Layzell Ward, P. (2004), "Towards Internationalisation in Library and Information Studies: Proceedings of the International Seminar, Parma, March 18, 2002", Library Review, Vol. 53 No. 8, pp. 417-418. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242530410556274
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This is a beautifully designed and printed volume. One half is in the English language, and the other in Italian which befits an account of the collaboration between the Università di Parma Dipartimento Beni Culturali Sezione Beni Librari and the University of Northumbria School of Informatics. Funded by the Ministro dell'Università the two departments have introduced an international Masters in Librarianship and Information Science, which awards qualifications from both universities. The aim is to graduate professionals to work in the digital age who are aware of the value of lifelong learning. Over the years much has been written about the need to collaborate across national boundaries and the proceedings report the challenges and how they have been overcome.
Anna Maria Tammaro's introductory paper discusses the internationalisation of courses in the discipline, and the situation in Italy. In Part 1 Pat Dixon and Margherita Spinazzola contribute papers on the theme of developing an international competency for new librarians and information scientists. Pat's discussion includes comment on the curriculum, the reflective practitioner and modes of delivery. Margherita reviews European projects which contribute understanding to the new programme. A second section focuses on the challenges and barriers to international co‐operation. Niels Ole Pors describes the extensive experience of international collaboration by the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen. Franz Berger, Director of the Biblioteca della Libera at the University of Bolzano asks a fundamental question about what is meant by co‐operation and why it should happen and then discusses eight obstacles. A third section focuses on expanding the IT content in curriculum design and delivery. Lucia Maffei considers the information and technology revolution and the work of the European Council of Information Associations on a project that analysed the skills needed in the information and library sector.
The second part of the proceedings concentrates on trends and issues of internationalisation in Italian university library schools. Alberto Petrucciani's paper considers a vital aspect of internationalising courses – that of cultural diversity in the context of Europe and its effect on the university education of librarians. Donatella Lombello reviews the question of training teacher librarians. With the growth in distance learning Anna Maria Tommaro's second paper on internationalisation and the quality of distance learning courses, and discussion as to why students should be motivated by an international programme, is timely. The final paper by Dagmar Göttling considers the question of public librarians in Italy who have had limited opportunities to gain skills other than “on‐the‐job”.
On first sight the proceedings may be seen to have a narrow focus on collaboration between two European universities. However, the volume provides much more for there is discussion of the important question of curriculum development – and a new programme provides an opportunity to reconsider the fundamentals. There are lucid contributions on this question. It is also important for reviewing the experience of international collaboration, particularly in the European context. The European Union provides many opportunities to encourage member countries to work together. But it is not always easy to overcome language barriers, cultural diversity, “the way we have always done it” and the battle with bureaucracy that inevitably accompanies questions of accountability. Getting collaborative programmes off the ground requires a strong commitment, energy and time on the part of those who actually do the work. Not all projects have been successful so it is good to read of one that will encourage others to widen their horizons.
A final point – ILS educators outside Europe can also learn much from the proceedings for many of the points made have application to other continents.