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Internationalization of LIS education in Europe and North America

Ismail Abdullahi (North Carolina Central University, School of Library and Information Sciences, Durham, North Carolina, USA)
Leif Kajberg (The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Sirje Virkus (Department of Information Studies, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 16 January 2007




This paper aims to stress the importance of international and intercultural opportunities in serving as essential components in educating and training library and information professionals. More specifically, it provides an overview of issues and trends in internationalization of higher education (HE) in general and illustrates how the concept of and approaches to internationalization have affected library and information science (LIS) educational settings and programs primarily in Europe and the USA.


Based on a literature review, the paper discusses the meaning and definition of the concept of internationalization. Using a framework that draws on theoretical work on internationalisation of HE programs/contexts an analysis is then presented of the changing nature of internationalization in HE environments. The theoretical analysis is coupled with illustrations of current internationalisation practices, projects, strategies and players within LIS education communities in Europe and the USA. Finally, a discussion of the principal issues of internationalization of the LIS curriculum is presented


A synthesis is provided of the body of knowledge on the topics of internationalisation in general and within the HE sector in particular. Also presented is an overview of the multifaceted internationalisation activities taking place within LIS education. A range of thoughts and suggestions are given on how LIS schools can respond to the challenges of an increasing global world and, more specifically, how they can develop LIS programs and create classroom settings that are truly international in orientation and scope.

Research limitations/implications

The geographical scope is limited to Europe and North America and the focus of the study is particularly on issues and challenges within the LIS education community.

Practical implications

Exposure to international educational environments and acquisition and absorption of intercultural values and skills serves to enhance and enrich the academic background of LIS students/graduates and add to the employability and career development of the coming LIS professionals. International outlook, networking and intercultural communication skills are essential for practitioners, policy makers, leaders, decision makers, researchers and educators in the LIS field.


No comprehensive study of the internationalization of LIS programs in the context of HE sector‐specific internationalization theory has previously been published. The paper makes a difference in the way it reflects on LIS internationalization issues and tasks from the perspective of the published literature on internationalization of HE.



Abdullahi, I., Kajberg, L. and Virkus, S. (2007), "Internationalization of LIS education in Europe and North America", New Library World, Vol. 108 No. 1/2, pp. 7-24.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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