarians in the Praxis II Library Media Specialist test. The combined context can serve as a framework for comparative or evaluative analyses on the school librarians’ practices and competencies of technology integration. Implications of the results are discussed, including as a reference for school library program curriculum development and implementation.
... Las competencias profesionales en Información y Documentación I&D Por tener que ajustarse al entorno laboral, las competencias que se consideran fundamentales para la profesión inevitablemente cambian. En la primera década del siglo XXI, la disciplina enfatizó mucho las competencias tecnológicas (Singh y Mehra, 2013) y, aunque ciertos conocimientos tecnológicos sigan siendo clave atendiendo a las ofertas de trabajo (Morato, Sánchez-Cuadrado, y Fernández-Bajón, 2016), análisis recientes apuntan a nuevas necesidades formativas. La encuesta de Saunders (2019), con aproximadamente 2000 profesionales y académicos de EEUU, constata con sorpresa la ausencia de competencias relacionadas con el ámbito tecnológico entre las 11 más valoradas por estos y la centralidad de ciertas competencias para todas las especialidades de la I&D que la autora denomina "ligeras", incluyendo la comunicación interpersonal, la capacidad de redacción, el trabajo en equipo, las habilidades para la atención al cliente, las competencias culturales, la interacción con comunidades diversas, y la capacidad de ejercer la práctica profesional de acuerdo a la reflexión basada en los valores de diversidad e inclusión. ...
Introducción Referimos acerca de un proyecto de Aprendizaje y Servicio (ApS) que se realizó entre octubre de 2020 y marzo de 2021 por el alumnado del Grado en Información y Documentación (I&) de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid en colaboración con dos Centros de Mayores del Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Entre las diferentes líneas de trabajo, se impartieron unas tutorías telefónicas con la finalidad de apoyar la integración de las personas mayores en las actividades online, planteadas como alternativas a las presenciales. El propósito de las actividades fue formarles en el manejo de las Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación. Objetivos El objetivo de este trabajo es documentar la adquisición de competencias y la capacidad formativa del proyecto para el alumnado del Grado en I&D. Método La detección de las competencias adquiridas por parte del alumnado se basa en la descripción analítica de las memorias entregadas. Cuenta, además, con un análisis de sentimiento de las memorias relativas a las tutorías telefónicas y un grupo de control. Resultados El alumnado, de acuerdo a las memorias entregadas, avanzó en términos de autonomía, desarrollo de competencias ligeras y vinculadas con la disciplina, capacidad de adaptación, empatía y valores cívicos, y desmontó prejuicios y estereotipos. El avance en estas competencias se dio en una situación de cierta “incomodidad”, corroborada por la diferencia significativa entre las memorias relativas a las tutorías telefónicas y el grupo de control en términos de intensidad del sentimiento. Conclusión La sensación de “incomodidad” y la mayor intensidad emocional pueden haber empujado a los estudiantes más allá de su zona de confort, funcionando como un elemento motivacional. Concluimos pidiendo mayor atención por los factores emocionales en la evaluación de los resultados docentes del ApS, especialmente en conexión con el comportamiento del alumnado.
... The changing labor market and rapidly evolving library profession demand that library schools constantly update and revitalize their curricula. Several researchers have reported that LIS schools need to equip graduates with vital skills so that they could be able to work in many different areas within the information environment (Buttlar & Du Mont, 1996;Chow et al, 2011;Singh & Mehra, 2013;Tadasad, 2015;Warraich & Amin, 2011). The provision of opportunities to meet the essential learning requirements of LIS professionals is a primary step towards preparing LIS schools for the evolving global society. ...
This study examines the status of the job market for LIS professionals and the adequacy of current curricula and training resources in LIS training institutions in Pakistan. The study was based on a survey method and a questionnaire was designed for data collection from LIS faculty, LIS professionals, LIS students, and employers). Out of 154, 115 respondents participated in the survey. The results of the study revealed that the current LIS curricula and training programs in the country do not properly address current job market requirements due to inadequate teaching resources, lack of suitable ICT contents in the curricula, courses that are irrelevant to the job market, and inadequate industrial/organizational attachment for LIS students. These findings will help the academia, academic regularity authorities, and other stakeholders in the country to improve LIS curricula and training resources in line with the present job market in Pakistan. Furthermore, it is intended that these findings could be used by the relevant authorities to assess and evaluate the adequacy of LIS curricula and training resources for Information Professionals in the present Job Market and to gain insight knowledge on the LIS faculty and students’ perceptions on the study theme.
The skills required of academic library professionals are greatly influenced by the rapidly evolving digital technologies. The purpose of the present study is to observe the current state of job qualifications, skills and competencies required for working in academic digital libraries in India. The study was conducted to identify the 15 top ranked skills demanded for positions in academic digital libraries. A typology of 44 skills and competencies resulted from the content analysis of 180 job advertisements of academic digital libraries in India from January 2011 to December 2019. The resulting typology was divided into five different categories: technological skills, technical skills, information skills, collection development skills, and soft skills. The findings were found to emphasize the skills required for technical services. In addition to technical skills, employers were seeking candidates with basic computer knowledge, Microsoft office skills, website development and designing, database management, and networking skills. Moreover, the findings indicate that good communication skills were most in-demand in job advertisements. Ability to conduct information literacy programs and knowledge of digital resources and skills to build institutional repository are also emphasized in the study.
