Library and information science and sustainable development: a structured literature review

Christine Meschede (Department of Information Science, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany)
Maria Henkel (Department of Information Science, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 29 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Awareness on and importance of sustainability in all aspects of our lives is becoming more and more important. The question arises, how – not if – scientists can contribute to a sustainable development. As information plays an important role for development, information scientists should be included in this debate. However, is there a sustainable information science or an information science of sustainability? The purpose of this paper is to perform a mapping of publications in library and information science (LIS) directly dealing with sustainability and sustainable development.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured literature review was conducted, enhanced by bibliometric analyses. For this purpose, 102 LIS journals and conferences were considered. The authors identified 81 publications dealing with sustainability and sustainable development and analyzed the concrete contents and methodological approaches of these.

Findings

A large proportion of articles could be found dealing with sustainable development and libraries. Other publications focus on information and communication technology or information systems. Only few articles deal with further topics like government, urban development or scientific output.

Research limitations/implications

Sustainability and sustainable development are complex topics. This work only considers literature whose title or keywords contain the string sustainab*.

Originality/value

The presented work helps to get an overview on sustainability research and activities in the LIS field and additionally, potential research gaps may be identified. The authors call for more research in this area and concrete ideas to help develop a sustainable future.

Keywords

Citation

Meschede, C. and Henkel, M. (2019), "Library and information science and sustainable development: a structured literature review", Journal of Documentation, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-02-2019-0021

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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