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Aspects of representation of library and information science

Branka Badovinac (National and University Library, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Primož Južnič (Department of Library and Information Science and Book Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




This paper seeks to deal with the “image problem” in the library and information science (LIS) profession from the cultural studies viewpoint. It aims to explore representations of LIS in LIS itself and to research the representation practices of LIS in the social and cultural environment.


After identifying some main features of professional discourse on the LIS image, the empirical part of the research particularly explored two questions: how LIS is constituted and how it is embedded in broader social practices. More than 300 articles were collected from the Slovenian daily newspaper with the largest circulation. The sample was analyzed quantitatively and two‐fold qualitatively.


The results of quantitative analysis outline the formation of LIS's community nature. The results of qualitative analysis mostly show the signifying practices in differentiating between the “old” and the “modern” and representing practices in creating “zealous” librarians and “suspicious” users. The results also point to librarians as “organic intellectuals”.

Research limitations/implications

The study is exploratory and at this point the thesis on “organic intellectuals” cannot be confirmed; in addition to the limits in the analysis methods, the theoretical background needs to be further explored. The findings cannot be generalized due to social and cultural differences.

Practical implications

The methodology can be applied to other research subjects. The results may be helpful for library managers and library public relations work.


There are only a few studies of such theoretical and methodological design that have researched the role of the LIS in society. The paper also analyzes the “image problem” in the daily newspapers.



Badovinac, B. and Južnič, P. (2011), "Aspects of representation of library and information science", New Library World, Vol. 112 No. 7/8, pp. 293-312.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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