Most professions experience at least some real or perceived divide among practitioners who engage in the work of the profession daily and those who train practitioners. As a result, practitioners question the value of this training. The goal of the current study was to learn more about this divide in Library and Information Science (LIS) and uncover potential solutions. In six focus groups (FGs), practicing academic and public librarians discussed curriculum in light of the requirements of the profession. Findings suggest that practitioners still perceive a divide among themselves and LIS educational institutions. Participants generally viewed the MLIS as little more than “the ticket that you get punched” to get a job. A consistent concern across participants was the irrelevance of skills training, suggesting the need for MLIS programs to engage often with local practitioners to identify workplace trends and required skills. Participants also noted that the communities served by the profession exist as an abstract idea in the MLIS, because students do not interact directly with the people who make up these communities. Findings suggest that the MLIS can reassert its value through a renewed emphasis on core values of the profession, which are not learned on the job. Therefore, while the divide persists, the conversation with practitioners outlined in the current study is itself a means of closing it. This study contributes to the literature on LIS education by highlighting the value of FGs as a method within this literature.
The purpose of this research study is to identify the core, advanced, specialized, and soft skills courses offered as part of the various library and information science programs. The course content of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), offered in 2019–2020, was collected and analyzed from 10 LIS schools in India. Course contents were analyzed to understand whether the LIS schools are preparing graduates for the digital environment. A survey was conducted among 42 experts in library and information science on required courses in the MLIS program. Research finds that the LIS schools do not a have separate course module on digital library and that it is, instead, integrated and taught with the information and communication technology (ICT) course. There are also variations among the LIS schools in the allocation of topics and credits in each course. The experts opined that schools should allocate more credits to the advanced course, introduce new courses, and update the curricula for the future job market. New courses like ‘research data management’ and ‘data and visual literacy’ and courses on soft skills should be introduced in the MLIS program with 2–3 credits. There is a mismatch between the skills required in the job market and the skills imparted by the Indian LIS schools. The LIS schools should fill in the gap by introducing advanced, specialized, and soft courses in the MLIS program. The research findings have practical implications for the library and information science programs and educators. The LIS schools in India offer courses to meet the local job market demands, but they should design and develop courses for meeting the global standards and needs.
The main purpose of the study is to compare the digital library job requirements and the curriculum offered in Indian LIS departments. Data were obtained from two sources: 180 job advertisements obtained through online job sites and course outlines obtained from the websites of 21 universities. The content analysis method was followed in the research for data analysis. The findings indicate that employers demand good communication skills and ability of working on digital library software, handling library management software, knowledge of basic computer skills, programming and markup languages. Job ads also indicate that a bachelors’ and masters’ degree programme in library and information science are the minimum essential requirements for employing digital library professionals. The study also found that there is no separate digital library programme offered whereas digital library course contents are integrated into BLIS & MLIS programmes. The digital library topics such as training students in using library management software, digital library software and content management systems; creating databases using MySql; website designing are offered at both bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. This paper compares what is demanded in the job market and what is offered by LIS departments and found that the curriculum does not fully address the needs of the job market, as certain topics such as troubleshooting and problem solving skills were seen missing from the Indian LIS curricula.
The purpose of this study was to compare the self-perception of early career Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates’ Information and Communications Technology (ICT) competencies with the expectations of senior Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals’ in Pakistan. A quantitative research approach based on a survey was used in the study. Purposive sampling technique was employed to collect data from 100 early career LIS graduates and 100 LIS professionals having more than five years’ experience through a questionnaire. The researcher received 89 questionnaires from senior LIS professionals and 91 from early-career Department of Information Management (DoIM) graduates resulting in a 89% and 91% response rate respectively. The results of the study indicate that there is a gap between the expectations of senior LIS professionals’ and the perceptions of early career LIS graduates’ regarding their ICT competencies. Senior LIS professionals expected that early-career LIS graduates would have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office, computer operating systems, computer hardware and functions, social networking sites, electronic database searching, and institutional repository software. Senior LIS professionals also expected that early career LIS graduates should be familiar with research management tools such as Endnote, Mendeley and Zotero, integrated library systems and plagiarism detection software such as Turnitin and SafeAssign. The early career LIS graduates reported that they were expected to have knowledge of above-said expertise and that iy was considered essential for their future jobs. The findings of the study would be beneficial for the faculty of library schools and policymakers to make changes in the curriculum so as to minimize the gap between academia and the industry.
