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A holistic decolonial lens for library and information studies

Andrea Jimenez (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Sara Vannini (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Andrew Cox (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 9 June 2022

Issue publication date: 10 January 2023




The aim of this paper is to introduce a holistic decolonial lens for Library and Information Studies (LIS). As such it centres in the following questions: what does decolonisation mean in the context of LIS? How can a holistic approach help improve our understanding of the field?


This is a conceptual paper that draws on theoretical analysis and discussion with in-depth examination of two cases of librarianship and information for development.


The paper presents a decolonial framework for interpreting and comprehending LIS-specific issues. As a result, we believe it is critical to recognise three interconnected types of colonial legacies and identify ways in which LIS academics and practitioners can consider these in the context of their research and work.

Research limitations/implications

The paper introduces a holistic framework for thinking about decoloniality in the LIS discipline. Further work should consider how this framework can be useful for other LIS fields.

Practical implications

The framework is of practical significance for LIS academics and practitioners who wish to take a decolonial approach to their research and thinking. We provide questions intended to lead to action.


The paper provides a holistic decolonial approach to critically reflect on research and teaching practices in the context of LIS.



Jimenez, A., Vannini, S. and Cox, A. (2023), "A holistic decolonial lens for library and information studies", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 79 No. 1, pp. 224-244.



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