Job lists are essential data sources for revealing the core information technology skills and needs of practitioners, job seekers, and vocational trainers. This study aims to determine the information technology skills needed in information institutions (e.g., library, archive, museum, etc.) from job lists. The study data was collected from the code4lib platform, a popular interface for technology developers in the library and information science. Data covering 6959 job postings during the years 2004–2020 were collected in May 2020. A total of 5941 postings containing tags were included in the study's scope among 6959 job postings. Web Crawling and text mining techniques were used to collect and process the data. Knime Analytics software and its extensions (Palladian, Text Processing, R) were used in all these processing. The results of the study revealed the most frequently mentioned common features in the job advertisements. These are programming languages (PHP, JavaScript, Java, and Python), operating systems (Linux, Unix, and MS Windows), Web technologies (XML, HTML, CSS, and XSL), databases (MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL), metadata standards (MARC, DC, EAD) and other skills. Also, results show that there are different technology skills mentioned for librarians or archivists and other positions. The results include the list of information technology skills required in information institutions, especially for educators, potential information workers, and technologists.
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Information professionals and those who educate them face enormous challenges. Increasingly easy access to communication media and information is altering perceptions of the very nature of information work, globally. There is no doubt that there are many challenges facing present and prospective information professionals too. These include issues around internationalisation and accreditation; the level and structure of programs for first professional qualifications and competition from neighbouring disciplines.
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This article presents findings from a pilot study that explored the perspectives of East Tennessee's regional public librarians about their extent of need for professional library education and the knowledge, skills, abilities, and opportunities required in the region's rural libraries to best serve their communities. Data collection methods included: quantitative web-based survey with select open-ended questions; ongoing feedback from regional librarians in the University of Tennessee's School of Information Sciences' (SIS) advisory board and alumni networks; paraprofessional experiences shared by students in the SIS synchronous distance education program; anecdotal feedback collected from local/regional/state-level library networks; and strategic planning in East Tennessee's two regional libraries. Research findings indicate that East Tennessee's regional public librarians have a strong desire to access professional library education that integrates rural library management and information technology competencies to help their communities effectively address some of their unique debilitating challenges and circumstances.
Technological demands significantly complicate the careers of librarians. Dynamic growth and changes in information technology plus theintroduction of electronic journals into library collections create serious challenges in organizing and managing information and collections. The author examines the most frequently required and preferred qualifications and knowledge demands for a serials librarian. Based on job announcements in academic institutions from the years 1999–2001, the analysis reveals what new skills a person needs to manage electronic information and also suggests some professional development opportunities thatimprove competencies for serials librarians. Serials Review 2002; 28:33–37.
Library professionals have given a good deal of attention to the educational requirements for entrance into the profession, and to the on-going education for the practicing librarian. A need remains, however, for a special type of on-the-job training for newly appointed librarians. These librarians need careful and supportive introductions to the policies, procedures, methods, relationships, and attitudes which form the character of their particular positions.
The institutional roles of libraries evolved from that of local resource repositories to global gateways for access by the new millennium. Twenty-first century library users demand access to electronic materials. Library school students and employers articulate expectations for entry-level cataloger positions that include understandings and familiarities with a theoretical basis for cataloging e-resources. Therefore, entry-level catalog librarian position announcements provide insight into requirements regarding graduate education, expertise, and preferred preparations for these positions. This empirical research study explores 266 entry-level cataloger position announcements published during a five-year period in order to determine the importance of cataloging e-resources as articulated by employers. A rigorous content analysis methodology enabled the researcher to identify employers' expectations and requirements among public, special, and academic libraries. Recommendations include the expansion of cataloging courses, addition of metadata schema to LIS course offerings, and the need for increased numbers of faculty teaching in these areas.
During the past decade, many education programs in library and information science (LIS) have attempted to adjust and reorganize to meet the growing dimensions of the library and information management professions. Specific actions have included how individual schools interpret their need for teaching and research expertise as they seek new faculty members. Self-definitions of areas of research and teaching interests also describe the characteristics of the education program. New courses introduced to the curriculum reflect changes in the educational content offered by a school.
This paper reports on an analysis of information published on the websites of North American schools of information and library science (ILS). The objective of the analysis was to determine new trends in educational practice in the form of new courses, course concentrations, and programs. New educational trends were primarily user-centered. Library educators should avoid placing too much reliance on the users' niche because it places them in an intermediary role. Information technology has had a devastating impact on intermediaries such as travel agents, realtors, and financial brokers. If librarians focus exclusively on users, they run the risk of becoming displaced. Instead, programs should stake out unclaimed or disputed areas such as the organization of information, content creation, authoritative information, and/or collection preservation. The paper concludes with the recommendation that ILS faculty should examine new content areas that schools are now offering and embark on new curricular opportunities that make sense in view of their view of the future, expertise on staff, available resources, and the resources they are able to secure to make changes at their institutions.
American libraries do three things very well: (1) they make information accessible to millions of people on many subjects; (2) they provide tens of thousands of places where patrons can meet formally as clubs or groups, or informally as citizens and students utilizing a civic institution and a cultural agency; and (3) they furnish billions of reading materials to millions of patrons. For generations, the Library and Information Studies (LIS) community has devoted most of its attention to the first, but currently it is poorly positioned to undertake research on the second and third. American Studies, on the other hand, is well placed to address the second and third, but has largely overlooked American public, school, and academic libraries as subjects of study. This essay invites American Studies scholars to develop an LIS subspecialty in order to help the American library community better understand its present, so that it can more prudently plan its future.